For the third round of interview at a well known financial company X, I was asked to visit their office location. They did not buy my ticket, nor did they pay for the hotel but they explicitly said (on the phone and in the email) they will compensate for all expenses. I made the airline and hotel reservations myself, interviewed there for more than five hours and gave them copies of all the receipts and expenses at the end of the interview. I have not heard back after more than a month.
I decided to accept another job offer in another city and I wanted to send an email to two recruiters (or HR people) I was in contact with company X describing the situation.
I am wondering
Is this situation typical or normal?
How do I politely explain the situation to those HR people so I will still be compensated for the travel expenses?
I once had a similar situation with a particular company in the USA (I'm Canadian). YMMV, but what worked for me was harassing them on social media. I made a post (still there, I didn't remove it) both on Glassdoor and also on the publicly-viewable Facebook page for this company that basically said "these guys are crooks, they don't pay back the fees they promised, do not interview here, and if you do, insist that everything is paid upfront". They responded to me promptly thereafter and made sure I was paid. I even got to talk to their head of HR on the phone for about half an hour and air my grievances to him directly, after which point he said he would get involved directly and make sure I was paid.
The basic situation is that this is not unheard of. I worked for a company that would tell applicants this very thing. The spoken version of the policy does not include the small print that the written version has: "If you are hired for the position then you will be compensated for all travel expenses related to the application and hiring process." I asked about this because I was involved in the hiring process and saw a couple of people interviewed and later found that they had not been reimbursed for travel. I was told that "We only reimburse new hires. Others took their best shot and didn't make the grade...why would we want to reimburse them when we have no control over whether or not they should even be applying...they probably just wanted a free trip!!"
Get it in writing before you jump on a plane. If you buy the tickets then you are stuck...