Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Reservation Warning

It took 2 hours, 6 phone calls, 3 companies, 1 manager and 6 customer service representatives.

I made hotel reservations for a 3 day business trip. I was provided the name and address of the hotel. I searched online to find the hotel phone number. A site came up with the hotel information, a phone number, and photos of the hotel exterior and a list of amenities. I called the number and was greeted with “Reservations”. I made arrangements for a three night stay.

The business trip was cut short and Tom informed the front desk he would be leaving a day early. The front desk informed him that he could check out but he would be charged for three nights. This is when I discovered I called a third-party reservation site and prepaid the stay. Their policy is no early checkout or cancellations.

I revisited the website where I found the phone number. At first glance, the site appears to be the official website of the hotel chain.

But it was not…

I was on the phone for over an hour trying to figure out the confusion. The third-party would only agree to credit my account if the hotel chain would agree. I spoke to several agents at the third-party reservation company, a hotel chain representative, a front desk clerk and the front desk clerk manager.

The most disturbing revelation from this ordeal…the agents from the third-party hotel reservation company are allowed to say they are from the actual hotel chain when asked directly because they are affiliates. This does not seem right to me….

I believe we are going to get a refund.

Lesson learned…


John W. Zimmer said...

I had a similar situation that I did not end up resolving. We bought a hotel reservation on one of those cut price websites and got the hotel room in San Francisco cheap but noted that parking was not included and after calling the hotel (we did not know the hotel before we bought the reservation) we found that could not accommodate a roller bed for my son. We were told by the hotel that we could not get a refund because of the 3rd party affiliation and the 3rd party said their sale was final - we got what they offered according to their terms and conditions.

Long and short of it we ended up double booking and paying for two hotels on that trip. :(

Good luck with your refund.

Michele said...

Hi John: Ugh...2 hotel bills!

I am still working on the refund. Everyone promised to refund the money but no luck yet. The hotel agreed to refund but I cannot find the right person to talk to at the third party affiliate. The websites are tricky and are designed to look like the official site.