In booking an upcoming trip, I searched various websites for accommodations. I made tentative reservations via Hotels.com, carefully clicking on the “pay at checkout” option. BUT I missed a pre-checked box at the bottom of the page. My card was charged instantly … which, I missed since I had never seen such a thing.
Hotels.com also adds a tiny, and misleading disclaimer at the very bottom of the page (the THIRD screen down) that says cancel before you get there (three days in advance) or risk paying a penalty. OK. Seemed reasonable. My trip is still two months away. Even further down the page a complexly-worded note that says any change is subject to a penalty fee.
What? I’ve booked through Hotels.com for years. Never had this problem before. My plans changed. I needed to change the reservation. So I called.
The recording says to make changes online. Do Not Do This. I did, and was charged $200. WHAT? The Hotels.com rep basically said tough luck. The supervisor definitely said so sad, too bad, we’re keeping your money, you have no option. Further they said it was all the fault of the hotel I booked with. That it was the hotel’s policy to charge $200 for any change to a reservation.
I called the hotel. They said they had never heard of this. They were incredulous. I called Hotels.com again. Same answer from the “supervisor”. I protested, asked for a corporate number. They refused. I called the corporate offices of the hotel in question. They said they didn’t have such a policy.
I called my credit card company for help. The dispute resolution person called hotels.com (which evidently is a division of Expedia.com) … she talked to the rep. I talked to the rep. They said tough luck … and hung up on us.
I called the actual hotel again, got the name of the manager, who offered to help in any way he could … and called Hotels.com once again.
Getting the picture? Frustration? Disbelief? I again spoke with the rep … who this time said they could see all the notes from previous calls — including from the credit card company. I gave her the name of the manager and the assistant manager at the hotel in question. Finally, this person appears to have reversed the charges.
How many calls? How many hours? I’ve lost count. I am waiting for my credit card company to confirm that all charges have indeed been reversed. Does it matter that not ONE Hotels.com person I spoke with was a native English speaker. Were they in India? Just poorly paid immigrants? Bottom line: Hotels.com has horrible customer service.
So … Let the Buyer Beware … use Hotels.com (and probably Expedia.com) at your own financial risk.