Juanita Stevenson and her husband booked a hotel in Chicago — through Hotels.com — to celebrate their anniversary.
But, when they arrived at the hotel, Stevenson said, “the clerk said ‘I don’t have a reservation for you.’ I said, ‘you don’t have a reservation for me? Here’s a reservation from Hotels.com.”
She said: “Yes, that is their confirmation, but they have not given us the information.”
The hotel had no record they had prepaid over $400, through the popular third-party booking site.
“I’m like, ‘What are we supposed to do now?'” Stevenson said. And she said, ‘Well we don’t have your reservation.'”
Luckily, the hotel still had a room left for their anniversary trip, but then came the second shocker.
Stevenson said: “She told me, ‘We’ll give you this room, but you are going to have to pay for it.'”
She reluctantly paid a second time, now with two $400 charges on her credit card.
What happened? This complaint has come up before with many third-party travel sites.
You make a reservation, prepay on your credit card, but when you arrive there is no record of your reservation.
The nonprofit consumer group Elliot Advocacy says this happens more often than most people realize.
It says hotel reservation systems sometimes don’t sync up with the third-party booking site.
“What does a consumer have to do to be treated fairly?” Stevenson wondered.
How To Protect Yourself When Booking Hotels At Third-Party Sites
To avoid this, Elliot Advocacy says if using any third-party hotel site:
- Always have a printout or screenshot of your reservation.
- Double-check the dates, to make sure they are correct.
- Most importantly, call the hotel directly the day before you arrive, to confirm your stay.
After we contacted Expedia — the parent of Hotels.com — it refunded Stevenson’s second payment, for what should have been a relaxing anniversary trip.
As always don’t waste your money.