CHARGE

Look before you book on Priceline

John Lancer recently placed a bid with Priceline for a room in a specific area of Georgia, but the order that went through didn’t come close to meeting Lancer’s expectations and he requested a refund in order to book the right room. So why did Priceline balk at his request?

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Are airlines about to charge your kids more?

If your blood pressure spikes when you think about the words “kids” and “plane” in the same sentence, as you just did (sorry about that), then this story may have a calming effect.

True, there’s no faster way to start a brawl on a flight or an online chat room than by putting the two together. Some passengers feel the interior of a plane should be a designated quiet zone; others treat it as a playground. It’s a conflict as old as commercial aviation.
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Billed by American Airlines – and then billed again

anderm / Shutterstock.com
anderm / Shutterstock.com
Russell Higley is promised a refund after his flight is canceled. But now his airline is trying to bill him twice for a flight he never took. What’s the problem?

Question: I read your columns and appreciate what you have done to help especially the less fortunate among us who are being wronged with financial penalties because we did not receive a promised refund. For someone like me, who is nearly 67 years old, with a pacemaker, heart and liver disease, and arthritis, this $371 loss is a nightmare.

American Airlines canceled my flight from New York to Palm Springs, Calif., and agreed to refund my fare.
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A surprise $250 smoking fee from my hotel — but I don’t smoke!

Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
Seth Elsen receives a mysterious $250 charge on his credit card after staying at a La Quinta hotel. Now the property’s general manager is hiding from him, he says. Can he get a refund?

Question: I recently stayed at a La Quinta Inn and Suites in Walla Walla, Wash., with two guests. We were there one night, and everything went fine.

Two nights after I checked out, I noticed a $250 charge on my credit card, in addition to the $100 fee for the room. I called, talked with an assistant manager, and was told that it was a smoking charge, and that I needed to talk to the general manager about it.

I asked when she’d be in, and was told the next morning. I didn’t get a call back. I called again during the weekend, talking to other front desk people, trying to find out when the manager would be in.
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Help me get rid of these bogus moving charges, please!

Andresr/Shutterstock
Andresr/Shutterstock
Question: Last year, before I signed up for DirecTV, I called the company to find out its moving policy. I wanted to know if I could transfer my service to a different residence, and how much it would cost. I had my house up for sale so knew I would be moving within the next year.

I had seen a TV advertisement that said “DirectTV moves with you.” I was told by their sales representative that there was no charge to transfer if I signed up for two years; I would just have my satellite dish moved to a new location.

Last April, I moved. But when I called to set up service at my new residence, a DirecTV representative told me that it will cost $230 for the installation.
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Help, my car rental company is charging me for a burnt clutch

bumpy roadQuestion: My husband rented a car from Hertz in Madrid last summer. The car broke while he was on his way back to the airport, and he had to abandon it by the side of the road in order to make his flight back to the States.

He informed the Hertz people at the airport what had happened and they told him it was fine and the car would be retrieved. Three weeks later, we received a letter that there was 850 euro charge for a burnt clutch on our credit card. We tried to contact Hertz Spain, both before and after the bill, to ensure the car had been collected and everything was fine but they didn’t answer the phone or respond to emails.
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Can I fix this Avis “fantasy” rental charge?

Marci Scheuer/Shutterstock
Marci Scheuer/Shutterstock
Harry Good recently prepaid for his rental car through a Swiss company called HolidayCars, which makes sense, since Good is an American expatriate who lives in Switzerland.

But what happened next doesn’t make any sense. When he picked up his car from Avis in Phoenix, where he planned to rent it for three months, all seemed well. Then, a few weeks later and without any warning, he found a $6,742 charge, in addition to the $3,711 he’d already paid HolidayCars.

Not good.
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Pay another $166 or your baby stays in Costa Rica

Igor Stepovik/Shutterstock
Igor Stepovik/Shutterstock

When Daniel Weisleder tried to board his return flight from San Jose, Costa Rica, to Houston with his wife and 10-month-old son recently, a United Airlines ticket agent delivered some bad news: He’d have to pay another $166 to fly home with the baby.

“Someone made a mistake,” the agent said.

That might be an understatement. Weisleder, who directs an educational consulting firm in Pittsburgh and is an elite-level United customer, reluctantly forked over the extra $166 to fly home. But he couldn’t understand the late charge.

“When I booked the reservation, I notified United that I would be traveling with an infant on my lap,” he says. “I was charged $991 for the tickets. We checked-in in Houston without a problem, but when we were coming back, we were told that our baby had to pay an additional ticket.”
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Help! DirecTV is charging $235 for my move

Len44k/Shutterstock
Len44k/Shutterstock
Question: I have a problem with DirecTV that I’m hoping you can help me with. The building I live in has been sold and all leases have been terminated, including mine. Just a month before, I signed up for DirecTV. I have lived there for five years and intended to remain. So it came as a huge blow to suddenly get that dropped on me.

I have found a new place to live. One of my requirements was being allowed to keep my DirectTV and when I found a place that allowed it, I was happy. I called today to set up a service transfer, only to be informed that I must pay $238 for it.

A representative said because I was moving within the first year of my contract that was the best he could do, and that was discounted from $500. That seems excessive to me.
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