Answer: If the W wasn’t charging you a cancellation penalty, then it must have been Cheaptickets.com. But since you didn’t keep your records, it’s difficult to say exactly what was going on.
Your case underscores the importance of keeping good records when you act as your own travel agent. But let’s take one more step back. Given your situation, I think you might have benefited from using a travel agent. If you have mobility problems, an agent won’t just ensure that you’re staying at the right hotel, but also in the right room. Hotels often have larger, handicapped-accessible rooms that are available at no extra charge.
You can find a competent agent through the American Society of Travel Agents site.
Although your case was resolved a while back, I’ve decided to write about it now because I’ve notice more travelers keeping lax records and self-booking when they probably shouldn’t.
Using a site like Cheaptickets.com is perfectly fine when you’re comfortable booking online and you don’t have any special requests. But I’ve dealt with guests who’ve tried to request adjoining rooms, nonsmoking rooms and even specific rooms, online. That’s not what these sites were designed to do. They’re meant for the “average” guest with no special requirements.
Likewise, if you’re liable to lose documents or delete emails or type in the wrong name of the hotel (happens to all of us) then you may want to use an agent. Bottom line: I think this could have been avoided.
I asked Cheaptickets.com to look into the $477 charge. It contacted you and offered a full refund.
(Photo: J. Yu ng/Flickr Creative Commons)