Matt Peterson books a hotel stay in Puerto Vallarta at the Fiesta Americana, but it refuses to honor his reservation. And the travel site he used refuses to help him find an alternate hotel room. Can our advocates help Peterson get the room he reserved?
Question: I had a confirmed hotel reservation through a travel booking website called AMOMA.COM for Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a one-night stay for $90. Then I received a phone call stating that the reservation could not be honored and that they would be refunding my payment.
I asked about AMOMA finding me other accommodations for the night but they said that there were none available for that night through their suppliers. After the call ended I went to the AMOMA site and entered the date of my stay. A number of hotels came up, including the Fiesta Americana (now for $320). I am just over a week out from my vacation and I’m now stuck finding a hotel room.
Can you help me get the hotel to honor the reservation? — Matt Peterson, Minneapolis
Answer: That’s certainly a stress-inducing message to receive one week before a hotel stay is supposed to begin.
Unfortunately, you are going to have to find another hotel room in Puerto Vallarta. I recommend using a different travel site — or better yet, booking directly with the hotel or through a travel agent. AMOMA doesn’t have easily accessible contacts on its site and requires that you create an account in order to communicate with an agent or supplier.
When AMOMA notified you that the hotel would not honor its reservation with you, it pointed to the following provision in its terms and conditions, which you agreed to when you confirmed the booking:
AMOMA.com’s suppliers are independent contractors and not agents or employees of AMOMA.com. AMOMA.com is not liable for a supplier’s acts, errors, omissions, representations, warranties, breaches or negligence or for any losses, personal injuries, death, property damage, or other damages or expenses arising out any act or omission of a supplier.
In the event of a confirmed booking becoming unavailable before the check in date, AMOMA.com will offer a full refund. Where we have prior notice we will contact you by e-mail. However, upon check-in, if the original hotel booked is closed, over booked or has maintenance problems and cannot provide the room(s) booked, you accept that the hotelier is responsible for finding you alternate accommodation of a similar standard and/or for providing you with a refund and there shall be no liability on AMOMA.com to provide you with a refund or alternative accommodation.
So unfortunately all you can expect from AMOMA is the $90 refund it promised you. Its terms and conditions disclaim liability for anything the hotel told them about availability of rooms, whether true or not. This isn’t a customer-friendly policy.
It didn’t help your case that you threatened to post negative reviews about AMOMA on sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, as well as to contact our advocates.
In spite of your threat, we reached out to both AMOMA and the hotel’s corporate office on your behalf. However, neither AMOMA nor the hotel corporation was moved by your situation. The hotel responded very quickly, indicating that you need to address any issues through AMOMA.
Regrettably, we were not able to get them to honor the reservation, regardless of what AMOMA’s site says about room availability at the Fiesta Americana or any other hotels. With luck, another hotel room will be available.