Hotels.com refusing to refund fraudulent charge

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Sep 29, 2017
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I searched for best pricing on a specific hotel in Italy. Hotels.com, expedia and Orbitz advertised the same price and all had promo code options. I went with hotels.com, thinking they are more reliable, BIG MISTAKE! I had one of those promo codes you get for signing up to receive emails, so basically a one time use code. I entered the code and it applied giving me a total amount to be charged now and about $20 more to pay at the hotel. On the same screen, I entered my credit card info and booked. My confirmation popped up with a completely different amount. I called them immediately, waited on hold about 4 minutes, so total 6 minutes after hitting book. I explained to the rep that there was a problem with my booking because I was charged a different amount than what was on screen when I entered payment. He kept trying to tell me this must be taxes. I explained that this was not taxes, that I had a total amount, applied a promo code and amount changed, then when I hit book, confirmation gave different amount. He kept trying to tell me it must be taxes. Then said he would have to contact the hotel, to see if they would accept the cancellation. At this point, I realized I was being given a bunch of lies. I explained that I used to sell travel and previously dealt with them. I know that when you make a booking, the travelers info doesn't go to the hotel until about a week before arrival. There was no way that the hotel had my payment, info, or anything minutes after I hit book. He assured me they did and he had to contact the hotel. The payment was not yet posted on my card even. I asked for a supervisor. He put me on hold and came back minutes later asking me more questions and wanted the exact code I used. I gave the code to him and explained that it was a one time code to be used after email signup. I don't think he was comprehending what I was saying. I told him I asked for a supervisor and instead he is questioning me and I have now been on the phone for 26 minutes with him and it is a waste of time for an error I did not make. He said he was trying to help me cancel first. Then he said if I would hold on he would contact the hotel and make the cancellation. I said ok this must be cancelled. He said he would cancel it and come back to me. Great, there are only a couple of rooms left. I go to orbitz while he is cancelling. I type the dates and Orbitz promo. I book for even less than hotel.com's guaranteed price.
He comes back and tells me he is unable to cancel, the hotel said no. I ask for the supervisor and explain to her that telling me a story about the hotel not cancelling is ridiculous and that this is fraud to charge someone a different amount than on the page they agreed and booked from. She asks for promo code again, I give her the code and explain to her again that the code won't be valid for a new booking. She also doesn't comprehend very well. She explains that if it a site error then they will refund me. I tell her go ahead and refund me because it is not my error. She tells me, this code is not valid. I explain again that this was a one time use code. I then use a different email and get a new promo code, I give her the new code to show her that it works. She says its invalid. At this point I can only contact my card. I hang up, get screenshots of my original promo code, stating it "has been used too many times" because she kept trying it after I explained she cannot use the code I just used. I try the new code and it applies and changes the amount. I take screenshots. I call them back later on and ask for a supervisor. I told her I have screenshots of the code working and different price. She refuses to help me. I explain that I was told if it was a site error that I would be refunded. She gives me a billing email to send screenshots and says it will take 72 hours to investigate. She can't help me. I ask to speak to someone higher up, there is no one. I ask to be transferred to a US number, or to get a US number, there is none apparently. I ask for a corporate office info. There is no phone number there. She is the only person who can help and will not. She tells me I called earlier and was told no refund. Basically why don't I go through my card. I sent an email to billing with screenshots and details of my experience. Have not heard a peep and it has been 2 days now.
 

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Jan 5, 2015
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First of all, we don't recommend booking via the online search engines because the prices aren't typically that different than booking directly, and as you discovered when there is an issue the support is lacking. Something to keep in mind in the future.

I would use our company contacts for hotels.com (http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia/) and contact the first executive on the list, explaining that you took them at their word when they said they were going to cancel for you and booked another room since the trip was short notice.

Since your trip is Oct 16, I'd give it a week and if you don't hear back, do a chargeback on your credit card.
 
Sep 29, 2017
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First of all, we don't recommend booking via the online search engines because the prices aren't typically that different than booking directly, and as you discovered when there is an issue the support is lacking. Something to keep in mind in the future.

I would use our company contacts for hotels.com (http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia/) and contact the first executive on the list, explaining that you took them at their word when they said they were going to cancel for you and booked another room since the trip was short notice.

Since your trip is Oct 16, I'd give it a week and if you don't hear back, do a chargeback on your credit card.
I agree. However, the price difference was pretty big this time. Since there was going to be no need to cancel, it made sense to book at a much lower rate. Unfortunately, that did not work out. I have already contacted my card. However, I'm
Still appalled that within minutes, they would t help me and treated me like a liar. What reason could someone have to lie 2 minutes after booking.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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My suggestion is that you go MOCK book that hotel again, apply that promo code and screen shot the screen you say represents the final amount.

then you can go back to hotels.com and ay "look, this is what I should have been charged"

Their booking system will allow you to mock book again, just dont purchase.

case closed

If customer service at Hotels.com wont refund you after you can prove the price changed between the pre purchase and post purchase screen, start writing the executives one at a time. If you fail with the executives then you can then take that proof to your credit card and start charge back
 
Sep 29, 2017
6
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My suggestion is that you go MOCK book that hotel again, apply that promo code and screen shot the screen you say represents the final amount.

then you can go back to hotels.com and ay "look, this is what I should have been charged"

Their booking system will allow you to mock book again, just dont purchase.

case closed

If customer service at Hotels.com wont refund you after you can prove the price changed between the pre purchase and post purchase screen, start writing the executives one at a time. If you fail with the executives then you can then take that proof to your credit card and start charge back
I tried this! I have the screen shots! They were unwilling to help. I sent the screenshots over to my credit card. I even have the screenshot of my original promo code saying it was used too many times, after supervisor tried to use it. I've emailed the screenshots to [email protected]. Nothing.
 
Sep 29, 2017
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Buyer's remorse, found a better offer, etc.
It was a price guarantee offer. Also I would think calling immediately after clicking book, should weigh heavily on buyer NOT having remorse. In my eyes, there is no reason to click book and call customer service to cancel a moment later, unless something was wrong with booking.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
Mary, I may have missed this in your long letter, but do you have proof of the price differential after booking? If so, I would go ahead and dispute the charge. There should not be an issue.

As you have experienced, dealing with these people on the phone is a nightmare. My colleagues have laid it all out for you ... keep your letters concise and polite. One thing I would be concerned about is the hotel cancelling your second res, so keep in touch with them to be sure they understand what's going on. No amount of money saved is worth the aggravation you're subjected to by an online booking agency.
 
Sep 29, 2017
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Mary, I may have missed this in your long letter, but do you have proof of the price differential after booking? If so, I would go ahead and dispute the charge. There should not be an issue.

As you have experienced, dealing with these people on the phone is a nightmare. My colleagues have laid it all out for you ... keep your letters concise and polite. One thing I would be concerned about is the hotel cancelling your second res, so keep in touch with them to be sure they understand what's going on. No amount of money saved is worth the aggravation you're subjected to by an online booking agency.
Wow, thanks! I will contact the hote to let them know which booking is valid.

Yes, I have screenshots of the price differential. I did several mock bookings with my original and a new promo code and all worked. I tried calling hotels.com back and they were horrible. I did dispute the charge with my card and faxed over all of the screenshots because hotels.com basically told me to go through my card.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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St Louis
It was a price guarantee offer. Also I would think calling immediately after clicking book, should weigh heavily on buyer NOT having remorse. In my eyes, there is no reason to click book and call customer service to cancel a moment later, unless something was wrong with booking.
@Mary123 I was just trying to provide some examples of why someone would call and cancel so quickly. And amazingly, I think we've probably seen these examples on the site before.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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23,045
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Wow, thanks! I will contact the hote to let them know which booking is valid.

Yes, I have screenshots of the price differential. I did several mock bookings with my original and a new promo code and all worked. I tried calling hotels.com back and they were horrible. I did dispute the charge with my card and faxed over all of the screenshots because hotels.com basically told me to go through my card.
I agree with jsn-
If you have that screen print you have proof and I would think that is all you need for the credit card company. Plus you have your calls showing you attempted to resolve it with Hotels.com

Honestly- just book directly in the future. If it seems too good to be true it usually is and booking through a third party - this is what happens.
 
Sep 29, 2017
6
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I agree with jsn-
If you have that screen print you have proof and I would think that is all you need for the credit card company. Plus you have your calls showing you attempted to resolve it with Hotels.com

Honestly- just book directly in the future. If it seems too good to be true it usually is and booking through a third party - this is what happens.
Yes, lesson learned.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,762
10,570
113
San Francisco
Wow, thanks! I will contact the hote to let them know which booking is valid.

Yes, I have screenshots of the price differential. I did several mock bookings with my original and a new promo code and all worked. I tried calling hotels.com back and they were horrible. I did dispute the charge with my card and faxed over all of the screenshots because hotels.com basically told me to go through my card.
Most excellent, Mary. Then all you have to be concerned about is that the hotel keeps the correct booking alive. I do not have a great deal of confidence in hotel people - based on many group bookings over the years that always had issues. We used to joke that they were all trained at a special space cadet farm. Very glad we could help.