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  • FIRST POST
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 15th Apr 19, 5:25 PM
    • 55Posts
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    kodiplod
    Section 75 Claim - Hotel Overcharged Me!
    • #1
    • 15th Apr 19, 5:25 PM
    Section 75 Claim - Hotel Overcharged Me! 15th Apr 19 at 5:25 PM
    Okay so this has been going on since July 2018.

    I booked a hotel through Booking.com and the price was a lot cheaper than anywhere else. Stayed at the hotel and paid on checkout with my credit card to the hotel.

    After leaving, I notice I was charged a lot more money by the hotel than what I was quoted by booking.com. I emailed the hotel straight away and they did promise the refund.

    They never refunded me and I ended up going through my credit card and opening a section 75 claim. The hotel are refusing any liability and said that the prices are all correct and would have never of charged such a low amount (the price I found was subsequently cheaper).

    AMEX have said that because it was booked through Booking.com they have to refuse the claim and cannot help.. I don't understand this as no payment was made to Booking.com.

    Is there anything I can do here as its a lot of money and something I cannot afford as I should not have been charged this amount in the first place. Any help is appreciated!
Page 1
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 15th Apr 19, 5:29 PM
    • 2,527 Posts
    • 3,427 Thanks
    comeandgo
    • #2
    • 15th Apr 19, 5:29 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Apr 19, 5:29 PM
    I think the time to dispute the cost was at check out. Do you have any proof of the price you were quoted?
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 15th Apr 19, 5:33 PM
    • 55 Posts
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    kodiplod
    • #3
    • 15th Apr 19, 5:33 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Apr 19, 5:33 PM
    I know, however I was stupid and didn't realise until I was back home. Yeah I have proof of the booking from booking.com which shows the lower rate. Also have proof of an email from the hotel confirming they will refund me, included all of this in the dispute to AMEX.
    • philip1427
    • By philip1427 15th Apr 19, 6:01 PM
    • 142 Posts
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    philip1427
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 19, 6:01 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 19, 6:01 PM
    Can you explain a bit more about Amex's reasons for not honouring your claim? It seems to me, that you have a good case and that you have proof to back it up?

    Do you have a booking confirmation from booking.com but in this case you were to settle the fee with the hotel upon checking out? And you also have email correspondence with the hotel saying they were at fault?
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 15th Apr 19, 7:00 PM
    • 1,181 Posts
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    Terry Towelling
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 19, 7:00 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 19, 7:00 PM
    S75 simply provides you with a means of holding your CC company liable for any losses that result from a breach of contract or misrepresentation by the supplier of good/services. You may try to argue that you were quoted a price that induced you into taking the hotel room and that this was actually a misrepresentation and you wouldn't have made the booking if you'd not been misled at the beginning. The problem with that is it wasn't the supplier (the hotel) who misrepresented the cost but Booking.com.

    Possibly if booking.com and the hotels they promote hold contracts to advertise prices on their behalves, it might be possible to argue that booking.com was simply a 'shop window' of the hotel and the hotel should be honouring any prices displayed by their agent. I have no idea whether any such contracts exist though.

    Because you paid using Amex, I have no idea what other protections that offers you (beyond statutory S75). Visa and MasterCard have their Chargeback rules that might have helped given the documented promise of a refund by the hotel but I have no idea what Amex promises in disputes. If Amex does have some sort of Chargeback mechanism you are probably way past time to make one. If a right was available earlier on then I would be yelling at Amex for not using it when they first got hold of your dispute - especially if you provided all the relevant information at that time.

    I'm not sure how you managed to miss the price problem at check-out. If you saw the amount you were accepting (which you normally do) you must have thought it was affordable (albeit not in line with what booking.com had said it would be).

    If the hotel is part of a large chain you might try and escalate your complaint (with all relevant evidence) to their head office. Simultaneously, you might raise a complaint at a higher level within booking.com for effectively putting you in a tricky position and costing you more than they promised you would be - but be prepared for them to reference something in their T&Cs that gets them off the hook.
    • eco_warrior
    • By eco_warrior 15th Apr 19, 7:03 PM
    • 285 Posts
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    eco_warrior
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 19, 7:03 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 19, 7:03 PM
    This would normally be a chargeback as it’s more a billing discrepancy than breach of contract situation.

    If you have paid in person at the hotel then you have agreed to the cost at the time. So I’d think you’d have no dispute rights in this instance I’m afraid.
    • eco_warrior
    • By eco_warrior 15th Apr 19, 7:04 PM
    • 285 Posts
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    eco_warrior
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 19, 7:04 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 19, 7:04 PM
    Just realised it was last year, so as TT has said it’s probably too late for a dispute.
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 15th Apr 19, 8:10 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    kodiplod
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 19, 8:10 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 19, 8:10 PM
    AMEX are basically saying that they cannot help as booking.com are acting as a travel agent and something along the lines of "debtor, creditor, supplier" and there being no link. They have said that they can contact Booking.com to see what they say (with my written consent) but that if it was Booking.com that provided the price then it would be denied. They did provide the price but no payment was made to them.

    I have already disputed the charge previously and they kept asking for evidence which I provided but they told me nothing could be done and to setup a section 75 claim.

    I have contacted the hotel directly and they are refusing to reply to me and are now denying that any refund is due to me.

    The amount is a lot of money and I physically cannot afford it and am getting charged £100 interest each month because of the charge. I am a little worried as I won't be able to pay this and am unsure what to do.
    • Ben8282
    • By Ben8282 15th Apr 19, 8:19 PM
    • 2,778 Posts
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    Ben8282
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 19, 8:19 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 19, 8:19 PM
    The amount is a lot of money and I physically cannot afford it and am getting charged £100 interest each month because of the charge. I am a little worried as I won't be able to pay this and am unsure what to do.
    Originally posted by kodiplod
    Isn't this a bit over the top?
    I have already disputed the charge previously and they kept asking for evidence which I provided but they told me nothing could be done and to setup a section 75 claim.
    .
    Originally posted by kodiplod
    I very much doubt this.

    There are no grounds for the s75 claim.
    You should have checked your bill when checking out from the hotel. You give the impression that this was a MASSIVE overcharge so it is difficult to understand how you failed to notice.
    If you have confirmation of the room rate originally quoted and, much more importantly, an e-mail from the hotel promising you a refund I don't understand why Amex are refusing a chargeback. They would normally accept the e-mail from the hotel as evidence of entitlement to refund and pursue the matter from there. Certainly they should have at least raised a chargeback and awaited a response from the hotel.
    Are you sure that they overcharged the room? Are you sure that you didn't charge all sorts of things such as pruchases in the hotel nightclub to your room account?
    Last edited by Ben8282; 15-04-2019 at 8:34 PM.
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 15th Apr 19, 8:34 PM
    • 1,181 Posts
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    Terry Towelling
    I'm not sure the D-C-S chain is an issue here because booking.com never took your money (as you have said). They just advertised a price and reserved the room for you. All payment-related stuff was done direct with the hotel, so I think Amex's reasoning is wrong there.

    That's not to say there is a S75 claim, just that Amex's reasons for refusing you are possibly not right.

    I still don't understand how you managed to miss the higher charge at check-out - if it really is that big a discrepancy, shouldn't it have been obvious then? Sorry, I know that's not helpful.

    Now, are you sure the higher price is all down to the room rate? Do booking.com prices include VAT, meals, extras etc, or just the room rate? If the £100 per month interest is all down to this hotel stay it must have been a massive bill.

    And finally, has this got any connection to your other dispute involving hotels.com and a price match promise from around the same time last year? Is there more information that needs to be aired for us to fully understand what's happened and why - and more importantly - whether there is any remedy available to you?
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 15th Apr 19, 9:57 PM
    • 55 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    kodiplod
    Everything was included in the total price apart from any additional extras at the hotel, the only thing was a bottle of water which was £7.

    No there is no relation to this and the hotels.com charge.

    I did not notice the charge as it was my wife who actually used my card to pay etc but even so she would’ve told me if anything was off.

    According to Amex, the hotel also said they emailed me asking for proof and that I haven’t responded which again is a complete lie.

    I have a screen grab of the receipt/order confirmation with booking.com showing the price I was quoted and I also have an email from the hotel manager saying that they are sorting the refund.

    Perhaps there was a misprice somewhere along the lines as the hotel prices are a lot more than what I was quoted. The hotel are refusing to accept any blame but all I have done is booked a room at a price I expected to pay and be charged a lot more!
    • jonesMUFCforever
    • By jonesMUFCforever 15th Apr 19, 10:08 PM
    • 25,727 Posts
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    jonesMUFCforever
    OP can you give us the figures please?
    Where did you stay when for how long - what you thought you were going to pay and what you eventually got charged.
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always receive lots
    • Ben8282
    • By Ben8282 16th Apr 19, 2:01 AM
    • 2,778 Posts
    • 1,395 Thanks
    Ben8282
    Everything was included in the total price apart from any additional extras at the hotel, the only thing was a bottle of water which was £7.

    No there is no relation to this and the hotels.com charge.

    I did not notice the charge as it was my wife who actually used my card to pay etc but even so she would’ve told me if anything was off.

    According to Amex, the hotel also said they emailed me asking for proof and that I haven’t responded which again is a complete lie.

    I have a screen grab of the receipt/order confirmation with booking.com showing the price I was quoted and I also have an email from the hotel manager saying that they are sorting the refund.

    Perhaps there was a misprice somewhere along the lines as the hotel prices are a lot more than what I was quoted. The hotel are refusing to accept any blame but all I have done is booked a room at a price I expected to pay and be charged a lot more!
    Originally posted by kodiplod
    The sole grounds for any dispute of this charge is the e-mail from the hotel promising you the refund which I believe should be sufficient for Amex to act on the basis of evidence of your being due a refund which has not been credited to your Amex account. You cannot raise a valid dispute with Amex on the grounds that the room rate charged by the hotel was different to what was quoted to you by booking.com. Have you actually spoken to booking.com about this problem?
    A travel agent (booking.com) made a booking for you and quoted a price. However, you did not pay the travel agent and therefore no contract was entered into between you and that travel agent. If, on arrival at the hotel, the hotel were not prepared to honour that price then the matter should have been taken up with booking.com at the time and you should have asked them to sort it out. As you did not pay booking.com bur paid the hotel directly, they were under no obligation to honour a price quoted by a third party. If you had paid booking.com the situation would be different as they would have issued you with a voucher (or modern day electronic equivalent thereof) and the hotel would have sent their bill to booking.com for booking.com to settle.
    When you checked in at the hotel, were you not informed of the room rate? Did they not write the rate on the card that you were given with your room key? It strikes me as very odd that the room rate was never mentioned when you checked in at the hotel. Were room rates actually displayed anywhere, such as at reception or in your room? So nobody at the hotel mentioned the room rate at any time and when you checked out you just signed what was put in front of you without checking anything.
    You say that the booking.com price was a lot cheaper than elsewhere. Was this rate realistic for the type of room booked at that category of hotel in that location. For example, if you were quoted £1 per-night for the Royal Suite in a 5* hotel in Dubai....
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 16th Apr 19, 8:13 AM
    • 55 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    kodiplod
    I was not told anything about the room rates at all as everything had been booked through Booking.com.

    The hotel cost was £3000 for just over a week and booking.com quoted me just over £600.
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 16th Apr 19, 12:22 PM
    • 1,181 Posts
    • 962 Thanks
    Terry Towelling
    OK, at the end of the day, you have no S75 claim as I see it - not just because of the contractual arrangements but because the accommodation was a gift to your wife and you did not benefit from it. That automatically rules out S75 cover (in my opinion - others may disagree) and it would have been helpful to have known it was a gift at the outset.

    Your wife (who shouldn't be using your physical card) has agreed to a charge on check out. Was the cost quoted 'per person' but, say, 5 people attended?

    Your complaints are with:-

    a) booking.com who, according to your evidence, led you to believe the all-inclusive price was far less - albeit your wife still agreed to pay the higher charge on check-out
    b) the hotel, who seem to have promised a refund and then reneged on that promise.
    c) Amex, who may have had some dispute right for the promised refund at the time of the complaint but failed to exercise it.

    If you are getting nowhere with your complaints, you just have to escalate them as appropriate and, if possible, seek legal advice if there are any other legal channels that you can exploit.
    • eskbanker
    • By eskbanker 16th Apr 19, 12:35 PM
    • 10,090 Posts
    • 12,154 Thanks
    eskbanker
    OK, at the end of the day, you have no S75 claim as I see it - not just because of the contractual arrangements but because the accommodation was a gift to your wife and you did not benefit from it. That automatically rules out S75 cover (in my opinion - others may disagree) and it would have been helpful to have known it was a gift at the outset.

    Your wife (who shouldn't be using your physical card) has agreed to a charge on check out.
    Originally posted by Terry Towelling
    From what/where do you infer that OP wasn't present?

    OP's wife settled the bill with OP's card when they checked out (technical breach of Ts & Cs but no sign of this being relevant to the dispute) but I don't see anything to suggest that OP wasn't present, and indeed an earlier post stated "didn't realise until I was back home"....
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 16th Apr 19, 4:04 PM
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    Terry Towelling
    From what/where do you infer that OP wasn't present?

    OP's wife settled the bill with OP's card when they checked out (technical breach of Ts & Cs but no sign of this being relevant to the dispute) but I don't see anything to suggest that OP wasn't present, and indeed an earlier post stated "didn't realise until I was back home"....
    Originally posted by eskbanker
    Good question - I'm glad you asked. An inference is a very personal thing. OP has said things like, 'until I was back home' and 'stayed at the hotel and paid on checkout with my credit card'. All things that indicated OP's presence and, in my earlier posts (as you will see) I took it at face value that OP was indeed there.

    The shift of emphasis in later posts from using words like 'I' to 'my wife', was enough to instil doubt and lead to my inference. Whether you agree that OP implied his absence in later posts is moot but that is why I made my inference.

    Now, if OP was indeed there with his wife (which he can confirm to clear up any doubt) that would take away the 'gift' argument but OP would need to prove his use of the booking.com website facility constituted the creation of a contract with the hotel.

    On that point I have just read (some of) the T&Cs of Booking.com and they do appear to say that use of the website to book a trip does amount to the creation of a legally-binding and direct contract with the 'Trip Provider' and that the 'Trip Provider' is responsible for price accuracy. They go on to say that booking.com is merely acting as an intermediary by passing information between parties.

    Now (furiously back-pedalling) that would indeed appear to indicate that the price shown on the website (provided by the Trip Provider') should be enforceable rather than simply being regarded as an 'invitation to treat'. So, maybe there is a liability under S75 for a misrepresentation and perhaps OP does have a claim against Amex if the hotel won't cough up.

    How's that for a complete 180? Apologies for jumping the gun (subject to OP confirming he was party to the hotel stay).
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 16th Apr 19, 4:49 PM
    • 55 Posts
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    kodiplod
    Okay so just to confirm, I was there at the time of payment. I was adding some items into my suitcase and gave my card to my wife to pay while I was doing that. I was right next to her while sorting the suitcase. Hope that clears things up.

    If you do think I have a case, how should I reply to my bank?
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 16th Apr 19, 7:01 PM
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    Terry Towelling
    Okay so just to confirm, I was there at the time of payment. I was adding some items into my suitcase and gave my card to my wife to pay while I was doing that. I was right next to her while sorting the suitcase. Hope that clears things up.

    If you do think I have a case, how should I reply to my bank?
    Originally posted by kodiplod
    OK, I will infer (if that's OK with everyone) that having a suitcase and being there at the time of payment means you were also party to the stay arising out of the booking.

    I cannot give you legal advice but I would be trying to demonstrate that using the booking.com website to make a booking does not mean that booking.com is an agent or that the debtor-creditor-supplier chain has been broken. Your key argument is that the price quoted on the booking.com website was binding on the hotel and provided by the hotel. It was also a misrepresentation of the truth that acted as an inducement to enter into the contract to stay at the hotel.

    To back up your claims you will of course need documentary evidence from the booking process showing the price you thought you were getting. You will also need to reference the booking.com T&Cs (Condition #1 - Scope and Nature of our Service) which clearly states:-

    By using or utilizing the Trip Service (e.g. by making a Trip Reservation through the Trip Service), you enter into a direct (legally binding) contractual relationship with the Trip Provider with which you make a reservation or purchase a product or service (as applicable). From the point at which you make your Trip Reservation, we act solely as an intermediary between you and the Trip Provider, transmitting the relevant details of your Trip Reservation to the relevant Trip Provider(s) and sending you a confirmation email for and on behalf of the Trip Provider.
    In my opinion (that's all it is) the key factor here is the part that states you are entering into a contract with the hotel (Trip Provider).

    Another point to put across to your card company may be the following, which makes it clear that prices displayed are provided by the Trip Provider and not by Booking.com.

    Trip Providers that market and promote their Trip on the Platform are given access to our systems and extranet through which they are fully responsible for updating all rates/fees/prices, availability, policies & conditions and other relevant information which is displayed on our Platform
    And finally, if Amex says a hotel is not a Trip Provider, refer them to the definitions on the booking.com website which says:-

    "Trip Provider" means the professional provider of accommodation (e.g. hotel, motel, apartment, bed & breakfast)
    Whether the hotel could argue that booking.com cannot legally bind them into a contract with you simply by using their website, I do not know. They must surely have signed an agreement with booking.com that covers this but that is not something open for us to see.

    Does anyone else agree or disagree with this position, or have anything else to throw in?
    • Ben8282
    • By Ben8282 16th Apr 19, 7:57 PM
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    Ben8282
    The real problem here is the failure of the OP to notice that anything was wrong until they got home.
    It almost defies belief that the subject of the room rate did not arise when checking in at the hotel. The OP did not think to confirm the room rate with the hotel reception even though they were aware that they were benefiting form a very heavily discounted rate. The hotel reception staff did not inform the OP what the room rate was. The hotel reception staff did not write the room rate anywhere such as on the card which accompanies the room key. Considering that the OP was paying his own bill, the accommodation was not prepaid, this strikes me as being very strange and unusual.
    The time to question the room rate was at check in. The hotel would have said 'The room rate is X'. The OP would have replied 'No. I have booked the room through Booking.com who quoted a rate of Y. Here is my confirmation/'
    At this point the matter could have been discussed and the OP could have contacted Booking.com to inform them that the hotel was refusing to honour the room rate quoted. Presumably, the hotel would have given a reason for refusing to honour the rate.
    Things could then have been taken from there.
    But this didn't happen. In addition, the OP checked out of the hotel apparently without checking the bill and (his wife) entered his PIN number (or signed a manual charge form) for the amount of the bill. We are apparently talking about a very substantial additional amount which should have been apparent at the time.
    As I stated in my previous reply, the accommodation not being prepaid, I don't believe that the hotel was actually under any legal obligation to honour a rate quoted by a third party, especially if the rate was grossly erroneous (80% discount according to the OP's figures). The hotel may have chosen to honour the rate either as a goodwill gesture or as a matter of policy with regard to bookings originating from Booking.com had they been given the opportunity to do so, but the lack of any discussion of the subject at either check in or check out means that they were actually denied that opportunity.
    We have no idea of what contractual agreement (if any) exists between the hotel and Booking.com with regard to disputes of this nature. However, as a general rule, a price is not agreed and a contract of sale is not established until at least a deposit has been paid.
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