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  • FIRST POST
    • kodiplod
    • By kodiplod 15th Apr 19, 5:25 PM
    • 55Posts
    • 19Thanks
    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 2
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 16th Apr 19, 8:22 PM
    • 1,182 Posts
    • 962 Thanks
    Terry Towelling
    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.
    Originally posted by Ben8282
    I wouldn't disagree with you at all - except that it does seem the prices quoted by booking.com are provided and updated by the hotels themselves.

    As far as contract law is concerned I have very little knowledge, but I believe there has to be an offer, an unconditional acceptance and the person paying has to offer some 'consideration' - which usually means some payment. That certainly never happened at the time of booking. However, the booking.com T&Cs do seem to make it clear that you are entering into a legally binding contract with the hotel when using their service. Certainly, you could be made liable for a 'No Show' charge which does suggest that a contract does exist after the booking has been made.

    OP, did you have to give a card to secure the booking through booking.com?
    • Zibby
    • By Zibby 17th Apr 19, 6:27 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Zibby
    Unless things have changed since I last worked at a hotel, booking.com donít have control over pricing, they are acting as a portal for the hotels.

    As a hotel, you log into to the portal, upload your rates and set the level of commission youíre going to pay. Minimum 15%, the higher you pay, the more prominent placing your hotel has. So
    • Zibby
    • By Zibby 17th Apr 19, 6:34 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Zibby
    Sorry, pressed post too soon!

    So any rate quoted is solely controlled by the hotel, someone may have uploaded a rate error, but if that’s the case, they should have contacted the OP and cancelled the booking.
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 17th Apr 19, 6:59 AM
    • 381 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    brianposter
    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.
    Originally posted by Ben8282
    Seems to me that all this is true but irrelevant.
    Also seems to me that Amex have got this wrong. Booking.com clearly act as the hotels agent (they say so, and the hotel pays them), so how the booking is made is does not reduce the hotels liability.
    Last edited by brianposter; 17-04-2019 at 7:56 AM.
    • Ben8282
    • By Ben8282 17th Apr 19, 2:25 PM
    • 2,778 Posts
    • 1,395 Thanks
    Ben8282
    Seems to me that all this is true but irrelevant.
    Also seems to me that Amex have got this wrong. Booking.com clearly act as the hotels agent (they say so, and the hotel pays them), so how the booking is made is does not reduce the hotels liability.
    Originally posted by brianposter
    I would disagree. It is very relevant. The rather strange failure of anybody to mention the subject of the room rate at check-in and the OP's failure to check the bill and ask about the rate charged at check-out means that NOBODY KNOWS what actually occurred. It is not even apparent that the hotel did actually refuse to honour the rate confirmed at the time of booking.
    The e-mail from the hotel confirming that they would refund the OP and their subsequent failure to do so is also very strange as is the alleged responses of Amex which also don't quite add up.
    • Terry Towelling
    • By Terry Towelling 17th Apr 19, 3:44 PM
    • 1,182 Posts
    • 962 Thanks
    Terry Towelling
    To be frank, everything is odd with this thread.

    My main concerns were with the way the issue was presented (sorry, OP). Everything was in the 'first person' (I did this, that or the other) and then suddenly switched to the 'third person' (my wife did...). Even when asking OP to confirm they did stay at the hotel as part of the booking, the answer was equivocal (sorry again, OP) in that OP was there at check out with a suitcase but never actually said they were there as part of the stay - small point maybe, but it all sows seeds of doubt in this reader's mind.

    Anyway, our opinions of the rights, wrongs and legalities don't really count for much but I feel we may have uncovered something that may offer OP a glimmer of hope - namely, that the hotel is responsible for all pricing on booking.com, booking.com T&Cs make a good case for saying that OP had entered into a contract with the hotel by making the booking, booking.com was not acting as an agent and that the price quoted at that stage was a misrepresentation that acted as an inducement to stay.

    The question of whether a contract truly did exist at the point of reservation is still up for debate and I have asked OP to confirm that he did provide a credit card number at the reservation stage. This would surely be seen as offering 'consideration' to the agreement and, as such, a contract might well have existed. It is highly likely that OP would have been open to a 'No Show' charge on his card account if he hadn't turned up and this, to me, hints that a contract did exist.

    It is now down to OP to get his evidence together and push back at Amex (and the hotel) because we can't really offer anything more except to say we hope OP has learned from the experience.
    • Exodi
    • By Exodi 17th Apr 19, 3:53 PM
    • 463 Posts
    • 575 Thanks
    Exodi
    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.
    Originally posted by Ben8282
    Sorry but I have to stop you there Ben.

    As a business user, I frequently book different hotels (maybe twice a week) and I've likely stayed at over 100 different hotels through booking.com

    It isn't common for the room rate to be discussed at check in, most of the time I just show my confirmation email to the reception (or if I'm particularly tired just mumble my name), they ask me whether I want to pay now or when I leave, skim through the breakfast arrangements and tell me what room I'm in.

    I also don't 'confirm' the hotel room rate with the receptionist, I think this would be quite a strange thing to do considering that they'll already be aware of your booking in advance automatically. I do take on board your point of confirming it if the OP was aware of the substantial discount.

    You then say about the receptionist writing the room rate on the back of the room key wallet? To date, I have never had this occur to me, what a truly bizarre thing to do? You say the receptionist not doing this is unusual because the OP is paying their own bill and the accommodation is not pre-paid? I really don't understand, even if the OP's company was paying for this trip, most of the time he'd still use a credit card like everyone else.

    We do agree on one thing though; the OP is unquestionably a bit of a wally for not checking his hotel bill (and likewise, I can not fathom someone letting someone else pay £600+ for them without checking the receipt).

    Maybe our experiences vary but as the hotels evidently have access to the booking.com booking information, re-re-reconfirming your booking details is a pointless exercise.

    EDIT:
    I would disagree. It is very relevant. The rather strange failure of anybody to mention the subject of the room rate at check-in and the OP's failure to check the bill and ask about the rate charged at check-out means that NOBODY KNOWS what actually occurred. It is not even apparent that the hotel did actually refuse to honour the rate confirmed at the time of booking.
    The e-mail from the hotel confirming that they would refund the OP and their subsequent failure to do so is also very strange as is the alleged responses of Amex which also don't quite add up.
    Originally posted by Ben8282
    Strange but plausible. Me thinks the likely scenario is the hotel accidentally uploaded the wrong room rate.
    Last edited by Exodi; 17-04-2019 at 3:56 PM.
    Know what you don't
    • brianposter
    • By brianposter 18th Apr 19, 9:29 AM
    • 381 Posts
    • 120 Thanks
    brianposter
    I feel we may have uncovered something that may offer OP a glimmer of hope ........
    Originally posted by Terry Towelling
    The OP says that he has evidence for the price he booked.
    I would suggest therefore that the only defence available to the hotel/Amex would be to convince a court that the prices displayed on Booking.com were "obviously incorrect".
    • hunte78
    • By hunte78 18th Apr 19, 10:01 AM
    • 56 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    hunte78
    I'm sure you have done this OP, but double check all details on your confirmation from booking.com, could it be that you screenshot the nightly rate rather than full trip? It's such a massive difference.
    • HHarry
    • By HHarry 18th Apr 19, 10:23 AM
    • 488 Posts
    • 328 Thanks
    HHarry
    The OP says that he has evidence for the price he booked.
    I would suggest therefore that the only defence available to the hotel/Amex would be to convince a court that the prices displayed on Booking.com were "obviously incorrect".
    Originally posted by brianposter

    I'd have to say that £600 for a weeks accomodation in a hotel where the standard rate is £3000 looks very like an obvious mistake, particulary as the OP knew it was cheaper than everywhere else.
    • fifeken
    • By fifeken 18th Apr 19, 11:26 AM
    • 2,322 Posts
    • 1,207 Thanks
    fifeken
    Sorry but I have to stop you there Ben.
    <snip>
    Originally posted by Exodi
    I'm glad you posted this as Ben8282's description of hotel procedures was nothing like I've experienced either.
    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 18th Apr 19, 11:48 AM
    • 6,794 Posts
    • 12,282 Thanks
    GlasweJen
    I'm glad you posted this as Ben8282's description of hotel procedures was nothing like I've experienced either.
    Originally posted by fifeken
    Seconding this, I've stayed in many types of accommodation and can't think of any where they've put the room rate on my card key wallet.

    I've also booked through booking.com many time, and hotels.com and trivago and it's never been mentioned at check in except at Hilton resorts who like to remind you that they don't credit HHonours points on third party bookings.
    Bounts, Quidco, Shop and Scan, Receipt Hog, Costco Cashback, Debit card cashback

    NOT BUYING IT
    (unless it's on offer and can get my loyalty points)
    • makeni555
    • By makeni555 18th Apr 19, 1:14 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    makeni555
    Advice from someone whose worked on the booking.com extranet
    As I think the only person who has worked on the other side of the desk in relation to Booking.com on this thread I think I might be able to add a bit of extra information not necessarily to the OP at this point but to other posters.

    For Booking.com Rates they are set by the hotel - however, these rates are complicated and 'bugs' do exist in the system (Booking.com hotel support refer to them as such). Booking.com work as an agency not merchant (e.g. some Expedia rates are pre sold blocks done under a wholesale contract though less common now due to ETP).

    When these bugs are discovered usually after a reservation at the wrong price has been made a conversation is had between the hotel and their account manager (not your customer service dept as a guest) and usually the guest gets to pay the original rate and the hotel invoices booking.com for the balance.

    Bugs can exist because you can start out with a base rate of say £100 per night then there is a discount for single traveller, a supplement for an extra bed (in your typical room double room with capacity for an extra single bed). Then there is a different under/over occupancy for kids. That 5 different rates then on top of you add cancellation policies such as 'room only' 'breakfast' occasionally 'Half board' then there is the one that generally causes problems - cancellation policy - typically expect a flexible and a non refundable rate then that rate varies every night and is updated usually daily in a large chain.

    The hotel is also working with Expedia and TripAdvisor and Google Hotel Ads so it would be reasonable to assume that if the hotel had set the rate wrong the rate would be at £600 instead of £3000 on all channels (websites). As the rate was much much lower on Booking.com only it would suggest the issue was with the xml or the agent (Booking.com).

    In this case Booking.com should have covered the balance but without having arranged it I would Imagine it it too late now. It is usually impossible as a rate plan from that long ago will be inactive now.

    I would add I've never had a 'bug' situation on Expedia or Laterooms though.

    A tip for my fellow mse'rs - Booking.com change a 15% commission on al reservations - a lot of hotels now mark their rates up to reflect this - if you call the desk they will often reduce it by 15% as it makes no difference to them as they still make the same amount on the booking. Expedia usually around 20%.

    This is why they won't credit HHonours points.
    Last edited by makeni555; 18-04-2019 at 1:15 PM. Reason: HHonours
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