What Would You Do If a Company Did This to You?

Updated on April 12, 2013
H.M. asks from Midlothian, TX
27 answers

Ok I booked my summer trip to Kansas City Missouri through hotels.com. I called their 800 number because I had some questions before I booked and really was not ready to book it. He was very pushy so when he asked for my card information I asked him before I gave it will this charge my card or will I be able to pay by what ever form of payment when I check in. He said the only way my card would be charged is if I didn't check in or cancelle by 5pm on check in day. So I went ahead and gave him everything I needed. Well last night my husband wanted to check out bank account before we paid for grocerys. It said we were under so he asked the bank what was up. Hotels.com charged my card $355. When I was told it would not and caused at least 5 NSF fees. The bank told me to call them and ask them to reimburce me for the fees. The said they could not. They would only give me a voucher I could use on my next reservation through them that did not even cover the cost of my fees. Then when I told her I needed her to cancel the reservation unless they could make it to where I paid when I checked in like I was told and she said no that was not possible. She goes so we will keep the reservation I said no. Then she repeated herself so we will keep your reservation and send you the voucher. I said NO I need to cancell. I spacificly needed to pay when we got there. My quesion is would you drop it there or would you take fearther action. And do you know anywhere I can find cheap rates for staying in Kansas City. My son so far is a state champion tumbler. And third in state from trampoline and double mini (strange trampoline) We need to get to the national compatition without having to pay out the butt!!

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So What Happened?

I did talk to a manager last night but I think I will call back now that my head is a little clearer. I didn't use a credit card since we don't have the room on our card at this time. The venue has a few hotels that the work with but they are all booked up. (And too expencive) I think most booked once they found out they where going which the first TX kids knew was this past Saturday. And I didn't read the find print since I did it over the phone and not online.

ADD: Ok so hotels.com still woudl not give us the money back from the NSF fees so we contacted the bank. They infomed me that I could request a letter on Hotels.com letter head requesting that the bank refund the fees because of the mis information with spacific details and they should be able to refund the fees. So praise the Lord we will be getting all the money back!!!!! When I talked to the supervisor and asked for the letter it sounded like she has probably done this more than once. But thankfuly she was VERY helpful and deaply appolagised for what I had to go through. Lesson learned do no reservations over the phone do them on line where the information is in print in front of my face.

As to my spelling errors I know I can't spell worth a flip. That does not mean I can't comunicate well. I used to have spell check on my computer but then got a new one. There is no need to call someone out for spelling!!!!!

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

I read the questions in the travel section of the Trib every Sunday and this seems to happen a lot. Usually the recommendation is to correspond via email so you a trail. So, I would try to contact someone in their corporate hq. You told the guy not to charge you since you really just had questions and he said you would not be charged. Seems pushing at corporate helps.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think you need to read the fine print for Hotels.com. I imagine that they can only provide these rates by "prepaying" for the room now and it is probably non-refundable. You are probably SOL.

When we go to one particular location we always book at the same hotel. They will sometimes offer promotional packages that you can only get the price by prepaying and the room is non-refundable.

Why did you not give them a credit card number rather than a debit card? A credit card offers you more consumer protections but I doubt they could have helped you out here.

You may have to chalk this one up to experience.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

According to their site, cancellations are only refunded at certain hotels. If you click on the link "customer service" you can find all their policy information. I don't know what happened with the agent on the phone but I would certainly pursue it. I would also ask my credit card/bank to cancel the transaction. They can usually do this if you file some sort of claim. AND I would ask them to reverse the NSF charges. If you are a good customer who is never overdrawn they will usually do this if pressed.
What a pain. If I were you I would just book directly with a major hotel chain, like Marriott or Hilton. We travel a lot and I find booking with the hotel directly is almost always the same price anyway.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I realize this may not help with your current situation, but thought I'd put this out there for your future knowledge & other people's benefit:

I often look @ discount sites to get an idea of what the rates are that I CAN get...

I then call those companies directly & talk to a representative about what I have found & see if they can price-match it. Depending on the company, many times they will, & sometimes can offer even more discount!

For example, this past November, I planned a trip to Orlando for 11-12 nights (vacation with the hubby plus extra stayover for our National Specialty dog show). I wanted to stay @ LaQuinta (I like thier hotels & price-points).

Per Expedia & Travelocity, I found what I thought was a good rate. So I called LQ customer service & talked to someone, explained my schedule requirements & asked if they were able to match the prices that I found online. He said "of course" & then put me on hold to check something out. When he came back on the line, told me he could give me a FURTHER 20% discount for such an extended stay.

Turns out when I checked in, I was also upgraded to the Jr Suite (upon asking sweetly if there was an opportunity for free upgrade) since it was not booked for any of the days that I was staying, & the hotel knew they'd have a greater chance to book a normal room.

Now, on the way down & back, I stayed @ a Motel 6 (they really do leave the lights on!), & for that, I booked through Travelocity. If I got charged on my CC, it would be for only the 1 night I was booking. In this case, it paid off, because on the way down, all motels in a 50mi radius were booked full by the time we checked in, so had I not reserved, it would've been out of luck. I am sure I could've gone through Motel 6 directly, but to be honest, for the one night I didn't want to have to make the call.

So, know that you can use the discount sites to get a ballpark of prices (& some will offer the SAME room @ the SAME hotel for different prices!!).
Then, you can sometimes call directly & get the same, if not better, rates.
By booking direct through the hotel, they won't charge your CC until you check in. (make sure to follow their cancellation policies, as needed).
And when you do check in, ALWAYS ask (sweetly!) if there is a chance for a free upgrade.

Safe travels everyone! T.

P.S. Whenever you talk to someone on the phone, write down the date/time you called & the name of the person you spoke with. As you get information regarding rates, policies, etc. take notes, & ask if that is listed anywhere on their website, or if they can send an email clarifying that. (I always say "I'm planning a lot of things for my vacation, could you send me that in an email so I can keep track of all the details?"). Then if you have an issue where you were told one thing & something different happened, you can go back through your notes, esp if talking to a manager about an issue, to back you up. Often, they also record calls & the logs can be pulled to verify if you were told something or not. If you asked them information & they told you XX, there might be a legal leg to stand on if you can prove it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you made to payment on the phone with the rep, call back, ask to speak to a manager/supervisor and ask them to pull the recording of the phone call. If the representative actually told you that your card would not be charged, then you should have some leverage. I had something similar with another company, they insisted there was no way I was told what I was. The 1st line rep couldn't do anything but once I got a supervisor and they listened to the recording I got my money back.

If you made the payment on line, then you will likely be held to whatever the website said.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

In general all those sites clearly state you will be charged upfront because that is how they lock in the deal. There are also special deals where they are non refundable.

Your best course would be to call your bank back and dispute the charge. Most banks will then refund the fees if the dispute is successful.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Sorry. The way that things like Hotels.com works is they charge immediately. The customer service agent told you wrong.

It is not their practice to reimburse but to offer vouchers...

While their website says no cancellation fees, they are not allowing you to cancel. If you cancel now - you will lose your $355. Period. Can you afford that? Sounds like the answer is no.

Contact all the places that you had an NSF with and work with them. Tell them what happened. Some companies will be nice and not charge you a fee if you can pay the bounced item by a specific time frame.

Check with the Competition Team and see if they have a preferred hotel site set up. Most do. Most have discounted rates and blocked rooms for competitions.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think the first sales agent misinformed you. Hotels.com DOES charge in advance. You can cancel, though. It says so right on the site. I'd call and demand to talk to a manager and demand a refund of the fees.

ETA: better yet, I like the idea below of emailing so you have a paper trail.

This is what the site says:
Most Hotels.com bookings are pre-paid and therefore charged at the time of booking. This is so that we can continue to offer these low rates to our customers. If you have selected and booked a Welcome Rewards-eligible property, as designated by the Welcome Rewards logo, your booking will be pre-paid and charged at the time of booking.

Some properties offer bookings that can be paid later at the hotel or with a deposit at the time of booking. For booking paid with a deposit, you can make a partial payment at the time of booking and pay the remaining balance when you check in or check out.

For bookings paid for at the hotel, you need to provide your credit card information at the time of booking to guarantee your reservation. You will be charged at the hotel when you check in or check out. Not all properties offer this payment option at this time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I just had an issue with hotel.com yesterday! I will never use them again! I've been trying to get a refund for a month. Call and speak to a manager. Make sure you get a full refund!

I live outside KC. Where is the event? Just search for hotels near where it is. You can easily find a Holiday Inn or Marriott.

Good luck to you and your son!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Look at their polices on their site. If you are able to cancel up to x days in advance, then you should be able to cancel and receive a refund. If they charged you upfront after you were told they would not, I would cancel the reservation and book through the hotel directly.

It was not a fast process, but I disputed charges from FYE (a reoccuring membership fee for a membership I did not sign up for or use) and my bank gave me my money back. I would go back to the bank and say Hotels.com is not honoring their own policy if that is the case.

If you are not satisfied with the answers you are getting at a lower level, ask to talk to a supervisor.

FYI, we often get as good or better a rate by calling hotels directly and asking if they have any AAA rooms or similar. I don't use travel sites for booking.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

A very important thing to consider in this battle is to stay calm, speak at a normal tone and use proper grammar. Becuase my fingers are trying to catch up to my brain my writing often has many mis-spellings - I'm not sure if your many mis-spellings are due to the same issue or if you're not a great communicator. YOu can be - it's a matter or organizing your thoughts in advance and then stick to your plan. You must speak to a manager - I would definitely call back and try. Explain the conversation you had - explain that you just don't have the money to have this cahrge against your debit card / checking account that you have bills to pay. Tears do make people understand your level of frustration sometimes. I'm not saying to cry on cue - but if you feel overwhelmed by this and close to tears I wouldn't hold back.

Keep pushing. Somewhere there is a manager there with the authority to reverse the charges. It is clearly not in their policy - but it can be done.

As it relates to finding the best hotel price - if you find a great rate on one of those online discounters call the hotel direclty (not the toll free reservation line - but the hotel's front desk) and explain that you'd rather make yoru reservations directly with the hotel and ask for the same rate. If you have AAA or belong to any other group (is your husband a cop, union member or municipal employee? - sometimes they get discounts with some chains)

Good luck mama.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think either he gave you misinformation, or didn't understand your question, or maybe you misunderstood him or phrased the question wrong. There was definitely a miscommunication somewhere because paying upfront is pretty standard for these discount travel sites. Your question regarding time of charge is actually answered right here:


And, the cancellation policy:


I'm sorry, it sucks, but I don't think you're going to get around this one, but I think you can still cancel without charge.

Moral of the story is, don't give your credit/debit # out until you're okay with the charge actually going through. The high pressure sales rep would've been hung up on by me, personally. They thrive on "easy" marks that can't say no.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's pretty standard that to make a reservation, your card is charged up front. That's how they "reserve" the room. If you then want to pay cash when you get there, then they take the cash and credit the card. Pretty standard.

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answers from Washington DC on

H. - we don't give out account information until we are ready to buy.

All of your problems flow from that one mistake, so you only have yourself to blame. Sorry.

So just get through this and remember this the next time you're making reservations or calling for information. It just so happens that to learn this lesson might cost you a hundred or two dollars.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If they told you they were not going to charge your card, and then they did, they should absolutely refund 100% of the charge, and give you something extra on top of that for your trouble, in my opinion. I am not sure if it's reasonable or not to ask them to cover your NSF fees, but it's worth asking, since this was their error. Do they have a Facebook page? If so, you might get the attention of someone higher up the food chain by posting your story on the Hotels.com Facebook page.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I wouldn't drop it until they reimbursed the money PLUS all fees associated. The thing is, companies CAN do this...you just have to take it higher than you did. You ask to speak with a manager. If they don't resolve it, you contact their corporate offices.

With enough prodding, every company that has ever done me wrong has rectified the situation above and beyond what I'd expected, with the exception of Tyson chicken, which because of this I have been boycotting for several years. (There was a bone in my young child's chicken nugget. She could've choked. Because I didn't have the receipt (who keeps a grocery receipt for several months? Not me!) they would not rectify the situation, and seemed uninterested in the safety concern.)

Also, if this is the first time you have ever had a snafu with your bank, you can speak with a bank manager and ask that the fees be waived. Explain your situation, and they will be likely to forgive.

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answers from Washington DC on

Technically, they haven't (shouldn't have) charged your account yet. They put a hold on that amount of money, to be resolved later. This is common. I had a swanky hotel in FL do this to me when my money was tight. I didn't know about the requirement until I was checking in and past the cancellation time.

If the transaction is in 'pending' on your account, you could talk to your bank about waiving the overdraft fees since it was not your fault, and the transaction hasn't gone through yet. Mine was willing to waive about half of ours.

I would call the manager at Hotels.com and see if there is a way that they can send a note to the bank noting their mistake. That may help the bank waive the fees.

As for cancelling out of anger... you still need to hotel room, so you may need to hold on to the one you have reserved.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I had to use a card to hold our reservation for our trip last fall to Branson. I told them up front that I was NOT going to be using this card for any payments, that we'd be paying cash. They did not charge us anything on the cards at all.

We used cash the whole time. My FIL gifted us that trip for our 20th anniversary and didn't want his card used up, he handed us the cash to pay for everything. What an awesome guy!

Anyway, I think you can fight this by using your bank. Tell them that the charges are fraudulent, that you did not approve them, that you were lied to and specifically told them that you would be using cash. They should be able to turn the charges around and credit the account with the funds.

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answers from Dallas on

That is exactly why I never, ever go through a discounter and discourage people from doing so when they as about it on here.

Many hotel websites will only hold your credit card # for guarantee and then run an authorization through when you check in. Some of the nicer hotels, do require you to pay 1 night as a deposit. STILL, if you cancel within the required time, you are refunded and there are no issues.

ALL discounters will take $$ first to get the deal. In the end, with some, you have no idea what hotel you will get until the last minute and no idea if it is nice, safe, etc.

If you had used a credit card, you could dispute the charges. Will the bank not help with disputing the charges?

I would not let it go if I were you. I am a huge documenter and I note EVERYTHING when I am working with a company. Then, if there is an issue, I bombard them with my documentation over and over until they figure out that they are spending WAY too much money and time on me and eventually I get what I want. You have to be patient.

As for your charges, I would do everything I could to get the deposit back but I doubt they will reimburse you for any of your bank fees because that is not their fault.

Go to a reputable hotel website... I use Hilton and Marriott. If you go cheaper, try Holiday Inn Express. Many of these hotels have special deals and all you have to do is ask for the best available rate.

Never give out your debit card number... it is MUCH harder to dispute when the other person already has the funds.

Good luck to you and I do hope you get the $355 back. Maybe the bank will be gracious enough to waive part of your fees but don't count on it.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If you didn't use your credit card but used your debit card contact your bank to dispute the charge, but being as debit cards don't offer much, if any protection, you may be stuck with the reservation, I'm sorry. It's important to ALWAYS use a credit card, get the confirmation # and name of the person you dealt with when making reservations.

I agree with Lee Lee's and B D's comments as well. Realistically, YOU have to be proactive and knowledgeable about the terms of deals you make in person, on the phone, or over the web. It's your money to protect, taking the time to know before committing is how to do it, a person over the phone often lies to secure the deal.

And the best thing you can do to save money is call a hotel directly, not their 800 number, the specific hotel number. They can then give you their best rates then and there. The link below will help you know pricing for specific dates, plus give you reviews by people who've stayed in them.


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answers from Raleigh on

File a Better Business Bureau complaint. I have done this once before after getting the run-around from an AT&T sales agent. If they have a rating with BBB, they will usually comply with you to resolve the situation to your satisfaction. Good luck.

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answers from New York on

Go back to the bank and dispute the charge. Also, ask the bank to reimburse you the fees. Keep at them and speak to whoever the decision maker is.

Did you get the name of the guy who made the reservation for you?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Definitely keep pushing to get your money back. In the future if you are asked for a credit card number be sure to use a card that is not linked to your checking account ie a debit card. Then if this happens again you won't overdraw your checking account.



answers from Albuquerque on

Uggghh, that would piss me off too! You cancelled so they'll be refunding the $355.00 right? Once that happens I would go to your bank in person and talk to your bank manager about refunding the fees. As long as you've been a good customer I don't see them refusing. I've done that before. I think most hotels will charge something to your card when reserving so it's best to use a credit card. Good luck!



answers from Phoenix on

Ugh, that is so frustrating! If they refund all of your money, I would let it go. You have no interest in using them again, so a larger voucher won't help. You say you were told they would not charge it, but do you have that in writing? If they won't do something that will make you happy voluntarily, your other choice is to go to court. If you go to court, you have to have proof. Just let it go, think of it as a learning experience. If it makes you feel better, find some online complaint sites and leave your two cents.
Next time, use a real live travel agent!! Seriously, that is the only way to go. They will actually make sure things are right and be accountable if anything goes wrong, unlike a website with endless pages of boilerplate disclaimers.



answers from Salinas on

Never, never never use a debit card to hold a reservation or charge anything online or over the phone. That's what credit cards are for, you don't need to carry a balance just use them as they were intended in the "old days" before debit cards. Imagine if they had made a mistake and charged thousands on your debit card, you'd be in an even bigger mess right now.

I use discount travel sites all the time and get great deals on high end hotels. Snique Away, Hotels.com, Groupon and Joie de Vive have great offers at lovely properties all over the world. To my knowledge they always pre-charge and often they have a no cancellation policy. It's always been worth it to our family as we are able to stay in unique high end places for a fraction of the typical rate. When we check in I always tell my husband what we paid compared to someone walking in off the street will pay. It's often more than 1/2 the cost for us!

You just need to read the fine print and don't make the reservation until you're certain of your plans.



answers from Chicago on

Have your credit card company help you dispute the charges.

Book directly with the hotel that you wanted to stay at. Ask if they will work with you on the rate. If not, ask that hotel if they partner with another hotel close by when they do over bookings. Maybe they are part of a chain with sister hotels with less fancy options they can refer you to.

Does the company that is holding the competition have a hotel with a block of rooms?

When my DD has had events like this, I would share a room with another family, is that an option?

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