I don’t travel very much. In fact, I probably only fly or stay in a hotel once a year. As a self-proclaimed travel novice, I’d never heard of non-refundable hotel reservations – until now. Let me just say, I’m pissed off about the whole situation. Here’s my story:

I’ve been wanting to travel up north and check out a couple of cities for a while now. This weekend seemed like the perfect time, or at least it did 10 days ago when I booked my hotel online. I booked using the hotel’s website and selected a room based on our needs. There were only a couple of options available, so I clicked on one of them. Based on my previous knowledge, booking a hotel in advance is usually more like confirming a hotel reservation; you pay when you check in or cancel 24 hours ahead of time.

Well, things have changed.

Apparently, the fine print somewhere near the “reserve now” button said the room was non-refundable. This meant if I booked for two nights I was going to pay for both nights regardless if I showed up or not. Whoa, that means this company could make loads of money off one room if people booked and then didn’t show. The company could re-rent the room to another person basically getting double the rate for one night. This sounds like a scam to me.

As the week passed, I checked the weather and to my dismay, rain was eminent. I really didn’t want to run around the city in pouring rain, so I called to cancel my reservations. Oops, sorry. You have to pay whether you show or not. Didn’t you read the 8-point fine print? What?!

I was not happy about this at all.

In the end, the company allowed me to reschedule my visit for another date since I still want to take the trip. I’m thankful they let me do this but will probably never book with them again. Had they not accommodated my needs, I think I’d be calling my credit card and reversing the charges then filing a consumer complaint (which I still might do).

My so-called Holiday was tarnished by some crummy, scammy fine-print. In the future, I’ll be more aware of the fine print and actually read all the details before clicking the submit button. I’m thankful that I had budgeted for this trip ahead of time. Had this happened to a person who couldn’t afford to take the trip at the last minute, they’d be in a financial bind having to pay either way. It’s always good to know there are ways to alleviate the financial stress by planning ahead, having an emergency fund, or in desperate situations applying for online payday loans, of course this should be a last resort. I try to be prepared for unexpected expenses by padding my bank account.

Has this ever happened to you?

6 Comments

  1. Money Beagle Reply

    Yeah, pretty much all the companies in the travel business are following the lead of the airlines and making things increasingly more costly and less consumer friendly. Airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises, you have to read the fine print and pretty much expect the worst going in. We went on vacation a couple of months ago and I had found a really good deal on a room with a jacuzzi tub, and even after booking it online and calling to confirm, I still was skeptical that we would actually be able to get the room at the price even when we were checking in. Luckily we were, but it just shows how low these companies have set the bar for us compared to years past.

    • @Money Beagle – It really stinks that to save a few bucks, guests have to be practically swindled! At least now I know to read the fine print very carefully.

  2. Barbara Friedberg Reply

    Little-this is a relatively new concept. I’m glad you were able to reschedule. It’s a risk you take for super low rates. You must call me if you come to the Bay area 🙂

    • @Barbara – Well, now I know. I’ll definitely let you know if I make it to the Bay area. I’m first going to the Sac/Davis area to check it out. But I might swing by the Bay in March. I’ll keep in touch!

  3. Sorry you had to learn the hard way. It is usually the case with special early booking rates, not with normal rates. Still very annoying though.

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