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National Park Reservations (be careful)

Mobile AL
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294 posts
13 reviews
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National Park Reservations (be careful)

If you are booking reservations with this company be aware they charge a 10% fee for booking. I would look at the national park's government website for official concessioners before booking. NPR will keep the %10 fee even if you cancel. I could have saved some money if I had looked a little more closely at the web site. It does however look very official and if you don't read the reservation policy, you miss the additional fee information. I hope this warning will save others from paying additional funds. For further information on the company check out the national BBB

Mesa, AZ
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1,395 posts
147 reviews
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1. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

Wow--didn't know this was even out there. I always go with whatever the national park sends you to. Sorry this happened to you, thanks for the heads up.

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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18,001 posts
60 reviews
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2. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

I feel badly for people who don't know, or would not know, that this company is not an official concessionaire. They state the following, however, on their home page.

"National Park Reservations is not an authorized concessionaire of any National Park nor are we in any way affiliated with the National Park Service of the Federal Government."

But who would know? They don't (of course) say that you can get free reservations from the official concessionaire, Xanterra, website following.-

Official Lodging and Tour vendor for Yellowstone National Park (Call them frequently, cancellations occur.)

http://www.travelyellowstone.com/

These folks have learned, perhaps through search engine optimization, to have their name come up first or at the top of websites when a search is done.

This unfortunate situation has happened before, so the OP is hardly alone.

Edited: 20 December 2009, 03:16
Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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18,001 posts
60 reviews
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3. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

Whoops, this post is about Grand Teton NP, same thing applies, I believe. Please correct if I am wrong.

http://www.gtlc.com/about-us/index.aspx

Adirondack, New York
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3,934 posts
90 reviews
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4. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

While making any reservation and anywhere ALWAYS read very carefully cancellation policy. We all need to read cancellation policies regardless if we make reservation through a third party or directly with nps.gov. I'm glad you stated you didn't look more closely at the website. I just checked this website, www.nationalparkreservations.com and I didn't see anything surprising.

As you open the company's, National Park Reservations, website you can read <<For this service National Park Reservations charges a 10% non-refundable reservation fee based on the total dollar amount of reservation made. This reservation fee will be billed separately to your credit card and will be billed under the memo "National Park Reservations." By using National Park Reservations the customer authorizes National Park Reservations to charge their card the 10% non-refundable fee.>>

I feel bad you had to cancel your reservations and lost some money but as consumers you and all of us need to take some responsibilities too. In this case National Park Reservations company is not to be blamed.

Mobile AL
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294 posts
13 reviews
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5. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

Voyaging is correct. You can come up at this site using google and it does not take you necessarily to the homepage with the terms. I did not even realize I had not booked with an official concessioner until I got the confirmation. I admit I was careless in not looking more closely (a mistake I'll not make again). Even if you cancel they keep the 10%. BBB gives this company an F rating on a scale of A-F. I'm happy if I can help others avoid the same mistake.

Adirondack, New York
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3,934 posts
90 reviews
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6. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

The most important is to first admit mistake which OP did. It is an expensive lesson but we all need to do an extensive research before making any final decisions. I don't know anything about this company but it should be a red flag if we don't want to pay any fee

<<This Form is a reservation request. It should not be used to check availability. To check availability, call 1-866-875-8456. Upon completion of the reservation process, your credit card will be billed the 10% non-refundable reservation fee based on the total dollar amount of reservations made & may be charged a room deposit depending on the lodging facility's policy. You should click on the hyperlink "terms" below to review our entire policy. National Park Reservations is not a concessionaire and is not affiliated with the National Park Service Branch of the Federal Government.>>

I don't recall ever paying any booking fee but I think every travel agent now charges a booking fee. Is it refundable or not?

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
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6,172 posts
223 reviews
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7. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

It is sad that the "Our Terms" button wasn't clicked on and the terms read over. They are really easy to understand, up front state they are not representing the park service or even a concessionaire and clearly say that you are not going to get the 10% back no matter what happens. They appear to be a travel agency and that is how they are going to make their money - you use their time and they charge you a fee. If people do their own leg work they don't need to pay someone else to act as a travel agent for them. That is the joy of TripAdvisor and the internet.

Mobile AL
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294 posts
13 reviews
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8. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

"What a man's mind can create, man's character can control."

Thomas Edison

Adirondack, New York
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3,934 posts
90 reviews
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9. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

'A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing."

George Bernard Shaw

Edited: 26 December 2009, 18:47
jackson, miss
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671 posts
10 reviews
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10. Re: National Park Reservations (be careful)

When booking in the parks, I always check availability online but call the hotel directly to make my reservation. I do this for 3 reasons--1) I can make sure that I am getting what I think I am getting; 2) if I am nice, the clerk will tell me if there are any specials, which they sometimes have and don't tell you about or have on the website, especially for May bookings, and 3) the clerk is usually familiar with where the rooms you are assigned are and you can request at Old Faithful a room with a view of the geyser or at Canyon, a cabin within a short walk to the falls. Both parks still have human beings you can deal with for reservations, and I prefer them.