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Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Townsville...
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122 posts
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Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone had ever experienced bad customer service or been abused by a hotel for booking a cheap rate online through a 3rd party site (hotelclub, agoda, expedia etc)? I can now officially say that I have experienced it. This morning I experienced some of the worst treatment I have ever had to deal with.

Back story:

I had been looking to book a hotel online for a destination in Australia for 4 people for 2 nights over NYE. This destination doesn't have a huge amount of hotels and they are filling up quite quickly for the period. Anyway I researched online like the good saver I am and found that I could achieve a much cheaper rate booking via www.hotelclub.com than booking via the hotel directly. The rate was also cheaper on zuji.com. Normally in these instances I ring the hotel directly and see if they are able to match the price, most often they do.

In this instance the lady that answered was very abrupt and said "No we have a 3 night minimum then and the rate will be at full price". I advised her I could book it elsewhere for much cheaper and with no minimum night requirement. To which she replied that she was meant to have taken the 3rd party sites down. At this point I said thank you for your help and hung up.

I decided that I had nothing to lose booking with hotelclub before I assume she would advise them to no longer sell rooms, I made a booking. Hotelclub confirmed the booking had 100% gone through and that there was no minimum night requirement and it is up to the hotel to correctly advise them if they no longer have any rooms available for 3rd parties to sell. Form this point I assumed everything was fine and that I am sure I had frustrated the manager but I had done nothing wrong. I was not expecting to be treated amazingly at check in or the best room but I wasn't expecting anything bad as a result. In fact I had possibly done her a favour by making her aware of the mistake before other potential customers went ahead and made a booking via 3rd party sites.

Fast forward to this morning:

1 week after the booking was confirmed I today received a phone call at 6:10am, we are in the same state as the hotel so it was also that time for them. At this time the phone woke my partner and I up and I proceded to answer the call. What I received was the same lady on the other end of the phone verbally abusing me for booking the room via hotelclub when she said she had a 3 night minimum. I calmly in my sleepy state responded that I was sorry but I had done nothing wrong other than book a hotel room online for an advertised rate, if I had never even called you I would have been totally unaware that you wanted a 3 night minimum. After several more minutes of abuse from the women she proceded to hang up on me.

Fast forward to 9:30am this morning:

Called the hotel back and spoke to the lady again. Calmly stated that I did not appreciate being woken and spoken to like that at 6:10am. She advised that she didn't appreciate me booking a room when I knew she wanted a 3 night minimum direct from the hotel. I again said I'm sorry but I did nothing wrong, I would never have known that if I hadn't called you to offer you to match the rate, perhaps it was not morally perfect but I am a customer trying to spend as little possible. She then advised she is sorting it out with hotelclub via email and hung up on me.

Wow. I had never encountered something like this before and was a little shook up to be honest. I know what I did was probably not morally impecable, but I literally would have had no idea about her 3 night minimum requirement if I had just proceded to book with hotelclub like I initially did. The 3 night minimum was not mentioned on the hotel's own personal website, it just said to call them for bookings over the christmas/nye period. Now I have no idea what is going on with my booking and where to go from here. I assume she is doing everything she can to get hotelclub to cancel the booking. I am now in linbo and have been charged the full amount for our stay. There are minimal hotels left for the 2 nights we need and to have any chance to book another one, I need this resolved ASAP.

Has anyone else experienced this before and can offer any advise? This appears to be the only person I can speak to at the hotel, she answers the phone every time someone calls and will not put me through to anyone else.

David

Perth, Australia
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6,712 posts
48 reviews
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1. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

You have a contract. She can't back out. Her beef is with hotelclub now.

HOWEVER...she could make your stay as difficult as possible - "loose"your booking etc so if it was me, I'd be liaising with hotelclub to get you out of the deal and booking in somewhere else.

There is no rule against you naming the hotel on TA you know and I for one would love to know who & where.

Good luck!

Queensland...
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405 posts
26 reviews
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2. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

I also think you should contact hotels.net. I had an experience booking through booking.com recently. I called the hotel, and they said they had no rooms. Booking.com showed availability, so I booked with them, and had a confirmed booking.

Hotel said too bad, booking.com made a mistake, it happens quite often ( seems unlikely to me since bookings.com is seemingly one of the largest online booking companies in the world). They did have a more expensive room type available but I would have to pay extra.

Anyway, I emailed booking.com to see if the situation could be resolved, and somehow it was - I'm not sure how though.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
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26,534 posts
75 reviews
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3. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Yes, by a small family-owned apartment hotel in Brisbane.

Yours is an extreme case, but it's not unusual to get the curdled milk look from the receptionperson on check-in for using a booking website.

I think hotel/motel owners need to have the courage of their convictions. If they don't want to pay a commission to the website, they need to opt out and go it alone. They shouldn't expect to have the benefit of the website's advertising/marketing if they begrudge paying the commission.

But my greatest contempt (and a special kind of review on TripAdvisor) is reserved for the hotel that puts you in the substandard room for using a booking website.

Luigi

Townsville...
Level Contributor
122 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Thanks for your advice. That's what I'm worried about. Turning up and "Oh sorry there is no booking here for you, we are all sold out". I basically have to wait until she somehow gets her way out of it and then hotelclub refund me. As I can't cancel my booking with hotel club without losing all the money, as it was a pay up front, no cancellation sale.

I will definitely name and shame the hotel after this is all sorted out. Just don't want to stoop to her level yet and especially whilst my booking is in linbo.

Queensland...
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405 posts
26 reviews
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5. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Sorry, I meant hotelclub. Couldn't edit.

And I agree Luigi - some owners have to make a point about giving you the worst room because you booked on wotif. Not sure what they think it achieves (especially when they tell you that's why!)

Townsville...
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122 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Exactly if hotels don't want to offer rooms at cheaper rates or pay a commission, then stop selling them on the sites. I did literally nothing wrong. By calling her and finding out she was meant to take them off the sites for the period, I took advantage of a failure of her to do her job. It wasn't morally perfect but I didn't expect anything like this in return. If I had never called her to give her the chance to price match, I would have never known about the 3 night minimum etc.

Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome, Bunbury
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21,107 posts
71 reviews
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7. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

No, have never been treated like this and often book with on-line agencies and not the hotel.

I would do everything in my power not to stay at this hotel. I think you will be walking on eggshells, even if you are given a room.

You are going on holiday to enjoy your time away and I cannot see how a stay at this hotel will be...even if you had not booked through the hotelclub, this woman sounds horrid.

Townsville...
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122 posts
3 reviews
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8. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Yeh I really don't want to stay there anymore. I just need my money refunded asap to book elsewhere as they are selling out fast. I don't have the spare money to spend another $800 booking elsewhere in the hope of getting my refund. Going to ring hotelclub and see if they will refund.

Eaton, Australia
Destination Expert
for Broome, Bunbury
Level Contributor
21,107 posts
71 reviews
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9. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Can you make contact with hotelclub and tell them of the situation and book another hotel they have listed in the area....hopefully they will be understanding to your problem and may have already heard from this woman about cancelling their arrangement.

Townsville...
Level Contributor
122 posts
3 reviews
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10. Re: Ever been abused for booking a cheap rate online? I have.

Yeh I'm on the phone to them now. Unfortunately it is an international call center but the girl is being very helpful and looking into it.