Hotel Rental Group Complaint - Deceptive Billing Practice

Review by upandhi on 2007-07-10
INTERNATIONAL -- Huh? Never heard of 'um? You probably will if you try booking hotels internationally. I'd never heard of them either, but their site pops up prominently when searching for UAE (aka, Dubai) hotels. They have a slick online booking set-up and apparently serve countless hotels on every habitable continent.

So, what's the beef, you ask. In a nutshell, they charge a $15 per person surcharge on every booking. So? ...and they mention this on the hotel info page which you'll see, if you happen to scroll down past all the hotel's details, rather than hastely proceeding to enter dates and making your booking.

That's kind of tricky you say, but it gets worse. You set your dates and proceed to the billing form where you enter credit card details and submit your payment. On this page they feature in bold red letters your "total charge" and even add as a footnote, "Once the reservation confirmed, we will charge the amount of ______ (USD)." That amount is again equal to the aforementioned "total charge." Hmm, no reference to any surcharge here and a clear statement of the total charge and what will be charged to my card.

Ok, so my credit card will get charged such and such--all well and good you think. Ah, but wait, upon email confirmation of your now already billed booking, not possible to cancel without forfeiture of payment, you are provided a new total charge including the per person surcharge.

So, why all the coyness? Why not declare honestly what the charge is before you submit payment on that apparantly non-total, boldly posted "total charge?" Could it be that that nasty little PER PERSON surcharge, if actually shown to be charged, would put people off from actually submitting a payment?

Comments:4 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-10-27
Posted by rhondam718732 on 2007-07-10:
Good post and good to know. Even if you notice there's a $15 charge before booking, one would assume it's included in the total charge they give you...crafty indeed.
Posted by acce06t on 2007-08-22:
On August 20, I booked 2 separate hotel reservations through hotelrentalgroup.com (Petra and Dead Sea Jordan) and was NOT charged the $15 per person that you were. The amount billed to my credit card was the exact amount I was quoted during the online reservation process. I am not sure why you were charged this extra, but they did not charge me.
Posted by upandhi on 2007-09-16:
I noticed you said your booking was on August 20 and you posted your message here on August 22. I think that might explain it. The per person charge was added to the credit card a week or so after the original charge.
Posted by acce06t on 2007-10-27:
Upandhi, it is now October 27 and they still have not posted an additional charge to my credit card. I noticed some hotels they charge the $15 per person charge (as clearly stated on the web page) and some they don't. The hotels I booked did not have that additional charge.

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