Many of us use third-party booking websites to secure the accommodations for vacation and work-related travel. The fact that there are so many of these websites shows how popular this option is for American travelers. These sites often combine airfare, car rentals and hotel accommodations, and they often offer special discounted rates.
The problem with these sites is that they often don’t deliver on their promise. It is not uncommon for these sites to sell a discounted rate and then turn around and refuse to honor it.
When Third-Party Vacation Sites Renege
Our own attorney Todd M. Friedman was interviewed as part of a recent story in NBC Los Angeles. Three Los Angeles sisters obtained a vacation deal from booking.com, but 11 days later the website informed them that they would not honor the original deal at the posted rate.
The travel site would not honor the original deal, but offered them a new rate that was nearly three times higher.
How Can Travel Sites Get Away With This?
Basically, the booking site is a third-party which is not ultimately responsible for the actual stay in the actual hotel (or actual flight, etc.).
These sites can easily push the problem onto the organizations like hotels and airlines that have to actually fulfill the terms of the deal.
What Is the Big Deal?
In addition to sowing distrust in the marketplace, these misdealings cause tremendous cost for the individual consumers they are defrauding. The sisters in our news story, for example, spent considerable time and money to secure the other aspects of their vacation, including airfare and babysitting, because they counted on the agreement they had made with booking.com.
What Can I Do if This Has Happened to Me?
The first thing you should do is contact an experienced attorney. Do not delete any emails or communications involving the vacation plans. With the skills of a consumer rights lawyer, you could obtain compensation for your expenses or have the original agreement honored.