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This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Swissdiver 1 month ago.

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    Some advice please….
    I booked a (fairly expensive) Hilton hotel via skyscanner some months ago for a stay next month.
    Skyscanner found the cheapest cancellable deal which I booked but, although cancellable, my American Express Card was charged at the time.
    So yesterday I went to cancel the room in order to book a better hotel (also Hilton) closer to the airport concerned but discover that the booking agents website no longer exists.

    So as I see it I have 3 options
    1. Turn up to the hotel and stay using my prepaid voucher. I suppose the hotel will send it off for credit to find they no longer exist.
    Under normal circumstances I would never have found out the booking agent has gone and would have been none the wiser about the hotels issue both on the day and after.

    2. Contact the hotel and ask them to check it out.
    3. Hand the issue to American Express who took payment.

    Any advice would be great!



    Talk to Amex immediately, they are liable for the provision of the product/service, along with the merchant. It may be that the voucher is still valid, but early action will help you know where you stand.

    I’d then contact the Hilton involved, to get them to check if the voucher is valid.

    Good luck.



    I agree you need to talk to Amex, but are they liable for provision? Not covered by the Consumer Credit Act AFAIK as they are charge not credit. I may be wrong.



    Agree with esselle. You should contact Amex immediately. If you spend a lot of money with Amex they may rebook you as a, dare I say it, “gesture of goodwill”.

    If you are Hilton Gold or higher then Hilton may help.

    Generally there is a reason why the cheapest are cheapest.

    Good luck



    I agree you need to talk to Amex, but are they liable for provision? Not covered by the Consumer Credit Act AFAIK as they are charge not credit. I may be wrong.

    I think you are right about s75 and charge cards (though Amex offers an effective chargeback scheme instead), but Amex also offer credit cards that are caught under s75.



    Many thanks for the advice. I will post how it all pans out.



    At the risk of sounding pompus, I only use Skyscanner to check what deals are around and then compare with reputable sites or hotel/airline own website. Skyscanner often directs to some dodgy sites and I have read some scary stories online. It seems problems invariably occur when changes are needed.



    Kevin : I don’t think that’s pompous at all and I agree entirely about (i.a.) Skyscanner. It’s an excellent tool for decision support, but it does direct to some very dodgy OLTAs, some of which don’t even have a presence in Europe, they might be in Azerbaijan or Uruguay, but can have UK or any other phone numbers by using VOIP tools, and a domain name.

    Some may be perfectly honest and run by people trying to make a living by buying a product, adding value, and selling it on for a profit, nothing wrong with that, but as you say the problem is when you have to make changes. Also they offer no protection such as ATOL, CAA, IATA, ABTA, etc.

    I recently saved a friend from a ripoff through a site to which he was directed by Skyscanner. He was about to book KLM flights in ‘premium economy’ at a very good fare, and rang me to ask if I thought it was ‘kosher’. The first alarm bell to me was that KLM don’t have premium economy as a class of service. They have a few rows of ‘comfort’ economy seats between the Y and the C class cabins, for which you pay the normal economy fare plus a fixed amount for the the seat selection, it’s about £120 o/w to CPT, I suppose similar amounts for other routes. I did a dummy booking and looked into this (I used to work in the industry and still have access to most airline systems) and saw that the fare he was quoted was an economy fare but did not include the seat selection, so he would have been in normal economy unless he’d paid the extra fee. I took this up with Skyscanner and KLM, it was a long and convoluted process, but in the end the agency appears to have been removed from Skyscanner’s displays.

    It’s generally not worth trying to save a few £/$/€ by booking on dodgy sites.



    Yes, I agree, I have had to learn the hard way and luckily only a couple of hundred pounds are involved.
    Indeed, the website has a Dutch number and is supported by an outfit called Gullivers travels.
    However, it’s just a contact and the original booking agent is in Thailand so, yes, little preotection aside from maybe Amex who are looking into it. Ironically, I’m on an airport layover to Thailand!
    Interestingly the Hilton sent me a copy and paste reply saying it was a fixed booking with no changes and no refunds (despite the clear fully cancellable conditions on the voucher) and look forward to my arrival.
    I guess they were either paid at the time (which I doubt if it was cancellable) or they can’t be bothered to check it out and will have a nasty surprise when they request payment of the voucher.
    I did warn them!
    Many thanks for the replies and assistance.



    @Hktbound – I know its been discussed before, but your example is why I tend to make all my hotel bookings directly with hotel groups or through their respective points/incentive schemes. Prices do vary (as you would expect), but often there are those added “fringe benefits” provided by the hotel, as well as the security of knowing your booking is more secure….



    So somebody actually has your Money ? and Amex processed the process of getting this Money to them? Hmm…



    SwissExPat- yes, Amex processed the sale at the time of the booking as per the conditions.
    I have experienced this practice before and successfully received refunds immediately in the past with some exchange rate difference so I was not concerned.
    This time though the company is gone, indeed, the transaction was some time ago.

    It was a lesson in using some of skyscanner as more obscure suppliers.
    However, more interesting is Hiltons complete lack of interest. Since my last reply they replied again to say that while they have not received my money they will receive it after my stay and hence my voucher is perfectly valid.
    Probably, then, I will use it!
    I have of course, given them plenty of reasons to refuse me!
    Thanks again



    Of course, always book directly with the hotel or the airline (unless you are using a reputable travel agent, i.e. one with a real office and chartered). That said, as that stage, it depends on the laws of the country where the card issuer is based. In Switzerland, we can claim successfully unless one of these two conditions had been met: service/goods delivered or signature/pin.

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