Help with a hotel booking pleaseBack to Forum
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!15 Aug 2017
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.15 Aug 2017
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.15 Aug 2017
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 luck15 Aug 2017
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 s75.15 Aug 2017
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.18 Aug 2017
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 co.uk 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.18 Aug 2017
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.18 Aug 2017
@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….18 Aug 2017
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 again18 Aug 2017
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.18 Aug 2017
A small follow up on to my experience with skyscanner and the obscure suppliers they use sometimes.
Not learning my lesson above I had to get back to the UK from AGP yesterday with a few hours notice.
Skyscanner had various flight options with all the usual airlines – the cheapest being Ryanair at 198 pounds departing 5 hours later with BA at 278 pounds.
The one and only incredible deal was the same BA flight offered at 70 pounds from ctrip (who later I find is chinas top online agency).
In view of my experiences in this post with failed travel suppliers via skyscanner I was of the opinion that if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
However, I couldn’t resist.
I booked it and shortly after got a failed message due to my credit card which is very unusual as my particular Bank rarely denies my many obscure transactions from different parts of the world whilst travelling.
So I tried again with a different card and, to my surprise it was authorised and 1 hour later I received a BA booking reference.
I was even more surprised when it was accepted into the BA system and further surprised to be allocated an emergency exit seat and in London some 7 hours later.
Fluke or luck but it worked and I saved myself more than 200 pounds.
Just nice to be able to post a positive story for a change!1 Oct 2017
First rule of Skyscanner – check the website it directs you to…. Does it have IATA/ABTA/ATOL bonding? Never mind that, does it even have the basics like an address??? If not why are you giving them hundreds of GBP of your money? The phone number will always be a UK number but I can rattle off umpteen websites that sell there flights etc via Skyscanner that are based in Athens and elsewhere in Europe. The Greek ones, as far as I know, are linked to the Air Fast Tickets owners that went bust in the UK 2 years ago owing airlines millions.
Stay well clear of half the rubbish that’s on there, it is not worth the saving. And even with the reputable ones, if you get a good deal then do not try to change/cancel or do anything except use what you bought. They will get their discounting activities back with excessive amendment charges.2 Oct 2017