Las Vegas wedding almost called off by Bookit.com

By | August 29th, 2016

Four days before Ryan Bernard was to take his girlfriend on a surprise wedding trip to Las Vegas, Bookit.com canceled. Although his initial deposit made in October was accepted, subsequent payments on his payment plan didn’t go through.

The cancellation left Bernard reeling. In addition to booking his airline tickets and hotel on Bookit.com, he also prepaid a wedding chapel, a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, and a long list of other activities.

Bernard’s case highlights the importance of understanding the terms of a payment plan and being diligent about making timely payments. The customer’s failure to do either can create big, perhaps even unsolvable problems.

The couple was supposed to travel on June 7, so when Bernard got an email from the company on June 2 that it had canceled his reservations, he was at a loss for what to do.

Of course we are always ready to help someone in need. But before we can fix a problem, we have to understand it fully. So we began to search for answers.

Bernard paid $600 in October, $500 of which was for his airfare. The remaining $100 was the advance payment for his Las Vegas hotel. And he owed a balance of $565, which he was supposed to pay in May, using Bookit.com’s Pay Delay program.

Pay Delay allows travelers to book vacation packages and pay in predetermined installments at times set by the customer.

Bernard selected due dates in May, but his two payment attempts were declined by Bookit.com’s credit card system. When that happened, he was assessed two $25 fees.

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Not knowing what else to do, he logged into his account and changed the due date for the remaining balance to June 2 and updated the credit card on file. But when that payment also didn’t go through, Bernard had until midnight that day to call and update the payment method.


When he didn’t call, Bookit.com pulled the trigger. Game over.

Not being familiar with the Bookit.com’s Pay Delay program, I spoke to a company representative. She explained the flexible terms of the plan and also clarified that when Bernard’s package was canceled, his airline tickets, which had been paid in full at the time of booking, were still valid.

In fact, Bernard used them.

Before we ever got involved, Bookit.com had already made an exception to its policy, applying the $100 paid in October to his new hotel reservation. And when his trip was canceled and fees were charged, Bookit.com waived the fees.

I asked Bookit.com why Bernard’s attempts to pay failed. The company told me that the billing information on the cards were incorrect, triggering the rejections.

Businesses that decline payments for incorrect credit card billing information are doing their part to minimize fraud, and are operating in line with industry best practices. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that all payment information entered is correct.

Bernard complained that the company didn’t refund any of his money, but by my calculation, he isn’t actually owed anything. Every penny Bernard paid was applied to his trip.

Bookit.com confirmed that Bernard went to Las Vegas as planned, using the airline tickets he purchased in October. He also used the down payment toward the rebooking of his Las Vegas hotel. The company waived the third fee he was charged, and was never able to collect the first two because there was no valid credit card on file to which payment could be applied.

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We know Bernard traveled to Vegas, so the only question is whether Bernard and his girlfriend actually tied the knot.

And while we are calling this one a Case Dismissed, we hope these two live happily ever after.



  • sirwired

    And, again, the headline mis-attributes blame. BookIt.com didn’t almost call off the wedding, the consumer almost called off his own wedding by (repeatedly!) fouling up his payments for his trip. And it appears that the website gave him plenty of warning that his trip was about to be canceled. And applied the payments he did make. What else could they possibly owe him?

    If these anti-fraud systems were NOT in place, you can be sure we’d have a DIFFERENT story posted here along the lines of: “Some outfit called BookIt.com keeps charging my credit card for some travel booking I don’t recognize, and they don’t even have my identifying information correct!”

    The headline should have been: “Above and Beyond: Despite repeated consumer foul-ups, BookIt.com waives fees for missed payments.”

  • John Madigan

    Yep, cant say the booking site was at fault here..

  • Jeff W.

    I agree. The issue was 100% on the customer. Bookit.com does not deserve the headline you have assigned.

    It actually seems their customer service was outstanding and took the time to explain exactly what the policy was and how it was applied.

  • Mel65

    I’m always confused by people who enter the incorrect information for THEIR OWN CREDIT CARD. Ok, so a fat finger happens once, but when he updated with a new card, he apparently did it again? Rather than changing the date to in the future, he should have made the final payment then and there when he updated the card to see if it went through. Then he’d have known and voila, no issue or at least one that could have been handled immediately. Bookit handled this so well, that even though I never use third party reservation systems, if I were going to, I’d choose them. Well done on THEIR part!

  • ctporter

    Why mislead readers by implying Booking.com was at fault here instead of the consumer? The better point of this story is that as consumers making arrangements online we should check our credit cards for charges incurred, and if we are not seeing them figure out why not. But also make sure we understand that the charges might not show up right away so be careful about double booking.

  • Kerr

    Maybe this site operates like a newspaper in that the headline writer and article author aren’t the same person?

  • AAGK

    “Surprise wedding” ??? What is that? I don’t think Bookit.com was the only complication here. Ryan prepaid/pre booked the wedding chapel without consulting his potential bride. Surprising, indeed.
    I wonder if someone will comment that one should always book their surprise weddings directly with the hotel. :)

  • Annie M

    Didn’t he receive any notifications is payments were declined? Sorry, this is the guys own fault. Bookit for once went out of their way to help the guy by waiving fees.

    Why don’t people take responsibility for their own actions?

  • Annie M

    Sometimes it seems that the Daily News writers are the ones writing these titles.

  • Annie M

    Or make sure you have the money to actually pay for it.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I’m with the others – this headline does a disservice to BookIt. I can’t see a single thing that they did wrong – and a lot of things that the customer did.

    First and foremost, while I understand the reasons behind offering an option like Pay Delay, especially for young people just starting out who might not have a lot of money, it really is a bad idea to use it. I assume he used it so he wouldn’t have to pay finance charges by putting it on his credit card, but the amount of money in finance charges would have been so small compared to the hassle of delaying payment. Frankly, if he can’t afford the trip, he should have delayed it until he could afford it – or at least afford to put it all on his credit card. This smacks of irresponsible spending.

    Second, as others pointed out, it was entirely on him to make sure he paid the bill on time. And he didn’t, obviously due to his own errors.

    This site does a fabulous job of advocating for customers who get screwed by big companies. Sometimes, shaming the company publicly may be what it takes to get them to do the right thing, or at least stop screwing people going forward. So to shame a company when they HAVEN’T done anything wrong causes this site’s credibility to take a huge hit. Why do it just for a click-bait headline?

  • AAGK

    If the “bride” wasn’t happily surprised, the cancellation for nonpayment may have worked in his favor. Sounds like it did bc we don’t know if they got married.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I gotta admit I had the same thought. I don’t know of too many brides who would be happy with their boyfriend planning a “surprise” wedding. I mean, a proposal sure, but…the wedding itself?? Most women consider their weddings to be a pretty important event in their lives, and they would at least want a hand in planning it.

    Couple that with the fact that he had to use a delayed-payment option to pay for a relatively inexpensive vacation, when he clearly already has a credit card…why on earth not just use the credit card, and just take the time needed to pay it off?

    Whole thing just seems…fishy.

  • Hanope

    The only thing that appears a little unclear is whether Bookit told the customer why his credit card was being declined. They apparently told the advocates that it was an error in the billing information (name/address mispelled or otherise incorrect?), but if the customer isn’t told that, they might not realize why there is a problem with the payment attempts.

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