Double-charged for my hotel, but not by choice


Why is the Comfort Inn charging Lora Crumb for two rooms when she’s the only guest? And why isn’t Orbitz, her online travel agency, helping her fix this? Let’s find out.

Question: The Comfort Inn & Suites Knoxville West is charging me for two rooms, even though I only had a reservation for one room. I need some help getting this sorted out.

I had made the booking through Orbitz. When I checked in, a hotel representative claimed I had two rooms. I explained I only have a reservation for one room.

I called Orbitz, and a representative assured me that I only had a reservation for one room. But when I checked my American Express statement, I saw the hotel had charged me for two rooms.

I have been going back and forth with Orbitz and the hotel manager at the Comfort Inn. Orbitz sent me an email that claimed all the rooms were used. I contacted the hotel manager and explained that the second room was never occupied.

I have been going back and forth for months. I’m exhausted and do not know what else to do. Do you have any advice? — Lora Crumb, Branchville, N.J.

Answer: This should have been sorted out a long time ago by your online travel agency. It may not be immediately clear how your single reservation multiplied, but if Orbitz told you that you only had one reservation, it should have ensured that was the case.


I contacted the hotel and it insisted Orbitz sent it two reservations under your name. That could have been a system glitch, or you might have inadvertently pushed the “book” button twice. If you did book twice by mistake, you never received a confirmation of a second booking. It’s a mystery.

Related story:   Should this traveler be forced to pay for a ticket that wasn't valid at check in?

But I keep coming back to Orbitz’ assurances to you that you only had one reservation. You even had that in writing, in your online reservation. And that really should have been sufficient to clear up this entire mess.
Instead, Orbitz and Comfort Inn played ping-pong with $426 of your hard-earned money. Each blamed the other, but clearly, no one was willing to refund the money. Comfort Inn might have tried to help, but in the final analysis, it did exactly what it was supposed to. It received two reservations, which it honored. A hotel room is considered a “perishable” commodity — once the day is over, you can’t get it back. The hotel received a reservation and believed it would be paid $426.

A brief, polite email to the customer service managers at Orbitz (owned by Expedia) or Choice Hotels might have moved your case in the right direction. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer advocacy site.

I contacted Orbitz on your behalf. It refunded your $426.


Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

  • Alan Gore

    And this is why although you want to be cautious about using a site like Orbitz to book an air ticket, you definitely don’t want to use it for the hotel.

  • Bob Davis

    Another third party booking mess.

  • BubbaJoe123

    “Comfort Inn might have tried to help, but in the final analysis, it did exactly what it was supposed to.”

    Doesn’t this assume that they’re telling the truth when then say they got two reservation requests from Orbitz?

  • greg watson

    ……..once again & again & again…………………….another 3rd party booking. This site has recommended….. check for the best deals online & try & get the same deal with the hotel, car rental etc yourself……………….it’s not rocket science, people

  • Annie M

    Were there two different reservation numbers? If the hotel had given her both res. numbers she could have called Orbitz right from the hotel and had them cancel the second number.

  • pauletteb

    With today’s tighter cancellation policies, it’s likely the hotel still would have charged her.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.