Why is Travelocity doubling the rate for my hotel room?

When Joseph Pollard checks in at the Grange Blooms Hotel, he is charged nearly double the rate for the room he reserved through Travelocity. Neither the hotel nor Travelocity will honor the original rate or negotiate with him. Can our advocates stop the runaround?

Question: I booked a one-week stay at the Grange Blooms Hotel in London last year through Travelocity. At that time, I was quoted a total fare of 580 pounds ($768) for the room.

When I checked into the hotel, I was asked to sign an agreement in which I was charged 1,084 pounds — almost twice as much as the rate Travelocity had confirmed for me. I have traveled to London every year during the last decade and have never been charged this much for seven days’ accommodation.

I refused to sign the agreement, and the hotel employee told me that she would contact Travelocity and clarify the correct rate.

But when I checked out, I was told that I had to pay the higher fee, which was not negotiable, and to “take it up with Travelocity.”

After I returned home, I emailed Travelocity, but its agent replied that the reservation is a “hotel collect” booking, “wherein the hotel is the one who charged me for my booking.”
This does not make sense to me. Can you help me get the rate adjusted to the fare I was quoted by Travelocity? — Joseph Pollard, Lake Worth, Fla.

Answer: Yikes! That is a huge rate difference. I agree with you that the hotel staff should not have ambushed you with a much higher rate when you checked in, and that Travelocity (a brand of Expedia) should have stood behind the rate it charged and confirmed for you.

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Travelocity’s terms of use has a section dedicated to Prepaid Hotel Reservations, which indicates that

You acknowledge that the Travelscape Companies pre-negotiate certain room rates with hotel suppliers to facilitate the booking of reservations. You also acknowledge that the Travelscape Companies provide you services to facilitate such booking of reservations for a consideration (the “facilitation fee”). The room rate displayed on the Website is a combination of the pre-negotiated room rate for rooms reserved on your behalf by the Travelscape Companies and the facilitation fee retained by the Travelscape Companies for their services. You authorize the Travelscape Companies to book reservations for the total reservation price, which includes the room rate displayed on the Website, plus tax recovery charges, service fees, and where applicable, taxes on the Travelscape Companies’ services. You agree that your credit card will be charged by the Travelscape Companies for the total reservation price. Upon submitting your reservation request you authorize the Travelscape Companies, including Travelscape, LLC, to facilitate hotel reservations on your behalf, including making payment arrangements with hotel suppliers.

So the hotel and Travelocity should have been in agreement that the room rate you paid should have constituted the entire fare for the room, with no additional charges added by the hotel.

Why Travelocity failed to do so isn’t clear. Even with a “hotel collect” designation, everyone should have been on the same page as to what rate was disclosed and charged to you instead of pointing fingers at each other.

When Travelocity’s agent didn’t give you a satisfactory answer to your request, you might have escalated your complaint using our executive contacts. Instead, you turned to our advocates for help.

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We reached out to Travelocity on your behalf, and Travelocity agreed that the higher rate you were charged was an error. It has agreed to issue you a refund of 504 pounds.

Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org. Read more of Jennifer's articles here.

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