Everything is extra

This is how to fight a hotel billing error — and win

Rachael McHenry is sure her hotel made a billing error. The Comfort Suites Paradise Island offered her a $150 food and beverage credit but then charged her credit card $111 for dinner, anyway.

“Our server assured us the hotel would reimburse us for the charge,” she says. “Now the hotel refuses to respond.”

She’s right. McHenry’s billing error is just one of several types I see regularly. Hotels erroneously bill guests for extra nights, for damage to the room, and for souvenirs allegedly taken, like bathrobes and pillows.

Read more

What does a BBB rating really mean?

How a company could easily get a false F rating from the BBB

Critics have called the Better Business Bureau (BBB) a scam and a ripoff — an aging nonprofit organization that extorts companies to the tune of hundreds or thousands of dollars a year to maintain a meaningless rating and accreditation. With all that controversy, you’d think the BBB would tread carefully around real consumer advocates, lest they end up in their crosshairs.

But you’d be wrong.

Last week, one of our readers pointed out that the BBB had given Elliott Advocacy an F rating! The circumstances around this failing grade are so bizarre and so infuriating that you will probably never believe another word the BBB says. (last updated on Aug 4, 2021)

Read more

Why is travel so expensive right now?!

Why is travel so expensive now? You probably won’t like this answer

Mary Barbuto wants to know why travel is so expensive right now — specifically, for rental cars. A one-week rental of an SUV at Fort Lauderdale International Airport next month will cost $134 per day, or $1,171 total.

“I can’t believe how outrageous the prices are for rental cars,” she told me. “Either they are very expensive, or the locations don’t have cars.”

It’s not just cars. Almost all travel, from airfares to vacation rentals, is getting more expensive. There are various reasons for the price increases, but there’s one that applies across the board. And you’re probably not going to like it.

Read more