No Expedia refund after his neighbor’s sudden death. Is this fair?

Is an Expedia refund possible?

A death certificate can be a trump card for travelers who want a refund. Whether you’re locked into a nonrefundable hotel room or a consolidator ticket, proof of a relative’s death can loosen the rules — if not get them waived entirely. But Joe Diamond asked for an Expedia refund after his neighbor died in a tragic car accident. Is this a reasonable request?

Diamond had booked a two-night stay at Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in Munich, Germany through Expedia, which he needed to cancel after the unexpected death.

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What does the cancellation policy say?

“At the time of booking, I did not notice the hidden cancellation policy that states that you are liable for 90 percent of the fee if the reservation is canceled, which in itself, is totally absurd,” he says.

Diamond is no tourist. He’s a member of Meeting Professionals International, and as such, understands the ins and outs of the lodging industry. It takes a lot to snooker someone like that during the booking process, so when he says the 90 percent cancellation fee was concealed, I believe him.

Just to be sure, I tried to book the same property on Expedia. Under “fees” this is what it displayed:

The following fees and deposits are charged by the property at time of service, check-in, or check-out.

  • Fee for wireless Internet in all public areas: EUR 00 (rates may vary)
  • Fee for in-room wireless Internet: EUR 12 (for 24 hours, rates may vary)
  • Hot and cold buffet breakfast: EUR 21 per person (approximate amount)

The above list may not be comprehensive. Fees and deposits may not include tax and are subject to change.

Asking that Expedia refund these exorbitant fees

Diamond asked that Expedia refund the 90 percent cancellation fees. It refused. Same thing for Mövenpick corporate.

I subsequently contacted American Express and after their call directly to the hotel, I received a call from the reservations manager at the hotel and was offered a mere 50 percent cancellation fee, even after explaining the very unusual and sudden circumstances.

Please know that the hotel was notified of the cancellation more than 1 1/2 months in advance. Also, since our reservation is during the very busy Octoberfest season, they should be able to easily re-book my single room for two nights. Finally, I even offered to provide a death certificate in order to confirm the authenticity of my case.

I cannot believe Mövenpick is so insensitive to a terrible tragedy.

Actually, there are two separate issues. First, there’s the death itself. If a close relative or loved one dies, then travel companies are usually very accommodating. No one wants to be seen as profiting from a tragedy. But if it’s a friend or neighbor, then hotels are not as willing to issue a refund. (I’ve even had guests try to cancel a trip because their pet dies — the company was less than understanding.)

The bottom line: no Expedia refund

The second issue is the disclosure of the 90 percent cancellation fee. I don’t know what Diamond saw when he booked his room, but from what I could tell, there was no mention of the steep penalty. This is problematic.

I contacted Expedia on Diamond’s behalf. A representative responded immediately.

I’ll have the team look at it. From what I can gather, it looks like the hotel’s cancellation policy. If it is a restrictive policy we post that pretty conspicuously so if that’s the case he might be out of luck. In any case, we’ll check it out.

Neither Diamond nor I heard back from Expedia. So Diamond asked me to contact Mövenpick.

And that’s where we’re stuck.

I hesitated before reaching out to the hotel because I think a 50 percent refund on the death of a neighbor suggests they are taking his grievance seriously. Besides, Mövenpick wasn’t responsible for disclosing its cancellation policy to Diamond — Expedia was.

On the other hand, I think a 90 percent cancellation penalty is absurd. What do they think they are, an airline?

Thoughts?

75 thoughts on “No Expedia refund after his neighbor’s sudden death. Is this fair?

  1. I ask because it’s never come up: can a non-family member acquire a death certificate of a friend?  Would the burden of proof still be on Joe to show a death certficate under a relaxed policy? 

    And, do you think Mövenpick’s stand is guarding against what they perceive as a slippery slope, i.e. could anybody show anybody’s death certficiate to get out of a non-refundable reservation?

  2. Is it possible that the 90% cancellation fee is imposed across the board during Octoberfest? That may explain why it does not appear when you try to duplicate the booking for a different set of dates. Have you looked at the email confirmation the client received from Expedia?

    I would normally blast Expedia for this, and still may, but in their defense they may not have known. Chris, you state it was Expedia’s responsibility to advise the client of the fee. If the hotel did not amend their listing with Expedia, I find fault with that as well. I am sure Expedia has lots of lawyers, probably more lawyers than travel agents. They should refund the OP and then go after Movenpick for not living up to their mutual business agreement.

    One last question. Why use Expedia???

  3. In my experience, it was not that difficult to obtain a death certificate or other sort of proof from a funeral home. I have made arrangements for loved one who have passed away. The funeral director has asked how many copies we require for those traveling from out of town to qualify for bereavement fares. When I indicated I didn’t know, he said to just have those who need it to ask him for one at some point during the services.

  4. Death or no death, the real issue here is a 90% cancelation fee that is imposed 1.5 months in advance that wasn’t disclosed.   Maybe it was buried in the fine print, maybe not.  I know if I saw that, I would probably book elsewhere.
     
    I sadly feel that this is probably another case of Expedia ripping someone off.

  5. I don’t want to seem insensitive but cancelling a month and a half in advance seems a bit excessive. I am no fan of hidden cancellation fees but there is quite a bit of information missing as to why he had to cancel.

  6. I’m wondering if that 90% cancellation fee is in place just for Oktoberfest. If so, Expedia has the burden of disclosing as the booking ‘agent.’

    I feel that a 50% cancellation in these circumstances is appropriate. I mean, this is a neighbor, who was not traveling with the OP and the death occurred more than 30 days before the trip.

    Something doesn’t feel right here…

  7. My thoughts exactly. Is the OP still traveling? Did he find a better deal somewhere else? Something is unsettling to me…

  8. While I sympathize with Diamond over the loss of a friend, I think this case should be closed. If Amex was able to mediate a 50% cancellation fee, he should take that and run.

    The article does not specify which rate type Diamond booked. If you think a “90 percent cancellation fee is absurd” then wouldn’t you agree that a “non-refundable, non-changeable rate” is even more absurd?

    However, the bottom line is, was the 90 percent cancellation fee disclosed upon when the initial reservation made? Perhaps the lesson here is don’t book through Expedia, but through the hotel directly!

  9. 90% cancellation fee 1.5 months out is ridiculous…but (and this is not my business at all, but I am curious) what could be going on 1.5 months after the loss of a friend that would preclude travel? I had to cancel a trip after my mother died, but the trip started 3 days after her death – not 1.5 months after.

  10. Let’s pretend for a second, that the OP’s “friend” was his partner of many years.  Does that make a difference to anyone ?  While I think that a 1.5 month cancellation in advance is a lot of his notice, if it was his partner, then perhaps that changes your mind on this. 

  11. Why is everything in the travel industry now non-refundable for any reason? What they’re yelling at us, as loud as they can, is: Stay home and don’t travel.

  12. It’s not getting the refund that I have a problem with, but you really should go after Expedia. They were the ones to actually charge OP’s credit card and sell him the room with whatever conditions they post (whether Movenpick’s or their own) so they should be the ones to actually refund OP.

  13. I think it’s ridiculous that the travel industry and the rest of the world seem to think friendships are worth nothing. Miss work to care for a sick family member? Protected by law. Miss work to help a close friend in crisis? You’re fired. I think this attitude is terrible because relationships with friends matter a lot, so the idea that the death of a family member, but not the death of friend, should be considered significant is absurd and, for lack of a better word, contemptible to me.

    And I’m sorry, there is NO excuse for a hotel to charge ANY fee for canceling a reservation over a month in advance. 24 to 48 hours, a week AT MOST, is understandable, but a month? That’s just life and the hotel should stop whining and suck it up. And to levy such a charge only for Oktoberfest is ridiculous as well because, like Christopher points out, they can almost certainly rebook the room. I feel no sympathy for a business that puts a ludicrous and exploitative policy or charge in place and then uses “but it was our policy” as a defense when someone needs an exception. Why should I care what their policy is? Their policy is stupid!

  14. The he should say it’s his partner. Business rarely understand what you want when you use plain language; expecting them to read your mind is ridiculous

  15. Travel insurance is pretty low cost and comes in a few different levels up to a “cancel for any reason”. Since becoming a cruise agent a couple years ago (and especially after reading this blog) I have realized there is no reason not to purchase it. I would never travel without the travel insurance. Period.

  16.  Not many policies actually cover “cancel for any reason”.  A good reason not to purchase travel insurance is that the cost of “cancel for any reason” coverage is – for most people – way out of proportion with the likelihood of exercising it, not to mention the hoops you have to jump through to get the company to pay.

  17. And yet millions travel anyways, even with these conditions and everything. Works fine for most travelers even if they don’t like it.

  18. And if Expedia isn’t disclosing the cancellation terms, again, you should go after Expedia not the hotel.

  19. Was he traveling with the neighbor?  If so, this is unreasonable.  If he wasn’t traveling with the neighbor (remember the room was canceled 1 1/2 months out), then I’m with the hotel, assuming the cancellation fee was disclosed.

  20. “He’s a member of Meeting Professionals International, and as such, understands the ins and outs of the lodging industry.”

    And he’s using Expedia?!

  21. Why? If the neighbor hadn’t died but instead become a giant jerk, would the OP be allowed to cancel then without penalty?

  22. I also tried to book a room in Munich at this hotel just now from the Mövenpick website.  This was clearly displayed when I selected a room: “A guaranteed reservation is held all night and if not taken up will be debited at 90 percent of the room rate for a maximum of three nights.”  While not the clearest English (and the German isn’t much clearer), I am not sure why the OP didn’t see it.  But, picking several different dates, the cancellation policies seen to vary as much as the room rate (729 euro for tonight [still Oktoberfest] to 69 euro for next Saturday).  The 90% statement is constant, but the cancellation states anything from cancel with full refund up to 2 days before arrival, cancel until 4 pm for full refund, to no refund.  I can see where this is confusing.

    While I am not against a hotel charging non-refundable rates and cancellation fees as long as they are clearly noted, the 90% fee this hotel charges might as well be a non-refundable rate even though it is not quoted that way.  A 10% refund is nothing. They definitely need more clarity on the web site and probably a smaller number of cancellation policies to prevent confusion.  I could see where the OP may have looked at a rate that was fully refundable, done another search on the web site and ended up with the non cancelable rate without noticing.A death certificate is public record so technically anyone can get a copy for any reason.  Having one doesn’t prove you even know the person, much less that he or she was a close friend.  

    I would take the 50% refund and move on.

  23. It’s immoral, and should be illegal, for a hotel to collect money for a room which they then sell to someone else.  Perhaps $10 for their time and trouble reselling the room would be reasonable, but no more. 

    When one breaks a lease, the landlord isn’t entitled to the full amount of the rent for the rest of the lease – he is entitled to “liquidated damages”, his expenses for the vacant time and in rerenting the property.  I don’t see why the hotel business should be any different.

  24. I voted NO, not because I doubt that someone needs to be looking at this with a bit more compassion but because I think there should be an option where Chris should contact Expedia again. It is the booking agency that should be responsible for any/all fee disclosures. If everytime we book something, we have to go the hotel/airline website to doublecheck the requirements/fees/rules, what good are these booking agencies? As far as the death of neighbor goes, I believe what the hotel is doing could be sufficient. Let Expedia pick up the rest of the 40% for not showing the fees in entirety.

  25. I have a feeling that this guy – a member of Meeting Professionals International who understands the ins and outs of the lodging industry – is pulling our leg.
    Mövenpick offers 2 kinds of rates – NON REFUNDABLE or FREE CANCELLATIONS (cancel by 6PM). Expedia also sells an Advanced Purchase  rate which makes no sense in buying since you can get the same or cheaper rate with FREE CANCELLATIONS and without prepayment in booking dotcom.  The non-refundable rate is much cheaper. He needs to come clean in this forum and tell us which type he purchased. If he purchased the NON REFUNDABLE room rate, then the hotel would not return 90% of his money if he cancelled, no showed, or made changes. PERIOD.
    I don’t need to be a member of Meeting Professionals Int’l. to understand Plain English.

  26. CORRECTION: The rate in booking dotcom is in EUROS so the FREE CANCELLATION without prepurchase (no charge to your credit card) is actually more expensive that Expedia’s ADVANCE PURCHASE (your card will be charged). which is in US$.

  27. I don’t trust this story.  The OP says he knows the ins and out of the industry because of a member to a meeting planners organization.  If so, he would understand about cancellation policies especially during an event time period and would certainly have read the rules of the nightly rate more carefully. 

    At 1 1/2 months out from the date of stay to cancel for the reason stated just doesn’t cut it with me.   I have dealt with cancellations over the years and this one, as the OP would say, is absurb.

  28. Wait, I thought Expedia’s reservations were ALL non-refundable and pre-paid? I guess I would never expect to get money back from a hotel reservation paid up front through a consolidator site like Expedia or Travelocity.

    Also, I think it’s ridiculous to expect a hotel to honor a cancellation because the death of a neighbor or friend. I can understand asking for an exception for immediate family, but a friend and neighbor. I think my boss would laugh at me if I asked for time off under our grieving policy because my neighbor or my cat died.

  29. I was thinking this as well. It’s 45 days in advance. Are they holding off the funeral until he leaves? Seriously, sounds like he had business plans that changed and is trying to use this as an excuse to cancel the reservation. 

  30.  Except the OP booked this from the Expedia website. So perhaps, it’s Expedia who dropped the ball here not having the 90% language on their website.

  31. I’m very up in the air on this one as very good points have been made on each side and a lot of questions needed to be answered.  I am a bit disturbed by Chris’s write-up however, when he said “(I’ve even had guests try to cancel a trip because their pet dies — the company was less than understanding.) My wife never had children and to her our pets are our kids.  She hasn’t traveled for over a year because the cats are getting older.  I can assure you that the lose of one of our cats would be the same to her as losing a human is to many people.  Compassion and love, while only covering immediate family in the travel industry, can easily fall outside of this circle.  The hotel, airline, travel insurance companies and other travel entities should learn to have a heart.

  32. How does the death of a friend affect travel that is a month and a half away? There is no mention that he was traveling with that person. It makes me wonder if the cancellation was for another reason and he was only using the death as a possible way to avoid the fees? If there is more to the story, I’d like to hear what it is.

  33. Expedia may not have charged the card. We don’t have that information. A regular travel agent books the hotel on the client’s behalf and then receives a commission from the hotel. Yes, there are rates that Expedia may markup and then charge the client, but we don’t know that with the information given in this case.

    I have a feeling that, yes, the hotel has a strict cancel penalty during Oktoberfest, and I have no problem with that if indicated at booking. The hotel may have neglected to upload this so it appears on Expedia, this may be the root of the problem. 

    There must be an emailed confirmation somewhere…what does that say regarding cancellation?

    There must be a charge on his credit card..who is that from?

    If the customer is in the right, Expedia should be fighting for him. That’s what a “real” travel agent does.

  34. I think pet loss is devestating and this would be a good one for insurance companies to look into adding.  As for the other companies, they are running a business.  Believe me, in 27 years of selling travel, I have been lied to many times and you develop a rough hide to excuses.  Octoberfest is huge in MUC and if this man really has business planning experience, he would know that event time periods have steep cancel policies.  There is more to this story and Chris may have been snookered by this request.

  35. I am not a lawyer but this is the way I understand things –
    when a contract is broken by the other party, the aggrieved party may be entitled to damages. When it is difficult to compute the actual damages, the amount of the damages is “liquidated” (or predetermined or agreed upon in advance). This is exactly what happened here – Movenpick disclosed that one would lose 90% of the advance payment if he did not show up or cancelled.

    The real issue is whether the damages should be MITIGATED. In my opinion it should. Why hotels, tours, cruises and airlines fail in their duty to mitigate damages and how they don’t even get a slap in the wrist is beyond me. I suppose many of Chris Elliott’s efforts are really requests to mitigate liquidated damages so the buyer doesn’t lose his/her full payment.

  36. Depends on the state.  In California, anyone can get an “informational copy” of a death certificate.  It’s marked as such, and might be partially redacted.

  37. By the way Elliott, you did not go far enough in Expedia’s site.
    At the page where you enter your credit card, Expedia displays this:

    (Note: I entered November 1 as the date for the room.)

    Property Policies:

        We understand that sometimes plans fall through. We do not charge a cancel or change fee. When the hotel charges such fees in accordance with its own policies, the cost will be passed on to you. Moevenpick Hotel Munich Airport charges the following cancellation and change fees.
            Cancellations or changes made before 12:00 PM (W. Europe Daylight Time) on September 20, 2011 are subject to a hotel fee equal to 90% of the total amount paid for the reservation.
            Cancellations or changes made after 12:00 PM (W. Europe Daylight Time) on September 20, 2011 are subject to a hotel fee equal to 90% of the total amount paid for the reservation.
            Cancellations or changes made after check-in on November 01, 2011 are subject to a hotel fee equal to 100% of the total amount paid for the reservation.

  38. Wanted to Like your post but couldn’t because of the ending thought.  The death of the neighbor, while sad, does not constitute a reason for full refund for a business (anyone who wanted to cancel could find a death notice in the newspaper as reason for a refund). 

    But I agree whole-heartedly with your first thought–the booking agencies (which I would include adding hotel to your air ticket purchase on the airline websites) must include all fees that will be charged, ie:  cancellation, resort fees, parking, etc

  39. One reason for the difference between friends and family is a question of proof.  Its relatively easy to proove familial relationships.  It is infinitely harder to proove that so and so is a close friend unless they live in the same household.

    I would agree that a month and a half is a generally ridiculous cancellation time, unless there was a very special event happening. Say Thanksgiving parade in New York.  The occupancy levels are so high that non-refundable rates makes sense, but only for such well publicized,well known events.

  40. Since you threw around a technical term, it’s compensatory damages that’s the landlord is entitled to.

  41. You have a good understanding of liquidated damages.  Let me clarify the second paragraphs

    The issue isn’t mitigation of damages, the issue is either

    1) if the hotel will waive the liquidated damages clause
    2) is the guest in breach of the contract so that the liquidated damages clause is applicable
    3) Is it enforceable.   LD clauses are unenforceable if they are excessive under the circumstances.

  42. You are correct.  The Expedia site does not provide the cancellation policy on any web page up to the point where you enter payment info.  Since I don’t want to actually reserve a room, I can’t go any further.  Not having used Expedia to book a room, only to research pricing in a given area, I don’t know if this is common or not.

  43. Even a non-cancellable rate has exceptions.  Death of a family member, incapacitating illness, etc.

    Forget the title of the rate, the question is what does the terms and condition say, as well as what is industry standard in the locale.

  44. Rough crowd.

    My good friend died. My boss knew she was a close friend and gave me the day off to go to the family and help them navigate through some unusually thorny legal issues.

  45. As much as I agree that for some people losing a pet is like losing a family member, I can see people abusing the system if the death of a pet was widely accepted as a way to get out of paying a cancellation fee.

  46. I’m not trying to justify Expedia’s or Movepick’s policies. All I am saying is that there was an option to rent a room under NON REFUNDABLE  RATE (cheaper) or FREE CANCELLATION RATE(more expensive) provisions. Both Expedia’s and Movepick’s sites explain the difference.
    So this guy (member of some professional group) either did not read the T&Cs or is weaseling his way out of the deal.

    The problem I have (personally) is that the amount charged to customers as liquidated damages (for cancelling a NON REFUNDABLE rate) seems to be too “extravagant and unconscionable” specially if the hotel can rent the rooms again. Liquidated damages should not be penalties. They must be reasonable.

    If you go with the reasonableness argument then it is hard to accept why there should be a difference between a NON REFUNDABLE or FREE CANCELLATION rates since the damage is really the opportunity cost (lost revenue) if the hotel cannot rent the room to someone else at the same price.

  47. Carver, I hope you are not suggesting that it’s either all or nothing. Either the hotel gets to charge ZERO because the Liquidated Damage is excessive or it may charge the whole 90% because it is allowed to by law.

    Maybe something in between 0 and 90% is fairer to both parties (even if they pre-arranged the liquidated damages). I have seen some hotel contracts that allow some (liquidated) damage mitigation specially for large events (like meetings and weddings).

  48. I voted yes but this isn’t a simple yes or no.  My first question is, how close were these neighbors?  Were they best friends, spending every waking moment together?  If so, then, yes.  Instead of neighbor, however, I’d use the term “best friend”.

    My second question is, was this neighbor to be his traveling companion?

    I always feel badly when one runs into this due to a death.  This is one of the single most unexpected tragedies to befall a person even if the person were ill for a long (or short) time.Had the OP only called to cancel a day or days before arrival then I get it but the best points he made was it being Oktoberfest season and 6 weeks in advance.  He makes a most valid point that this room will probably be re-sold and not only would the hotel not lose any money, they are now enriching themselves based on someone else’s misfortune.

    By all means, Chris, intervene.  If the hotel can give him 50%, they can give him more.  I’m sure the room’s already sold.

  49. My husband and I cancelled a weekend in Las Vegas for our 15th anniversary because my youngest son’s pet pug died.  

    It wasn’t just the death of a pet we were dealing with – we were also managing the broken heart of a 13 year old young man who had never had to deal with this before.

    We cancelled just over 24 hours before arrival and the hotel/casino was incredibly understanding, charging us nothing, mostly because the desk clerk who was on the other end of the phone had someone on another line looking for a room in the booked hotel for the exact nights we were cancelling.

  50. I don’t think that  death has anything to do with this.  You should be able to cancel any reservation 45 days in advance for any reason and expect to get a full refund.

  51. I voted against contacting the hotel, because the disclosure issue rests with Expedia. If they did not prominently display the 90% penalty or at the least refer to a “substantial penalty” for cancellations, then it’s on Expedia. I also did not think Chris should be an advocate, because the complainant’s reason (death of a friend) seems awfully flimsy unless the complainant was to travel with the friend, or he is serving an the executor for the friend’s estate. As the complainant notes, he made the cancellation and request for refund six weeks before his reservation date, which seems like plenty of time to grieve and then get on with life.

  52. The only thing I think when I read this is whether Joe Diamond would refund 90% of the down payment for an event that he was planning, that the customer had to cancel 90 days in advance.  So Joe, I’ve seen your website, let’s hear it… what’s YOUR cancellation policy?

  53. I am simply stating the law.

    If the LD clause is valid and the guest breaks the contract, the hotel is entitled to the entirety of the LD clause.

    If the LD clause is not valid, and the guest is at fault, then the hotel is entitled only to its actual damages that it can prove

    If both parties are at fault, then the LD clause is prorated based upon percentage of fault.

  54. Yes, the aggrieved party is expected to reasonable mitigate its damages when the measureof damages is compensatory damages.

    However, if the measure of damages is liquidated damages, no mitigation is necessary by the aggrieved party

  55. I would be sad if my neighbor died. But travel plans would not be cancelled. Now-my dog-that is different.
    Is that the hotel by Munich airport?

  56. Does the law allow the hotel to double dip? What if it did rent out the cancelled room and not lose a cent? In that case the 90% payment for cancellation would be a penalty, because the hotel made more money that it would have if the guest did not cancel, correct?

  57. It would be a penalty more so than a windfall.  That’s important because the law strongly disfavors a penalty.

    Beyond that, its not really relevant that the hotel double dipped.  Assuming that the liquidated damages clause is valid, a court might very well not allow the attorney to present evidence of the windfall.

    The reason is that perhaps in one situation the hotel made a profit because it 1) sold the room twice, 2) resold it at a higher rate, etc.
    But by the same token, perhaps the hotel couldn’t resell the room, or perhaps it sold it at a lower rate to priceline as distressed inventory.  Or suppose you booked multiple nights, and the hotel was only able to resell some of those multiple nights.

    The idea behind a liquidated damages clause is that making an actual calculation of the loss might be more art than science. Sometime the hotel will make money because of the LD clause, in other situations it will lose money. If the LD clause is fair, the hope is that over time, it all evens out even though in specific case it may give odd results.

  58. Wouldn’t any savvy traveler click on the “Cancellation Conditions” any time they submit a credit card number? It’s a pain, but required nowadays. I wouldn’t release my cc number without knowing that information. Altho the cancellation policy may not be posted clearly, esp. since it’s a bit out of the ordinary, but Expedia usually has a link to it when you go to pay. Take the 50% and run. Otherwise, try to sell those two nights on eBay or something…

  59. I truly don’t want to sound like a heartless jerk, but I find canceling 1 1/2 months in advance of the trip to be rather strange.  If the friend was going to be traveling with him, then I could see the need to cancel the entire trip, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  Was there some memorial service or something set far in the future that he was going to miss because of this trip?  It’s just not adding up for me.  I still find the 90% cancellation penalty to be highway robbery, but I don’t really see why it had to come to that.

  60. A friend dying can be just as hard as a blood relative. I don’t think anybody is arguing that.  But the issue is how far in advance this trip was going to be. Could there have been a memorial or something scheduled for a future date that was going to interfere with this trip?  Did he take on some obligation as a result of the tragedy?  It seems to me that even if he was on the fence about canceling the trip, the revelation he was going to be stuck with a 90% cancelation fee would have pushed him towards going through with it. There has to be more to this story.

  61. The hotel gets no sympathy from me.  I believe Mr. Diamond is correct, if it is Oktoberfest, they will sell that room easily.  He gave them plenty of notice.  Why should they be able to obtain any portion of a cancellation fee and still be allowed to sell that same room.  That is double dipping.  In the US, we are not supposed to do that.  There is no additional cost to the hotel in cancelling a reservation and re-booking to a difference client.  I work for a major chain. If our hotel is sold out, and we have a guest who tries to either cancel after the cutoff or is a no show, and I can sell that room to someone else, I am not allowed to charge that guest who had the room reserved or tried to cancel for not showing up.

  62. The hotel gets no sympathy from me.  I believe Mr. Diamond is correct, if it is Oktoberfest, they will sell that room easily.  He gave them plenty of notice.  Why should they be able to obtain any portion of a cancellation fee and still be allowed to sell that same room.  That is double dipping.  In the US, we are not supposed to do that.  There is no additional cost to the hotel in cancelling a reservation and re-booking to a difference client.  I work for a major chain. If our hotel is sold out, and we have a guest who tries to either cancel after the cutoff or is a no show, and I can sell that room to someone else, I am not allowed to charge that guest who had the room reserved or tried to cancel for not showing up.

  63. First, regardless of what we may think is an excessive cancellation policy, it IS their policy, and as such, stands.  As for a 50% refund for a friend’s death, that is generous indeed.  MOST companies require it be a direct relative (even aunts and unclues, close cousins and godparents don’t ususally qualify).  Since it is already bending its rules, I don’t see the need to try and force them to do even more.

  64. But he didn’t say this was his partner, and never brought that to the hotel’s attention from the above, or they probably would have been more lenient.  And that still doesn’t explain the 45 days!

  65. Because you only have a limited number of family members — but you can use a lame [email protected]@ excuse that the neighbor you see once a month is the reason for your cancellation — and how do we even know they are a friend, not just a convenient excuse?  And whether or not you think the policy is “stupid” it is the policy, and you can’t use that “stupid” excuse to get out of the booking you accepted at those terms & conditions when you find they no longer work for you.

  66. And they are giving him 50% for THIS case, so they are being flexible, which they do not HAVE to be.

  67. Unfortunately, it leads to those people who use any excuse to get out of their decisions.  Don’t want to go anymore?  Blame a pet’s death.  Spent too much and can’t afford to go anymore, blame the buddy’s death.  Far too easy to find excuses, and far harder to prove they are just that.  That’s why most of the limitations are in place.  To cover the TRUE exceptions that SHOULD be.

  68. But that doesn’t deal with the reality of those people who book, cancel, book, cancel – OVER AND OVER because they can’t make a decision, and leave a hotel hanging during their most popular time.  I have several clients who are wishy-washy, and the harsher the terms, the more they realize they have to actually MAKE a decision and live with the CONSEQUENCES.  So there are reasons for the steep penalties when dealing with these large events – and a s a “meeting planner” he would have KNOWN THAT!

  69. Go after Expedia.  Checked out the website, the 90% cancelleation fee is no where to be found.  I took the process right up to when you need to provide the CC info, nothing.  This is Expedia’s fault.  You should not let them off the hook that easily.  I would take them to task for this.

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