Can I fix this Avis “fantasy” rental charge?

Marci Scheuer/Shutterstock
Marci Scheuer/Shutterstock
Harry Good recently prepaid for his rental car through a Swiss company called HolidayCars, which makes sense, since Good is an American expatriate who lives in Switzerland.

But what happened next doesn’t make any sense. When he picked up his car from Avis in Phoenix, where he planned to rent it for three months, all seemed well. Then, a few weeks later and without any warning, he found a $6,742 charge, in addition to the $3,711 he’d already paid HolidayCars.

Not good.
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5 insider tips for knowing your resort is in foreclosure


From the outside, the Puerto Rican inn that Pablo Solomon checked into looked like it belonged on the cover of a slick vacation brochure. The landscaping seemed immaculate, the lawn was freshly trimmed, and the pool an inviting shade of blue.

He paid no attention to the “for sale” sign out front. But he should have.

“It was a disaster,” remembers Solomon, an artist who lives in Lampasas, Tex. “The staff knew their days were numbered and just did not care. Nothing worked and everything was dirty. There were bugs. We found out later that the exterior looked nice only because an outside company did the maintenance.”

A record number of hotels are thought to be in foreclosure, meaning that Solomon is in good company. (No one appears to keep reliable records on a nationwide basis.) One industry-watcher estimated that as many as 10,000 properties are at risk — that’s roughly 1 in every 5 hotels.
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A bankrupt airline ruined my honeymoon

ataQuestion: I’ve been trying to get this issue resolved with Travelocity for more than six months, with no luck. We booked our honeymoon flight to Hawaii on ATA Airlines, but 10 days before our trip we got a call saying that the airline had gone out of business.

A Travelocity representative assured us we had been rebooked on new flights and that everything was taken care of. Needless to say, on the morning of our honeymoon, we had no tickets. The airline we were supposed to have been rebooked on, Delta Air Lines, was adamant that it wasn’t giving us any tickets. And a Travelocity representative kept telling us everything would be fine and they were “working it out.”

Nothing was worked out. We had to buy another set of tickets to keep our trip.

I’ve tried calling Travelocity customer service and was promised over and over that someone is looking into it, that they will call. They don’t. They keep asking for more time and keep telling me my request is on “urgent” status. I’ve sent them more than 65 pages of documentation by mail and fax. We’re out more than $4,000 for the airline tickets and an extra night’s accommodations and transportation expenses. Enough is enough. Can you please help us? — Kim Ryan, Phoenixville, Pa.

Answer: Travelocity should have issued a prompt refund for the new airline tickets you had to buy. Actually, it shouldn’t have come to this at all. As your online travel agent, it should have ensured you were rebooked on another flight — just like it promised.
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A very unhappy vacation: couple charged twice for Sandals getaway

luciaMari Ann Chaney paid for her vacation at Sandals in St. Lucia twice: once to her travel agent, which paid Watsonville, Calif.-based Happy Vacations, and again when she checked in.

Why did she and her husband, Tom, get billed twice? Turns out Happy Vacations suddenly went out of business, taking the Chaney’s money with them. When they arrived at Sandals, no one had heard of them.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with a double-billing scenario and a bankruptcy. But this time, there’s no happy ending.
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