Are “unpublished” hotel reservations too hard to cancel?

Question: I recently tried to book a four-star hotel in New York through Expedia’s unpublished rates section, which doesn’t reveal the name of the hotel until you pay for it. The hotel we ended up with was DoubleTree by Hilton New York Chelsea, which is only listed as a three-star hotel on other popular websites. I understood before calling that Expedia has a no-cancellation policy on the unpublished hotel rates, but I figured if I called right away I might be lucky enough to get it canceled.
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His SeaWorld vacation is sunk — where’s his refund?

This vacation is doomed - where's my money? / Photo by Gandalf Grey - Flickr
If you want to save a little money on your next SeaWorld vacation, booking it all in the same place might be a good move. That’s what Jim Strasbaugh thought when he found a two-day package at SeaWorld Orlando through SeaWorld Vacations.

He was wrong.
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Case dismissed: The valet service damaged our rental, but we got the bill

Car rental damage cases are usually disputes between two parties — the renter and the agency. But not always.

Ron Goldstein recently rented a car from Thrifty in Los Angeles. He left the car with a parking valet at the DoubleTree by Hilton Guest Suites Santa Monica. It’s a decent hotel about a block from where the 10 freeway ends, and street parking isn’t really an option.

And then things took a turn for the worse.
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Sorry, your room is non-refundable — did we neglect to mention that?

Norman and Mary Lou Vitrano are by their own admission not Internet-savvy, which is why they phoned the Doubletree Beach Resort Tampa Bay/North Redington Beach to make their room reservations last August. When the couple’s plans changed and they tried to cancel their reservation, a hotel representative informed them their room was completely non-refundable.

There’s just one little problem: No one had told the Vitranos that the room was non-refundable. “We wouldn’t have made the reservations under those conditions,” says Norman Vitrano.

And here’s where the story takes a strange twist.
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