I canceled my hotel but was charged anyway


Bob McIntyre is being billed $383 for a hotel room he never used. Now, both his online travel agent and the hotel are telling him the charges are legit. But are they?

Question: I recently booked a hotel room in New Orleans and had an unusual experience. We used Booking.com to make what we thought was a changeable reservation for a Monday and Tuesday night at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.

There was nothing on the Booking.com website to indicate that a three-day notice was required to cancel our reservation. Also, there was nothing indicating it would cost us almost $40 extra per day for parking at this property.
We would have never chosen the Bourbon Orleans if this had been made known to us.

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We contacted Booking.com and they canceled the reservation on Sunday night. But Booking.com refuses to return our deposit. What’s more, it has charged our credit card for $383 — that’s more than the $338 on the reservation.

Prior to retirement I traveled nearly 100 nights a year and have dealt with hundreds of hotels. I’ve never encountered such a dishonest, deceptive and unethical company in the travel business. Any help you can give us would be appreciated. — Bob McIntyre, San Antonio, Texas

Answer: Your online travel agent, Booking.com, should have disclosed the cancellation terms and the parking fees when you reserved your room. I reviewed the Bourbon listing on Booking.com after wrapping up this case, and found that both the parking charges and the cancellation terms were listed. Sorta.

The parking fee is clearly disclosed on the first page. However, the cancellation terms vary, based on your room type. It’s possible that Booking.com could have been clearer with you about your ability to cancel, but it’s difficult to know for certain.
By the way, you are not required to park your car at the hotel. From the looks of it, there’s plenty of available parking nearby, which may have been cheaper.

If Booking.com said you would get a refund, then you should have received a full $338 credit — not a charge for $383. I’m not sure what accounted for the extra $45. Maybe they also charged you for a car you never parked in their garage?
It looks as if you got your wires crossed between Booking.com and the hotel. Since you made your reservation through an online travel agent, it would be your first point of contact in resolving this problem. As far as I can tell, the Bourbon Orleans was just enforcing its cancellation policy.

If Booking.com couldn’t help you, then you might have also been able to dispute this charge on your credit card.
Fortunately, that would be unnecessary. I contacted Booking.com several times on your behalf. At first it promised to investigate your claim, but ultimately referred you back to the hotel, which denied your refund. After a second inquiry, Booking.com offered you a full refund.

Are hotel cancellation policies too strict?

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114 thoughts on “I canceled my hotel but was charged anyway

  1. I’ve used booking.com about 50 times, and have never had a problem on their side of things. I find it very easy to use and charges are always clearly laid out (including cancellation policies). I have had a handful of problems on the hotel side (wifi out for the day, etc) but always worked that out when I could point to the booking.com listing. I find it more likely that the OP didn’t read all the fine print, which is easy enough to do on booking.com

        1. 3 days before date of arrival. So by 1159P hotel time? 12 midnight? 1201am would be too late? Or 72 hours prior to regular check in time on day of arrive, hotel time? Not clear.

            APRIL 12-13
            APRIL 26-27
            MAY 03-04
            JULY 04-07
            AUGUST 30-31
            SEPTEMBER 01
            OCTOBER 31
            NOVEMBER 01-0
            DECEMBER 27-31
            30 DAY CANCELLATION

          2. They need to define arrival. Date, or date and time? Some hotels say it is 72 hours from their 3pm check in time, other say before 1201a on the DOA. Playing devils advocate, but it can make a difference.

      1. Yep, the extra $45 was probably the taxes, which are high in NOLA. I’m not too sympathetic. I’m also not a fan of sites like booking.com, but I acknowledge they work well for some folks.

  2. Don’t read before you book. Complain to Chris when things don’t go your way. Get refund because site does not want bad publicity. Same old, same old.

      1. You could spend your time better if people simply read terms before they book or bought insurance when they pay for a vacation that would cover “my spouse got sick and I need an exception to the rules because I was too cheap to buy insurance ” complaints. Then you’d have the legitimate complaints that need to be fixed instead of us constantly reading this type if complaint.

        If people stopped being so cheap and booked directly through the hotel they’d have less restrictive terms. There is usually some type of restriction when prices are very low.

        1. Actually, there are those who do book directly with the hotel site and choose the ‘non-refundable’ rate and they still want a refund if they have to cancel.

    1. Don’t expect hotels or OTA’s to follow their own rules. Charge the customer a penalty that’s twice as much as you should. If you’re the hotel, direct the customer to the OTA. If you’re the OTA, direct the customer to the hotel.

      If canceled or modified up to 3 days before date of arrival, no fee will be charged. If canceled or modified up to later or in case of no show, 100 percent of the first night(*) will be charged(**)

      (*) Note that this hotel doesn’t advertise any $300+/night rooms
      (**) Assumes the terms shown today match the terms shown to the OP

        1. You’re not assuming that the OP was presented the same terms we see today?

          Then you are welcome to consider the possibility that when the OP booked…

          There was nothing on the Booking(dot)com website to indicate that a three-day notice was required to cancel our reservation

          1. When you book, either online or by phone, get an email with the terms or copy them off the website and keep them available in case you need them. If you don’t see what you need, don’t book until you get the information. If you do your own bookings, you need to be responsible for obtaining everything.

          2. If you copy the terms off the website and then later cancel on time according to those terms… and then those terms are not honored..

            …then obviously you think that’s very fishy and obviously anyone could have photo-shopped those terms and obviously you don’t believe them (why would they take a screenshot if they weren’t up to something fishy!) and obviously you wouldn’t want Chris to take their case.

          3. The OP said he’ thought’ the rate was one he could cancel. He obviously didn’t copy the rules for future reference.

      1. Yes, but if you book there, just expect lousy service. If you book through an OTA, you need to go back to the OTA for the rules of the rate booked. Also, hotels don’t always get access to your booking until a few days prior to your arrival.

  3. Once again, it is rarely worth it to use an aggregate booking site. Book the hotel directly via their website or call centre, or book it through a real travel agent. Furthermore, how much do you ever actually save with a non-refundable reservation? Rarely more than 10% it seems, basically the hotel rebating to you the commission they would have otherwise paid to a travel agent. Big deal. Not worth the potential liability. Save $35 or lose $350.

    1. So true. Honestly I cannot fathom why anyone bothers to use these sites anymore.

      I actually do remember, many years ago when online booking was still a relative novelty, when you COULD get awesome deals by booking through an online agency…when the rates that you could get through them were often significantly cheaper than the rates you could get direct through the hotel. It hasn’t been that way in years, however.

      I’m curious what the business model is for these sites these days. Since they don’t save you any money, why are people still using them?

      1. I remember those days. I think these sites still make money because they buy extra rooms for a rock bottom rate, and then sell them for the same price as the hotel, so there is till profit in it. Its probably the same as before, its just that the sites used to make less when hey had actual deals.

      2. In all fairness, Booking(dot)com is not your typical scumbag OTA.
        This is a booking site that actually sells post paid (pay at hotel) rates and acts like an agency and not as a merchant.
        I use booking(dot)com and I won’t hesitate to recommend it to my clients.
        And here is the reason why. It’s not easy for a travel agent to collect commission. So sometimes it is easier to use booking(dot)com at slightly lower POSTPAID rates. Also booking(dot)com is a supplier to travelport (GDS company) so if TAs use Travelport Rooms and More, we can be assured of getting a commission from Booking(dot)com.

        In fact I do have a reservation (as we speak) with them for Cambridge (Harvard Square) prior this coming memorial day weekend.

    2. I think in this case, the OP even did pick a refundable reservation, but it had to be canceled within 3 days of the stay. I have seen many hotel with 3 days windows, as well as many that still have day of arrival cancellation windows. Some high end hotels have 15 day cancellation windows.

      I wonder if the additional fee the OP got charged was for taxes.

      1. I’ve got refundable reservations coming up, so long as I cancel within x hours of the date. In one case, it’s 24 hours. In another it’s 72 hours (boutique hotel, like the OP’s hotel). In the last reservation I’m holding, it’s 4 p.m. of the day of arrival, but no one could ever claim that that particular place is boutique.

        I figured taxes, too, but I thought that taxes didn’t apply to cancellation penalties. Learned something new, I guess.

        1. The other day I booked a few nights at Marriott, believe it or not in San Antonio, and it says I must cancel prior to 72 hours or I will be charged 1 nights penalty, and then lists a dollar amount which is more than the base rate. After doing the math its equal to the base rate plus tax. I wouldn’t have though they would charge the tax either, but in retrospect the penalty they list is usually higher than the base rate on all of my bookings.

      2. Check this out for the same hotel over 4th of july holiday
        30 days cancellation !!!
        and look at the room rate for the 4th !!!

  4. One of the things that I do when booking a hotel stay in a larger city is to check to see what the charge for parking is. Darn few big cities don’t have one, in my experience, especially if they’re located right smack dab in the middle of the best part(s) of a city, like the hotel in this case. I factor that in when I choose my hotel and when and if I have to pick up a rental car during my stay. I’m surprised that the OP didn’t do so, given his much more extensive experience than mine in traveling.

    1. Oh, so true. Which is why I don’t recommend a car in a lot of towns where you will be puttering around the local haunts only. Honolulu’s parking costs the same as a one day car rental generally, so why bother? 🙂

        1. Nice.

          But most hotels in Waikiki have some auto rental company on site. Just rent for the day do your sight seeing and return it when done. Don’t have to pay hotel parking then (unless you do and in-n-out approach). This is the approach I usually take and it works well for me.

          1. Not only recommend it for ALL my clients, but do the same myself – LOVE the North Shore, so always figure on a self-drive day. 🙂

          2. We stay on the north shore. Love it! Parking in Waikiki is a pain, plus the parking stalls are narrow. I have picked up a car at the airport, used it for the day and dropped off in Waikiki where I was staying for no drop fee through one of our vendors. Worked out beautifully. Next trip though we have to have a car in Waikiki and it is driving me nuts to have to pay for the one night at $35 🙁 before flying home.

    2. And contacting the visitor bureau or searching online for long term parking lots can save hundreds. Hubby had to go to a week-long convention in Texas once (Dallas, I think), and it cost less for him to purchase a 1-month come-and-go pass for him to park the car a private long-term lot a block from the hotel than it would have cost him to park in the hotel’s underground lot.

      1. That’s brilliant! I’ll keep that in mind if we end up having to be in one place for a while in the future. Thank you!

      2. Yup. Toronto has an awesome site too. A public garage for 7 CAD is 3 blocks from my hotel charging 40CAD. Since I’m planning on letting my car sit for days while I walk or take a subway that’s the way to go.

        1. Is there 24 hour security in the public garage, or security at night? In SF, a lot of hotels use public garages to park their guest’s cars.

          1. It says if it is ‘surface’ or ‘garage’ (I didn’t bother to search for ‘street’) and the ‘garage’ ones say if there is a cashier or not. I don’t see anything about security. The site is called parkingDOTgreenpDOTcom and I like it quite a bit. But I’ll know more next month when I try to use the info they provide!

    3. I am disappointed when there is no additional charge for parking. I don’t drive, and to bury the expensive cost of parking lots into the price of rooms is unfair to those who do not drive. Unlike some other charges imposed by hotels and airlines, parking is truly an optional service that no one needs to incur. It should be unbundled.

      1. As my name implies, I’m from Nebraska. Parking is “free”, unless you go to tourist destinations/downtowns in the larger cities (population 5,000+) and even then, most parking is during the day, for events, or near downtown hotels or attractions. But New Orleans? Honolulu? New York? (LMAO at that one, let me assure you!) Philadelphia? Chicago? Austin? You pay to park. Now, in those places, there’s generally mass transit available. So, no need to have a car.

        But if you travel outside of the larger cities, you need to have a car. And then you have to park the car. My husband and I go to many places not generally considered tourist destinations, so real estate is much cheaper in those areas. “Free” parking is a given.

        So, while I agree that parking is an optional service in the big cities, it’s not a universally optional service, in that there are far more small cities, towns and places than there are big cities.

        1. It is true that in smaller cities, a much larger proportion of the guests do use automobiles. And for people who do use automobiles, there’s probably an expectation that “everyone” else does, as well. But I’ve stayed many times in rural locations, and I’ve never driven an automobile (typically, I will have have traveled on a bus, train, taxi, or just walked). Thus, it is always an issue with me.

          In rural locations, land tends to be much cheaper, and so a parking lot doesn’t add all that much to the room price if the cost is embedded therein. Still, it doesn’t sit well when all I want is a bed, and I also have to subsidize “free” automobile parking for all the other hotel guests. I suppose that rationale applies as well to having “free” coffee in the room, “free” breakfast in the morning, or a “free” hotel swimming pool.

          1. In some locations parking is required by zoning regulations. The hotel/motel must have it.

          2. And of those localities that mandate parking, do any also mandate the provision of public transportation systems for those people unable to drive?

        2. Ha what, you are lucky? In my part of America, I pay for everything – parking, garbage pickup, car property tax, security alarm permits, aircon/heat furnace replacement permits, roofing replacement permits, etc. etc. – in addition to my income tax, sales tax, etc. etc.

          1. My biggest beef is paying to pay my car. The recently started charging for parking at one of local malls. Sales are down and stores are closing. A hotel in Hawaii use to charge for parking, even to eat at one of their restaurants. When a downturn in the economy kept tourists away, they dropped the parking fee. They found sales went up.

      2. So i don’t normally use the TV or hairdryer or iron & ironing board. I bring my own soap and shampoo. I almost never use the gym facilities or the pool. Using your logic, these should also be paid for individually.

        I think a better approach for the big city hotels toward parking would be to have a rate which includes parking (at a minimal amount) and charge non-guests of the hotel wanting to park there the $40+ a day. It bothers me that these hotels state “Our parking is managed by another company so we have no control over the price.” To this I say Bull. It is your parking garage on your property sometimes even physically part of the actual hotel building — you have complete control.

        1. What annoys me are the hotels that charge me $40 a night for parking if I stay there, but its free or cheap for visitors. A hotel I am going to next months charges $40 a night for parking and its in the middle of no where. However non overnight guests can park for up to 12 hours for free.

          Edit: non-guests get it free with validation, otherwise its $12 for up to 12 hours.

          1. There is a high end hotel over on the coast, south of SF. Nothing else close by, yet they charge for parking. THAT I don’t get, except that they can.

      3. Seriously? The Hyatt at North Shore Tahoe provides you with ‘free’ parking that is included in their resort fee. Funny thing is, parking is free there regardless.

        There is a hotel in SF that has package rates that include parking that often will be less than the rate you would book. It is to encourage locals to come in for the burbs and enjoy the city.

      4. Oh, I hate this logic. I take three minute showers. Other people take 45 minute showers, particularly at hotels where the hot water never runs out and they don’t have to pay the water bill. It’s obviously unfair that my room rate factors in the overall cost of water usage when I’m not the one using all the water. Also, I take the stairs, so the cost of the electricity for the elevators shouldn’t be my responsibility. And I never eat the complimentary breakfast, and I bring my own soap, and bed, and, and, and. For heaven’s sake. Should we staple a GPS tag to your shirt and charge you by the second only for the time you’re actually in the hotel, since you’re not enjoying the air conditioning that’s still running?
        The problem with what is charitably called “unbundling” is that the overall price never gets any lower for anyone. Airline tickets didn’t drop when they started charging for baggage, hotels didn’t get cheaper when they started charging resort fees for water bottles, and it conditions us to think that the hotel’s cost of doing business should cost us extra, rather that being offered an upfront rate that actually allows the hotel to make a net profit.

    4. I have never rented a car in NoLa, I can get almost anywhere on foot or by cab. Ive found R/T cab too and from the airport is far cheaper than a rental car and/or even just pairing fees. I can get a daily rental if I need one and still avoid paying for parking.

      1. My husband had to do some due diligence while we were in NoLa, and no streetcars or buses went to those locations, so we rented the car and paid the parking garage fees. Seemed like a stupid expense to me, too, but his company covered it.

        1. That’s nice that it was covered. I only ventured out once, so it was cheaper to take a cab for that one occasion. I miss the food there, I can’t wait to go back some day.

          1. Me too. I liked the people there even more than the food. Use a little common sense and even Bourbon Street at night is fun.

          2. I can’t agree more, some of the nicest most hospitable people I have ever met in my life! I met so many nice people everywhere I went, though I hardly ever meet someone I don’t get along with, but all the people were just so friendly, I had conversations all over the place, even helped a random person celebrate her birthday.

            And all of the places of business went above and beyond service wise. Except Cafe Du Monde of all places, service was poor there.

          3. Line was 45 minutes long there, so an employee was walking up and down the line asking if anyone was just ordering beignets to go. Since we were, I got my beignets (and waaaaay too much powdered sugar) in 5 minutes. Waitstaff at the tables looked very tired for so early in the workday.

          4. Nola is awesome. Best vacation place when you live in Memphis and you have nothing to do 🙂
            Unfortunately Cafe Du Monde is way too busy so you don’t get the lazy do nothing mood there. But the beignets are to die for.
            My wife and her sister lived outside Nola (working for Dupont) so they have local Cajun friends. Now getting invited and fed by them is absolutely a worthwhile experience. Best cooks in America. Nothing comes close, not even the culinary institutes here in NY area.

            Not sure why this guy cancelled and missed the fun.

      2. This is true for people flying into NO but if you are a ‘local’ coming in for a weekend, you usually do have a car. We live close to SF and if we don’t get a hotel package that includes parking, you can expect to pay over $60 a night to park your car, plus tax. Ouch!

        1. Good call, and I don’t see it unreasonable to drive from San Antonio to NoLa, it’s about 8 hours or so, so easy to do without stopping for the night. I still can’t believe how huge Texas is.

  5. Why are you asking if the hotel cancellation fees are too strict? When you book through these discount websites you get what you pay for. To save a few dollars they often have different cancellation terms than if you paid full price.

    You get what you pay for by using discount websites.

    1. And its not just these sites – when booking during special events or peak season, the resorts themselves can have restrictive terms, sometimes as much as 30 days. KNOW what you can afford to lose, and insure against it when possible, or be prepared to lose.

      1. Just for fun, take a look at rates for hotels in downtown Omaha May 1 – 4. See if you can find ANY hotel available at ANY price next weekend. Those hotels have been booked for close to a year, and all require prepayment. Any cancellations or changes forfeit all 4 days of inflated prices. May 1 – 4 is Berkshire Hathaway weekend. For more fun, compare the rates to any other time of the year (except College World Series in June).

  6. I’m curious why he decided to cancel his booking.

    And I’m also curious how he found the information about the parking fee, since – according to him – it wasn’t indicate in the website neither he went to hotel.

    1. I went to the hotel’s website, and it’s buried, but there. $34/night plus 12% tax. $4 surcharge for an SUV or large car. I’m going to guess that since the OP is from San Antonio, he’s got either an SUV or pickup. (Not stereotyping, just my firsthand observations!) That would bring the nightly fee to $40 or so.

      1. I rented an “Intermediate” car in San Antonio and all they had available were pickups, SUVs, and Infinities. Very strange. They let me pick and I went with an Infinity M which was an amazing car!

      2. LOL – I live in San Antonio. (No, I don’t know the OP.) We don’t ALL drive pickups or bigass SUVs. 🙂 I drive an RX350, which is a very practical size. You will see a lot of pickups, but you will also see Mini Coopers, Fiats, and an occasional Smart Car. I’d also say he’s not necessarily driving to NO so maybe he rented a regular car. NO is a drivable distance if you have a day before and after when you need to be there, but it’s quicker to fly. Last time I went I flew Southwest.

          1. Right now it’s Fiesta week. That is really the big party time of the year. You should come sometime!

  7. This baffles me:

    There was nothing indicating it would cost us almost $40 extra per day for parking at this property. We would have never chosen the Bourbon Orleans if this had been made known to us.

    So the OP found out about parking later, and canceled only because of the parking fee? I think what really happened is the OP found a better deal later somewhere else, or wanted to cancel for some other reason, and this is the OPs excuse to try to get out of it.

    1. He may well have found a better deal somewhere else.

      And he may well not have cancelled if during the cancellation process he was notified that he would be charged a 100% cancellation penalty.

      1. But if he had read the rules and copied them for future reference, he would have known it. Stupid is as stupid does is the saying.

    2. For big city hotels, I ALWAYS check to see if it’s regular parking or valet and how much that is. Depending on how much they charge for parking, it could change my decision on what hotel to stay at.

  8. Even right now, this hotel does not document its cancellation policy as clearly and precisely as it should.

    On the hotel’s own website, it says:

    Reservations must be cancelled 72 hours prior to arrival to avoid a penalty of one nights room and tax.

    On booking-dot-com it says:

    If canceled or modified up to 3 days before date of arrival, no fee will be charged. If canceled or modified up to later or in case of no show, 100 percent of the first night will be charged

    So what precisely does 72 hours/3 days prior to arrival mean? For a Monday night reservation, I would have read booking-dot-com’s language to mean by 23:59 on Thursday and I would have read the hotel’s language to mean by 23:59 on Friday. Do they really intend to apply different policies?

    Granted, calling on Sunday would be too late under either criteria (if the criteria was indeed included in the original reservation).

    Then again, if a customer contacts the vendor to cancel after the deadline, then the representative should make it clear that one night will be forfeited. And they shouldn’t bill the customer for the second night too.

    1. Good point on that last paragraph. I don’t know what the rates were for the OP’s originally planned stay, but the hotel doesn’t seem to be charging $338 (plus tax) per night.

    2. Usually cancellation is by hotel checkin, which is 3p-4p (varies so do check) and the time is based on hotel time, not your time.

  9. One of my biggest issues in booking online with hotels is finding parking fees. In the GDS it isn’t a problem, but on hotel websites they don’t make it easy. Another part of the parking issue is noting if it is onsite or off and if there is security.

    1. Yeah, I really hate that when you go looking for details and all you find is “A fee may apply for this service” or ” breakfast will be served during breakfast hours.” Is it really that difficult to be specific??

  10. So far I really like booking .com. Last summer I wanted to stay at the Radisson Blu at the Hamburg airport. Radisson’s website said there were no rooms for the date I wanted. Oh well, let’s find another hotel, so I went to booking .com, and lo and behold they listed rooms! Double checked the dates on both sites – same story. I crossed my fingers and booked through booking. com. No problems whatsoever. I was a little worried about Radisson saying they didn’t have rooms available, but it worked out.

    1. I have encountered the same thing, not just for clients but for myself. For a client, I called the hotel directly and they said they were sold out, but one of my vendors said they had rooms left in their allotment. I booked the room, but first told the client of the information I had and asked the client when they returned if there were any issues. He said it all went well, they got upgraded in fact and that the hotel was certainly not sold out.

      1. Use a couple vendors religiously for this fact alone – since they contract for a set number of rooms, they have long after the hotel shows a sell-out. NICE option!

  11. Even if he had booked directly through the hotel, it seems unlikely that he would have been able to cancel a Monday arrival on “Sunday night” without a penalty. Even the most generous cancelation policies tend to put the deadline around the 3pm check in time the previous afternoon.

  12. I did my undergrad in NOLA and waited tables in the FQ so I’m very familiar with the area. While not ideal, $40 a night for parking is standard in that neighborhood for hotels. Now, if the OP had bothered to do any research, he would have found that many garages in the area, operated by Premium Parking and others, offer parking for $20-$25 a night with in and out privileges. So, zero sympathy on the parking fee.

    I’m not sure why the OP deserved a FULL refund, although a partial one was in order. His pain and suffering simply didn’t justify what he received.

    1. Not living in a city environment would everyone think about parking away from their hotel, so that is one I would give a pass on. Plus, again, security, what security does the hotel offer and what does the off site lot give? Those are important. In San Diego, where cars are stolen by the minute, you want a good 24/7 security wherever you park.

      1. Most of the lots in the FQ, including the ones I referenced, are valet only, so security is less of an issue.

    2. I agree about researching hotel parking. If you don’t like the parking, then go out and research. Or sometimes just slip a 10 to the front desk person and ask them where the cheapest parking is and they’ll tell you (they know the area after all.) Heck, I just asked them outright where the cheapest parking was last time I stayed in Philly and the gal said: “Across the street, it’s 17 bucks” THEIR parking was $40!!!!

      In regards to Boedega’s point below about security. The across the street lot had an elevator that looked about 100 years old, almost no security, and merely a guy at the exit area to collect money. The way I look at it is this: The best security is to have nothing to steal. I leave nothing of value in the car (at least visible) and drive older cars. If you have a BMW and want to leave valuable electronics in plain view, I’d probably pay extra for secure parking. But even then, why not have a security system that texts you if someone messes with it?

      1. It’s the FQ, not Disney World. Everything, including the parking structures, is going to be old and dusty.

      2. Are you familiar with the car stealing in San Diego. It has nothing to do with what is in the car, they steal the car, tear it apart and take the parts across the border. I had clients out to dinner in Old Town, who came out and found their locked car open, people in the act of trying to steal the whole car. They have flatbeds waiting to quickly move in and take your car. My son’s car was stolen and found at the boarder, parts of the car missing. In SF, at the Pier 39 parking garage, with security camera rolling, they found cars being entered electronically, accessing items hidden in trunks and glove boxes. Last report, police can’t figure out how they are doing this and by passing security alarms, too.

        1. I have a guess. Probably some Russians set up something to sniff people’s chirpers and then reproduce them. The newest cars are probably especially vulnerable since the chirper not only opens the doors, but also can be used to start it too.

  13. A couple of comments:

    1. You can expect to pay for parking when you book a hotel in most cities. And you can expect it to be quite expensive. You should be surprised if there is NOT a big charge for parking. Some hotels will even require you to use valet parking.

    2. There are all sorts of “options” with regards to cancellations, even amongst so-called reputable hotels. I’ve seen cancellation policies of “90% of entire stay”. Always, always research the terms.

    3. What you did the past gazillion years in travel doesn’t apply today. It is a different game now.

    Sorry to see this happen, but in two words – watch out.

    This travel game isn’t what it used to be.

    (And we don’t need any “use a professional travel agent” solutions either. That’s very often not the solution.

      1. I meant to say that valet parking is the only option in some places. I don’t like to use valet parking…they leave your car out with the keys in, it is crammed in with other cars, often moved a lot, you don’t have a chance to lock it, etc. etc.
        I apologize for not being clear.

        1. I would not want to park my own car in Manhattan. Thank goodness there is valet parking (not just in hotels but almost all lots I know of). Well worth it if you ask me. Honestly, this is just the price we pay to live or visit a crowded city.

          1. Point taken.
            However, New Orleans:
            Car parked in distant parkade by valet parking – stereo cranked. Anyone so disrespectful as to do that has no business in valet parking.

            New Orleans other hotel:
            Car brought out, left with keys in it,no attendants. Lack of security.
            Took car and left as no one there.

            I don’t do valet parking. Ever.

            To each their own.

  14. “From the looks of it, there’s plenty of available parking nearby, which may have been cheaper.”

    Former downtown New Orleans resident here, and where on earth did you come up with this? Parking is very much at a premium in the Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods, especially during the spring festival season.

  15. They’re not too strict, they are often opaque. Seems that a hotel with different cancellation policies depending on the room you choose is actively trying to confuse potential guests. I’ve not had any problems booking hotels directly, but just ran into the same kind of thing with Expedia. It’s a sad situation today that everyone is out to scam their customers, from the local guy on the corner to worldwide hotel chains. Most of us aren’t diligent enough because we’re used to “honesty” …. those days are gone.

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