I paid twice for my hotel on Booking.com. Can I get a refund?

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By Christopher Elliott

Why did Valeska Wehr get charged twice for her stay at a Marriott property in Boston? And why won’t Booking.com, the site through which she made the reservation, help her?

Question

I recently reserved and paid for a room at the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, Boston, through Booking.com. I prepaid $1,191 for my accommodations. 

Marriott sent me a confirmation that I had booked a room at the property and that I had paid for it. However, when we checked out, my husband paid for the room again — not realizing I had already paid for the hotel through Booking.com.

We had received an email invoice from the hotel, and we left the Marriott not realizing we had paid for our stay twice.

I contacted Booking.com straight away, but I don’t have a record of our interaction. Booking.com deleted all messages relating to my inquiry. Marriott has referred the matter to Booking.com, and Booking.com will not help me. Is there anything you can do? — Valeska Wehr, Bute, Australia

Answer

Booking.com should have charged you once, and Marriott shouldn’t have charged you at all. I know, thank you, Captain Obvious. But it merits repeating. I’ve reviewed your paperwork, and you shouldn’t have paid twice for your hotel.

Marriott believed you hadn’t prepaid your room. You might have been able to clear up the matter while you were at the property, but it looks like your husband didn’t get the memo, either. (Next time, please tell him you’ve prepaid.)

Still, this should have been easy to clear up.

Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to providing our employees with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

How to avoid a double booking with a hotel

Double-bookings happen more often than you think, and they’re fairly common on this site. Here are a few ways to avoid being charged twice for the same hotel room.

Use a reputable site or work with a travel advisor

Make your reservation with a well-known booking platform like Expedia, Booking.com, or Hotels.com. These sites have robust security measures in place to prevent fraudulent activity. That’s not to say they’re problem-free, but they usually fix anything that goes wrong.

Don’t prepay for your hotel

If you book a nonrefundable rate, you could easily get stuck with two nonrefundable rates. Avoid these extra cheap hotel rates.

Confirm your reservation

After booking, immediately verify your reservation details with the hotel. Confirm the dates, room type, and rate to ensure everything matches your original booking request.

Check your credit card statements

Remember to monitor your credit card statements for any suspicious activity related to your hotel reservation. Report any discrepancies to your bank or credit card issuer immediately.

If you see a double booking, say something

Contact the hotel and our reservation agent immediately if you notice any irregularities. Don’t wait until you check in to address the issue. It might be too late.

Bottom line: Pay attention and be proactive if you see something out of the ordinary. No one expects you to pay twice for the same room, but the sooner you address the problem, the likelier you are to fix it.

What happened to your reservation?

As I review the correspondence between you, Booking.com and Marriott, I see a lot of issues. There’s Booking.com referring you to Marriott, even though this was a Booking.com reservation. And there’s Marriott sending you what appears to be a form letter saying you can’t get loyalty points for your stay in Boston.

Wow, talk about confusion.

After receiving these disappointing responses, there’s only one thing left to do. You have to appeal your case to a higher level. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the executives at Marriott and at Booking.com on this site.

If you don’t watch your hotel bill, you could get charged twice

This is not the first time Booking.com has billed one of its customers twice — I had a similar case a few months ago — and I’m sure it won’t be the last. You have to watch your final bill carefully. When you give a hotel your credit card for “incidental” expenses, make sure it doesn’t charge you for the room again. It’s happened to me, and let me tell you, it is no fun to resolve it.

But there is a resolution to your case. You reached out to my advocacy team. I contacted Booking.com. It asked for proof of payment, which you furnished. Within a week, you had a full refund of the amount you’d overpaid.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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