10

I booked rooms in France using booking.com for 4 people, 2 children, 2 adults. Room was described as 2+2 family room and I paid full price when I booked it. I received a confirmation email from booking.com, which shows the price per night for a group stay of 2+2 and status paid.

When I arrived at the hotel tonight, after 12 hours of travelling, I was told this:

We are very sorry but we made a mistake when advertising this room and it should be 40 euros more. We did send an email last night to you; didn't you see it?

The email they sent simply said, "Please be aware you will be charged extra on arrival".

No, I didn't see it as I was travelling and had no free internet access. Why was it sent now, not after booked and paid?

I emailed booking.com and received a reply 2 hours later, after they contacted the hotel. The hotel refused to cooperate, there is nothing it can do, so either pay the extra charge, or leave the hotel and lose the money paid.

Is there anything I can do? Do I have any rights?

  • 1
    I have edited a bit, so that rather than purely opinion, someone knows of an option. – Giorgio Aug 19 '17 at 1:51
  • 2
    What exactly was the additional charge for? I have reserved through booking.com where in the fine print under price information there was notice that additional fees, such as local taxes would be collected by the hotel at check in. Other than that the mention during the booking process, booking.com didn't provide any other reminders of those fees or taxes. But on occasion I have received an email from the hotel reminding they will collect additional taxes at check in. – user13044 Aug 19 '17 at 2:58
  • 2
    How long is your stay in this hotel ? The 'Taxe de séjour', that is always collected at check-in in France vary from 0.2 € to 4 € depending on various factors. service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/vosdroits/F31635. That is per night * guest. So a 7 nights stay in a 3* hotel could actually cost around 40 €. – audionuma Aug 19 '17 at 7:10
  • 1
    In addition, French law is quite protective to customer, so a 'mistake while advertising price' would not be a valid point, unless obviously a mistake/typo. – audionuma Aug 19 '17 at 7:12
  • Are you sure that you paid for the children on the booking? I have seen the warning on booking.com often that extras, like more than two people in the room, will have to be paid at the location. – Willeke Aug 19 '17 at 11:59
10

I wonder how the same hotel owner would react if you emailed him and told him you made a mistake reading the amount while booking, and because of this you intend to pay 40 euro less for your stay...

Since you booked it on booking.com the first thing you need to do is to contact booking.com (which you already did) and tell them to accommodate you according to your prepaid booking. You have no interest to be an intermediate between hotel and booking.com. If they cannot accommodate you to this specific hotel - ok, this happens, but in this case they shall accommodate you to a similar location/quality hotel for the original price. Insist to talk to supervisor if the customer care representative is uncooperative.

If they do not cooperate, tell them in this case you will find a similar hotel yourself (using your own definition of what is similar) - and then charge them for the difference between bookings. If they refuse, you would sue them in court. Have to say that my experience with them was generally pleasant; I only had to go once through this routine a few years ago, and was promptly accommodated by supervisor.

Another option you have is to sue the hotel. In many countries the laws bind businesses to honor advertised prices, even if they were posted by mistake. The exceptions are generally limited to "obvious mistakes" - such as 40 cents a night booking. Telling the hotel you intend to sue them might make them more cooperative, and the law might provide for additional damages and even attorney fees. Note that in your case the hotel didn't seem to act in good faith - an e-mail notification sent 12 hours before the reservation could hardly be seen as good faith.

You might also need to explain them that if they posted the "correct" price, you would not stay there, and would find a comparable accommodation. In this case instead of making 40 euro more they might possibly end up with no booking at all. While this is not strictly necessary and doesn't relieve them from their obligations, this would help present it as a valid business dispute and not just a temper tantrum.

  • I had something almost exactly like this happen to me. I did precisely what you suggest, saying the equivalent of, "What luck! I accidentally accepted this price even though it was 40 Euros too high. I was about to ask you to refund the 40 Euros I paid mistakenly. Well, I guess our mistakes just cancel out." (Though it was actually at a restaurant and it was on a first date. Got a second date though, so ...) – David Schwartz Aug 19 '17 at 4:39
  • Note that although booking.com will probably want to accommodate you for PR reasons, if it gets to court they will try to hide behind the part of their terms and conditions which says that your contract is directly with the "supplier" (i.e. in this case the hotel). – Peter Taylor Aug 19 '17 at 9:03
  • As far as I remember, other companies tried that in court and it didn't work. The court clearly said one cannot collect commission without accepting some responsibility. While they might be able to shift liability to the Supplier (i.e. avoid joint liability), it is unlikely they'd be able to dismiss themselves from the action. – George Y. Aug 19 '17 at 23:49
1

either pay the extra, or leave the hotel and lose the money paid.

How was the money paid? If it was by credit card, you could attempt to get the money back from the credit card company via a chargeback or other process. Your exact rights here would depend on which country's laws govern your contract with the credit card company.

-1

A hotel e-commerce staff answering here. From my point of view, paid hotel reservation is nothing more and nothing less than purchasing a tangible goods. Once it is sold, it is sold.

I was once in the situation like this - at the different peer of course. When I mistaken the rate, and the room sold. It is no way in my mind that I'd asked the guests to pay the rates difference. The only thing to do is, let the guest enjoy the room they booked, ask my FOM to get bottom price for the room, and pay the difference from my own pocket. That's it. That was my fault to enter the wrong rate. And I took the blow like a man.

  • 1
    Booking a hotel room is absolutely not the purchase of tangible goods: it is the provision of a service. The customer's breakfast is the purchase of tangible goods: they are exchanging money for a physical item, and that item (the food and drink) then belongs to them and they can do whatever they want with it in perpetuity. That's not what happens to the room. – David Richerby Apr 14 '18 at 10:12
  • @DavidRicherby Actually some hotels do have a clause saying that you cannot take breakfast food out of the breakfast room (as a policy against people putting loads of food in their bags for the entire day). So it might not be a tangible good either but the provision of a restauration service in a specified space and with fair-use conditions. – Zozor Apr 15 '18 at 11:24
  • @Zozor Good point. I was thinking of non-buffet breakfasts but, now you mention it, it's a few years since I had a waiter-service breakfast at a hotel. – David Richerby Apr 15 '18 at 11:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.