Since the original post has gotten so many negative comments due to the tone, here is the actual question, and I will add the additional details (absent subjective comments and names) at the end.
Question: Suppose you book a hotel which is advertised to be of a certain level of quality; in my case, through pictures and a four-star rating. You arrive to find it below your expectation, and decide that you would rather change hotels then stay. Is there any recourse for obtaining a refund? Barring that, is there any pitfalls to avoid in reviewing the hotel online to avoid retaliation?
I have been on a multi-hotel trip whose hotels were booked by my mother. Originally we were to spend three nights in our final destination; however, 5 days or so before, my mother decided she would rather stay where we were. She called Bookings.com and asked them to cancel one booking and rebook at another.
The next day, we contacted bookings.com to confirm our booking, only to find that the employee didn't (and in fact couldn't, without my mother giving her credit card information again) book the new hotel, which now has no vacancies. In the end, we booked the only supposedly comparable hotel we could find nearby which was still available on Bookings.com.
When we got to the hotel, we felt that it was not of the quality we expected given the stars and the pictures online. My mother was especially upset, as she felt that she was getting ripped off by this new hotel. After walking it off and talking to our last hotel, we returned to the new hotel to grab our things and leave. It should be noted that we tried to talk to the manager, but they were never available nor did they make any contact with us.
I want to know what advice I can give my parents in dealing with Bookings.com, who made the booking and is charging us for the room, and the hotel, who so far have only emailed Bookings.com about our complaint to say that we rendered a bathroom unfit for use (which isn't the case) and turned down an upgrade (which we simply weren't offered). I also want advice on how to proceed to warn other prospective customers about what we see as deceptive marketing and bad customer service.