I booked a room at at the Sunset Plaza in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico through booking.com. After 5 minutes, I saw a better deal elsewhere so I immediately went and cancelled the reservation. I got an email saying that the cancellation cost 16000 MXN ($800 USD). Can the hotel actually charge this absurd fee, even though I canceled within 5 minutes of making the reservation, and 30 days prior to the trip, thus not causing them to lose out on potential business?

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    Call booking.com immediately. – chx Feb 27 '17 at 2:27
  • These issues are easiest sorted out by filing a chargeback with your Credit Card company. – nikhil Feb 27 '17 at 3:15
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    @nikhil That's not a good idea if your agreement with them permitted the fee. – David Schwartz Feb 27 '17 at 5:12
  • I have had similar experiences and my advice would always be to contact the booking website and explain. I have had success with booking.com where, I accidentally booked the wrong date. They called the hotel, who agreed not to charge the cancellation fee (in general, it is the hotel that sets the cancellation policy, not the OTA). If the deal that you found was for the same room in the same hotel but through a different website, then booking.com have a price match policy. You will have little luck with credit card chargebacks, since the agent can prove that you accepted their policy. – PassKit Feb 27 '17 at 8:01
  • @DavidSchwartz generally credit cards provide you with other protections that help a lot in cases like these. It's also much harder for the merchant to contest chargebacks like these where there was no service provided. The CC issuer has leverage over the merchant and they're your friends in cases like these. – nikhil Feb 27 '17 at 16:20