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marksfour Mar 4th, 2008 08:08 PM

WARNING -beware Wired
We just booked a room (for our D in Shanghai)through a website that is "run" by Wire Destinations. We subsequently receive an email saying there are no more rooms available at that particular hotel, but they can offer a comparable hotel room and to click "yes" if you agree to this.
Unfortunatley we clicked yes without reading their policy which we later found several "mouse clicks away".

Found out the hotel that had no rooms left does indeed have many rooms available and the room they 'bait and switched' with us is located miles away and is nowhere near the Bund(and is listed at a cheaper rate on their booking site than what we were actually charged. See, you have to then go back to the website to check the rate but at the time we just clicked yes via email we are also to blame).

Tried to cancel room right away when we realized we were not only paying more than their posted website rate but staying at a hotel nowhere near where we had originally booked. I guess the word "comparable" has many meanings and our fault for not clarifying.

They tell us the reservation is now cancelled but our money will not be refunded. I called 2x and to no avail. I then asked them to keep the reservation since we will end up paying for the room anyway,and they said they can't do that since we cancelled the room. We would have to re-book and pay full rate again!

Just be warned that the web address does not say "WireDestinations" but when you go to various sites you will see their logo on the page.

We are partially to blame for clicking yes without finding out the listed rate of replacement hotel and the location.

PS. During one of my calls, I could hear another agent in the background saying the same thing, "We cannot refund your money because it is our policy when you clicked yes on the email".

JamesA Mar 4th, 2008 09:44 PM

For our bookings within Thailand we have sites we always use ( not a cent until fully confirmed by hotel itself, and then only 1 night deposit, balance 2 weeks before arrival ).

For outside like SIN, Australia, anywhere in Asia the 'only' ones I will ever used are those of or partnered with Hotelclub ( Australian based ) with their hotels offered on 'Instant Confirmation', i.e they show which hotels they have 'automatic instant confirmation for', none of this 'requesting and waiting'.

Sometimes when I have bothered just to glance elsewhere out of interest their rates might be a little less, perhaps the same, maybe a little more, but I don't mind even if a little more, I just like booking with 'instant confirmation' and it works exactly as they claim it does, you are confirmed there and then.

I have never liked the idea of those that ask you for a credit card before they can even tell you if it's confirmed or not. I would never use. Even if Hotelclub has a hotel 'on request' I'll avoid and go for one of those with automatic confirmation.
For their last minute it's instant too and you only pay 12% deposit and pay the balance at the hotel, like that!

marksfour Mar 4th, 2008 10:29 PM

Good advice..we weren't thinking...we definitely learned our lesson.

frogoutofwater Mar 5th, 2008 03:27 AM

Call your credit card company and dispute the charge. If it wasn't possible for you to read their policy before clicking yes, then you could make the argument that you didn't authorize the charge. If they have misrepresented that no rooms were available and then bait-and-switched you, you could also argue that you didn't authorize the charge. Be completely factual in your explanation of the problem (don't exaggerate) and you have got a chance at having the charge removed. Some credit card companies are better than others - I've found Amex in the US to be pretty good about these things.

marksfour Mar 5th, 2008 06:45 AM

Thank you Frogoutofwater for your help. I am calling first thing this morning! Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

lcuy Mar 5th, 2008 10:20 PM

Sorry you had to deal with this Marksie, but thanks for the heads up.
So, you get charged a full night as penalty for canceling, but once you find out you're going to have pay in full, they say you can't stay there.... That's a good one! Some of these website owners must lie awake nights coming up with new scams.

The reco to contest it with your credit card company is good. Hope it works.

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