Don't use "Hotel Advisor"

May 16th, 2007, 02:59 AM
  #21  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22
While others have said that some of the responses were rude, I have not. I simply said that anyone who WISHED to be rude was free to do so.

While I understand that no one has any particular reason to believe my story, I also understand that no one has any particular reason to disbelieve it.

Thanks to those of you who were welcoming and/or sympathetic.

For the rest, I don't need to know the quantity of your posts: all of the information I need is displayed in the content.

Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 03:15 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Zeus wrote: "I find it hard to fathom why or how the Inquisitors have time to go through the trouble of determining how many posts you've made then assuming your motives."

First, it is trivially easy to find a person't posting history -- one click.

Second, in considering whether or not to accept advice, it is sensible to consider who is giving it, and posting history is a useful aid.

Third, I see no evidence of anybody making assumptions about Pheidippides's motives.

It is clear that Pheidippides had a bad experience. On the account he or she gave, there appears to have been some misunderstanding on each side, but I accept that Pheidippides seems more victim than perpetrator.

I have had a number of annoying experiences in my travels, but I am reasonably good about protecting my interests, and I would never resort to attempting to orchestrate an email campaign against somebody with whom I found myself in conflict (such thoughts have crossed my mind, but only as harmless fantasies).

Padraig is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 03:46 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,037
Greetings. Sorry your debut to the board was in respect of an unfortunate mishap.

I have never dealt with the firm you mention, but I think I see part of your problem.

First, some clarification:
You made a rez for January 2.
You then state you wanted to change this to December 29.

I assume your new rez didn't include the night of January 2 (?)

You don't mention the length of your desired stay, but let's assume it was for 3 nights. To reiterate, you have:

1) the first reservation you made, starting the night of January 2, departing January 5;
2) The second reservation you made, starting the night of December 29, departing January 1.

The cancellation of the first does not automatically follow from your wishing to make the second reservation. What I'm saying is that when making 'changes', it is safest to treat the two dates as two separate reservations, notwithstanding your own personal plans (it is the same with air travel; changing dates isn't necesssarily recognized by the airline as being any different from a cancellation of one booking followed by another booking.)

So, I think the confusion arose in part because you apparently didn't understand you ultimately needed to make TWO cancellations, not one.

According to the agency's policy you were liable for a $10 fee for any cancellation made more than 5 days after receipt of the confirmation email. (By the way, it is always a good idea to keep a paper trail of Internet reservations: print out policies that were in effect at the time you make the reservation and keep them on file with your other rez paperwork.)

You don't make clear when you cancelled (or attempted to cancel) the 2 January rez, so I can't tell if the $10 fee would apply for that one. But it is fairly clear that your cancellation of the 29 December one came after more than five days, so the fee would apply in that case.

Somehow, the hotel itself apparently felt there was still a rez in your name for the 2 January. I say this since the agency told you they didn't receive confirmation from the hotel of what you referred to as a 'change'.

If you still have the emails asking for a change, you can use it to appeal to Visa to have the charge for the no-show dropped, since notwithstanding the somewhat confusing terminology (a change as I said doesn't necessarily negate the fact of a cancellation taking place) you did try to cancel the 2 Jan rez in favour of a new one on 29 Dec, which latter one you apparently did successfully cancel.

I'm sorry for all your grief, but bear in mind for next time that dealing with an agency AND with the hotel directly put you at particularly high risk of these misunderstandings arising, especially since the agency reported it hadn't had clear feedback from the hotel with respect to one of your reservations.

Again, I am sorry to hear about all your grief, but I think that this was a communication problem between all three parties (hotel, agency, you), and not necessarily evidence that the agency was dishonest.

As for the rest, I agree with Maryfran: insofar as the issue is concerned, it is irrelevant whether you have posted 1, 10, or 1000 times. Welcome to Fodors, and better luck next time. Paperwork is always one of the least enjoyable aspects of independent travel!
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 03:58 AM
  #24  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22
I posted a warning to others about my experience with this company. When I mentioned sending an email, it was hardly an attempt to "orchestrate an email campaign", it was a mere afterthought which evolved out of my utter frustration in dealing with this company.

In retrospect, it may not have been the best approach to the situation, but I am really powerless to do any more to resolve my dispute with them. Any emails sent to them really won't help me any, at this point, but I thought it might cause them to at least look at their policies and procedures.

The warning, however, still stands.
Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 04:02 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,231
"Who's been rude? Some have legitimately questioned your authenticity..."

Surely it is in itself rude to question the authenticity of someone whom you do not know? Benefit of the doubt and all that jazz, until such time as (if ever) they build up a posting history that demonstrates they're not to be believed.

"It is trivially easy to find someone else's posting history". Maybe so, but I wonder why anyone would bother to do it. Smacks to me of an invasion of privacy, as in sneaking into the Personnel Office and reading someone else's Personal File. The posting in front of you should be considered on its own merits, not in the context of other totally unrelated postings in the past. Nor is the absence of other postings (as in a new poster) any reason to question the poster's authenticity. Benefit of the doubt again, until they give you reason to think otherwise.

Having said that, it was unreasonable to think that we would all rush into print to condemn someone solely on another's unsubstantiated say-so. I guess Pheidippides has got that message now.
twoflower is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 04:11 AM
  #26  
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Sue xx yy:

I made the rez for January 2 thru Hotel Advisor. In less than 24 hours, I contacted Hotel Advisor and asked them to CHANGE the rez to December 26.

After four days, I inquired, and Hotel Advisor told me that that they had not received confirmation of the change from the hotel.

After three MORE days, I told Hotel Advisor to cancel my rez. They sent back notice that they had canceled my December 26 rez (although they had never confirmed the change to that date).

I contacted Hotel Advisor again, and told them that I did NOT cancel my Dec rez, that I never HAD a Dec rez confirmed from them, and that I canceled my Jan (confirmed) rez.

Independently, I made my rez directly with the hotel for December 26, and I showed up and have a very enjoyable stay at the hotel.

I have complained repeatedly to VISA, and their position is that the hotel charged the "no show" fee and won't rescind it, so I am responsible for paying it. (I am sending back my card and closing the account when the payment comes due next month.)

Hotel Advisor's comment is that it would be "illegal" for them to issue a credit to my card, since they didn't post the original charge. I advised them - if that were true - that it would be perfectly "legal" for them to send a check to either myself of to the hotel in the amount of the charge.

I have not heard from them in the several months since, despite several messages I sent asking them to accept responsibility for their error.

While I appreciate the suggestions, I really feel as though I have exhausted all reasonable possibilities of resolving this without having to pay the bank for the charge.

I really just wanted others to be aware of my experience.
Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:08 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,633
In defense of janisj's comments. Not only did the original poster come here as a "brand new poster" to post this slam, but immediately made a comment about "a sensible fodorite". A new poster? I doubt it. How long was I here before I found out that the term for people posting here was "Fodorite"?

While I agree Pheidippides may have an honest complaint, why do people seek out this site only to post a single slam and ask for others to join them in their personal crusades instead of using this site to find out about things relating to travel? Does Fodors appear on some list somewhere of "Places to go to vent your anger for getting screwed"?

Meanwhile, it is too bad that the poster didn't use email to do these contacts with Hotel Advisor, instead of apparently telephone. If he/she had, it would be so easy to provide the copies of the email conversations to the credit card company and the whole matter would quickly be taken care of. We all know that you need to keep copies of emails when they involve what is already clearly a communication issue -- like questioning not getting a confirmation and of course, copies of all cancellation requests.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:15 AM
  #28  
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"How long was I here before I found out that the term for people posting here was "Fodorite"?"

I was here long enough to read the first response to my initial post...

"Meanwhile, it is too bad that the poster didn't use email to do these contacts with Hotel Advisor,"

Ummmm, as I have clearly stated: I DID use email, and I DID keep copies.
Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:32 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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And you've sent those copies to your credit card company and they will do nothing? I can't imagine a credit card company not going to bat for you in removing a "no show" charge when you provide them with clear copies of emails cancelling the reservation.

Something's fishy here.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:33 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,037
Hi again Phei.

You are right, people do need to be aware of people's various experiences, and despite all your frustration, your report and this thread will be of help to someone, for what consolation that is worth

There are two parts to your experience: what can be learned by all of us for the future, and what you can do about the past.

Let's start with the future, which is the most reliable thing we can control.

What I'm saying for future reference is that there is no such thing as a 'change' operation in hotel databases. It is perfectly normal for one and the same person to legitimately have two active reservations in their name at a hotel, sometimes these rez can even be on overlapping dates. Thus, a person's name cannot be held to uniquely identify a reservation to which a so-called change can be made. Talk of 'changes' to 'my' or 'the' reservation in my name is thus ambiguous.

In fairness to you the agency should not use such terminology even if you used it. Ideally, they should also use confirmation numbers when making bookings and cancellations, since that makes it easier for everyone to know to which reservation and what transaction is being referred to.

But it's not a perfect world, and the people hired by agencies to do stuff aren't always the brightest bulbs in the tree.

So, it is always safest to finish old business before beginning new. Cancel the original reservation and make the new reservation as two separate operations. Don't try to combine them as part of one operation, i.e. as a so-called change.

You will need in any case two confirmations, even if embodied in one and the same email. The confirmation of the cancellation and the confirmation of the new reservation.

If you don't get confirmation of the cancellation, named as such (i.e as a cancellation) assume that reservation is still active -- in short, that there is a problem!! Now is the time to contact VISA and explain that you gave your CC number to a party (either the agency or the hotel, depending on who you made the booking with) that can't seem to deliver the service promised -- competent cancellation of bookings on request being part of the service promised. They (Visa) helped guarantee the contract, one would think they owe you more in the way of service than what they've told you so far.

By way of fixing the past, either emphasize this point to Visa, or I suggest you contact the Ombudsman of Conde Nast Traveller magazine.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:34 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
I still think that your issue is with the hotel and, if there website is any indication, they aren't a little operation. They charged you, not HA.
A contact with their management would probably bring a happy resolution.
Ask about their response when the person that they did cancel, showed up.
Explain the circumstances to someone high up.
robjame is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:44 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,587
The only element of the booking to cancel would have been the original booking as the new Jan dates were not confirmed. Could this be where the mistake happened?



Odin is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:45 AM
  #33  
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I've sent copies to the credit card company, and their response is that the hotel charged the fee, not Hotel Advisor, so - if the hotel will not rescind the charge - there is nothing that they can do about it.

The hotel's response is that they had a "reservation" in my name, and I didn't show up, so they're entitled to one night's room charge.

Hotel Advisor's response is that they cannot credit my charge card because they didn't initiate the charge. (No response when I suggested that there are, in fact, OTHER ways that they can pay it.)

The "reservation" that didn't get canceled was in MY name, not someone else's. I actually stayed at the hotel for three nights prior to the Jan rez that Hotel Advisor failed to cancel.

The hotel itself is unwilling to do anything, but I have not contacted the parent organization.

The hotel is within its "rights" to charge a fee for a reservation which was not honored. As a matter of customer service, they may choose to waive it, but I don't feel that they are obligated to do so.

Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:50 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
<<The "reservation" that didn't get canceled was in MY name, not someone else's. I actually stayed at the hotel for three nights prior to the Jan rez that Hotel Advisor failed to cancel.>>

Well I missed that part - you have a case and dollars to donuts the parent organization will see it your way.
You did stay there. Tell them that you notified them the same way you booked them and to check with their booking agency HA if they don't believe you. A refund will come!

robjame is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 05:59 AM
  #35  
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"The only element of the booking to cancel would have been the original booking as the new Jan dates were not confirmed. Could this be where the mistake happened?"

The original booking was for January, and it was confirmed.

I requested the booking be changed to December, and never received confirmation. (Four days after the request, HA told me that they still had not received confirmation from the hotel.)

Three days later, I canceled the (confirmed) January rez, and got confirmation that I had successfully canceled the (unconfirmed) December rez.

I wrote back, stating that I did NOT cancel the Dec rez and that I would, in fact, be arriving at the hotel in December (which I did), and that I had canceled the JAN rez (which was still the only confirmed rez that I had from HA).

If I had even the slightest suspicion that the Jan rez still was in effect, I simply would have canceled it while I was at the hotel in December, but it never even occurred to me to check.
Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 06:01 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,862
Hi Pheidippides--add me to the list of those who are sorry for the reception you received. Some here may bristle at an initial post such as yours, but they need to remember that not everyone is a veteran message board participant who understands the subtleties of a particular message board's posting etiquette. I hope you resolve this and that you stick around for more!
Cimbrone is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 06:29 AM
  #37  
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Thanks.

When I started travelling in Europe, it quite literally with the first Fodor's book in hand and still quite possible to do so on "$5 a Day" (as long as you knew that meant 3,300 lira, 20 DM or Swiss francs, 80 Belgian francs, 15 Dutch guilders...).

I have NEVER had an experience like this that I was unable to successfully resolve with the other parties involved, and I thought it might be useful to share it.
Pheidippides is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 06:42 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,037
And my response to Visa would be, not so fast. Presumably this agency does not make bookings out of the goodness of their hearts, they receive a commission from the hotel for making the booking. The hotel collects the commission from you, the consumer, as part of the monies that you paid in respect of the nights that you did stay, not to mention the alleged 'no-show' night. So while Visa has a limited claim to reverse the hotel's charges, that doesn't mean that they have no claim at all.

At the very least, Visa can contact the hotel and have the latter agree to reverse to you such portion of the amount you paid that the hotel would normally forward to the agency by way of commission. Since we are talking 3 nights plus the night of the no-show, that's commission for 4 nights. At say, 10 per cent of each $100 stay, say, that means you could get up to (4 * $10 = $40) back, or at least part of your alleged 'no-show'. Agreed, that's none too much for all your grief, but you will gain the satisfaction of the principle of the matter being observed.

The hotel and the agency can then battle it out between them as to whether the agency was to blame for the failure to execute your wishes to cancel, in which case the hotel pays them zip, or the hotel was to blame, in which case the agency gets their commission, but at the hotel's expense, not yours.

BTW, please understand that my remarks about communication are not meant to constitute an accusation or to allocate blame, so much as to give you a better crack at having more control over things in the future. The more one understands about the way things work (and I mean how they do work, not necessarily how they should work) the better off the consumer is. In this vein, may I point out that your having actually stayed at the hotel for 3 nights preceding the original time period would not be taken by the hotel to indicate anything one way or the other about whether you had or had not cancelled the other time period.



Sue_xx_yy is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 06:56 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,633
"When I started travelling in Europe, it quite literally with the first Fodor's book in hand and still quite possible to do so on "$5 a Day" (as long as you knew that meant 3,300 lira, 20 DM or Swiss francs, 80 Belgian francs, 15 Dutch guilders...)."

Wow. You must have a wealth of positive and exciting experiences to share with us as well as many hints. I look forward to reading them in the future!!!
Welcome to Fodors.
NeoPatrick is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 07:08 AM
  #40  
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Unfortunately, I am now too old to remember most of it...
Pheidippides is offline  

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