Internet Payments for Hotels Safe?

Old Oct 7th, 2002, 04:41 AM
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Internet Payments for Hotels Safe?

Has anyone use the website 'france-hotel-guide' to secure accommodation in Paris? I have never done this before and am concerned about sites that say they have secured credit card payments but in actual fact they do not. I was also told that you should only use credit card payments over the internet if the site has a Netscape icon or padlock icon (Internet Explorer). Any opinions please.
Old Oct 7th, 2002, 05:00 AM
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Hi Michelle. I have no experience with france-hotel-guide but I tend to agree with the suggestion that you assume a site is secure only if the icon is displayed. That said, just because a site isn't 'officially' secure doesn't necessarily mean that it carries any higher risk than oh, say, giving your CC number out over the phone. However, if you have any concerns, you can always split your CC number in half and send half of it in one email, and the other half in another email. Enjoy Paris.
Old Oct 7th, 2002, 10:08 AM
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I've used this site to browse, but prefer to call my hotels direct when it comes time to actually book.

The booking request form does not even ask for a CC number; it is just to let the hotel know the type of room you would like and the dates you need. I presume the hotel would then e-mail you to let you know availability and rates, and you could then decide whether to reply via e-mail, call, or fax them your credit card details to hold the reservation.
Old Oct 7th, 2002, 10:22 AM
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Face it, there is very little you can do about credit card fraud. I just returned from a trip to Europe at the end of August. When I checked the web site of my credit card company, I found there were $8,000 worth of pending charges I knew nothing about. They found there had been 4 charges from crooks at a merchant called Agence Colibri who had made 4 $2,000 charges. It might have gone on for a little while longer as I have a large credit line but it was stopped at that point. How the bank could authorize these obvious fraudulent charges is beyond me and how they could not put the crooks at Agence Colibri in jail is beyond me.

But the most important thing is that it is not my problem. When I sent them a note stating that I had not made or authorized these charges, they were immediately removed from my account. I then went back and tried to figure out where my credit card number had been compromised and went through all the charges. I have my suspicions but the reality is you can't do anything bout it. Oh sure, you hear all the bs to not let a waiter take your credit card away from your table etc. but you know something, they can simply memorize the number and expiration date. It doesn't take a genius to do that and your card has been compromised. Couple that with the ease of internet purchases and the existance of crooks such as Agence Colibri and you have what we have.

Why am I saying this...because quite frankly if you are going to enjoy life and use credit cards, there is nothing you can do to avoid this. So go ahead, make the reservation. If the card gets compromised you are not responsible. A simple notarized statement that you did not make or authorize fraudulent charges and that will be the end of it. Just remember to check your charges as often as possible (a big advantage these days of having access to credit card information via the net) and if you see something suspicious just call the company. If it happens, it happens and it can happen anywhere.
Old Oct 7th, 2002, 08:55 PM
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Old Oct 8th, 2002, 07:49 AM
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Just don't use a check card on the Internet. Make sure it's a regular credit card.
Old Oct 8th, 2002, 07:50 AM
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Abc, to the credit card company, $8,000 is very little money, and they basically can't be bothered to pursue something that small. At my company, we recently encountered fraud of nearly $200,000. We got out money back through our bank, but the bank has done nothing about it, because the amount simply isn't large enough for them to worry about.
Old Oct 8th, 2002, 08:21 AM
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On a different note, my experience using travel companies that expect you to pay in advance for the hotel in exchange for a slightly cheaper room rate is that it ends up badly. The restrictions for changing the reservation are often much more strict than the hotel itself has, and if you don't like something about your accomodation, you are at the whim of the travel company if they will refund or help you fix the problem, rather than the hotel. Once the hotel has the full payment, why help out the guest? Once the travel company has the money, why would they care? You've given away all your leverage to insure you got what you asked for....
In one case I made several calls in advance to insure I got a room that wasn't in the high rise section of the hotel, but once I showed up no one cared on either side when they gave me a room in the high rise. When I threatened to find another place, it became clear that I was out 2 nights deposit if I did. I'm booking direct and looking at the room before I pay from now on.
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