Do hotels have to honor typos?

Mar 25th, 2003, 08:57 AM
  #1  
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Do hotels have to honor typos?

Found a fabulous hotel deal online -- they had entered a daily rate of $18 when they meant it to be $189. So I booked it, of course, then got a phone call that they just plain don't intend to honor it. Does anyone know the legal technicalities -- are they required to honorthis published rate? This is for a specific hotel in a very major chain, and for just one night of a 3-night stay.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 09:11 AM
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GoTravel
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No, they are not obligated to honor it although some companies do out of good will.
 
Mar 25th, 2003, 09:12 AM
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Forgot to add that they do not have to honor it because of some very recent legislation concerning the internet.
 
Mar 25th, 2003, 09:21 AM
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They are not legally required to honor an obvious typo.

The average person would know that an $18 room rate was incorrect.

However, as a goodwill gesture, they MAY honor it solely at their discetion...but don't expectit.
Dick is offline  
Mar 25th, 2003, 09:22 AM
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Put yourself in their place. If you made a mistake like that (on a check you wrote perhaps) would you want to be held to it? Treating corporations as deep pockets is what raises prices for all of us.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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I am not aware of the legislation regarding internet "mistakes" but in terms of general consumer law, a merchant is required to sell you something at the published/listed price, whether or not it was a mistake. You may want to contact your state's consumer affairs bureau for advice. I don't think $189 is worth consulting a lawyer, as it would cost you more in legal fees. If you live near a law school and they have a public clinic, this might be an interesting exercise for them. (I am a lawyer, can you tell?)

Also, as this is a major chain, I would contact the marketing, PR or guest relations office at the headquarters of the chain. You can usually find contact information on the website for a chain, look under "corporate information" or "contacts." You should do this in writing, and include any print-outs you have of the price and any written communication you had with the hotel. You may want to cc the CEO of the chain as well. If you are advised by your state consumer affairs bureau that you have a case, you should mention this. If not, the company may feel it would be good PR to give you the rate or a substantial discount from the correct rate.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 10:48 AM
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Sorry Cicerone, But with thirty years of retail management behind me, I can tell you a retailer is not obligated to honor a price that was printed at the wrong price. Why do you think retractions are printed?
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:00 AM
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Lots of times going into a grocery store or department store there is a posting of an advirtising error with an apology for the error. Clearly the establishment did not intend for that to be the price hence the phone call. Happens all the time.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:08 AM
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Something similar happened not too long ago on the British Air website. People who were lucky enough to find this fare bought it & BA honored it. Someone posted about it on the Europe board if you want to try to do a search. The error was found fairly quickly & changed.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:11 AM
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BTW, I think it makes a difference whether the mistake was on the hotel's OWN website or a third party site. If it's their own mistake, IMO they should honor it. If it's a third party mistake, harder argument.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Gotta disagree with you Ronkala. If the price is marked on a sales tag or sticker, and no correction/retraction is reasonably visible to the public, the merchant DEOA have to honor the marked price. The same can be said of published prices in newspapers, etc which are later corrected by a retraction, etc., if the purchaser can show that they attempted to purchase prior to the printing of the retraction. All this is designed to prevent "bait and switch" and other consumer frauds. Just because you may not have practiced it, does not mean you have not been breaking the law. The fact is that many consumers don't know about their rights and get taken advantage of.

The same goes for those ridiculous signs in stores that say " you break it you bought it." This is completely unenforceable. You have to make an offer to buy (by making a positive statement to that effect or, by case law, by bringing the item to the counter) before you can be forced to pay for it. Simply picking up an item to examine it and it then breaking does not mean you have made an "offer to buy".
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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Cicerone, you're quick to point out that consumers "get taken advantage of" - and I agree. But as Grasshopper inferred, two wrongs don't make a right either -- the $18 rate would mean the hotel is getting "taken advantage of". Legal point aside, it's still wrong.

Awhile back I booked a B&B in Vancouver, BC at high season. There was an advertised "fall special" which was still bookable for June! Half the going price for this place...they soon called me (I had booked 4 rooms) and informed me of the mistake and said they would not honor it. As somebody once said, there is no free lunch!
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:37 AM
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Reminds of a new resort operated by Sheraton that opened up on Bora Bora last year. The Sheraton website posted the rate in tahitian currency, which converted to $100 US. Actual rate was supposed to have been $1000. I was amazed and dismayed by the number of folks who booked rooms knowing that the rate was incorrect, then tried to force the resort to honor it....seems the only ethics these days are situational.

And Cicerone, you may know the law, but your posts in this thread are the stuff that lawyer jokes are made from.
beachbum is offline  
Mar 25th, 2003, 11:39 AM
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Just curious, would people feel differently (that they SHOULD honor it)if the quoted price were $89 dropping the 1 instead of $18?
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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$89 yes
$18 no
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:49 AM
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I agree with Dick... generally, if the price quoted is so low that an average person should recognize that the quote must be in error, then the hotel does not have to honor it. Laws vary, however, by state statute and caselaw. And, Beachbum, there are lawyers (myself included) who do try to do the "right" thing. I, personally, would not try to take advantage of the situation even though the hotel chain has deep-pockets.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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I think that it is more likely that $89 would be an "on sale" rate and that $18 would be a mistake. I think a reasonable person would recognize the $18 mistake and not blame the hotel but it is possible to believe that the $89 rate that is later not honored as being more like bait and switch.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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Depending on the city, $18 probably doesn't even cover overhead.
 
Mar 25th, 2003, 12:41 PM
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Laws aside, I do think the hotel should at least offer some kind of substantial price reduction to make up for their own error if they don't honor the typo.
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Mar 25th, 2003, 02:00 PM
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uuhhhh.....but what does the hotel have to "make up for" if no one was damaged?
 

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