Charged repeatedly for denied room

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Dec 31, 2014
Attempted to book last two nights in cocoa beach unknown hotel for $47 night using $25 off promo code. Hotwire mobile app. $69. Used prepaid visa. Denied due to billing address error. Tried again. Said promo code didn't apply. So I called. Rep asked me to try again while on phone. He tried but refused to use code. Said too many failed attempts so card was blocked. Gave up. Walked in at another one. Card declined. Checked transaction history. Every attempt was successful at Hotwire and deducted from balance. Hotwire refuses to offer room saying card not charged. Walmart money card insists approved charges and if I dispute will be weeks to resolve. So now over $300 in room charges for no room leaves me barely enough for a single meal while roaming the streets because all our room money spent on a room that we are unable to stay in. Just pay for. Vacation nightmare. Haven't slept. Hope this is coherent. Thanks!

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Oct 1, 2014
Hi Angela,

I'm one of Chris' assistants...

...and confused. First, you say that you used a prepaid Visa. Then, you say it was a Walmart money card. Are they one and the same?

Whichever it is, this is a strange one. You say, "Every attempt was successful at Hotwire and deducted from balance," but Hotwire says, "...card not charged." Do you have written proof that every booking attempt was successful at Hotwire? If you do, slam dunk... email your proof to Hotwire and get the charges reversed.

But if you don't, you have a problem and may be in for a long battle. If the Walmart money card people say you approved the charges, you're going to have to argue (and hopefully be able to prove) that you didn't... and that's going to take time.

So, your best bet is to involve whoever said "Every attempt was successful at Hotwire and deducted from balance," and have them help you get this straightened out with Hotwire. Otherwise, I don't see any alternative to waiting for Walmart to grind through the dispute resolution process.

Sorry I couldn't have better news.

Mar 9, 2015
I'm late to the party but here's what happens: with each attempt at authorization, a hold goes to the card for that specified amount. If no corresponding charge comes through, in a day or so the hold drops off. It's similar to a teller hold at a bank, where the teller can, for example, earmark funds on a check she has cashed while the check works it's way through the system.

It sounds like Angela was caught up in a bunch of holds on her card that we're going to drop off in a couple of days--not soon enough to help her for that nights accommodations.
Likes: Grant Ritchie


Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
It sounds like a debit card, not a credit card. With a debit card I think the money is taken out immediately, not "authorized" like a credit card.
Likes: Grant Ritchie


Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
This was a pre-paid card and not a Credit Card or debit card that would have a name and address associated with it. Think Gift Card like the Visa/Mastercards from the grocery store only this was from Walmart and I believe you can even reload it. Most Hotels will not accept these, car rental companies will not either.
Best advise is to work on getting a relationship with a bank to get proper bank cards. If you find yourself in a situation where the banks don't like you (due to credit or some other difficulty) go to a credit Union and speak honestly to them about your issues and how to establish or re-establish your credit and open an account. The very small local banks and credit unions are much easier to deal with and not as inflexible as the Wells Fargo's and B of A's of the world.

Hope this helps, my advise is to call your hotel before arrival and get in writing how to stay at their hotel without a proper credit card. Some hotels will allow this, but only a very few.