Hotels.com fiasco cost me $$$

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Apr 29, 2021
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In January 2020 I made two hotel reservations in Athens, Greece through Hotels.com for stays there in October and November 2020 for two groups of deaf travelers. Total amount paid was $3200+ for the two reservations, both reserved with a prepaid, nonrefundable rate.

Due to Covid, in May 2020 I started reaching out to Hotels.com to try and get a refund or coupon. They kept stating that it was too early to announce covid policy for tours in October and November. So, May, June, July, August, September was unfruitful every time I tried to call to get the situation resolved.

In the meantime, ALL other hotels that I reserved through hotels.com for prepaid, nonrefundable rates authorized refunds to be made, and I was able to get refunds for all places.

For the hotel in Athens though, they were not budging and refused to authorize a refund. So that left me frustrated as my only option was to ask for the refund or coupon through hotels.com.

Finally, shortly before our scheduled arrival in October, hotels.com consented to initiate the refund process once the hotel authorized it. I explained that it should not depend on the hotel to authorize because we were unable to travel to Greece due to covid. Hotels.com policy clearly stated that a refund or voucher would be offered for destinations considered inaccessible to travel.

Unfortunately, the hotel did not authorize as expected and as a result my booking was marked as a “no-show” for both October and November, which resulted in loss of $.

I tried to charge back on the credit card but Capital One denied my request based on some arcane language that hotels.com provided, without justification.

I spent hours and hours trying to resolve with the hotel, hotels.com, and Capital One, but at the end I’m out $3200+.

Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you
 
Jun 24, 2019
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I would think a charge back would fail due to time, but I can’t be sure without the date of te statement on which the original charge posted and the date of the charge back attempt.

As to Hotels.Com, we have corporate addresses elsewhere on this site which you can use to write and request consideration of your issue. If you would share with us the arcane language that Hotels.Com used in its communication with Capital One that may help.

Keep in mind that Greek law, passed in response to the Covid crisis, allows Greek tourist businesses to retain funds and not provide refunds, at least in the short term.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately., the Greek government put a law into effect that Greek hotels, tour operators and cruise lines could issue a credit to a customer in lieu of a refund in order to help these business stay afloat. That is most likely what your issue is. Did you ask hotels.com if they have a credit from the hotel?
 
Apr 29, 2021
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Thank you. SoCalTraveler, I already attempted the chargeback and it failed. Capital One was very vague on the exact reason why it failed but they attached like 7 pages of policies that hotels.com submitted as justification.

Hotels.com did not provide a refund or a credit. They simply marked me as a "no-show" because they claimed that it was possible to enter Greece and therefore it was our responsibility for not showing up.

I explained that it was not possible on America's end to travel to Greece for leisure but it appears that they are looking only at Greece regulations to tell us "sorry, it was your responsibility for not coming to fulfill the reservations"

Anything else you had in mind to resolve this?
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
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Thank you. SoCalTraveler, I already attempted the chargeback and it failed. Capital One was very vague on the exact reason why it failed but they attached like 7 pages of policies that hotels.com submitted as justification.
You booked your rooms with a nonrefundable rate. As long as the hotel was open, they fulfilled their side of the contract. They are not responsible for the fact that you could not travel there. That's why the hotel is within its rights to refuse a refund and why your credit card dispute failed. Credit card disputes only ensure you receive the goods/services you purchased, so Hotels.com later cancellation policies wouldn't come into play.

Hotels.com's responsibility is a bit murkier. Their cancellation policy was:
  1. If you’ve made a non-refundable booking and would like to change or cancel it;
  2. No cancellation fee will apply if your booking is in a destination that is considered inaccessible. In that case, we’ll offer you either a full refund or a hotel voucher to be used on our selection of hotels. However, you must cancel at least 24 hours before your arrival date.
  3. Standard cancellation policy will apply if the destination is considered open for travel and you have chosen to change or cancel your booking for other reasons.
This boils down to what "considered inaccessible" and "considered open" means. In the language, "accessible" and "open" refer to a destination, not an individual. Americans were not allowed to enter Greece at the time, so it was inaccessible to you. However, Greece was open to travelers from the rest of Europe as well as China, Korea, Canada, the UK and many other countries throughout the world. Hotels.com appears to consider this to mean Greece was accessible and open for travel.
 
Last edited:

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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Unfortunately, the hotel did not authorize as expected and as a result my booking was marked as a “no-show” for both October and November, which resulted in loss of $.
As any refund or credit is based on the hotel giving Hotels.com a refund.
If Hotels.com did not inform the hotel you were canceling then as you bought a non refundable rate you are not due a credit or refund.
If this hotel was opened and you were not allowed into Greece, since you bought a non refundable rate the hotel can refuse you any refunds or vouchers. It really comes down to what is in the hotels terms and conditions.
Think of Hotels.com as the for sale section of your local newspaper.
Outside of legislation once we are more ahead of Covid I think this will be a very hard fight.
 
Apr 29, 2021
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I understand and yes, this is the position that they took. Seems that the hard truth is that I'm out $3200. But this sucks no matter what, above all because we simply could not travel to Greece.

What's more, all other hotels in Greece over the same trip accepted our request to waive the nonrefundable rate and allow us a refund. Those hotels all conceded so hotels.com was forced to give us full refunds.

This hotel in Athens, however, played this game smart by not conceding the refund nor conceding the voucher, instead marking us as no-shows and pocketing the $3200 while not offering us any service. This really sucks for me as a consumer.
 
Apr 29, 2021
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Have you checked if your credit card has any travel insurance coverage you can use.
Worth contacting them. You have nothing to lose.
Under what terms? Trip cancellation due to Covid? I think we're all very aware that travel insurance providers have totally bailed out on consumers in these cases, passing the problem on like a hot potato?
 
Apr 29, 2021
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Unfortunately., the Greek government put a law into effect that Greek hotels, tour operators and cruise lines could issue a credit to a customer in lieu of a refund in order to help these business stay afloat. That is most likely what your issue is. Did you ask hotels.com if they have a credit from the hotel?
No, hotels.com refused to allow me to cancel before the reservation until one day before, at that point they said they had to get authorization from the hotel, but the hotel refused. No credit, no coupon, no refund, nothing.
 
Aug 29, 2018
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I understand and yes, this is the position that they took. Seems that the hard truth is that I'm out $3200. But this sucks no matter what, above all because we simply could not travel to Greece.

What's more, all other hotels in Greece over the same trip accepted our request to waive the nonrefundable rate and allow us a refund. Those hotels all conceded so hotels.com was forced to give us full refunds.

This hotel in Athens, however, played this game smart by not conceding the refund nor conceding the voucher, instead marking us as no-shows and pocketing the $3200 while not offering us any service. This really sucks for me as a consumer.
You may want to leave a review on a trip advisor web site (or similar.). It is small consolation, but maybe it will convince someone to go to a more customer friendly hotel.
 
Feb 3, 2020
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I wonder if Hotels.com "wouldn't let" the OP cancel, because they were aware it was a prepaid nonrefundable booking. Cancelling in advance would not help the OP in any event and might in fact lock in the loss. Perhaps Hotels.com was waiting to hear about changes in policies or regulations with respect to refunds. In spring of last year, the situation vis-a-vis travel bookings was changing rapidly.
 
Apr 29, 2021
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I wonder if Hotels.com "wouldn't let" the OP cancel, because they were aware it was a prepaid nonrefundable booking. Cancelling in advance would not help the OP in any event and might in fact lock in the loss. Perhaps Hotels.com was waiting to hear about changes in policies or regulations with respect to refunds. In spring of last year, the situation vis-a-vis travel bookings was changing rapidly.
Yes, this is correct, yet, I tried to cancel from May throughout November without success. By October it was obvious that Americans could not travel to Greece for leisure, yet it seems Greece didn't recognize this and considered themselves open to Americans.
 
Apr 29, 2021
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Was this a nonrefundable rate? If so, this is why you should never book a nonrefundable rate. And it’s why the credit card company sided with Hotels.com.
Despite the fact that Covid prevented us from going to Greece even if we had wanted to? And despite the fact that hotels.com conflicted themselves with their policy of providing refunds or credits for "countries considered inaccessible"?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
25,670
28,413
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
Non refundable rate
This is the problem. Nonrefundable is exactly that, even if there is a pandemic. One should never book nonrefundable rates for anything unless you can afford to lose everything you have paid if you can’t travel unless you buy travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason.

Can you point us to where Hotels.com had a written policy that they would provide a refund for inaccessible countries? If you have that in writing we could perhaps help you craft an email to Hoteks.com.

This is also why you lost your credit card dispute. Unfortunately, there are really no options left if the hotel won’t refund you. I wish I had better news.
 
Apr 29, 2021
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Thanks. To me this is more of on the hotel itself than hotels.com, since I was able to get refunds for all other nonrefundable reservations made for the same trip. What I did was contact all hotels to explain the situation. All authorized exceptions in good faith except the hotel in Athens.