Ad Alert


Consumer says advertised hotel rate went up after clicking "book now."

As we learned from Seinfeld, the most important part of the reservation is not the taking of the reservation but the holding of the reservation. Because, as Jerry put it when explaining to a car rental agency employee, “Anybody can just take them.”

A situation similar to the one depicted in the Seinfeld episode recently befell reader Joan K., only in her case it wasn’t a car rental but a lost hotel rate that she tried to book on the travel site Hotwire.

After clicking “book now” on a room listed at $61 per night at a yet-to-be-named hotel, Joan said the credit card that she gave that was required to reserve the room was instead charged for a nightly rate of $67.20 (and it wasn’t because of added taxes). Joan repeatedly tried to cancel the reservation but because it was made with one of the Hotwire’s “Hot Rate” hotels, which partner with the site to offer discounted rates, she was repeatedly told that the booking was final. looked into the issue after receiving Joan’s complaint in the mail. While fine print on the site states that “all prices … are subject to change,” a Hotwire spokeswoman in response to an inquiry told that the site guarantees that “rates will not change once a customer hits ‘book now.’” Yet that was not Joan’s experience.

Joan is currently disputing what she views as an unauthorized charge to her credit card with her credit card company.

“I know the amount of the dispute for the higher hotel rate is not a lot but it is the principle of the matter,” she said.

Find more of our coverage on Hotwire’s “Hot Rate” hotels here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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