Consumer NZ advises travellers with HotelQuickly reservations to confirm their bookings directly with hotels. Customers of the accommodation-booking website have had their reservations cancelled without notification.
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HotelQuickly told one customer due to operational issues, “a number of bookings have been cancelled without our prior knowledge by the hotel supplier”. Rather than offering refunds, the website said it would provide a credit voucher to affected consumers.
In its terms and conditions, HotelQuickly states “no refunds will be issued under any circumstances for the price of the room and any related fees”.
Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said affected customers had the right to get their money back.
“If you find your HotelQuickly reservations cancelled, contact your bank and request a chargeback for any deposit paid on your credit or debit card,” she said.
Ms Chetwin advised disrupted customers to check their travel insurance policies. Some travel insurers will pay for a replacement room or refund you for lost deposits in situations beyond your control. But some exclude cases where an operator fails to pass on money or “deliver promised services”, so it’s best to contact them and ask.
Some HotelQuickly customers have arrived at their accommodation only to be told their reservation was no longer valid.
One Consumer member, Russell, had booked three nights in an Adelaide apartment hotel through HotelQuickly, as the website offered the cheapest price. The $540 payment went through, but after receiving the confirmation email, he heard nothing more from the company.
When Russell and his wife arrived as planned in November, they were advised the booking had been cancelled four days earlier. Luckily, the apartment hotel could offer them a room – but the couple had to fork over another $540.
After “farcical and disgraceful exchanges” with HotelQuickly, which refused Russell’s request for a refund, he applied to his bank for a chargeback and was refunded the original $540 payment.
“I shudder to think of people turning up around Christmas time to face the same problem, then exacerbated by there being ‘no room at the inn’ when they seek alternative bookings,” he said.
HotelQuickly is based in Bangkok, with offices in Australia, Singapore and the US. Any company doing business in New Zealand must comply with the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act.
The Commerce Commission can prosecute companies under the Fair Trading Act for misleading consumers about the availability of goods and services. You can also take a trader to the Disputes Tribunal if it fails to comply with its obligations under consumer law. However, holding a retailer to account can be easier if it has an office here.
Affected customers can also file a complaint with the econsumer.gov website, a network of consumer protection agencies. Complaints help it keep tabs on scams and trends.
HotelQuickly did not respond to our request for information on the cancellation issues.
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