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Hotels.com - Changed to inferior hotel without notice

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Hi,

 

Just posting on here for a little advice and hoping that someone would be able to assist.

 

In May 2012 I booked a hotel through hotels.com. It was for my Wife and I's wedding anniversary. We also had a 4 month old baby. The age of our son meant that we would likely be spending a fair amount of time in the hotel room and therefore booked a room that was spacious and splashed out on the highest rated hotel in the area, 4* Hilton Doubletree. Even booking 6 weeks in advance, this cost just over £100 per night, but it was our anniversary, so spent a little extra for the occasion.

 

Everything seemed great, I received confirmation emails on 3rd July and 4th July and arrived at the hotel after a lengthy journey in torrential rain and localised flooding on 6th July.

 

On arriving at the hotel, I was informed that there was no booking for me. After a bit of panic and a few phone calls the receptionist at the Hilton Doubletree advised me that I had been relocated to the Holiday Inn, a 3* hotel nearby with much lesser facilities. I asked if there would be any refund for the downgrade and inconvenience, but as I had booked through Hotels.com, they advised to take the issue up with them, which I fully understand. My contract is with Hotels.com and not with Hilton Doubletree. I also spent a considerable amount of time on the arrival date discussing the issue with the Hilton Hotel Manager and ensuring I had everything documented.

 

Due to driving almost 3 hours in terrible weather conditions with a 4 month old baby on board, I accepted the change of hotel, but made it clear that it was under protest and documented this in email on the day of arrival to both hotels.com and the Hilton Doubletree.

 

On my return home a few days later I emailed hotels.com and expressed my concerns and asked what they intended to do to resolve the matter. They eventually offered a £50 discount off a future booking. I advised that this was unacceptable as I would not be using their services again and that I felt that they were in breach of contract as they had not provided what I had paid for. I suggested that a full refund might be a better resolution. This and a subsequent email to their Customer Service Team have remained without response.

 

I have attempted to claim the cash back via Visa Debit Chargeback, however this has failed as Hotels.com say they emailed me on 4th July advising me that they had relocated me. Visa Debit Chargeback seem to support their claim.

 

I received an email from Hotels.com on 4th July and at the time, I construed it as being a badly written confirmation email. I have copied it below. It certainly isn't clear to me that I won't be staying in the Hilton Doubletree.

 

Due to lack of response from Hotels.com and failure to recover losses via Visa Debit Chargeback, I am considering putting the claim into Small Claims Court. However, I would like assistance in knowing whether I should claim the full amount with interest, just the full amount or a partial amount and on what grounds I should be claiming, is breach of contract and loss of enjoyment appropriate?

 

Thanks in advance, Mike.

 

------------------------------------------------------

Email confirmation received from Hotels.com on 3rd July

 

Thanks for using Hotels.com, your booking is confirmed! You don't need to call to reconfirm.

 

Here are the details of your booking along with some useful information about the hotel. You can easily access your booking online anytime.

 

 

Happy travelling,

Hotels.com®

 

DoubleTree by Hilton Lincoln

 

 

Contact this hotel directly: 44-1522-668824

 

4.8 18 reviews

 

Brayford Wharf North

Lincoln LN1 1YW

United Kingdom

 

 

Number of Guests: adults - 2

Check-In Date: 06/07/2012

Check-Out Date: 08/07/2012

Total: £205.00

 

 

------------------------------------------------------

Email received from Hotels.com on 4th July which they feel adequately advises that the hotel has changed;

 

Note from Hotels.com:

Dear Guest,

We were informed by the hotel that you will be accomodate at Hilton hotel next to Double tree hotel and the room type will be the same.

For more details please call the hotel.

Thank you

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Servers date and time all emails, so you must get a copy of the original so you can see the date and time this one was sent.

 

Ring the Hilton, or get the misses to ring and see about booking the same class room with the same facilities you had when you stayed there, that will give you the actual cost so you can see the difference.

 

It would appear to be a breach of contract and you are entitled to claim damages from them.

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If you booked in May why did you receive a confirmation in July? I have never used that site but have made reservations using other sites. The confirmation email always comes a few seconds after I have made the online booking. Can you check in your inbox and if it's not there check in your spam folder.


"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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I received a confirmation in May also at time of booking, but my point was that it was backed up by confirmation just a couple of days before I was scheduled to arrive.

 

I have all the original emails, so I have all the server timestamps.

 

I think the case is going to hinge around whether the email received on 4th July adequately confirms that the hotel had been changed and why I was given no option in that email to make alternative arrangements or cancel the booking. In my opinion, the email does not convey the message that Hotels.com wished to convey, which in hindsight is that they had changed my hotel to Holiday Inn, although this was impossible to know at the time.

 

The Holiday Inn is not a place i would have booked for a special occasion to celebrate our Anniversary, so although my hand was effectively forced and I had to accept the alternative under protest, had I had full information available before setting off, I would have made alternative arrangements.

 

It's now impossible to find out the differences in price between the two hotels at the time of booking, but as I would never have booked Holiday Inn through choice, should I be looking to claim a partial refund based on what I feel the stay in the Holiday Inn was worth to me (I'd value it at £40 p/night) or should I claim the full value based on the fact that I would never have booked Holiday Inn in the first place.

 

Also, how do I value loss of enjoyment? I wasted half a day trying to resolve with Hilton Hotel management and spent most of the weekend mostly miffed about the situation we had been put in.

 

Thanks in advance, Mike.

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I think the email is clear that your room would be in another hotel and as far as i am aware you could have questioned it or cancelled at the time, i think a partial refund as the facilities were not as originally booked but you did accept the other room.


If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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I think the email is clear that your room would be in another hotel and as far as i am aware you could have questioned it or cancelled at the time, i think a partial refund as the facilities were not as originally booked but you did accept the other room.

 

Forgive me if I'm being facetious or missing something, but if I book in at the Hilton Doubletree hotel and receive the email below, how is it clear that I have been relocated to the lower rated Holiday Inn? This is something that I intend to put to before a judge, so I'm interested in how you have reached you conclusion, as a judge may reach the same decision.

 

I accepted the alternative room but made it clear that it was under protest and that my options had been limited, having travelled for 3 hours with a baby in torrential rain and hazardous driving conditions (WorldWeatherOnline.com shows that 27.2mm of rain fell in Lincoln that day).

 

Thanks in advance, Mike.

 

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Email received from Hotels.com on 4th July which they feel adequately advises that the hotel has changed;

 

Note from Hotels.com:

Dear Guest,

We were informed by the hotel that you will be accomodate at Hilton hotel next to Double tree hotel and the room type will be the same.

For more details please call the hotel.

Thank you

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the email says that the hotel have informed them that you will be accomodated at the hotel next to the doubletree, to me that says that it is not the hotel you booked but another one still part of the hilton group but not the doubletree, checking the room rates there is not a vast difference between them and they are in the same area, however if the room facilities were of a lower std then you should get a partial refund IMO but as youy accepted the room I dont think a full refund is on the cards, but that is my opinion others may see it differently


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OK, I respect your opinion, but strongly disagree. If I book the Hilton hotel and I receive an email explicitly saying I will be staying in the Hilton, I expect to be staying in the Hilton. As far as I am aware, Holiday Inn is not part of the Hilton Group. But given that two people have interpreted the email differently should clarify that it's contents were not concise enough.

 

There is no Hilton hotel next to the Hilton Double Tree. When I received the email I thought that it had just been badly written and should have read "Hilton Double Tree" not "Hilton next to Doubletree", which considering the rest of the email I don't think is an unreasonable view. Having written correspondence for a blue chip company myself previously, I would have expected a better standard of English from them. I would also have included the words 'Sorry for the inconvenience' and 'if these changes are unacceptable, please contact xxxx to cancel or make alternative arrangements'.

 

As I see it, price difference should be irrelevant, let me provide an example of why. If I hire out cars for weddings. I hire out a luxury Limousine at £200. I also hire out a banged out Austin Mini at £190. I decide that the Limo is double booked on the day of your wedding and send out the battered Mini instead. It's now your only option to get to your wedding on time, so you accept it, under protest. Because I value the Mini at £190 does not mean that in your opinion it is worth my valuation and you wouldn't have paid that much for it given free choice. Would you feel that £10 reimbursement in the above circumstances would be acceptable?

 

Regards, Mike.

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the holiday inn is at Brayford wharf and the Doubletree is as well, may not be exactly next door though having said that Brayford wharf isnt very big As far as i am aware the holiday inn is part of the intercontinental group of hotels as is the hilton doubletree.

Ok so the price difference may be irrelevent I was just stating that they were similar, having said that were the room facilities (not the hotel facilities) comparable to those you had booked? If not then a reduction in the price you paid would prehaps be appropriate, the comparison of a limo and a mini isnt really the same as the mini is obviously of inferior quality and i was really on about the quality.

i just think that it is unlikly that you will get a full refund although you may, as you did accept the other room and the email from hotel.com had been recieved by you, i know it may not be over clear but it does say that you will not be in the Doubletree but in the hilton next to it so they have told you, you could have cancelled the hotel booking and it wouldnt have cost you if done in advance and in many cases up to 4pm on the day of arrival.

I cant say how the judge or anyone else will see this its just my opinion


If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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Had I known that I was stopping in a Holiday Inn before setting off, I would have cancelled and/or rearranged.

 

I regularly stay in 3* Holiday Inns through work and pay only £43 per night. They're not the type of hotel I would use to celebrate my anniversary and certainly not the type of hotel that I would pay £102.50 per night for.

 

Despite my last two emails being ignored, I have emailed one more time explaining that if an acceptable resolution is not reached by 15th January, I will be submitting to the Small Claims Courts for breach of contract, loss of enjoyment, travel costs and interest. I'm not expecting a response but I might be pleasantly surprised. I received an autoresponder saying that I should receive a response within 24 hours .. that was 48 hours ago.

 

Regards, Mike.

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Don't threaten court if you don't intend to go through with it. You can do it on line and the cost is very low - https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

 

It's not a UK company

 

Hotels.com GP LLC

10440 N. Central Expressway

Dallas TX 75231

US

Edited by Conniff

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Let us know the outcome


If I have been of any help, please click on my star and let me know, thank you.

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Trust me, I intend to go through with it; I'd just like to give Hotels.com one more chance to resolve amicably.

I don't stand to lose more than the £35 it costs me to submit it to the courts.

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The Hilton is part of Hilton Worldwide and Holiday Inn is part of InterContinental. But even if they were part of the same group surely it shouldn't be up to the consumer to know this? Surely Hotels.com should clearly state in the email which Hotel the OP is to be stopping in?

 

I think the email is misleading, I can see it can be read either way. I can see how spikeachu thought it was a typo/badly written, I can also see how it can be read that spikeachu will be stopping in the Hilton hotel next to the Doubletree. However, I can't see how it can be read that the OP will be stopping in the Holiday Inn.

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After reading this, I will not be using hotels.com and will advise others not to.


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Don't threaten court if you don't intend to go through with it. You can do it on line and the cost is very low - https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

 

It's not a UK company

 

Hotels.com GP LLC

10440 N. Central Expressway

Dallas TX 75231

US

 

Is this a problem if they have a UK office? I've been provided with a UK address to serve.

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Just serve it on the UK office, that is the parent company. Bound to be crap, everything that comes from the US is rip-off crap, payday loans is a good example.

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I gave Hotels.com one more opportunity to resolve the issue, requesting that a resolution be reached by 15th January.

The acknowledged receiving the email, then ignored it.

 

I have now raised a claim online. Let's see if they ignore court documents so readily.

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Hi All,

 

Just an update. The court documents got someone's attention and the dispute has been settled out of court.

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Good job spike. It's up to you if you want to provide more details, but well done on getting an outcome that you wanted. Even if it did take a lot of time :)


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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Thanks for updating. It's always good when we get to see how things are concluded.

 

Id imagine that you are not able and/or willing to disclose the exact terms of the settlement but assume you are happy with the result?


CAG has helped me so much since I joined. Based on what I have learnt from others on here and my own experiences, I try to chip in and help others from time to time. I am not an expert and give my opinion only. Always check with the more experienced CAG members before making important decisions.

:-)

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Good job spike. It's up to you if you want to provide more details, but well done on getting an outcome that you wanted. Even if it did take a lot of time :)

 

Thanks for updating. It's always good when we get to see how things are concluded.

 

Id imagine that you are not able and/or willing to disclose the exact terms of the settlement but assume you are happy with the result?

 

 

I agreed to settle at what I'd asked for all along. I just wanted my money back. So barring a few pennies here and there, settlement was £240 ish, which covered my initial £205 outlay and £35 fee to submit to the courts.

 

Sure, I could probably have got more if I'd pushed, but the additional costs I submitted on the court paperwork were mainly for leverage in getting a full refund or were to be an added bonus if the case went unopposed.

 

As it is, both parties probably feel they got a fair deal. Hotels.com paid less than half of the overall claim that was submitted and I got all my money back.

 

Of course, it would have been much easier all around if Customer Services did their job in the first place. I definitely won't be using Hotels.com's services again and I can't imagine that the publicity I've given them both on this forum and to family and friends will have done them any favours.

 

Regards, Mike.

Edited by spikeachu
Additional info

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Well done Mike. You were right and it paid off


scotgal 

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Hi All,

 

Just an update. The court documents got someone's attention and the dispute has been settled out of court.

 

 

 

In case it's of use to anyone else, here is the letter of particulars that I sent to hotels.com after raising a claim. It might be useful to use as a template for anyone in a similar situation.

 

 

 

 

Hotels.com

Customer Relations

PO Box 70720

London, EC1P 1GW

 

19th January 2013

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

 

Please find below further particulars of the claim filed online at http://moneyclaimonline.gov.uk under reference xxxxxxx in respect of an order placed on the Hotels.com website under confirmation number xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

The claimant’s claim amounts to a total of £501.94 which is itemised below.

 

Breach of Contract

The claimant is claiming £205.00 for breach of contract, given that the product that was ordered and subsequently confirmed by email was not available on arrival. The contract was unilaterally amended by the defendant to an inferior product without the claimant’s knowledge or approval. The first time the claimant became aware of this amendment was upon arriving at the hotel that had been booked and being advised there was no reservation.

 

References;

Sale of Goods Act 1979

 

Section 13 (1) Where there is a contract for the sale of goods by description, there is an implied term that the goods will correspond with the description.

 

Section 14 (2A) For the purposes of this Act, goods are of satisfactory quality if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all the other relevant circumstances.

 

Loss of Enjoyment

The claimant is claiming £200 for loss of enjoyment; this is calculated at £100 per adult. The booking was made to celebrate the claimant and his wife’s Wedding Anniversary and was booked at what he considered to be a prestige hotel. The majority of the first day of their stay was spent expressing their dissatisfaction with the Manager of the hotel and putting the complaint in writing.

 

The claimant and his family were subsequently moved to a chain hotel which the claimant infrequently uses during work travel and pays around £45.00 per night for rooms of a similar standard to which was provided. Due to the exceptionally poor weather in which the claimant and his family had travelled, localised flooding and standing water on the motorways, he considered that a return journey was unsafe and accepted the alternative accommodation under protest through force majeure.

 

References;

World Weather Online reports that rainfall on 6th July 2012 was 27.2mm and 33.3mm in Lincoln and Sheffield respectively.

 

BBC Website reports localised flooding affecting both Lincoln and Sheffield

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-18734887

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-18738432

 

Travel Expense

Having travelled 107 miles on a round trip for a product which was not available, the claimant is claiming £42.80. This is calculated at 40p per mile and accounts for fuel costs and vehicle wear and tear.

 

References;

 

http://maps.google.com

Google Maps get directions feature

 

Interest

The claimant claims interest to a value of £19.14 which will be claimed under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at a rate of 8% a year from 6th July 2012 to 16th January 2013 on £447.80 and also interest at the same rate up to the date of judgement or earlier payment.

 

Court Fees

The claimant will be claiming court fees to the value of £35.00.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Spikeachu (The claimant)

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