I accidentally paid twice for my hotel. Can I get a refund?

Why did Valeska Wehr pay twice for her stay at a Marriott property in Boston? And why won’t Booking.com help her?

  • By Wire Service
  • Saturday, April 20, 2024 1:30am
  • Life

Q: I recently reserved and paid for a room at the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, Boston, through Booking.com. I prepaid $1,191 for my accommodations.

I received a confirmation that I had booked a room at the property and that I had paid for it. However, when we checked out, my husband paid for the room again — not realizing that I had already paid for the hotel through Booking.com. We received an email invoice from the hotel and left the Marriott property, not realizing we had paid for our stay twice.

I contacted Booking.com straight away, but I don’t have a record of our interaction. Booking.com deleted all the messages relating to my inquiry. Marriott has referred the matter to Booking.com, and Booking.com will not help me. Is there anything you can do?

— Valeska Wehr, Bute, Australia

A: Booking.com should have charged you once, and Marriott shouldn’t have charged you at all. I know — thank you, Captain Obvious. But it merits repeating. I’ve reviewed your paperwork, and you should have only received one charge.

Marriott believed that you hadn’t prepaid your room. You might have been able to clear up the matter while you were at the property, but it looks like your husband didn’t get the memo either. (Next time, please tell him that you’ve prepaid.)

Still, this should have been easy to clear up. But as I reviewed the correspondence between you, Booking.com and Marriott, I saw more issues. Booking.com referred you to Marriott, even though this was a Booking.com reservation. Marriott sent you what appears to be a form letter, saying that you can’t get loyalty points for your stay in Boston. Wow, talk about confusion.

After receiving these disappointing responses, there’s only one thing left to do. You have to appeal your case to a higher level. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the executives at Marriott and at Booking.com on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.

This is not the first time Booking.com has billed one of its customers twice. I had a similar case a few months ago, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. You have to watch your final bill carefully. When you give a hotel your credit card for “incidental” expenses, make sure that it doesn’t charge you for the room again. It’s happened to me, and let me tell you, it is no fun to resolve it.

But there is a resolution to your case. You reached out to my advocacy team, and I contacted Booking.com. It asked for proof of payment, which you furnished. Within a week, you had a full refund of the amount that you’d overpaid.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at chris@elliott.org or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help.

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