I booked through Hotels.com for a hostel room for the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid. When we did not get tickets we cancelled it. Hotels.com confirmed we are entitled to a full refund, but says the hostel owner will not respond and that I should pursue it myself. Predictably, I had no better success.

I thought booking sites would sort out booking problems. But Hotels.com says it will not do so because I chose the option “pay at the hotel” even though it required me to pay 100% deposit.

I understand from a Tripadvisor review that this owner has already been removed from Hostelworld.com for non-compliance. I’ve been unable to place a review to warn others because I had not stayed at the property. SL, London

Hotels.com’s terms and conditions explain that customers who use the “pay at hotel” option will be charged directly by the accommodation provider. In this case it relays booking details and sends confirmation. Those who choose “pay now” pay via its own website. It does not explain that “pay at hotel” customers will have to chase uncooperative providers themselves. Moreover, you seem to have been lured into a grey area since a 100% deposit is, in effect, “pay now”. Hotels.com found new energy when the Observer made contact and you were refunded. It says: “This is not the sort of experience we expect for our customers and we’d like to apologise for the difficulties experienced.”

It doesn’t say whether it plans to remove the recalcitrant hotelier.

If you need help email Anna Tims at your.problems@observer.co.uk or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions



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