July 19th, 2019
The clock started ticking for a TINA.org reader the second she clicked sort by price on Booking.com and saw the disclosure “There’s only 1 like it!” above a $75 nightly rate for a hotel room in Midtown Manhattan.
The prodding by the online travel site to reserve the room before someone else continued as she made her way through the booking process. “Last chance!” the site implored. “1 other person looked for your dates in the last 10 minutes.”
The barrage of prompts didn’t cease until she booked the room — for more than double the price she was expecting to pay.
She said a sense of urgency created by Booking.com caused her to overlook information about a $119 cleaning fee (described on the site as a “property service charge”), which resulted in her credit card being charged $254 after taxes.
“I rushed to book and saw in the confirmation email that I will be charged $254,” she wrote to TINA.org.
Now she’s stuck because the booking was nonrefundable.
“The website is asking me to talk to the property, and the property is asking me to talk to the website,” she said.
Two things: Why wasn’t the cleaning fee included in the price? This whole thing smacks of drip pricing and resort fees. And who is this constant prompting on Booking.com actually benefiting, the consumer or the site?
TINA.org reached out to Booking.com for comment. Check back for updates.
Find more of our coverage on travel here.