SafeBee brings you the following article courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission.

Whether you travel a lot or just a little, you’ve probably gone online to book a hotel stay. Sometimes you might find a travel comparison site gets you the best deal. Other times, you might book directly at a hotel’s website — maybe to earn points for the company’s reward program, or because you have some special requests for your stay.

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For those times you’re looking to book directly with a hotel, make sure that’s what you’re doing. The FTC has heard from people who searched online and thought they were booking on a hotel website, only to find they’d unknowingly been doing business with someone else.

The confusion resulted in problems like:

  • arriving and finding no reservation
  • having trouble canceling or modifying a reservation, or disputing charges through the hotel
  • finding reserved rooms didn’t reflect special requests like disability access
  • being charged undisclosed fees
  • paying a higher rate than what’s advertised by the hotel
  • getting credit card charges from the third party, not the hotel
  • not earning points with their hotel reward program

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It can be hard to tell that you’re not on the hotel’s site. You might see a hotel’s name in the URL, or call the number shown next to the hotel’s address and not realize it’s the reservation company — not the hotel — you’re talking to.

Your best bet to avoid surprises — look closely at your search results. If you know you want to deal directly with a hotel, take the time to look for signs you might be on a third-party site, like another company’s logo. It’s also a good idea to find the hotel phone number yourself, rather than rely on what’s listed on the site.

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