• Report: #460811

Complaint Review: HOSTELBOOKERS.COM

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  • Submitted: Thu, June 11, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, June 16, 2009

  • Reported By:san clemente California
HOSTELBOOKERS.COM
52-54 High Holborn London Nationwide United Kingdom
  • Phone:
  • Web:
  • Category: Motels

HOSTELBOOKERS.COM Deceptive Web Marketing Practices London, UK Hostelbookers is located in the UK. Beware that any "deposit" they charge you is converted to British Pounds and will cost you more than the US dollar amount represented. They also state before you pay, that you may "cancel at any time at no charge" and do not disclose Sales Tax until after you pay. After you pay, deposit is non-refundableSo it costs 10% to cancel and sales tax shown after you pay London Internet

*UPDATE Employee: Our apologies for the misunderstanding

*UPDATE Employee: Our apologies for the misunderstanding

*UPDATE Employee: Our apologies for the misunderstanding

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Hostelbookers is a company located in London, which they do not make clearly known or evident on the site. There is no contact information other than a street address in London, and they charge a 10% NON-REFUNDABLE "deposit", that gets converted to British pounds currency, so if the dollar is weaker in relation to the British Pound, you end up paying more in US dollars when your account - credit card is debited, than it shows as your total on the website when you pay, due to the currency difference. If there is a problem, they have no email address and no phone number to contact them. When you are booking your room, the advertising says there is "no booking fee" and that you "may cancel at any time up to 2 days prior to arrival, at no charge". These are both lies, since they charge the 10% "deposit" which you find out after paying is non-refundable, so you ARE paying their booking fee, which is 10% and the cost to cancel is forfeiture of the 10% deposit, which contradicts their claim that you can cancel at any time "at no charge". The cost to cancel is 10%.
They also do not disclose until after you pay, that 16.75% sales tax is due ON TOP of the amount shown as the room rate you *think* you are getting. BEWARE of HOSTELBOOKERS. Their website advertising practices are deceptive and if there is a problem, you can't even call or email them, you can only write a letter and MAIL it through the post office!
This is a really unethical slimy way to do business. BUYER BEWARE!

Barbara
san clemente, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/11/2009 03:13 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/HOSTELBOOKERSCOM/nationwide/HOSTELBOOKERSCOM-Deceptive-Web-Marketing-Practices-London-UK-Hostelbookers-is-located-in-460811. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Our apologies for the misunderstanding

AUTHOR: Hostelbookers - (United Kingdom)

Dear Barbara,

We're sorry that you had a bad experience with HostelBookers. We do actually have a link to contact us from every page of this website this brings customers to our help page, www.hostelbookers.com/contact, with helpful FAQs and a form which you can fill out for other inquiries that is emailed directly to our Customer Service Team. You can also give feedback on every page using the button in the top right hand corner. Thank you for your feedback on this matter. On closer inspection, we can see that it might not always be clear that the all other queries section contains an email form and we will look into making this more visible in the future.

The cancellation policy for each property is also clearly stated on both the property profile and checkout pages and is in fact visible to customers before they confirm the booking. The text you quote is from these places but you have only referenced half of it. The full policy reads Guests can cancel their reservation free of charge up to 2 days before arrival. Deposits paid are non refundable. This means that there is no additional cost above the 10% deposit and you were not liable for the total amount of the reservation in this way, the cancellation was indeed free of charge'. We feel that these words may not be the clearest possible way to explain the cancellation policy, however, and we will look into altering the text to be more self-explanatory.

However, we would like to point out that you are mistaken in the other aspects of your complaint.

First, the sales tax you mention is specific to town and property policy, not HostelBookers. Only a minority of our properties charge extra taxes and, to ensure that it is clear to our customers when they will be subject to an additional tax, we display this information on the property profile page, as you can see here: http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/usa/san-antonio/44592/ This important information is listed again on the checkout page below the booking summary in both instances, it is visible before you are required to give any payment details.

With regards to the deposit, this is clearly not a booking fee charging 10% is the industry standard to confirm the booking but, unlike our leading competitors, we do not charge a handling fee on top of this deposit. The 10% paid to reserve your room is deducted from the final total, so there is never any additional cost for booking with HostelBookers that would constitute a fee.

Finally, we use the currency spot rate for the day you book so it is possible, due to market fluctuations, that there will be a very small difference between the amount displayed in USD and the amount debited from your account in USD, but this will depend on the customer's bank, and it will always be as close as possible to the amount stated on the checkout page. We do not take more money from your account if the dollar has fallen it is always a straightforward conversion between the two currencies. We also state on the checkout page (again, before payment is required) that the deposit will be charged to your account in British Pounds.

Not at any point do we use deceptive or unethical practices on our website. We strive to provide our customers with value for money accommodation and no hidden costs.

Regards,
HostelBookers
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Our apologies for the misunderstanding

AUTHOR: Hostelbookers - (United Kingdom)

Dear Barbara,

We're sorry that you had a bad experience with HostelBookers. We do actually have a link to contact us from every page of this website this brings customers to our help page, www.hostelbookers.com/contact, with helpful FAQs and a form which you can fill out for other inquiries that is emailed directly to our Customer Service Team. You can also give feedback on every page using the button in the top right hand corner. Thank you for your feedback on this matter. On closer inspection, we can see that it might not always be clear that the all other queries section contains an email form and we will look into making this more visible in the future.

The cancellation policy for each property is also clearly stated on both the property profile and checkout pages and is in fact visible to customers before they confirm the booking. The text you quote is from these places but you have only referenced half of it. The full policy reads Guests can cancel their reservation free of charge up to 2 days before arrival. Deposits paid are non refundable. This means that there is no additional cost above the 10% deposit and you were not liable for the total amount of the reservation in this way, the cancellation was indeed free of charge'. We feel that these words may not be the clearest possible way to explain the cancellation policy, however, and we will look into altering the text to be more self-explanatory.

However, we would like to point out that you are mistaken in the other aspects of your complaint.

First, the sales tax you mention is specific to town and property policy, not HostelBookers. Only a minority of our properties charge extra taxes and, to ensure that it is clear to our customers when they will be subject to an additional tax, we display this information on the property profile page, as you can see here: http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/usa/san-antonio/44592/ This important information is listed again on the checkout page below the booking summary in both instances, it is visible before you are required to give any payment details.

With regards to the deposit, this is clearly not a booking fee charging 10% is the industry standard to confirm the booking but, unlike our leading competitors, we do not charge a handling fee on top of this deposit. The 10% paid to reserve your room is deducted from the final total, so there is never any additional cost for booking with HostelBookers that would constitute a fee.

Finally, we use the currency spot rate for the day you book so it is possible, due to market fluctuations, that there will be a very small difference between the amount displayed in USD and the amount debited from your account in USD, but this will depend on the customer's bank, and it will always be as close as possible to the amount stated on the checkout page. We do not take more money from your account if the dollar has fallen it is always a straightforward conversion between the two currencies. We also state on the checkout page (again, before payment is required) that the deposit will be charged to your account in British Pounds.

Not at any point do we use deceptive or unethical practices on our website. We strive to provide our customers with value for money accommodation and no hidden costs.

Regards,
HostelBookers
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Our apologies for the misunderstanding

AUTHOR: Hostelbookers - (United Kingdom)

Dear Barbara,

We're sorry that you had a bad experience with HostelBookers. We do actually have a link to contact us from every page of this website this brings customers to our help page, www.hostelbookers.com/contact, with helpful FAQs and a form which you can fill out for other inquiries that is emailed directly to our Customer Service Team. You can also give feedback on every page using the button in the top right hand corner. Thank you for your feedback on this matter. On closer inspection, we can see that it might not always be clear that the all other queries section contains an email form and we will look into making this more visible in the future.

The cancellation policy for each property is also clearly stated on both the property profile and checkout pages and is in fact visible to customers before they confirm the booking. The text you quote is from these places but you have only referenced half of it. The full policy reads Guests can cancel their reservation free of charge up to 2 days before arrival. Deposits paid are non refundable. This means that there is no additional cost above the 10% deposit and you were not liable for the total amount of the reservation in this way, the cancellation was indeed free of charge'. We feel that these words may not be the clearest possible way to explain the cancellation policy, however, and we will look into altering the text to be more self-explanatory.

However, we would like to point out that you are mistaken in the other aspects of your complaint.

First, the sales tax you mention is specific to town and property policy, not HostelBookers. Only a minority of our properties charge extra taxes and, to ensure that it is clear to our customers when they will be subject to an additional tax, we display this information on the property profile page, as you can see here: http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/usa/san-antonio/44592/ This important information is listed again on the checkout page below the booking summary in both instances, it is visible before you are required to give any payment details.

With regards to the deposit, this is clearly not a booking fee charging 10% is the industry standard to confirm the booking but, unlike our leading competitors, we do not charge a handling fee on top of this deposit. The 10% paid to reserve your room is deducted from the final total, so there is never any additional cost for booking with HostelBookers that would constitute a fee.

Finally, we use the currency spot rate for the day you book so it is possible, due to market fluctuations, that there will be a very small difference between the amount displayed in USD and the amount debited from your account in USD, but this will depend on the customer's bank, and it will always be as close as possible to the amount stated on the checkout page. We do not take more money from your account if the dollar has fallen it is always a straightforward conversion between the two currencies. We also state on the checkout page (again, before payment is required) that the deposit will be charged to your account in British Pounds.

Not at any point do we use deceptive or unethical practices on our website. We strive to provide our customers with value for money accommodation and no hidden costs.

Regards,
HostelBookers
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