On June 3, 2011 I stayed at the Monumental Hotel in Orlando. Upon arriving back to Miami we were so
impressed with the hotel and its affordability that we decided to make Reservations on June 8,2011 for
the week of July 19th,2011. Because our reservation would require special accommodations, we decided to contact the hotel directly on June 8th, 2011 to make our reservation request. We went on the
Internet and did a search for the Monumental hotel phone number and what appeared to be the hotel's
). This is when the deception began. We called the number listed on the website as the hotel's phone number. At one point it did not seem as we were speaking with the hotel. So we asked to make sure; the agent stated that we were speaking with the reservation department for the hotel directly. Being assured we continued with the reservation.
We requested (3) three rooms, in which (2) rooms must connect and all three must be next to each other. Moving forward the reservation person quoted for all (3) three rooms for the days of July 19- July 22 for $367.00. Finding that rate was very good we asked for booking agent to confirm that all
(3) three rooms were that total. Again, we were assured that was the rate. The booking agent then asked if we wanted even a lower rate it would have to be NON negotiable with cancellation fee. I explained
that would not be possible since traveling with kids is always unpredictable.
The agent requested a credit card to hold reservation. We began to give our Discover credit card,
when the agent stated that the rate we were receiving is so low because they
have a promotion going on with VISA/MASTERCARD and would have to use
one of those credit cards to get the "special" rate quoted. At that time we gave them OUR BANK credit card. We were told we would receive a confirmation via email of reservation, which we never did.
Nevertheless, on June 21th, I again did a search on the Internet for the hotel phone
number and called what is the actual hotel. My call was to confirm that I had not received
email with confirmation and my room requests. I spoke to the front desk and they informed me that
my room request had not been entered and that the booking was not done with the hotel directly. I asked
if they had a department that handles reservation and was told absolutely not. I began to explain
my request and was told that it would be impossible to guarantee these accommodations through a 3rd party. I explained that I was led to believe that I was making reservation directly
with the hotel and he understood but said that there was nothing he could do for me. At that point feeling
something is wrong , I looked at my BankUNITED statement to find that not only was I charged in advance
for the hotel rooms but I was also charged an incorrect rate. On June 21st, 2011 I made my first phone
call to the number listed on the statement. I was greeted by menu of services of which I picked change or cancel reservation. I left (2) messages on this voice mail. My 1st call was on the 21st of June ,my 2nd on June 22nd. After no response, on June 24th I called several times in a row and from the greeting menu kept requesting billing issue. After several attempts I was transferred finally to a live person. I explained the situation and I was informed that they could not help me and would have the supervisor call me in 15 minutes. After no response, I was left no choice but to approach my bank with my dispute. It was only after charges became disputed did I receive a response via BankUnited. I explained that I still needed a reservation for those dates but that was not the rate quoted. After several attempts to resolve, I opted to cancel since $1000 vs $367 quoted is more than I can afford.I have now been told that I would have to pay a cancellation fee for $296. This is not appropriate since there would have not been a cancellation fee if they had honored the rate quoted and had been honest from the start. On another note the hotel itself does not have any cancellation fee if cancelled within 24 hours before your stay. After further research it turns out HotelPLUS has many complaints against them for their business practice. In there greetings they even claim to be AAA Internet all one deception after another.
FOLLOW UP -I have had to pursue other avenues for a full refund, VISA was of no help. PLEASE DO NOT THINK THAT YOU ARE PROTECTED BY VISA AS A CONSUMER, YOU ARE NOT. For me $300 cancellation fee is a big deal so I will not let this rest, especially since I was taken advantage and lied to in everyway. Imagine how many others have gone through this and how much money they are making from this business practice. Worst of all VISA is protecting them not you the consumer.