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rated:
Should I attempt a chargeback on my Citi DoubleCash card for a cancelled hotel room that insisted on charging me a 1 night cancellation fee even though the reason I was cancelling was because the hotel lost its brand affiliation (and changed names) between the date I booked and the date of my stay?

Here's the detailed background:

On June 1, I booked a hotel via Booking.com. The hotel was listed as the Best Western XYZ Inn. I booked for one night June 9. It included free cancellation up until June 6. On June 6, my plans were still up in the air, so I checked other hotels in the area to see if I could cancel and book something else that would allow free cancellation closer to my travel date. I didn't find anything I liked at a similar price, so I didn't cancel.

On the morning of June 9, I was still planning on going, checked my reservation on the Booking.com site and noticed something odd. My confirmation was now listed for the XYZ Inn - no mention of Best Western anymore. I went to the Best Western site and that hotel wasn't on there anymore. I searched for Best Westerns in the area on Booking.com and couldn't find it. I called the hotel, and they wouldn't answer. When I clicked on the link in my email, it took me to a Booking.com page listing the hotel as XYZ Inn and in a red box at the top, it said "This hotel is not currently taking reservations." The hotel did not have it's own proprietary website, so it had no online presences other than 3rd party booking sites. This made me nervous. I started looking up other hotels in the area thinking Booking.com would let me cancel since this was a weird circumstance. Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel.

I called Booking.com and explained the situation. They called the hotel directly and were able to confirm that they are indeed no longer a Best Western but, "Nothing else has changed." I said that I always try to stay at name brand hotels and I no longer want to stay there. They said if I cancelled this late, I would not get a refund. The CSR for Booking.com asked the manager of the hotel directly if I could cancel and not be charged and he refused. Long story short, I escalated to a manager and the best Booking.com said they could do is give me $25. Booking.com said that since I was paying the hotel directly and not paying Booking.com, it was completely up to the hotel if I was allowed to cancel with no penalty and they had no leverage over the hotel in this situation. I said fine, cancel my reservation and give me the $25 back. Then I called the hotel, finally got someone to pick up, and informed them that since they lost their Best Western affiliation I cancelled my Booking.com reservation and expected not to be charged for my late cancellation. Long story short, they said, "Tough luck, talk to your credit card issuer." And here we are.

 

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
I haven't bothered with Best Western yet because they didn't do anything wrong here. My issue was with Booking.com and t... (more)

meade18 (Jul. 27, 2017 @ 8:03a) |

UPDATE:

Apparently I missed one of the e-communications Citi sent me asking me for more info and proof of cancellation, s... (more)

meade18 (Aug. 22, 2017 @ 8:40p) |

I'd still contact Best Western.  Your issue is that you were informed this hotel was no longer Best Western affiliated s... (more)

Glitch99 (Aug. 22, 2017 @ 9:22p) |

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You asked them to resolve the issue and they informed you that you need to resolve the issue through a chargeback. Seems like a chargeback is now fair... Whether you'll win or not I don't know, but I don't see a problem with filing a chargeback if the merchant told you to do that.

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And post the story on the hotel's TripAdvisor page to alert other travelers, both that they lost their BW flag and of the management's inflexibility.

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marginoferror said:   You asked them to resolve the issue and they informed you that you need to resolve the issue through a chargeback. Seems like a chargeback is now fair... Whether you'll win or not I don't know, but I don't see a problem with filing a chargeback if the merchant told you to do that.
On the other hand, that's the way a merchant tells you to go pound sand. They have OP agree to a contract with reservation and OP did not cancel on time. They probably think credit card issuer is gonna eat the loss or side with the hotel so they're not going to work with you to make it easy. Also a lot of people will forget or shy away from doing chargebacks. If they work with OP, they lose the money for sure. If they don't, they stand a chance to have issuer side with them.

But by same token, OP is already out their money. OP can invoke the loss of BW franchise to their decision to cancel (odd that it'd happen within the 9 days between booking and the date of stay) so not much to lose by filing a chargeback claim and see what happens.  

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It sounds like you're really cancelling because your plans changed and the brand thing is a convenient excuse.

I don't think it matters, though, losing a brand affiliation is a pretty serious deal. You don't know if it was revoked for cause and you don't have the franchisor to assist in any issues that come up. IMHO, you'd be well within your rights to do a chargeback. Don't mention any of your travel plan things, though, keep it simple and straightforward.

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Shandril said:   
marginoferror said:   You asked them to resolve the issue and they informed you that you need to resolve the issue through a chargeback. Seems like a chargeback is now fair... Whether you'll win or not I don't know, but I don't see a problem with filing a chargeback if the merchant told you to do that.
On the other hand, that's the way a merchant tells you to go pound sand. They have OP agree to a contract with reservation and OP did not cancel on time. They probably think credit card issuer is gonna eat the loss or side with the hotel so they're not going to work with you to make it easy. Also a lot of people will forget or shy away from doing chargebacks. If they work with OP, they lose the money for sure. If they don't, they stand a chance to have issuer side with them.

But by same token, OP is already out their money. OP can invoke the loss of BW franchise to their decision to cancel (odd that it'd happen within the 9 days between booking and the date of stay) so not much to lose by filing a chargeback claim and see what happens.  

  Right, of course the merchant doesn't want OP to file a chargeback and I definitely agree with you that that's what they're saying, but they still told OP to file a chargeback. Also, most processors charge fees for chargebacks so there is some additional risk to not working with the customer. Regardless, these are questions for the hotel to be concerned with, not OP.

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doveroftke said:   I don't think it matters, though, losing a brand affiliation is a pretty serious deal. You don't know if it was revoked for cause and you don't have the franchisor to assist in any issues that come up. IMHO, you'd be well within your rights to do a chargeback. Fon't mention any of your travel plan things, though, keep it simple and straightforward.
  Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the reasons could be for losing the brand affiliation? Could the hotel itself decide to end the agreement? 

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Shandril said:   
marginoferror said:   You asked them to resolve the issue and they informed you that you need to resolve the issue through a chargeback. Seems like a chargeback is now fair... Whether you'll win or not I don't know, but I don't see a problem with filing a chargeback if the merchant told you to do that.
On the other hand, that's the way a merchant tells you to go pound sand. They have OP agree to a contract with reservation and OP did not cancel on time. They probably think credit card issuer is gonna eat the loss or side with the hotel so they're not going to work with you to make it easy. Also a lot of people will forget or shy away from doing chargebacks. If they work with OP, they lose the money for sure. If they don't, they stand a chance to have issuer side with them.

But by same token, OP is already out their money. OP can invoke the loss of BW franchise to their decision to cancel (odd that it'd happen within the 9 days between booking and the date of stay) so not much to lose by filing a chargeback claim and see what happens.  

 It seems more than odd to me, it seems intentionally misleading and like false advertising. It is highly unlikely that they didn't know that they were losing their brand affiliation at the time of the booking and they failed to disclose this before payment. IMHO, that should be the basis of the dispute, along with any loss of expected rewards/membership benefits.

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Thanks for the responses so far.

Yes, the brand name change is a convenient excuse. I am being 100% honest because this is fatwallet and I would want the same from any other poster. Had my plans not changed, I still would have called Booking.com looking for something from them considering the name change. Unless they offered to move me to a different Best Western and not charge me the difference, I would have likely still stayed at the original place. It just so happens, I didn't need the hotel anymore. But when it comes to posting on here, if I didn't say why I didn't go, I would have expected someone to ask, "So did you book another hotel or did you seriously cancel your trip just because that hotel changed its name?" Since my answer was neither, I wanted to be honest and explain.

But yes, those circumstances don't matter for the chargeback. I will stick to the facts if/when I file.
1. Booked a Best Western
2. Found out after free cancellation date but before check-in that it was no longer a Best Western
3. Tried to work it out between 3rd party booker and hotel and only thing offered was $25 for my inconvenience (not a full refund).
4. Did not actually use the service - cancelled the room - but was still charged for it

Oddly enough, I received a form email TODAY @ 2:40 AM from Booking.com saying that the hotel I booked changed its name. I assume it went out to everyone that has an outstanding reservation there, so good for them that they have that information. But it seems a little silly to send it to me two days after I was actually supposed to stay there.

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marginoferror said:   
doveroftke said:   I don't think it matters, though, losing a brand affiliation is a pretty serious deal. You don't know if it was revoked for cause and you don't have the franchisor to assist in any issues that come up. IMHO, you'd be well within your rights to do a chargeback. Fon't mention any of your travel plan things, though, keep it simple and straightforward.
  Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the reasons could be for losing the brand affiliation? Could the hotel itself decide to end the agreement? 

One might just assume that it happens because the hotel didn't meet corporate standards or something like that, but here are 5 reasons a hotel might deflag itself.  

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Do it, preferably in writing, in a letter MAILED to the special address specified for billing problems, and do refer to the matter as a "billing error" and say that you "do not accept" the product or service.  Just filling out an online form may not preserve your rights as well as a mailed letter will, but I'm not sure because the original credit card law was written in the early 1970s.  However by delivering a mail to the correct address, you put the card issuer under time limits for replying and correcting the bill and be subject to a maximum $50 fine (payable to you) if they don't comply.  I collected that, once.

It's important to complain before you pay, whether you complain orally or in writing,  to the merchant or to the credit card issuer.   

Hotels don't lose their chain affiliation just because everything is perfectly OK.  Sometimes the hotel doesn't like the franchise arrangement, but sometimes the chain drops them for underperformance, whether it's profitability or quality standards.  So it's false that nothing has changed about the hotel.   

By the way, the card issuer's responsibility to correct your bill is not contingent on their ability to collect from the merchant.  
 

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Curious what we happen if OP had put a lock on the credit card or reported his card lost? Would the charge go through?

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It's got to be pretty bad if they can't even maintain the Best Western brand. Their standards are pretty low and it's the low end of hotel branding.

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dcwilbur said:   One might just assume that it happens because the hotel didn't meet corporate standards or something like that, but here are 5 reasons a hotel might deflag itself.  
  
People assume they lost their affiliation, vs voluntarily giving it up.  Best Western is such a prestigious brand after all...   

IMO, OP has no leg to stand on.  Had he gone and stayed and found the hotel was below some standards of acceptability,  maybe.  

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fivetalents said:   
Shandril said:   
marginoferror said:   You asked them to resolve the issue and they informed you that you need to resolve the issue through a chargeback. Seems like a chargeback is now fair... Whether you'll win or not I don't know, but I don't see a problem with filing a chargeback if the merchant told you to do that.
On the other hand, that's the way a merchant tells you to go pound sand. They have OP agree to a contract with reservation and OP did not cancel on time. They probably think credit card issuer is gonna eat the loss or side with the hotel so they're not going to work with you to make it easy. Also a lot of people will forget or shy away from doing chargebacks. If they work with OP, they lose the money for sure. If they don't, they stand a chance to have issuer side with them.

But by same token, OP is already out their money. OP can invoke the loss of BW franchise to their decision to cancel (odd that it'd happen within the 9 days between booking and the date of stay) so not much to lose by filing a chargeback claim and see what happens.  

 It seems more than odd to me, it seems intentionally misleading and like false advertising. It is highly unlikely that they didn't know that they were losing their brand affiliation at the time of the booking and they failed to disclose this before payment. IMHO, that should be the basis of the dispute, along with any loss of expected rewards/membership benefits.

  If removing/changing a name, it has to happen a some point, regardless of if it is planned or unexpected.  The timing most likely just a bad coincidence for OP.  One the actual property, the transition may still be in progress.

It's a relative long shot, but contacting Best Western might get you something too, in terms of brand loyalty and how you were "forced" to use a non-brand hotel. 

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EradicateSpam said:   
dcwilbur said:   One might just assume that it happens because the hotel didn't meet corporate standards or something like that, but here are 5 reasons a hotel might deflag itself.  
  
People assume they lost their affiliation, vs voluntarily giving it up.  Best Western is such a prestigious brand after all...   

IMO, OP has no leg to stand on.  Had he gone and stayed and found the hotel was below some standards of acceptability,  maybe.  

  That's not 100% true. There are many things that potentially go into a hotel booking decision.
The OP might have had great status with BW (not sure if they do or not)
The BW brand is a standard, just like McDonalds is a standard. You know what you are going to get.
A hotel under the BW flag has the backup of going to corporate if something happened and the hotel itself can't resolve it.

The OP lost all of those, thus his reservation has changed.

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EradicateSpam said:   
IMO, OP has no leg to stand on.  Had he gone and stayed and found the hotel was below some standards of acceptability,  maybe.  

  With all due respect I completely disagree. Regardless of the reason they are not branded Best Western anymore, there was a reason they were in the first place. For whatever reason, at least theoretically, customers were more likely to book with them as a Best Western hotel.

OP booked a Best Western hotel. Most people don't even realize that most hotels are run independently. The sole ability to complain to Best Western if there is a problem is enough of a reason to book a chain brand over some random hotel. OP lost that ability to do so, AND with no notification from the hotel. By not notifying OP the hotel is now also in the grey area in how they handled this (if the situation wasn't already grey).

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meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?
  

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Booking.com's interpetation meets their T&C. They basically say they guarantee nothing and it's up to the supplier to provide information, at that point it's between you and the hotel.

I'm curious what Best Western has to say about it. When the reservation was made, the hotels' cancellation policy had to meet BWs. I'm curious if they have language that says what happens to that policy if a hotel leaves the brand for whatever reason.

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Are Best Western hotels normally called "Best Western XYZ Inn"?

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qcumber98 said:   Are Best Western hotels normally called "Best Western XYZ Inn"?
  https://www.allstays.com/hotels-by-chain/best-western-ca.htm
trailside inn
anaheim inn
stovalls inn

etc etc

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. 
So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?
  

Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.

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Hotel chargebacks are notoriously difficult, but it's worth a shot. It will be tough to argue about the quality of the hotel when you never actually showed up.  Try it and see, and let us know what happens.

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EradicateSpam said:   
dcwilbur said:   One might just assume that it happens because the hotel didn't meet corporate standards or something like that, but here are 5 reasons a hotel might deflag itself.  
  
People assume they lost their affiliation, vs voluntarily giving it up.  Best Western is such a prestigious brand after all...   

IMO, OP has no leg to stand on.  Had he gone and stayed and found the hotel was below some standards of acceptability,  maybe.  

  Aquafina and Dasani are both municipal tap water people still buy it vs. drinking water straight from the tap because of brand loyalty. Doesn't matter that its a convenient excuse because of OPs changed plans. He has the right to cancel due to a material change in product and service.

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I was on other side of situation (vacation rental) ... I think you need to be short and brief to win the charge back. You need to let CC know some like:

I booked a Best Western Hotel - that was the name brand given to me when i booked. But the hotel named in my agreement was gone, I called them and I refused to stay at different brand name hotel that i did not sign up for. My agreement was with best western hotel - which no longer existed - but they still charged me!!

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meade18 said:   NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?  Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.
So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. 
So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?  

Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.

So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

  I disagree. OP booked a Best Western hotel. The hotel could not provide the product as it was advertised/purchased.

Should OP still be charged if the hotel disappeared? If you don't think so, there is a line at which point the actual reason for canceling doesn't matter. It should also be noted that if you need to cancel a hotel reservation, the chain will sometimes offer to assist you in canceling even if you aren't precisely within the policy. Obviously OP did not have that opportunity here.

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prozario said:   I was on other side of situation (vacation rental) ... I think you need to be short and brief to win the charge back. You need to let CC know some like:

I booked a Best Western Hotel - that was the name brand given to me when i booked. But the hotel named in my agreement was gone, I called them and I refused to stay at different brand name hotel that i did not sign up for. My agreement was with best western hotel - which no longer existed - but they still charged me!!

  Even briefer than that - "I ordered a Best Western hotel room.  I learned I was not going to receive a Best Western hotel room, so I cancelled my order.  They billed me for a non-Best Western hotel room anyways."

I know hotel chargeback are typically hard to win.  But I suspect they may be prepared to absorb some chargeback over this reason - to the point they may not even defend it - and they're just bluffing with the expectation that most affected people wont follow through.

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. 
So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?  

Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.

So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

  He was already working on alternate arrangements before his companion cancelled the trip altogether.  He was cancelling the reservation regardless, he hadn't yet because his priority was first securing alternate accommodations.

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Glitch99 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. 
So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?  

Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.

So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

  He was already working on alternate arrangements before his companion cancelled the trip altogether.  He was cancelling the reservation regardless, he hadn't yet because his priority was first securing alternate accommodations.

That's not what he said later in the thread:  "Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn."

This could have potentially start the chargeback in motion: "But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal."

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
Glitch99 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. 
So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?  

Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.

So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

  He was already working on alternate arrangements before his companion cancelled the trip altogether.  He was cancelling the reservation regardless, he hadn't yet because his priority was first securing alternate accommodations.

That's not what he said later in the thread:  "Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn."

This could have potentially start the chargeback in motion: "But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal."

  
On the morning of June 9, I was still planning on going, checked my reservation on the Booking.com  site and noticed something odd. My confirmation was now listed for the XYZ Inn - no mention of Best Western anymore. [a bunch of stuff about uncovering the hotel brand change] This made me nervous. I started looking up other hotels in the area thinking Booking.com  would let me cancel since this was a weird circumstance. Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel.[/]
All he's saying is that if the trip had happened, he probably wouldnt have forced the issue once they didnt let him cancel - which, as I mentioned, is exactly what they hope most people affected by this will end up doing. I guess I should've said "he was going to try to cancel regardless", but wasnt going to eat the cancellation fee just to move to another hotel. Once the trip was cancelled, the cancellation fee lost all it's weight in the equation.

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NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

  he wants his $ back, and (through dumb luck) he's got a legit basis for a refund.  if 100% honest, he'd act against his own self-interest, virtually guaranteeing a win for the merchant.  that would make no sense, at least from a rational-person perspective.

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Is it possible that a chargeback hits the books in the period before removal of the Best Western name whereas a simple refund would not? That way, with a chargeback the hotel decreases the revenue subject to the franchise agreement.

rated:
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   
NoMoneyInMyWallet said:   
meade18 said:   Then, about an hour later, the person I was visiting called and said they weren't up for the trip anymore due to health reasons. So now I really wanted to cancel. 
So regardless of whether the affiliation changed or not you were going to cancel anyway?  

Regardless of the affiliation change, I was not taking the trip. But that doesn't necessarily mean I was going to cancel. The terms I agreed to at time of booking was that I would have to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged the 1st night's rate. I was only staying 1 night, so the late cancellation fee was 100% of my booking. To cancel or not cancel wasn't going to change anything for me. I would be taking an extra step (cancelling), but getting nothing in return (still paying the full amount). I cancelled mainly because booking;com offered me $25 for my inconvenience if I cancelled. That was only after they asked the hotel directly if I could cancel and not get charged and they said, "No." I also cancelled because I figured it would look better if I initiated a chargeback.

If the person I was visiting had not been ill, I would have still called booking;com and asked if there was anything they could do to change my reservation. I truly picked this hotel because it had a national brand affiliation and I don't like staying at one-off independents if I don't have to. If there were other hotels comparable in the area (price and reputation), I would have tried to cancel and re-book. Knowing what I know now (they would not have let me cancel), had I taken the trip, I would have probably still stayed at the XYZ Inn. But if anything was messed up and not fixed by management on site, I would have requested something from booking;com because of the whole name change ordeal.

I don't know when booking;com found out about the name change, but I was the one that had to point it out to them rather than the other way around. It shouldn't work that way. I feel like they do have enough leverage over the hotels to allow a customer in my situation to cancel without a fee. It doesn't surprise me that they didn't bother to flex that muscle, but they definitely could have.

So you agree that they did not violate the cancellation policy and the change in affiliation was not the reason for cancellation? If yes, there is no reason for a chargeback and you are not being "100% honest" if you are using the change in affiliation excuse as the reason for a chargeback. So the question is, are you going to be 100% honest or not?

P.S. You should state the "100% honest" reason for cancellation, not the excuse, in the 1st sentence of the OP.

P.P.S. If you feel you are entitled to compensation (beyond the $25 you received) for the affiliation change, go for it, but continue to take it up with Booking.com or the hotel directly, not Citi.
  

  
They did not violate the cancellation policy, correct. But they did violate the contract in the sense that I reserved a room at a Best Western and I wasn't going to get a room at a Best Western. The change in affiliation WAS the main reason for the cancellation. Had the hotel never changed names, I would NOT have cancelled the reservation. I would have simply been a no-show. Why didn't I take the trip? That info is for nosy FWFers, but, in my opinion, it is irrelevant to the chargeback. In fact, whether I took the trip at all is irrelevant for the chargeback.

I proposed making an exception to the cancellation policy to both booking;com and the hotel because of the name change. The hotel refused. Booking;com offered $25. I also figured cancelling the room would make more sense if I decided on a chargeback. So I cancelled.

The reason for the chargeback is that there was no way for the "merchant" to "deliver" what I "ordered" and before accepting what they were going to provide, I attempted to end the transaction altogether. The "merchant" refused.

Glitch99 is correct though, the moment I found out the hotel lost it's affiliation, I wanted different accommodations. It was just a matter of how much time/money I wanted to spend and whether I wanted to risk a chargeback that was factoring in my decision to cancel at that time. Since they weren't letting me out, I probably wouldn't have risked the cancel, pay for two rooms, and hope for a winning chargeback route. Since I didn't take the trip at all, there seems to be no reason not to cancel and try the chargeback.

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I might have missed it, but how much are we talking about here?

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alwayslookinaround said:   I might have missed it, but how much are we talking about here?

$80

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meade18 said:   I proposed making an exception to the cancellation policy to both booking;com and the hotel because of the name change. 
  Minor detail when pursuing this, which I do assume you already understand - it's all about the chain/brand you were purchasing when making the reservation.  Blaming "the name change" does make it sound like a rather petty reason.

i still wouldn't be surprised if they don't even try to dispute the chargeback, and are making you file it because they know most people wont.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
meade18 said:   I proposed making an exception to the cancellation policy to both booking;com and the hotel because of the name change. 
  Minor detail when pursuing this, which I do assume you already understand - it's all about the chain/brand you were purchasing when making the reservation.  Blaming "the name change" does make it sound like a rather petty reason.

i still wouldn't be surprised if they don't even try to dispute the chargeback, and are making you file it because they know most people wont.

  
You're right - I've been using "name change" and "loss of brand affiliation" interchangeably. I really was only concerned with the loss of brand affiliation. I will make sure to use that terminology in my chargeback.

rated:
It seems to me that credit card chargebacks are for cases where you've been harmed by the merchant. In this case, you haven't been harmed in any way - you made just as much use of the hotel as you would have (none), had the hotel kept the Best Western affiliation.

As an analogy, say I'm in a restaurant.  I order a steak medium rare, but decide, when it's brought to the table, that I really don't want steak, and would prefer lobster, so I tell them to take the steak away uneaten. I'm still on the hook to pay for the steak, even if it turned out that it had actually been cooked well done (a fact of which I was unaware when I sent it back).  

Skipping 37 Messages...
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meade18 said:   UPDATE:

Apparently I missed one of the e-communications Citi sent me asking me for more info and proof of cancellation, so my dispute got closed out in the merchant's favor. Oh well. It was my fault for missing the email notification. Sorry for the anticlimactic ending. [insert sad trombone sound]

  I'd still contact Best Western.  Your issue is that you were informed this hotel was no longer Best Western affiliated so you cancelled the reservation, then they fully represented themselves as in fact being a Best Western in the subsequent billing dispute.  Request a free night's credit, since you've paid for a night that was never used, since if not for their miscommunication about affiliation you would've stayed there.  And when Best Western responds that that hotel is no longer affiliated, express your confusion since you lost your credit card dispute because the hotel responded as being a current Best Western affiliate, letterhead and all.

I wouldnt expect much on your end, but it should cause the hotel a bit of hassle.  Best Western isnt going to take kindly to a non-Best Western hotel conducting business under the Best Western banner.

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