It’s summer, and lots of us take trips during the summer. We also avail ourselves of the convenience of the Internet to make reservations. I love doing these tasks online–but an experience my husband and I had recently is an example of convenience’s downside.
We have driven to our timeshare in South Carolina for years, and we have a favorite stopping place along the way: Newberry, South Carolina. It’s a charming little town with a historic Opera House and a couple of good restaurants. For the past several years, we’ve stayed at a Hampton Inn that’s in the walkable middle of the town.
This year, my husband went online to make reservations for two rooms–one for us, one for my older son, who will be with us. The emailed confirmation showed just one room, so he called to correct it. Evidently, Hampton no longer has its own reservation system; he was connected to (misnamed) customer service at Reservations. Com. After a lengthy discussion with someone for whom English was clearly not the native language, he was assured that the reservation had been corrected.
We then received an email confirmation (still for one room, but showing 3 adults instead of two)–and a second confirmation for a Holiday Inn in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Neither of us has ever heard of Ardmore, Oklahoma, let alone had any desire to visit there. The confirmation said our credit card had already been charged and the amount was unrefundable.
If that wasn’t sufficiently surreal, the telephone conversation between my husband and the individual at Reservations.com who answered his call was even more so. The man kept saying the reservation couldn’t be cancelled, and my husband kept saying (eventually, shouting) that we’d never made it. The closest we got to a resolution was the agent saying that he would “look into it” and if it turned out the charge was their mistake, it would be refunded.
Our next call was to our credit card company, to determine the process for disputing a charge.
Thanks to Trump, I’m mad all the time anyway, and I decided that I would write an “extra” blog post to alert readers to what was probably simple incompetence, but in the alternative, might also be a scam. Perhaps most people examine their credit card statements more closely than we do, but I wonder how many people have paid for a room they never reserved without catching the problem.
It turns out to be impossible to contact the Hampton Inn directly. Their phone goes directly to Reservations.com, and their website has no email contact listed. Anyone needing to speak to one particular hotel in the chain to resolve an issue is out of luck.
I don’t know what Reservations.com considers “customer service,” but I would warn against using them whenever possible. We had two phone calls with them: the first handled by someone with great difficulty communicating (and communicating, presumably, was the job description); and the second with a defensive asshole. (Excuse the terminology, but nothing else seems accurate.)
If anyone from Hampton Inn (or Hilton, the parent company) is reading this–you have a BIG PROBLEM. Sometimes, outsourcing is definitely NOT a good idea.