Sometimes at dinner parties or social occasions I will talk to people who want to tell me what a good travel deal they have got on the internet. I listen politely and occasionally I point out that they may not be getting what they think they have booked – but generally this is not wise as many folk believe that if it is on the net it must be true.
For those who like to book on the internet this press release crossed my desk last week….
“May 21, 2010. Accommodation provider, Mantra Group has stepped up its efforts to warn consumers of the risks associated with confirming online reservations through unlicensed operators.
According to Mantra Group General Manager of Distribution Luke Jamieson, the company has received numerous complaints from clients who thought they had confirmed Mantra-branded accommodation, only to discover upon their arrival that the property had no record of any reservation or payment. Other consumers simply ended up with substandard rooms at non-Mantra properties.
“In some instances guests received their keys to privately-owned apartments in the resort car parks or gardens,” said Jamieson.
Earlier in the year Mantra Group began legal proceedings against a number of unlicensed operators to protect its marketing brand.
In March, Justice Reeves of the Federal Court of Australia ruled against Stephen Andrew Grand and Tailly Pty Ltd (Tailly) after each set up misleading websites and Google advertisements with Mantra’s trademarks to source bookings for their own accommodation businesses.
A court injunction was issued and Grand and Tailly Pty Ltd have been ordered to pay Mantra any earnings made from bookings sourced from the infringing websites.
Last month Tailly went into voluntary liquidation, owing 260 consumers more than $300,000.
“Consumers using faceless website operators have no way of knowing the financial circumstances or capabilities of the company and are putting their hard-earned money and holiday experiences at risk by using them,” Jamison further warned.
It is advised that consumers book their accommodations direct with Mantra online’’ —and I would add —or with a licensed travel agent!
More on hotel skullduggery uncovered… a website called agoda which has had some pretty bad reviews such as
“Their web site malfunctions and changes dates, but when you try to change their error they refuse and you lose your entire booking! Their customer service is non-existent most of the time when you try to get someone to correct their error….” Customer from Salt Lake City, USA
“Their refund and cancellations policy is a money grabbing scam. I have never heard of a 100% loss of refund if cancelled less than 10 days before check-in date but, Agoda does just that…” “I booked a 4-star hotel in AGODA, but the hotel was merely 3 stars. Terrible experience.” So I rest my case