Q: We made a reservation through Booking.com for three nights at the Sileo Hotel in Buenos Aires. We never received written confirmation from Booking.com that our reservation had been made, so when our plans changed, my wife sent an email directly to the Sileo Hotel asking them if they actually had a reservation and, if so, requesting that it be canceled. The Sileo Hotel responded, confirmed that we had a reservation and then, all in writing via email from Ms. Susana Aragon of Sileo Hotel on Jan. 12, 2016, confirmed the cancellation of our booking for arrival on Jan. 31.
Imagine our surprise when we received our Citi MasterCard statement showing a charge for $632 by the Sileo Hotel for three nights, the entire length of the canceled reservation. The Sileo Hotel’s issue is that they were charged a commission by Booking.com.
We immediately contacted Booking.com and Citi MasterCard. Booking.com has contacted the Sileo Hotel and Citi Mastercard issued us a temporary credit for $632 while they try to resolve the issue. The Sileo Hotel has stated that the reason for their charge is that Booking.com charged them a commission for our stay.
It has been more than six weeks that we have been fighting the no-show charge from the Sileo Hotel. We have had this charge in dispute since Feb. 5, but there has been no satisfactory resolution. The Sileo Hotel appears to be stonewalling.
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Luis Perez, Miami
Answer: Changing or canceling a reservation can be frustrating, and even more so when it was made through an online travel agency like Booking.com.
Booking.com should have promptly sent you written confirmation of your hotel reservation, but you never received one. Often emails from travel agencies and other businesses get lost in the spam folder.
You were lucky that your reservation could be canceled (many hotel reservations cannot), but problems arose because you made your reservation with Booking.com, then you canceled directly through the hotel.
Booking.com expected a commission on the reservation since they were not apprised that the reservation was canceled. Their terms and conditions instruct you to cancel any reservations through a link in the confirmation email (which you never received).
You did contact the hotel and received written confirmation of the cancellation. You should never have been charged.
You opened a dispute with your credit card company, which would have sided with you since you had written confirmation of the cancellation.
When you felt stymied by the Sileo Hotel, you contacted our advocacy team. Our advocates reached out to our contacts at Booking.com, and you promptly received notification that a refund was in process.
A written cancellation should be enough to prevent or reverse the charges, without needing the help from a consumer advocate. Our team is happy to have helped obtain your refund.