FTC and BBB warn about deceptive hotel booking websites

The FTC and the Better Business Bureau are warning travelers about deceptive online hotel booking websites that trick travelers into thinking they are dealing directly with the hotel but instead it is a third-party site.

“So maybe you booked to go to a resort, an all-inclusive resort, but part of the booking didn’t include your resort fees,” the BBB’s Melanie Duquesnel told WXYZ Detroit. “So you’re having that added on to the thing that you already paid for.

Scammers are creating fake hotel booking websites to steal money from travelers. Some scam sites make money by tacking on additional fees, but others charge you for a room that simply doesn't exist, reports the Journal Star. In any case, sharing your credit card and personal information (such as name, address and phone number) on scam websites puts you at risk for identity theft.

Other complaints include having trouble canceling or modifying a reservation, not earning points with the hotel rewards program, finding reserved rooms didn’t reflect a special request, and worst of all, you show up at your hotel and there’s no reservation at all.

The American Hotel &Lodging Association reports there are 2.5 million bookings a year that are misleading consumers. That translates to more than $220 million in money going to bad bookings. And consumers are not getting what they want and need, not to mention suffering, inconvenience, lost room charges, cancellation and booking fees.