Analysis

Here’s What Happened When I Disputed a Credit Card Charge for a Hotel That Was Not as Advertised

I’ve traveled extensively, so I’ve stayed in many hotels. Since I read reviews and compare hotel amenities before booking, I usually end up at a comfortable hotel. But on a recent trip, I stayed at a hotel that wasn’t as advertised. I ended my stay early and moved to a more comfortable hotel. Find out what happened when I filed a dispute with my credit card issuer for a portion of the original hotel booking charge.

A recent hotel stay didn’t go as planned

While I’ve stayed in various hotels worldwide, I never had a hotel experience that left me wanting to check out earlier than anticipated until recently. While in Prague, I unfortunately checked into a hotel that wasn’t as advertised. My experience didn’t match the experiences of the travelers who had left positive hotel reviews.

I had booked a four-star hotel, but the quality didn’t match. Due to various factors, I barely slept during the two nights I was there. I had a long trip ahead of me and would be visiting multiple destinations, so I decided to check out after the second night — even though I had already booked and paid for a four-night stay.

I talked with the staff member working the front desk, and she was apologetic and kind. She told me the manager would contact me to discuss a partial refund. Since good sleep is essential, especially when traveling, I booked a two-night stay at a different hotel. Luckily, the new four-star hotel I booked was fantastic and as advertised. Even better, I slept well.

After a couple of days of not hearing from the hotel manager, I reached out to ask whether I could get a refund for the two unused nights. I had left a review on the site I booked the room through earlier on the same day I contacted the manager. He told me he would refund part of my stay if I removed my review. That didn’t feel appropriate to me, as I believe honest reviews help other travelers avoid bad experiences.

Here’s how I got a partial refund from my credit card issuer

After I got settled back at home, I called the customer service number on the back of my credit card. I explained the situation and said that I’d like to start the process of disputing a credit card charge. I was asked for basic information about what happened and verified the original credit card charge details.

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I was told I would need to provide additional details through my online account or by mail. That same day, the paperwork was made available in my online account. A few days later, I submitted the required paperwork. I included an overview of what happened and copies of all the communication between me and the hotel manager.

Several days later, a representative from Chase contacted me. She reviewed the details of the incident and confirmed that I would receive a refund for half of the original charges since I had only stayed two of the four nights I had booked. As I sit down to write this, I’m happy to report that my request was approved, and the money was refunded to my travel credit card.

The Fair Credit Billing Act protects consumers

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) protects consumers from unfair billing practices and allows them to dispute credit card charges within 60 days of receiving their bill. Consumers can challenge charges due to issues like billing errors and unauthorized charges.

But consumers can also dispute charges for products and services that weren’t delivered at all or as promised. The card issuer will likely ask you to try to work it out with the merchant first, like I tried to do with the hotel. But if you’re unsuccessful, it may be worthwhile to dispute the charge with your card issuer, as long as you can back up your claims.

If you use credit cards, keep this in mind. You may be eligible for a partial or full refund when something goes wrong. My story also serves as an excellent reminder to use credit cards instead of debit cards, because they offer more consumer protections. If you use a debit card and something goes wrong, the money in your bank account will be directly impacted.

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