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jfrenaye
02-08-2006, 08:47 PM
I received this email. The site is not much--just two columns with latest postings but I thought it was interesting!

You might be interested about this unique online travel resource.

http://www.freetraveling.com is updated several times per day with the latest rate mistakes and fare glitches (such as $1 hotel rates) found and still bookable on popular travel websites.

weblet
02-09-2006, 06:17 AM
How timely. And what does Chris think? ;)

clarkef
02-11-2006, 04:52 AM
It does beg the question, is it ethical to book a rate that is obviously an error?

jfrenaye
02-11-2006, 07:28 AM
It is not ethical. And the $2/night rooms are obviously a mistake, but would I book a $129 RT to Europe ticket--you betcha--at that price point, is it a mistake, or another grand idea of some airline exec to save money?

Eileen Sellers
02-11-2006, 10:34 AM
It does beg the question, is it ethical to book a rate that is obviously an error?

It is not ethical. And the $2/night rooms are obviously a mistake

I have to disagree with both of you. I don't know what is or isn't an obvious error, nor do I think that a $2.00 a night hotel is an obvious mistake. How do you distinguish the difference between a promotional rate and a mistake? Airlines give away free tickets in exchange for soda cups. Why do you think that a hotel wouldn't run a promotional for $2.00 a night?

Why should the consumer be held accountable for booking and expecting to receive what is put there for them to buy?

The hotel should honor the rate and fix their programming error.

jfrenaye
02-11-2006, 12:30 PM
Eileen--if one of your agent misquoted a cruise package and let's say forgot the air component....are you obligated to sell the package at that price.

Easily done with a new agent and misreads a brochure price as land only.

Kairho
02-11-2006, 01:01 PM
Originally posted by jfrenaye@Feb 11 2006, 02:30 PM
Eileen--if one of your agent misquoted a cruise package and let's say forgot the air component....are you obligated to sell the package at that price.
20056

If the error is caught before the client pays one is under no obligation to sell at the incorrect rate. However, once paid, and payment accepted, there is consideration passed and the rate must be honored.

Eileen Sellers
02-11-2006, 02:34 PM
An agent misquote and a published rate avail for purchase on a web site are different situations of purchase.

Think about this: A hotel has an incorrect rate. But that rate causes a person to reach in their wallet, take out their credit card, put in sensitive information and commit to the stay. Then you want the hotel to be able to say..oh, no...it was a mistkake. After they have all your personal information. Sorry, I can't buy it.
That is a license for consumer fraud if they aren't made to honor the deal.

Now they could put a disclaimer on their site that says something like "promotional rates are only valid for 1 night stay" maybe that would cover them in case of an error.

chriselliott
02-11-2006, 04:22 PM
Chris does not like.

Anita Dunham-Potter
02-11-2006, 09:16 PM
I hate it!

Gee, how nice, the site is registered in Quebec, Canada.

This site is unethical by promoting two things: taking advantage of pricing errors and promoting AdSense click fraud by telling people to click the ads -- that's a no no.

In the end, somebody ends up paying for these mistakes. Keep in mind, it's usually the low person in the corporate hotel or airline food chain -- the lowly chambermaid or the ticket agent.

Anita

angelmizanchan
02-11-2006, 11:21 PM
I don't blame you guys for not liking it.

A question. If enough people book these kinda rates, would it force a hotel to raise rates on its other rooms to compensate for the lost revenue?

Eileen Sellers
02-12-2006, 10:06 AM
My question would be how does the web site make money and who pays for the site. I see that Travelocity is the site most noted. You have to be able to scan the web for errors in order to find the mistakes, so how does the mistake finder make money? What's in it for them?

Nonetheless, I still don't find anything wrong with publishing the information. Nobody would care if it had airline price errors posted, or cruise line sailing errors. Would you even cosider that it was an error if an airline price was low? Probably not. Or the same with a cruise? Why the fuss over hotel rooms?

Anita Dunham-Potter
02-12-2006, 11:47 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 12 2006, 11:06 AM
My question would be how does the web site make money and who pays for the site. I see that Travelocity is the site most noted. You have to be able to scan the web for errors in order to find the mistakes, so how does the mistake finder make money? What's in it for them?

Nonetheless, I still don't find anything wrong with publishing the information. Nobody would care if it had airline price errors posted, or cruise line sailing errors. Would you even cosider that it was an error if an airline price was low? Probably not. Or the same with a cruise? Why the fuss over hotel rooms?
20074


Hi Eileen,
I have a problem with all of it. Airline, cruise, hotel, car, etc.. For the record, the rates for Las Vegas and Reno hotels listed are not an error. I've seen those rates in the newspaper and on their Web sites -- it's Sun-Thurs of course and they are casinos. Needless to say, those rooms aren't cheap if you hit the tables and slots.

Anita

nobody122
02-13-2006, 05:06 AM
I have a big problem with this as well. The same people seeking out these mistakes are the ones (if I owned a hotel/worked in the service industry/ect) that I would avoid at all costs. The people booking these are looking for the cheapest way out; 2'fers at dinner, complaining to get something free, not to mention that these people are probably the least likely to tip housekeeping, waiters, bellmen, and others.

Some of the $2 rooms and such I can understand; hey in Asia $2-15/night is somewhat common (but not my style), but you do get what you pay for. Even if the hotel/airline/cruise honors the rate do you honestly think you would get the same service/quality as the higher paying customer?

Eileen Sellers
02-13-2006, 08:07 AM
$8/night - Highlander Inn - Manchester, NH - Many dates available
Highlander Inn, 2 HIGHLANDER WAY, Manchester, NH 03103. $8/night. Availability is for every Sunday night, starting April 2. Book on travelocity.com.
Posted on FreeTraveling.com on Feb 2 2006.


If it is available every Sunday night Starting April 2, it can't be a mistake.
A mistake might be one date..but not every Sunday ...



The people booking these are looking for the cheapest way out;

I haven't met anyone who wants to pay more than the going rate.

My best rate at this hotel is $99.00 per night. Wouldn't you feel a bit silly if you
paid $99 when you could have had it for $8.00.

nobody122
02-13-2006, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 13 2006, 10:07 AM


My best rate at this hotel is $99.00 per night. Wouldn't you feel a bit silly if you
paid $99 when you could have had it for $8.00.
20098


I definately wouldn't feel silly. I would be the one treated quite a bit better, free upgrades, stays counting towards the hotel's rewards program, building a loyalty with hotel as an "honest" customer, many other benefits. And actually if you call the hotel directly, speak with a manager, be polite, that $99 might go to $75, or $99 with a $20 discount in the restaruant, ect.

Similar thing with the airlines; I fly on a full fare "Y" or "B" ticket, I know I pay more for the ticket, but it is shown in the preferential treatment I receive (free upgrades to business from economy, business to first, more polite service from the gate agent, additional status/points in the frequent flier program and more).

Its all about the type of consumer you are. The type of consumer that buys into the errors is the same one that will scour for hours looking for the best deal (which when you factor in time lost; work or pleasure, you usually don't come out ahead). Whereas with myself, it is about how easily I can do it--I don't have the time/effort to continually go through and see what places have pricing errors.

As for the "Its every Sunday" comment; everything is done in algorithms, one slight calculation mistake for example 7 (Sunday) =$10 instead of $100 it would repeat until changed--simple typing error

chriselliott
02-13-2006, 08:56 AM
Look, fare and rate errors happen. It's how we, as travelers, deal with the errors that I take issue with.

Response #1) Since the industry (by which I mean hotels and airlines) nickel-and-dimes us and would charge us whatever it could get away with, then we as travelers have a right to book these erroneous prices and force them to honor the rates. Put differently, we have a license to screw them because they screw us.

Response #2) It's a mistake. No one should take advantage of another person's error -- even if it's a mistake made by an avaricious airline or hotel.

I think you know where I stand on this. By engaging in the same behavior that the industry does, by lowering ourselves to that level, we are essentially saying, "Well, since they steal from us it's OK to steal from them." That is just plain wrong.

I have no problem with publishing rate errors. It's a free country. But book them at your own peril.

Oh, and I hope you can look yourself in the mirror afterwards.

jjjenny
02-13-2006, 01:12 PM
I would feel horrible if I knowingly booked a 1 or $2 a night hotel room....Think about the cleaning people who are already low paid and now will not get a penny when they have to clean these rooms!
On the other hand, I have no problem with getting a cheap airline ticket, knowing it may be a mistake. The airlines have gotten me or colleagues of mine several times over.

Anita Dunham-Potter
02-13-2006, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by jjjenny@Feb 13 2006, 02:12 PM
I have no problem with getting a cheap airline ticket, knowing it may be a mistake.* The airlines have gotten me or colleagues of mine several times over.
20149


Yeah, those airlines are real money making machines.... :blink:

Anita Dunham-Potter
02-13-2006, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by chriselliott@Feb 13 2006, 09:56 AM
I think you know where I stand on this. By engaging in the same behavior that the industry does, by lowering ourselves to that level, we are essentially saying, "Well, since they steal from us it's OK to steal from them." That is just plain wrong.

I have no problem with publishing rate errors. It's a free country. But book them at your own peril.

Oh, and I hope you can look yourself in the mirror afterwards.
20109


Don't sugarcoat how you REALLY feel Chris... :P

deangreenhoe
02-13-2006, 01:40 PM
Interesting moral dilemma but I'm firmly on the side of Chris and Anita on this one. As a small business owner I enjoyed the fun of being "the man" that people like to stick it to when an employee made a simple error.

Nothing is free in life. Your questionable profit due to someone's innocent mistake comes out of somebody's pocket. It's no different than not speaking up when your bank teller gives you too much cash or the store clerk too much change.

No different than stealing if it's premeditated in my opinion. <_<

Arkstfan
02-13-2006, 02:33 PM
Well I've seen the horror stories of people accidentally bidding for a lower tier hotel on Priceline and ending up paying far in excess of the rate the hotel was asking for rooms and never heard of any of them refunding the windfall.

That said, unless I had some reason to believe that the rate was some sort of special rather than a mistake, I think the real rate should be paid or the deal set aside.

Mistake is a defense to set aside a contract.

Eileen Sellers
02-14-2006, 07:28 AM
Similar thing with the airlines; I fly on a full fare "Y" or "B" ticket, I know I pay more for the ticket, but it is shown in the preferential treatment I receive (free upgrades to business from economy, business to first, more polite service from the gate agent, additional status/points in the frequent flier program and more).

I'm waking up to the giggles!!!...you crack me up. Those people don't know how much you've paid for your ticket..additionally they don't see a class of service. If you are getting upgraded it would have happend anyway. And if they are polite to you it is because they are polite agents and are nice to everyone.

jfrenaye
02-14-2006, 07:37 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 14 2006, 09:28 AM
I'm waking up to the giggles!!!...you crack me up. Those people don't know how much you've paid for your ticket..additionally they don't see a class of service. If you are getting upgraded it would have happend anyway. And if they are polite to you it is because they are polite agents and are nice to everyone.
20190


I tend to be with you Eileen. Maybe in Europe or Asia, but not here. The only time I really received anythign out of the norm was when Cal Ripken was checking in in front of me and they thought I was with his entourage!

nobody122
02-14-2006, 09:03 AM
See I fly Lufthansa and on European flights, upgrades are done by fare basis and status--everyone is put on the list and moved up according to availabilty. Its typical German efficiency (why fly an empty business cabin when you can move people up and get more people into economy). And actually at check in they can see the fare basis, and on some boarding cards. I think my problem was I misspoke and call the ticket counter personel gate agents.

clarkef
02-14-2006, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by Kairho@Feb 11 2006, 02:01 PM
If the error is caught before the client pays one is under no obligation to sell at the incorrect rate.テつ* However, once paid, and payment accepted, there is consideration passed and the rate must be honored.
20058


That's simply not a true statement of contract law or practice. A well drafted sales contract will state that the seller has the right to correct any errors. Also, the law generally will not enforce a contract if there is obviously a typo. Now, if the hotel manager allows you to actually check-in that's a different story.

In any event, no one can realistically state that they believe a US hotel is offering a $2.00 a night rate. Its just not credible. Do unto others...

Eileen Sellers
02-14-2006, 08:06 PM
Its typical German efficiency (why fly an empty business cabin when you can move people up and get more people into economy).

Aaah, it is a typical difference between US and Europe philosophy.

In America (particularly on American Airlines) the thought is
"fly it empty" if they don't qualify..it will encourage them to
do better. Meaing buy more and qualify better.

I think I agree with American. There is no reason to reward the occasional
coach flyer. First Class should be a reward for the frequent flyer, not just
a way to fill another coach seat.

Jason's Storm
02-14-2006, 09:32 PM
Originally posted by Anita Dunham-Potter@Feb 13 2006, 02:19 PM
Don't sugarcoat how you REALLY feel Chris... :P
20152

Well he's smiling while he says it. Look at his avatar.:P

~JS

Annette
02-14-2006, 11:58 PM
You know I'm not really sure how I feel about this, I'm rather conflicted actually.

On the one hand I tend to think that if no one books the rate because it's assumed to be an error then the hotel/website/whatever isn't likely to correct the rate. If you don't know it's there, you can't correct it.

As a business owner I know that I wouldn't LIKE to be held responsible for what's obviously an error, however having said that...

I'd like to see the hotels/airlines etc be held accountable for and made to stick to these kinds of pricing errors. Otherwise what on earth is the incentive to provide correct information? It means you can't trust anything that gets published at all, and at any point they can say "Oh, that was an error and we don't have to honour it". And at that point what's to stop them from being unethical and purposefully putting in a low rate to entice people and then saying "oops, sorry - error!" and not honouring the rate?

I think if it's in a system somewhere then you ought to be able to book it and have it stick. There has to be some incentive for them to actually do their jobs right in the first place and not publish erroneous information.

nobody122
02-15-2006, 02:19 AM
I don't think anyone really hit on the main issue--should the hotel be responsible for somebody elses mistake? If travelocity screws up with a ridiculous nightly rate, they should honor it to the customer, yet pay the hotel the full nightly rate; that would be an excellent solution as well as teaching people to double check everything (hey if 1000 people book a $2 rate on a $100/night hotel thats $98k that travelocity would have lost--i doubt they would be happy with that).

Kairho
02-15-2006, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by clarkef+Feb 14 2006, 08:33 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(clarkef @ Feb 14 2006, 08:33 PM)</div>That's simply not a true statement of contract law or practice.テつ* A well drafted sales contract will state that the seller has the right to correct any errors.テつ* Also, the law generally will not enforce a contract if there is obviously a typo.テつ* Now, if the hotel manager allows you to actually check-in that's a different story.
20245
[/b]
My statement implied a situation where there was no written contract. You are correct that a written contract will allow error correction, but the question is when. For a hotel, it certainly could happen at check in. But if they try to make a correction at check out or later it would not be legally allowed. A different price for a product or service certainly cannot be imposed after delivery!

<!--QuoteBegin-clarkef@Feb 14 2006, 08:33 PM
In any event, no one can realistically state that they believe a US hotel is offering a $2.00 a night rate. Its just not credible. Do unto others...
20245

The real question is how does a consumer know the credibility of an offer? Not until it is paid for, and once paid, it cannot be undone. Check out Ryanair.com which is offering free flights today (and sub-$5 yesterday). With today's unusual promotions it is quite difficult to know if that $2 room is legit ... and, if limited, not pouncing on it immediately may leave one disappointed.

Although I agree errors and typos can certainly be corrected before payment, one could argue the practice is bordering on bait and switch, which is illegal in its own right.

deangreenhoe
02-15-2006, 08:15 AM
All good points above and I think if the booking entity allows the transaction to go through it should be honored.

The core of this thread remains, how do you feel about an organized effort to promote taking advantage of an obvious case of human error?

It still just hits me the wrong way. <_<

jfrenaye
02-15-2006, 08:32 AM
Taking this a step further if the entity is not forced to accept the erroneous rate, where does it stop?

It is late in the fiscal yeear, the GM is under the gun. They have a hotel full of dotcom bookings at lost leader pricing--they know it and they authorized it. Their resort fee is not going to cover the annual loss, but if they can pop up the room night rate by $30 it just might do it. So the dot commers come in and are told that there was a pricing mistake and the rate is +$30. Most peope would just take it and deal with it--or the website.

But when one is given a confirmation code, I believe it should be honored. It confirms the transaction--dates and rates.

However, I also believe that people need to be more honest about their general purchasing. Honestlly now, we all know a false or mistaken rate when we see one. At the bare minimum, we should be asking, "wow this seems too good to be true. Is it?"

Eileen Sellers
02-15-2006, 09:26 AM
However, I also believe that people need to be more honest about their general purchasing. Honestlly now, we all know a false or mistaken rate when we see one.

I think that is the problem in a nut shell. How do you know a mistake if you are allowed to buy it. Remember you have to put in name/address/phone/credit card info in order to complete the transaction. Under those conditions the hotel has to honor the rate. You can't just reseve the room in your name.

As for "being more honest about their general purchsing" you are suggesting that they shouldn't buy a good deal that they see, making the assumption that is an incorrect price. I disagree. Stores are held responsible for items that are scanned wrong at check out, if they over charge. The consumer is not held responsible if the scanned item is undervalued.

drwong
02-15-2006, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by clarkef@Feb 14 2006, 07:33 PM
That's simply not a true statement of contract law or practice.* A well drafted sales contract will state that the seller has the right to correct any errors.* Also, the law generally will not enforce a contract if there is obviously a typo.* Now, if the hotel manager allows you to actually check-in that's a different story.
20245


Has anybody tried to enforce a ridiculously low rate with a recalcitrant manager who acknowledges that the website was in error and who refuses to sell a room at that rate? The room hasn't been paid for, and even if it had, what prevents the manager from offering a full refund (of the $2.00) and tell the cheapskate to take his business elsewhere?

I know the law prevents him from refusing to rent a room based on race, national origin, gender, or marital status, but could he refuse to rent a room to a particularly obnoxious or obstreperious guest??? It seems all the negotiating power is in the manager's hand, and not the traveler's hand, because ultimately, who has the room key? :lol:

Eileen Sellers
02-15-2006, 01:17 PM
The room hasn't been paid for, and even if it had, what prevents the manager from offering a full refund (of the $2.00) and tell the cheapskate to take his business elsewhere?

Good point. The hotel should have to immediately notify the person that the sale has been rejected, by emailing them or calling them. Since you have to put in all your information to get the reservation, it is up to the hotel to make prompt notification. If the hotel fails to make notification, say within 24hrs then the reservation is good. If the person purchased an airline ticket because the hotel rate was so enticing, and the hotel didn't notify him that they weren't going to allow him to check in under that rate, then I think the hotel would have to reimburse him for the airfare.

weblet
02-15-2006, 01:21 PM
If the person purchased an airline ticket because the hotel rate was so enticing, and the hotel didn't notify him that they weren't going to allow him to check in under that rate, then I think the hotel would have to reimburse him for the airfare.

Like that's going to happen....

clarkef
02-15-2006, 08:19 PM
Hi Kairho,

A couple for legalities...

The error has to be obvious. If the hotel meant the charge $99 but only charged $89. That's not an obvious error and they would be stuck with it. Written or oral really isn't an issue in this situation

At check-in the hotel would certainly be within its rights to decline to give you a room if the rate was an obvious error. At check-out that becomes a murkier question. I won't bore everyone with a legal analysis. If you are interested google "Quantum Meruit".

Using the specific example of an American hotel offering a $2.00 room: You could NOT credibily argue bait and switch. Bait and switch requires intent to deceive. I would surmise that the overwhelming majority of the traveling public would assume that a $2.00 nightly room rate at any American property (except those charging by the hour :P ) is an obvious typographical error. To have bait and switch the hotel would have to offer a believable rate with the intent not to honor it.

Eileen Sellers
02-15-2006, 09:25 PM
The error has to be obvious.

Using the specific example of an American hotel offering a $2.00 room: You could NOT credibily argue bait and switch. Bait and switch requires intent to deceive. I would surmise that the overwhelming majority of the traveling public would assume that a $2.00 nightly room rate at any American property.


This assumes that all internet purchasers are of the same intelligence. It also assumes that all hotels are honest and any rate discrepancy is an error. A license to do wrong in my opinion.

I would surmise that the overwhelming majority of of the traveling public would assume the $2.00 nightly room rate is an "intenet" special, knowing by all the advertising that "lower rates can be found on the internet"...

Annette
02-15-2006, 09:31 PM
I booked a hotel once where the rate for some of the nights was $0.00. There was no mention of a special, but I found that if you played with the booking and arrived on a certain date then the first X days were one rate, and then next X days were at $0.00. If you arrived in the middle of that time you were charged a higher rate. Again there was no mention on the website or anywhere about a special, but it was in there none the less. And it was a valid rate (and yes it was honoured, the clerk didn't even blink when ringing it through). So how is one to know what's a special and what's an error when there are $0.00 valid rates out there but not advertised?

clarkef
02-17-2006, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 15 2006, 10:25 PM
This assumes that all internet purchasers are of the same intelligence. It also assumes that allテつ* hotels are honest and any rate discrepancy is an error. A license to do wrong in my opinion.

I would surmise that the overwhelming majority of of the traveling public would assume the $2.00 nightly room rate is an "intenet" special, knowing by all the advertising that "lower rates can be found on the internet"...
20380


That's not what I said. I said that the rate has to be an obvious error. As such, most rate discrepencies would have to be honored.

As far as the traveling public, we'll just have to agree to disagree. $2.00 for an American hotel today is not credible in my opinion and I believe that most people would know that it's an obvious error, again, unless the hotel charges by the hour :P

Originally posted by Annette@Feb 15 2006, 10:31 PM
I booked a hotel once where the rate for some of the nights was $0.00.テつ* There was no mention of a special, but I found that if you played with the booking and arrived on a certain date then the first X days were one rate, and then next X days were at $0.00.テつ* If you arrived in the middle of that time you were charged a higher rate.テつ* Again there was no mention on the website or anywhere about a special, but it was in there none the less.テつ*
20381


I would suggest that the most obvious answer is that either 1)the clerk didn't notice or 2)your booking qualified you for some free nights and that's how the hotels computer coded it. Note, you didn't pay 0.00 for your stay.

I would suggest that the argument that one can never determine an erroneous rate strains credulity beyond the breaking point as evidence by the website in question front page:

This site is updated several times per day with the latest
rate mistakes and fare glitches found on popular travel websites.

I guess somehow the posters to the site can divine this information.

ARTraveler
02-17-2006, 05:04 PM
Websites are not the only places mistakes can be found. About a year ago, I quoted fares for 4 DFW/EDI. Got back a rate(through Sabre) that was equal to one client found in the internet. Client booked with me, went on trip, had a great time. A few months later, I got a debit memo for booking an "invalid" fare. We disputed and the airline backed down, as I could print what I had done in Sabre to show I had not forced or phased the fare.

Eileen Sellers
02-17-2006, 08:24 PM
At check-in the hotel would certainly be within its rights to decline to give you a room if the rate was an obvious error.

Clarkef: When does the hotel have to notify the purchaser that the rate booked is an error?

If the hotel knew the rate was in error would they have to notify the person before they showed up at the front desk?And if so how soon after the error is discovered would you consider reasonable?


Hotels generally download reservations several times a day if not instantly available in their system. Knowing that, why would you think it is within their rights to decline you a room that is an "obvious" error. This person booking would have to have made the reservation from the phone booth across the street and then like Superman, showed up in the lobby to check in before the hotel had a chance to notice the"error"..

I think it would be ok to assume that 24hrs is the norm. You have 24hrs to cancel and get a refund, and the hotel similarly has 24hrs to notify you if the reservation insn't going to be honored as booked.

clarkef
02-18-2006, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers+Feb 17 2006, 09:24 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Eileen Sellers @ Feb 17 2006, 09:24 PM)</div>Clarkef: When does the hotel have to notify the purchaser that the rate booked is an error?

20607
[/b]

The ethical response would be once the hotel realized that the rate is in error. If the hotel chooses not to notify you, then the hotel should be stuck with it. This happened to me. I had 2 free night coupons at Starwood but they couldn't be used at the same hotel for the same night. This was buried deep in the rules and I didn't know. The hotel discovered three weeks before my arrival but didn't inform me. They wanted to charge me $400 for the second room. I escalated it to the GM and explained to him that his staff was being unethical by not informing me three weeks ago upon discovery of the error. He agreed and waived the rule.

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 17 2006, 09:24 PM
If the hotel knew the rate was in error would they have to notify the person before they showed up at the front desk?And if so how soon after the error is discovered would you consider reasonable?

20607


What is reasonable is a case by case analysis. It would depend on the specifics. In any event, I would say that the hotel should make a reasonable effort to notify the guest within one calendar day of discovery of the error so as to minimize any potential disruption to the guests other plans.

<!--QuoteBegin-Eileen Sellers@Feb 17 2006, 09:24 PM
Hotelsテつ* generally download reservations several times a day if not instantly available in their system. Knowing that, why would you think it is within their rights to decline you a room that is an "obvious" error.
20607


Because I expect all parties in a business transaction to act in good faith and within an ethical framework. When it is obvious to the guest that the posted rate is an error, and an egregious error at that, the guest is engaging in opportunistic behavior, basically attempting to take advantage of someone else's misfortunes.

How often the hotel reservations system downloads isn't this issue. Its when a review of the reservations occurs. It is entirely possible that the issue isn't flagged until a few weeks before the arrival date.

I think the ethical issues are obscured because the underlying issue is travel, a highly dynamic product. But consider that the $2.00 rate in question represents between a 90-99 percent reduction, would this even be a discussion if say we were discussing new cars? I hope not.

Annette
02-18-2006, 11:26 AM
The point I was trying to make is that if the hotels are going to have specials and/or rates that they don't publicize as being there, then how is the public supposed to know if the amazing rate that they're getting is a special or an error?

Kairho
02-18-2006, 11:39 AM
Annette is quite correct. With all the crazy pricing we simply do not know, from an ad, whether a given rate is an error or a promotion. As mentioned before, consider RyanAir's GBP10 rates (to say nothing of their free tickets), or a $10K or more reduction on some new vehicle (which sounds too good to be true, but is quite possible).

Another example are the Las Vegas hotels which give rooms away just to get people in house...

clarkef
02-19-2006, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by Kairho@Feb 18 2006, 12:39 PM
Annette is quite correct. With all the crazy pricing we simply do not know, from an ad, whether a given rate is an error or a promotion.* As mentioned before, consider RyanAir's GBP10 rates (to say nothing of their free tickets), or a $10K or more reduction on some new vehicle (which sounds too good to be true, but is quite possible).

Another example are the Las Vegas hotels which give rooms away just to get people in house...
20626


Let me approach this from another angle.

Do we fall for SPAM offers, late night TV infomercials, ads offering Jamaican vacations packages for $150.00, Bill Gate offering us $100 to forward a test e-mail.

No. Most of us don't. Somehow, most of us have the discernment to know that these aren't real deals and the marketers operate on the very border of the law.

Yet somehow, this discernment which has protected us from the above scams, somehow seems impotent when presented with a "good" deal from a legitimite travel provider.

Sorry, I'm not buying.

Eileen Sellers
02-20-2006, 12:09 PM
How often the hotel reservations system downloads isn't this issue. Its when a review of the reservations occurs.

Actually, it is an issue. The hotel downloads reservations and in that process, reviews them. So they actually do see the deal on the same day. That is how they reconcile for staffing and monitor oversales etc. Naturally, if the bargain hunter found a "deal" incorrectly, the hotel would also notice it as it is their loss if the rate is an error.

When it is obvious to the guest that the posted rate is an error, and an egregious error at that, the guest is engaging in opportunistic behavior, basically attempting to take advantage of someone else's misfortunes.

No one is engaging in opportunistic behavior in e-commerce buying. It is the nature of web marketing to present low rates. Perhaps it is opportunistic for the hotel to entice a person to present the credit credentials without good reason. Afterall the hotel could allow a reservation without this information.



Somehow, most of us have the discernment to know that these aren't real deals and the marketers operate on the very border of the law.

Yet somehow, this discernment which has protected us from the above scams, somehow seems impotent when presented with a "good" deal from a legitimite travel provider.

Actually, they are real deals. They just have strings attached, where as the hotel rate is a face value transaction with no strings attached. So discrenment of a good deal is fortified by the presentation from a legitimate travel provider. Like finding a rare antique at a flea market. The seller didn't know it was rare, sold it for $1.00, and yes the person who bought it was opportunistic and got a good deal.


Web based pricing can be manipulated almost on a moments notice. That being the case, we see many times a fare/price that is just loaded in for a few minutes. Perhaps an employee programing for themselves. However, the public can grab that fare as well, while it is in the system. So before you could say it was an error, you would also have to then show that no one else stayed at the hotel for that price.

clarkef
02-21-2006, 01:52 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers+Feb 20 2006, 01:09 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Eileen Sellers @ Feb 20 2006, 01:09 PM)</div>
No one is engaging in opportunistic behavior in e-commerce buying. It is the nature of web marketing to present low rates.
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I like deals as much as the next guy, a probably moreso since I'm self employed. However, it is indefensible to take advantage of a typographical error. That's why the law will not enforce such a contract.

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 20 2006, 01:09 PM

Perhaps it is opportunistic for the hotel to entice a person to present the credit credentials without good reason. Afterall the hotel could allow a reservation without this information.
20722


That makes no sense. How is that opportunistic behaviour? There is a legitimite business reason for this information.

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 20 2006, 01:09 PM

Actually, they [Jamaica vacations] are real deals.They just have strings attached..
20722


I'm born and raised in the Caribbean. Trust me. They're not real deals. The local terms for them is too offensive to put into print.

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 20 2006, 01:09 PM

Like finding a rare antique at a flea market. The seller didn't know it was rare, sold it for $1.00, and yes the person who bought it was opportunistic and got a good deal.
20722


The fundamental difference is that the seller actually intended to sell the vase for $1.00.

<!--QuoteBegin-Eileen Sellers@Feb 20 2006, 01:09 PM
Web based pricing can be manipulated almost on a moments notice. That being the case, we see many times a fare/price that is just loaded in for a few minutes. Perhaps an employee programing for themselves. However, the public can grab that fare as well, while it is in the system.
20722
.

Highly unlikely. First, an employee would not need to load a rate into the internet, to book a room at a given, or even made up rate. Second, even if the rate were loaded into the internet, it would be under an internal code, which would not be a public rate.

Again, no problem with low rates. Low rates rock. If the rate was legitimately loaded into the computer, great.

If you saw a dealer ad, new BMW 7 series $8000.00 Would you expect the dealer to honor the price? Or would that be an obvious error?

Eileen Sellers
02-21-2006, 12:03 PM
Hello Clark:

If you saw a dealer ad, new BMW 7 series $8000.00 Would you expect the dealer to honor the price? Or would that be an obvious error?

If it was on the dealer web site or the manufacturer web site, I would expect it to be a real offer. Especially if they charged my AMEX $8,000.00 I would expect the car to be in my driveway in 10days, resold prior to arrival for nice profit.


The Vase:
The fundamental difference is that the seller actually intended to sell the vase for $1.00.

The seller did indeed intend to sell the vase, but he didn't intend to sell something of value.

Programing rates:
First, an employee would not need to load a rate into the internet, to book a room at a given, or even made up rate. Second, even if the rate were loaded into the internet, it would be under an internal code, which would not be a public rate.

Here is where I think you get your sympathy for the hotel. You misunderstand the download of the rates. Actually, employees program rates as public rates for themselves. It happens regulary with airfares and well as hotel rates. Because it is a public rate it has to be honored. The rate comes into the system for perhaps 1 hour and then it is gone. However, during that hour or 30 minutes, whoever buys it gets it.


Last but not least; the credit card

There is a legitimite business reason for this information.
Absolutely. But there is no need for it in order to make a simple reservation. By requiring the information the hotel is demanding payment and that means they have "sold" the merchandise. It is a contract that has to be honored.
If they didn't require the credit information, I would agree with you completely, that no one would hold them responsible to honor the rate. But the requirement of payment seals the deal.

clarkef
02-21-2006, 01:29 PM
First, Let me compliment both of us on the fact that we have been very civil and courteous in this exchange.

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers+Feb 21 2006, 01:03 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Eileen Sellers @ Feb 21 2006, 01:03 PM)</div>If it was on the dealer web site or the manufacturer web site, I would expect it to be a real offer. Especially if they charged my AMEX $8,000.00 I would expect the car to be in my driveway in 10days, resold prior to arrival for nice profit.
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Really. A 7 series BMW. :o :o :P :P

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 21 2006, 01:03 PM
The Vase:
The seller did indeed intend to sell the vase, but he didn't* intend to sell something of value.
20870

The sellers error as to its value is not part of the contract. He intended to sell THAT vase at THAT price.

Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 21 2006, 01:03 PM
Here is where I think you get your sympathy for the hotel. You misunderstand the download of the rates. Actually, employees program rates as public rates for themselves. It happens regulary with airfares and well as hotel rates. Because it is a public rate it has to be honored. The rate comes into the system for perhaps 1 hour and then it is gone. However, during that hour or 30 minutes, whoever buys it gets it.
20870


I'm still not buying. Its still not a public rate. Rate are restricted all the time. think Travel agent rates, government rates, timeshare owner rates. So I don't believe that they have to post a rate which anyone can get.

<!--QuoteBegin-Eileen Sellers@Feb 21 2006, 01:03 PM
Last but not least; the credit card

But there is no need for it in order to make a simple reservation. By requiring the information the hotel is demanding payment and that means they have "sold" the merchandise. It is a contract that has to be honored.
If they didn't require the credit information, I would agree with you completely, that no one would hold them responsible to honor the rate. But the requirement of payment seals the deal.
20870


As a business attorney, I can speak authoritatively on this. 1) The credit card is not charged at the time of booking unless its a special non-refundable rate. 2)The room is not sold as there is a cancellation policy. 3) Payment is not dispositive of a contract, only evidence thereof.

Kairho
02-21-2006, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by clarkef@Feb 21 2006, 03:29 PM
1) The credit card is not charged at the time of booking unless its a special non-refundable rate. 2)The room is not sold as there is a cancellation policy. 3) Payment is not dispositive of a contract, only evidence thereof.
20877

Clark, FYI:
1. Many tour operators and wholesalers do charge the card at time of booking regardless of refundability provisions.
2. Many cancellation policies state nonrefundable within so many days of arrival. If purchased within that time the room is sold as nonrefundable at time of purchase.
3. Too technical for me!

Eileen Sellers
02-21-2006, 02:58 PM
Really. A 7 series BMW.* *

I honestly don't know a thing about cars..I hope it is expensive...or is it a cheapo?

I'll don't have time right this minute for the rest, but I'll think on it..I got the idea you were an attorney. Perhaps for the hotel industry? Anyway, I'll be back.

weblet
02-21-2006, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 21 2006, 03:58 PM
I honestly don't know a thing about cars..I hope it is expensive...or is it a cheapo?

I'll don't have time right this minute for the rest, but I'll think on it..I got the idea you were an attorney. Perhaps for the hotel industry? Anyway, I'll be back.
20902


A BMW... only a lawyer. Us peons have to settle for the Yugo...

Hey Eileen, we're waiting for the next salvo!!

:lol:

pezmanffx
02-21-2006, 04:25 PM
A bank teller always has someone verfiy the funds in their drawer. Many checks over a certain amount require a second signature.....

In other words. If is something of great importance, checks and balances should be in place. In software design, many of these functions can be programed into the system. Of course, the system needs to be properly tested.

With or without technology, these errors should not not happen if the process is managed correctly. I don't think I should have any place in this process. If you post a price in public view, you should honor it.

I often wonder if some (not all) of these errors are intentional. I mean, you really make the papers when you make a big oops. Thats a lot of free advertising.

Also, once i accidently misplaced the desmal when filling out the credit card slip at a small resturant. I was going to put $2.00 (it was a $6.00 tab) for the tip and I put $20.00. It was my error and my loss.

clarkef
02-21-2006, 04:56 PM
Originally posted by weblet@Feb 21 2006, 04:03 PM
A BMW...テつ* only a lawyer.テつ* Us peons have to settle for the Yugo...

Hey Eileen, we're waiting for the next salvo!!

:lol:
20904


If you must know, I drive a Ford and have driven Fords for the past 12 years. I used the BMW as an example of a car which is universally accepted as an expensive car. I do not represent any hotels or the hotel industry. If I did, I would have disclosed that fact, or if disclosure were not proper, I would have declined to participate in this discussion. In fact, I have a client who is suing a hotel for some very despicable behaviour by the hotel owner(s).

clarkef
02-21-2006, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by pezmanffx+Feb 21 2006, 05:25 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(pezmanffx @ Feb 21 2006, 05:25 PM)</div>
A bank teller always has someone verfiy the funds in their drawer. Many checks over a certain amount require a second signature.....
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Excellent example. If the bank makes an error in your favor, they will happily correct the error and take the money out of your account immediately.

Originally posted by pezmanffx@Feb 21 2006, 05:25 PM
In other words. If is something of great importance, checks and balances should be in place. In software design, many of these functions can be programed into the system. Of course, the system needs to be properly tested.
20918


Basically your position is that errors should never happen in a well maintained situation. That's an unreasonable expectation.

Originally posted by pezmanffx@Feb 21 2006, 05:25 PM
I often wonder if some (not all) of these errors are intentional. I mean, you really make the papers when you make a big oops. Thats a lot of free advertising.
20918


If its intentional then its fraud and they should be stuck with the consequences. I am limiting my argument to a bonafide error.

<!--QuoteBegin-pezmanffx@Feb 21 2006, 05:25 PM
Also, once i accidently misplaced the desmal when filling out the credit card slip at a small resturant. I was going to put $2.00 (it was a $6.00 tab) for the tip and I put $20.00. It was my error and my loss.
20918


The opportunity cost is correcting the error was higher than $18.00 and thus not worth it. But imagine how you would have felt if you discovered the error in the parking lot, walked back to correct, an obvious error. Or worse, you forgot the decimal point altogether leaving a $200.00 tip on a $6.00 meal. Were I not permitted to correct the error I would never patronize the establishment ever again.

weblet
02-21-2006, 05:21 PM
Originally posted by clarkef@Feb 21 2006, 05:56 PM
If you must know20923


No, not really. But I get the message..... ;)

Eileen Sellers
02-23-2006, 08:04 AM
If its intentional then its fraud and they should be stuck with the consequences. I am limiting my argument to a bonafide error.

Originally, we were dicussing how to tell and error from the real thing just by looking at the price. At this point it is probably fair to say that all low prices aren't errors. With that in mind here is what I see as our differences:

Clark: If the price looks to low it is an obvious error.
Eileen: There is no such thing as an obvious error, and the price could never be too low.


Clark: The consumer has no right to buy a low price because it is probably and error that will cause the hotel a loss and that would be unethical use of a credit card.

Eileen: There is no such thing as unethical use of a credit card by the cardholder.

Clark: Too good to be true is too good to be true, and you shouldn't go for a good deal, beacuse it probably isn't a good deal.

Eileen: Go for all good deals, if the hotel doesn't call you in 24hrs - you just bought a good deal that isn't too good to be true.

And don't forget to buy a lottery ticket, the price is low and the rewards are huge.
It's not too good to be true.

clarkef
02-24-2006, 06:48 PM
Those are not accurate representations of my positions.

1. If the price is ridiculously low based upon common experiences, i.e. the $8,000 BMW, then it's an obvious error.

2. One, I never said anything about the ethical or unethical use of a credit card. Two, the consumer should not be surprised when the third party refuses to honor the deal.

3. I have no problem with good deals. I like good deals. However, if a deal sounds too good to be true, then I recommended the use of caution, good sense, and judgment. Aka, read the fine print.

Eileen Sellers
02-25-2006, 09:08 AM
It does beg the question, is it ethical to book a rate that is obviously an error?

Aka, read the fine print.

There isn't any fine print to read on the web when booking a hotel room. There is only the print on the screen and a person with a credit card. What happens next will reflect their spirit of adventure or not.

clarkef
02-25-2006, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 25 2006, 10:08 AM
There isn't any fine print to read on the web when booking a hotel room. There is only the print on the screen and a person with a credit card....
21200


That's so false its not even funny. Have you never booked an airline ticket online? The fine print for any given restricted rate code is voluminous and often difficult to find.

Fine print can occur on a website just as in a paper transactions. Some examples of online fine print which have bitten people in the rear include

1 Rate ineligible for elite benefits
2. Unusual cancellation policies
3. Extra person charge

Not to mention the fine print when booking a cruise.

Eileen Sellers
02-26-2006, 09:47 AM
That's so false its not even funny. Have you never booked an airline ticket online? The fine print for any given restricted rate code is voluminous and often difficult to find.

We were talking about hotel reservations, not airline tickets or cruises.
At least I thought that is what we were taking about.

clarkef
02-28-2006, 07:40 AM
Originally posted by Eileen Sellers@Feb 26 2006, 10:47 AM
We were talking about hotel reservations, not airline tickets or cruises.
At least I thought that is what we were taking about.
21230


The airline example was by way of analogy, like the BMW example. It is used because it was the most obvious and most direct manner of refuting your allegation that there isn't fine print on websites.

However, the remaining post, which was unaddressed, is primarily about hotels.

The point remains, if you see a deal that seems too good to be true, I recommend reading the fine print to ensure that you do not get taken advantage of.