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Hostelworld.com unfair charges

Just a heads up....seems when I booked a room thru Hostelworld.com they not only charge a $2.00 non- refundable service fee, which is quite ok....but they also charge a 10% of your entire stay which is also non-refundable. I made reservations 4 months in advance and when I read the little print, they indeed state they do this but it wasn't as clearly stated as it could have been.
I have not had one hotel or booking agent have such a practice...just Hostelworld.com.
I know, I should read all the fine print....I will do so now but nonetheless, there are many other sites that charge nothing or a small non-refundable fee....I will do business with them in the future, not Hostelworld.

Posted by
8997 posts

Not sure why you think they are unfair charges, simply because YOU did not read the terms of the contract. This is a business charge. Try making a reservation at a resort in the states, and then cancel a week ahead of time and see how much they charge you. Honestly, the beds in these hostels are what - 18€ a night, so 10% is 1.80€. Yep, this sounds like an unfair charge to me. Why use the service at all, why not deal directly with the hostel?

Posted by
427 posts

read all the info before you book at these sites, this is common practice . try to book directly with the hostel sometimes you can avoid any extra charges directly. but always ask first.

Posted by
632 posts

Why all the hostility towards Bonnie? Seems like she was doing us all a favor by exposing her admitted mistake, in the best RS tradition she was passing on what she learned from her mistakes...be grateful that she was willing to share valuable information with the rest of us. And to as a rebuttal to Nancy's "no one else is shocked..." well I find the charge abusive...not if you cancel inside of 1 week...their policy is to charge 10% of the entire period reserved irrespective of how far in advance you cancel...that is abusive. For those of you who want to do business with Hostelworld, be my guest. Thanks to Bonnie, I won't be using them in the future.

Posted by
2031 posts

Points to Bill. I too view this a a sharing forum and am grateful to Bonnie. She learned something here and shared it with others. I'd be upset too I suppose but live and learn...and that goes for everyone, no?

Posted by
12172 posts

You really should deal directly with the hostel. Most will make reservations online with no charge.

Posted by
41 posts

The charge was 10% of the TOTAL week stay!.....not just one night.
$45 may not be alot to you but to me it is.
I also don't need to be reprimanded that I didn't read the full details of the booking....of course I didn't...I mentioned that in my post....
and yes, I know I SHOULD deal directly with the hostel but agents tend to have more security when putting one's credit card on line.

Posted by
8293 posts

Bonnie, some people have advised that when sending credit card info on line, to do it in 2 separate e-mails. Don't be bitter about the $45. Everyone encounters unexpected expenses when travelling and now you know for the next time. And next time it will be another expense you don't want, hopefully not a huge one.

Posted by
9363 posts

Jo's point was that 10% of a small amount isn't enough to get all upset over. You paid $450 for a week at a hostel? You could have gotten a budget hotel for that much, and avoided the whole problem. As for being reprimanded, I'm not sure what reaction you expected. No one else is shocked or scandalized by Hostelworld's practice, maybe because they know to be aware of such details. I understand that unexpected expenses can be a problem, but this one isn't big enough to warrant calling them "unfair". They didn't trick you or force you to deal with them.

Posted by
8997 posts

Why does Bonnie have so much hostility to Hostelworld.com is my question? She posted the title, made claims of unfairness and then I guess is expecting all of us to agree with her. I gave my opinion of the situation.

I have not got a clue how long Bonnie is staying in Paris, nor how much her entire room bill is, so why does Bonnie think I should know her room bill for a week is $450. Actually Bonnie, $45.00 is a lot of money to me, that is why I look at contracts carefully.

It does seem unfair when someone does not do their homework and then writes a negative review of a business. Earlier she was complaining about a $700 deposit check with an apt. and said she was going to go to Ibis. Now she is here about another company.

If one has a problem with a business to report, or dissatisfaction with a business, there are other, better ways of stating it. Simply state the facts.

Posted by
632 posts

Jo,

The practice here in America is that cancelations are normally allowed without charge if made more than 48 hours in advance. If there is any unusual restriction such as "minimum 1 night cancelation charge" which you sometimes see, it is not buried in the small print...it is featured as a significant notice when you are making reservations, often in bold print.

Posted by
3580 posts

I, too, booked thru hostelworld. They offered cancellation insurance for a small sum. I bought the insurance, then later cancelled the reservation. In theory, because I bought the insurance, the fee is now credited to "my account," but I haven't figured out how to get to it. I probably need to make a new reservation and ask that the amount in my account be used in payment. I think there are better ways to make reservations; I've used them. Hostelworld caught me off-guard, too. Like Rick says, you learn by making mistakes.

Posted by
9363 posts

"The practice here in America" doesn't matter much when you are talking about the internet. I'm with Jo. I don't think it was right for Bonnie to accuse Hostelworld of unfairness when it was she who didn't read the details before committing to them. If you object to their fees and practices, don't use them. But if you choose to use them, don't complain about the rules.

Posted by
345 posts

Another thing - a small point, but still - using the word "unfair." Fairness is very much a subjective word. What may appear to be fair to one, may seem unfair to another. So, Bonnie thinks hostelworld's fees are unfair - ok, fine. That's her opinion, and her opinion is neither right nor wrong.

Posted by
8293 posts

I stand with Jo and Nancy on this. Bonnie says the 10% clause "wasn't as clearly stated as it could have been." What exactly does that mean? Was the language ambiguous? Was the clause hidden away on another page, perhaps? What is "unfair" is to whine and blame someone else for HER inattention to detail.

Posted by
88 posts

I'm also not a fan of crappy cancellation policies, but I must admit I think Hostelworld describes their policy VERY clearly before you book. The confirmation page tells you in THREE separate places that the deposit is non-refundable in addition to offering the cancellation coverage...including RIGHT below the button where you click to confirm your payment.

Also, they will waive service fees for a year for $10, so a maximum service fee of $10 isn't that much money for the amount of centralized information you can get there--not to mention that for some hostels, the rates on Hostelworld are CHEAPER than what's available from the hostels' own sites.

Posted by
242 posts

I agree with Rachel. 10 euros is small price to pay for a years worth of reservation services. And the deposit information is not in small print (it is in fact some of the most obvious print on the page) and it is refundable for a small charge. I am also not sure how much smaller a non-refundable fee could be than 10%.

I have used hostelworld.com for over 20 reservations in the past 5 months and it has been nothing but wonderful. The reviews are current, numerous, and helpful. I like how the hostel information is shown in a consistent format. So you can compare apples to apples.

Also, generally the prices are the same or cheaper than dealing directly with the individual hostels and I feel more comfortable giving them my information than sending emails or faxes.

Posted by
1 posts

Hey, how much would it have cost if you hadn't used the the Hostelworld web site.

you might have called a few hostels, then you have to give your credit card details over the phone , how safe is that . They you decide to cancel, so you phone again.

In the meantime, how many people are engaged dealing with your inquires?

How much have you spent on international phone calls, how many languages do you speak?

Who pays for all this?

I have booked with Hostelworld before and I had a problem with the hostel, when I contacted them they had someone look into it and sort it all out for me. I was impressed, Hostelworld make many reservations into hostels, if one of there customers has a problem they can sort it out. Try dealing with a problem by your self >

Posted by
1499 posts

This is a public board and we can take what we want and leave what we don't. Bonnie had her say and we can take it or leave it. We can like the word unfair or not. We can disagree with her but it seems a little beyond the pale to refute her right to make her claim

Another poster on another thread described Franken Wine as swill. I quite like Franken Wine and sat at home wishing that I had a bottle of that "swill". There was no need to be indignant about their tastes when I could just ignore them or state my opinion of Franken Wine.

I am glad to hear that others had good luck with Hostelworld. That seems more to the point than arguing with Bonnie's wording.

Regards, Gary