Please sign in to post. Never Pre-Pay for a Lodging Through This Site!

NEVER, under any circumstances, pre-pay for a stay booked through even though they claim in the Questions and Answers on their website the following:

Cancellations and modifications

My booking was cancelled, when will I be refunded?
If your booking gets canceled, refunds you immediately. The processing time takes 7 to 10 days, depending on your bank. For any questions, contact your bank directly.

That's all it says. No other qualifications.

They do not abide by this policy. Don't believe them! It is a lie! Do not be fooled!! I learned this the hard way.

In February 2022 I booked a stay at Boston Exclusive Corporate 30 Day Rental through The stay was for 9/2/22 to 9/6/22. On 8/15/22 notified me that my reservation was cancelled – out of the blue with no explanation as to why. I was told in that email that my stay was cancelled without a charge. I forwarded them my receipt and requested my refund, per the above policy. They responded with the following:

The property may have already taken payment from you. This is normal, and you'll be refunded in the next 30 days. Depending on who you bank with, your refund can take a little longer to process. If you're still waiting on your refund, contact Boston Exclusive Corporate 30 Day Rental directly.

Take note: It is NORMAL for the PROPERTY to have already taken payment from you!

Over the following two months I got a continual run around from on the phone and in emails. I was told I needed to provide various documents to get my refund, sometimes receiving requests for the same document three times.

It has been over 50 working days and still no refund and no promise as to when we might expect it.

Over this I learned a few other interesting things about besides the untrue statements published on their website Q&A's.

They do not properly vet the properties they offer you. Right after the cancellation, I went back and looked at the reviews on the corporate website of the property we reserved. They have an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. They had a customer rating of 2-1/2 stars and several reviews exactly echoed our experience. Any thinking person could see this was a distressed property and had no place being offered by a reputable booking service. My first mistake was I trusted them. I have recently heard from other property owners who have used to list their properties. They complained that the service does not properly vet the renters who use their site. One pulled their property from the site after very bad experiences with guests who came through the site. Their vetting process is full of holes on both ends.

Their customer service phone lines are staffed by people who tell you they are unable to make decisions on cancellations and will not let you speak to anyone who can. They simply do their best to stall anyone owed money by repeatedly sending you the same requests over and over and over.

When I asked one of their customer service agents why they don't stand by their 7 to 10 days refund policy stated in their Q&A's. I was told that only applies when collects the prepayment, not the property. When I asked why that information was not included in their Q&A answer I was told “It's an internal thing.” I interpreted that as meaning they intentionally keep their guests in the dark on the matter so they can make up the rules as they go along. Particularly (as I noted previously) since they told me in writing that “it is NORMAL for the PROPERTY to have already taken payment from you!” I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds pretty fraudulent to me.

My real beef here is that was never honest with me about the situation with this property. Instead, they made it my problem and did whatever they could to string me along. Check out this facebook page for many other horror stories: - Unhappy Customers

Posted by
12665 posts

Welcome to the forum.

I see a similar complaint on the Trip Advisor forum review page for this property.

Hopefully you'll stick around and enjoy planning a trip to Europe with the group members.

Posted by
3012 posts

This is a perfect example of why I DO NOT USE third-party booking agencies like or, or Expedia.

You would think that if a property cancelled your reservation, a refund would be immediate.

Posted by
6113 posts

Advice to never use third party sites isn’t helpful advice if you want to rent private accommodation - you don’t have a choice usually.

I used recently to book two B&Bs in Belgium. One cancelled at 36 hours notice as they had been taken to hospital - we hadn’t paid in advance. The replacement property was pay on departure and the second property was paid in advance - due to sterling falling against the euro, it cost us significantly more to pay when there rather than at the time of booking.

I have used numerous times without issue, so you were unfortunate.

Most large companies and organisations are going to have a small proportion of unhappy customers.

Posted by
16031 posts

I use the fairly often, but prefer the hotel itself for booking.
Never paid in advance; of course you do get better rates if you pay in advance with no cancelation options.
Never had a problem.
Sorry it happened to you.
It does say 30 Rental, maybe thats why you got dumped. now says: This property isn’t taking reservations on our site right now. But don’t worry, you can find tons of other nearby properties right here.

Posted by
7562 posts

I am assuming that you paid for this with a credit card. Do pay attention to any time limits placed by your credit card company for disputing charges. You may need to end up disputing this through your credit card company if the refund does not come and you don't want to miss that window of opportunity.

Posted by
3898 posts

When you told AMEX or whichever credit card you used about the fraud, what did they do?

Posted by
1420 posts

I've used a number of times, and have occasionally cancelled (my choice) without any issues.

I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience, but it seems you are out to trash's reputation. I've never viewed them as a travel agent that exists to "vet" properties for travellers. I see them as getting listing information from property owners and providing and sorting these listings in such a way that helps me do my research. However, I still see it as my responsibility to read reviews and decide for myself if I think the property is a good fit and a good bet for me. And on, as well as on other travel sites, I take reviews with a grain of salt. One negative review, especially by someone who hasn't provided many reviews and who clearly has an axe to grind, will not sway me. I look at the overall pattern of reviews, and give more credence to reviewers who have provided many reviews, because I know then that they have a lot of travel experience. The same applies here. I'm not going to quit using because of your post.

That said, if a property cancelled on me, and I paid them through, I would also expect to be refunded without hassle, so I don't blame you for being upset. I don't know what recourse you have, but I hope you have a satisfactory resolution this.

Posted by
5649 posts

I have used many times over the years. Rarely have I had a problem. But earlier this year, I did cancel a reservation at the very last minute that had an advertised 6PM day-of-arrival free cancellation policy.

Unfortunately,'s site was messed up during this time for some reason. I could find my booking on their site and click "cancel" and it would spin for a few seconds...then return me to my reservation page with no indication of it being canceled. I tried two or three times - same thing.

Since I had about two hours to cancel, I decided just to message the property (but through the website!) to let them know I wanted to cancel, before the 6PM deadline. MISTAKE! Bizarrely, the property itself had a different cancellation policy: if you cancel within 24 hours of check-in, they charge you 1/2 the first night, which is exactly what they did. Of course, I had no idea that the hotel company had a different cancellation policy than - who would know that??? I made the reservation with, not with the company.

Of course, the company gave me the run-around about this when I contacted them. They just kept repeating their cancellation policy, ignoring everything I said about's policy.

And told me to contact the property. They wouldn't help either.

I always try to avoid disputing a charge with my credit card company unless I have to - but I got tired of the run-around from both companies. So I did file a dispute. Of course, I was 100% in the right, and I had kept documentation, including a copy of a message I'd sent to before 6PM that day, notifying them of the issue. It's not like I waited until the next day.

Naturally, the dispute was resolved in my favor. But it was a big PITA.

By the way: another reason not to use a debit card in a case like this. With credit cards, it just seems easier to dispute a charge.

So why do I continue to use Sometimes they have better policies or prices than booking directly with the property, which would be my preference. I recently used them a few times and there were cases where I saved $20/night using vs. booking direct. I hate using this third-party, but...I'm also not going to pay extra just because the property itself won't offer me the same discount. And has worked great for me many times over the years. I've never had any problem with them until this one incident this year.

Posted by
6810 posts

I use frequently. In the last, just over a year, some 20 properties and about 50 nights. My trip last month in Spain, I used them for 21 of the 23 nights of the trip, the other two nights being complimentary nights using hotel points.

I have never had an issue, one can make comments about "third party sites", but I would put Booking in a different class, in fact several places we stayed (regular hotels) preferred us to book through Booking. Many of the properties were not available for booking otherwise.

It sounds as though the problems the OP had is limited to that property. I will say that I do not "prepay" to get a cheaper rate, though under most terms, they will put a hold on the payment card once you are within the cancellation window (Day of, two days before, etc). If you do prepay weeks before, that is usually under a cut-rate offer, with limited cancellation terms. Of course, the property cancelled, so those terms should not apply.

Posted by
3476 posts

I had a somewhat similar situation with booking,com in 2013. I had a reservation at the Hôtel Champs Élysées Plaza (now known as Hôtel Elysia). The reservation confirmation email said I could cancel without penalty up to 24 hours before. I canceled 25 hours before check-in time and a charge was processed on my card by the hotel for one night's stay. told me that the hotel would reimburse me. After hours of phone calls and emails, I never received a refund: the hotel said that had incorrect information about cancellation fees in the listing and's position was that the hotel took the money and not them so they could not reimburse me. I still use for research for things like room size, number of rooms at a property and to see reviews but I no longer use them to make the actual reservation.

Posted by
3 posts

I appreciate all the comments. I had used for 10 or so years before this incident. That's why I hung onto their word and trusted them so long. That was until this week when one of their customer service reps implied that I hadn't actually paid the money in advance! That's when I contacted my credit card company to see if they could assist me, even though the charge was 8 months previous. They rubber stamped me a dispute credit without asking for any details and without filling out any forms. My guess is this is a common occurrence with -- If you check out the facebook page I referred to in my original post you'll see that is definitely the case.

My purpose in posting this was to warn travelers about making advance payments through the site and to share my experience. Having a booking cancelled at the last minute was very stressful and cost me a lot more money than I expected for lodging. As long as you don't pay in advance you might be OK, but you might want to be sure to check reviews of the property you are renting other than on the site if possible. I have had reports from people that have told me they posted negative reviews on filthy and misrepresented properties but they were removed from the reply string. They are easy to find on line.

I'm not trying to smear - just to report the facts of my experience. If one person avoids the trap I fell into as a result, my job is done.

By the way, I have also been a regular customer of Rick Steves for 20+ years (and actually met him on a tour in Italy) so I may be new to this site, but not to Rick's fabulous service.

Posted by
6858 posts

I don't mean this to sound snarky and I'm sorry the OP had this issue, but 1st time poster rants are almost always challenging, telling people not to do business with a company because they had a bad experience.

As far as I know when you pay in advance for a stay booked through, you are paying the property not and if there is any refund for cancelation it would have to come from the property and therefore the property's cancelation policy would be the one to determine the refund, not whatever it might say on I generally do not book most things on 3rd party sites but use a lot and have never had an issue, but I've also never paid in advance for any booking. I prefer to pay the property directly when I stay there as that avoids the issue of discrepancies between policies. And I always read the reviews carefully and pay attention to the rating of the property and I actually have researched the cancelation/refund policy on the property's website before completing a booking, just to be on the safe side.

Posted by
7786 posts

I've been using for many, many years, and only had a problem once. We were in Barcelona, and the a/c in the room simply didn't work on a hot weekend. The hotel refused to credit us for leaving early. had no power to get the money returned. We found an apartment a few blocks away on, and the a/c about froze us.

I always charge any rooms on a Visa card, and I refuse to pre-pay for rooms because situations sometime change.

Posted by
2868 posts

Good advice about not pre-paying for rooms. I've used and with one problem over the past 20 years.

I've also had cheaper results booking from a third party than calling the hotel directly.

Posted by
31066 posts

I'm not trying to smear

I'm sorry, drew, but that doesn't match up with the title you chose and posting in multiple sites, and even in the reply post where you say "I'm not trying to smear".

It is pretty obvious that you are wanting to do just that.

Posted by
3980 posts

In Mar 2020, I had a non-refundable booking at the Best Western in Wells, England made through To my surprise, when I couldn't go, the BW send me an email saying that would be refunding my money, which was done in a timely fashion. Unlike our booking to see Hamilton in London, which took months to get back only a portion of what we paid.

Posted by
6177 posts

I use Booking,com for almost all of my reservations, and I move to different cities frequently on trips, so that’s a lot of reservations. I have never had an issue with refunds on anything prepaid. But, I do select the option to pay at the time of the stay, when possible.

Posted by
3 posts

Finally (after emailing members of Board Members with my post to this group) I found someone to get the executive complaint unit to send the full refund to my credit card. Thank you patrick.houbrigts -- Giving credit where credit is due. Must say, based on the comments to my original post, members of this Rick Steves Forum is an interesting bunch. I'll try to come up with more positive posts in the future. Just glad this one is over.

Posted by
9734 posts

Well done, Drew. I hope you come back and contribute more in the future.

Posted by
14030 posts

When I am traveling in Calif or in the US and decide to use to make the room reservation, I always pre-pay as a matter of course., ie pre-paying with the credit card goes hand in hand.

Now, the other way is to book on-line using the hotel website, which I also do quite often, especially traveling in Europe. or I simply call them up if the hotel/Pension has no website to reserve.

Posted by
9734 posts

The OP is following what is done on the Chris Elliott consumer website, publishing the email of the problem solver for others seeking help. But I agree that the whole email shouldn't be exposed on this website. The webmaster can decide.

Posted by
3240 posts

I am feeling a little lucky. Earlier this year I accidentally prepaid - didn’t mean to, I just clicked wrong. Then I had to cancel that stay - fortunately was refunded in a week or two and only lost a bit on the exchange rate. Otherwise I would definitely not be happy! I am glad it worked out for you!

Posted by
3520 posts

Though it ended okay for the op, his experience demonstrates some of the pitfalls of prepayments. I’m a slow learner, so it took me two experiences with pre-paying to realize that I should never do it. One can never imagine all the unlikely possibilities that could lead to the need to cancel.

Posted by
1420 posts

Absolutely. Usually, where there is a prepayment, the rate is non-refundable or there are refund restrictions.

Whenever I think about choosing a non-refundable rate, I ask myself (and my husband), are we willing to lose this money if something happens, and we can't go? I often see complaints by people who choose non-refundable rates and then are upset when they can't get a refund. Non-refundable means exactly that, and the lack of risk to the property is the reason the low rate is being offered.

That wasn't the case with the OP, though, as it was the property that cancelled, and that should ALWAYS qualify for a refund. Glad it worked out for him.