I did a dumb thing recently and thought I'd pass along what happened, so that maybe you won't fall for this.
I was booking a RS recommended hotel in Lyon and thought I was booking directly with the hotel.
Well it was late and I should have been paying better attention.
I get the confirmation and the cost was per night and not the entire stay, on top of that an added $400 in fees and taxes.
I immediately cancelled. Well this was just the beginning.
It turned out that I had booked through a 3rd Party site (hotelvalues.com) that looked identical to the actual hotel website (or so they say)
I called and they told me that they could not refund because it's non refundable.... So much for what I thought I read, Now I don't have proof. I called the hotel and they tell me that they cannot do anything because it's a 3rd party site, and they have received no payment from them. I had to persist. This had over $1400 on my CC now. After 2 weeks of calls and emails the hotel tells me they were in contact with the reservation company and they authorized a free cancellation. Hmmm
Well the next day i emailed the 3rd party and they replied and confirmed that they were refunding the money. It showed up on my CC 2 days later. Whew.
I still believe that I was booking through the hotels site, but no way to prove it, so I will not mention the hotel's name. The 3rd party reservation company is Hotelvalues.com which it think goes by other names. Looking it up it seems that people have been spoofed this way through what many thought were legit sites like booking.com.
Usually when I book in Europe I use the hotel website, or more often I make arrangements via email and then call with the CC#
This time I was not careful and I almost payed dearly for it.
Be careful out there. look at the web address even when you think you are on the right site.
If there is a timer to complete the transaction, that could be a flag. Don't fall for it.
Off to France in a few weeks and glad I got this cleared up!