Montrealer gets $4000 surprise charge after cancelling online hotel bookings

ONLINE HOTEL BOOKINGS

Here's a cautionary tale from a Montreal woman who was charged $4000 after she had cancelled two hotel reservations online.

Chantal Lamy had been using Booking.com for the past 15 years to reserve her own flight and hotel reservations without any problems.

Until this past January when she tried to book a hotel in Costa Rica.

The first time - no confirmation email so she cancelled and booked again. Still no confirmation so she cancelled again and went with another hotel. Lamy said she did receive notice of cancellation of the two bookings.

When she got back from vacation, she got a $4000 credit card bill for cancellation fees.

Lamy said she had troubles with both the online booking platform and her credit card company who wanted proof she didn't go to the hotel.

"How do I prove something I didn't do?" said Lamy in an interview with CJAD 800.

After six months of wrangling, the credit card company ombudsman ruled in Lamy's favour, wiping out the mistake.

Quebec's consumer protection laws say when an online merchant doesn't send you email confirmation of your purchase, you have 30 days from the moment you enter into the contract to resolve the matter.

The laws also stipulate that a merchant doesn't have the right to write at the last minute in the contract that you'll be charged a penalty if you break the contract or if you don't respect the terms of the agreement. In this case, there was no contract between Lamy and the hotel.

For Lamy it was the first and last mistake in dealing with that booking agency.

"It's over," said Lamy.

Neither the online booking agency nor the credit card company would comment on the matter.