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US hotel adds on "insurance" charge without asking

US hotel adds on "insurance" charge without asking

Old Jan 15, 14, 5:32 am
  #1  
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Angry US hotel adds on "insurance" charge without asking

In December, I booked a room online for a small lodge-type hotel in a popular US resort town. Now reading through the fine print of the confirmation email, I see that they are charging about 6% on top of the gross amount for "insurance", unless I opt out within two days of the time of booking. There was no mention of this on the website while making the booking, or on the confirmation webpage (which I made a PDF of). The latter has a very clear "Total" amount, including "Taxes and Fees".

Now I know US businesses are notorious for adding on extra invisible charges, but can this really be legal? What are my rights here? Any advice on the best strategy to get rid of this?
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Old Jan 15, 14, 7:13 am
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US hotel adds on "insurance" charge without asking

A quick phone call to the property would be my first action. If it was a third party site then I would start with them. I would keep it non emotional and state clearly that you were not aware of it. It was not clearly pointed out and most importantly, That it was not an opt in which is typically required, you expect them to remove it and they need to change the way they are collecting it to be legally compliant. Let us know how it goes. worst case you can get your cc company involved.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 7:59 am
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You might check to see if whoever (either the website or the property) is properly licensed by their state Insurance Commissioner to sell insurance. If they are not, you might mention that fact during your complaint to the seller and say that you intend to report the unlicensed activity to the Commissioner. If they *are* licensed, you might say that you intend to report their sales practices to the Commissioner.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 8:03 am
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Can you tell us the name of the hotel (and third-party site if applicable)? If this is a regular business practice of theirs it would be useful for others to know what to watch for.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 10:20 am
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Wait, so after you confirmed the price, they said if you don't opt out, they will charge an additional 6%?


I'd switch hotels. Don't even bother calling them - call your credit card company, offer to send the PDF, and dispute the charge as fraudulent.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 10:39 am
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What are the laws in the US for the sale of financial products? In the UK, the principle that applies is caveat vendor - meaning it is the responsibility of the seller to adequately set out the information you need in order to decide whether or not to buy a financial product such as insurance - and to be able to demonstrate that they have done so. They also need to inform you of your right to a statutory cooling off period of 14 days, during which you can cancel without penalty.

This might be an avenue worth exploring if similar consumer protections apply.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 11:11 am
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FWIW, I've never heard of this before, even being active on several travel forums.

What's the cancellation policy?

If it were me, and I could still cancel, and there were other decent options, I'd cancel and stay elsewhere just on principle.

If there are no other options, at least cancel and then rebook and call within 2 days to delete the insurance.

If it's too late to cancel, I'd call the Manager and ask him to remove the insurance. If he won't, take it up with the credit card company.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 11:22 am
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Somehow I doubt it's actual insurance. I would call and see what is covered by this policy. Given all the paperwork I receive whenever I purchase any type of insurance policy, even travel insurance, I doubt all the necessary verbiage can be contained in a confirmation email.
I mean, if it's insurance, there must be some mechanism to make a claim. Hell, maybe this is a worthwhile product...(I know, very doubtful).
Basically, this is highly sketchy and if they are claiming it is actually insurance, likely illegal.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 12:32 pm
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Given that it is in a ski resort, I wonder if is actually extra insurance for the property to add additional protection in the event of injury to uninsured or litigious guests. If so, that would really smell.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
Don't even bother calling them - call your credit card company, offer to send the PDF, and dispute the charge as fraudulent.
Bad advice.. you are required to make a good faith effort to resolve the issue with the merchant before disputing a charge.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 5:32 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
Given that it is in a ski resort, I wonder if is actually extra insurance for the property to add additional protection in the event of injury to uninsured or litigious guests. If so, that would really smell.
Not sure that would even be legal. If it were I suppose hotels would have surcharges for their employees health plans and the building fire insurance.

Agree the way it was done is not right. As another suggested complain to the DOI as they would require a license to sell insurance.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 6:41 pm
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US hotel adds on "insurance" charge without asking

I'm curious what this "insurance" actually covers.

To the OP. Could you let us know the hotel and 3rd party site. Would like to see how info is presented.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by RancherDave View Post
Not sure that would even be legal. If it were I suppose hotels would have surcharges for their employees health plans and the building fire insurance.
In a world where airlines make passengers pay a surcharge to put fuel in their aircraft, it wouldn't surprise me at all.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 7:17 pm
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We name names here on Flyertalk. It's a lot easier to make suggestions when you provide the specifics about the hotel, as well as any details they mentioned to you about this 'insurance.'

It's even possible that the place you rented from isn't even a hotel as many of the facilities in ski towns are condo rentals, to which different rules apply.
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Old Jan 15, 14, 8:33 pm
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US hotel adds on "insurance" charge without asking

I agree. Something seems "off". Any more info?
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