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Ontarian blinded by hotel reservation fees warns others how to avoid same problem

TORONTO – When searching the internet for a hotel, you might think you are dealing directly with the hotel when it could be a third-party reservation website.

These websites will allow you to reserve a room, but they can also charge you a hefty fee of up to hundreds of dollars.

“I was totally shocked and couldn’t even believe this had happened,” said Stephanie Blank of Oakville.

Blank, who is caring for his parents, has planned a three-day getaway to Port Dover, Ontario. last month.

When she left the Best Western Little River Inn, she saw an additional fee of $ 187 charged by a third-party website.

“I take care of two parents full time, one with cancer and the other with dementia. My full-time job has taken care of them for eight years now, ”Blank said.

Blank said when she left the hotel, she was billed for three nights at $ 403, with a reservation fee of $ 187 bringing the total to $ 590.

Blank said she believed that by booking her room online, she was dealing directly with the hotel, but that was not the case.

“I didn’t realize that after it wasn’t the Best Western I was dealing with, it was a third-party website, but it was created to look like the Best Western,” said Blank.

Blank said when she contacted the website, she said she couldn’t reach anyone.

“I tried talking to someone, but no one was coming on the phone. All I got were answering machines,” Blank said.

CTV News Toronto emailed, but the email bounced. When we called a hotline number, we hung up twice.

There are some negative reviews on the online website and others who have also complained that they are dealing directly with a hotel and not with a third party.

Blank said she had learned a lesson and warned others to “be very careful when booking online that you are dealing directly with the hotel and not with a third party.”

When searching for a hotel, don’t click the first link that appears, deal only with reputable websites that don’t charge extra, and consider calling the hotel directly.

“You don’t want to be in a situation like I am when you’re completely caught off guard and overcharged for your hotel stay,” Blank said.

A study in the United States found that one in four American travelers report being deceived by third-party websites.

Not only might you have to pay more fees, but you might also not be able to cancel a room if you change your plans.