The hotel industry... recently asked the Department of Justice to investigate travel sites that are “trying to pass themselves off as the actual hotel.”..More at the link.
At best, these reservations are simply made on behalf of a third party instead of by the hotel and may have additional restrictions or booking fees. But at worst, they may be completely bogus bookings that won’t be recognized by a property.
Pinpointing the problem is easy, but a solution isn’t. It turns out the fake sites operate outside the country and can be difficult to identify as fraudulent. Who are these companies? There are thousands of them, according to AH&LA, and they go by names like Reservationcounter.com, Reservationdesk.com and Hotelsone.com...
One of the most enduring “wrong site” examples is the National Park Reservations site, which is sometimes confused with the National Park Service site by consumers. It isn’t affiliated with the national parks, a fact that it now clearly discloses on its front page, and it charges a fee for reservations made through the site. It’s the first result on Google for a “national park reservation” search, but the site most people actually want is NPS.gov (go to “Find a Park”), which doesn’t have the fees.
21 May 2015
Site-spoofing online reservation systems
As reported in the Washington Post: