Travel Site Rounding Up Star Ratings?

from the half-a-star-here,-half-a-star-there... dept

Apparently, a user who booked a hotel on Hotwire noticed that the hotel he booked was half a star rating below what Hotwire told him. He tried to book a 5-star hotel, and paid the 5-star price, but ended up in a 4.5 star hotel. He’s now proposing a class action lawsuit against the company for “deceptive acts, false advertising, unfair competition and breach of contract.” What’s unclear from the article, of course, is whether or not this is a common practice (i.e., is Hotwire “rounding up” on the stars) or was it just a simple case where a single hotel was mis-classified. A quick check on Hotwire shows that they do show hotel ratings to the half-star, so it might just be a case where there was a little mixup. Also, it’s hard to see how the guy deserves very much in “punitive” damages. It seems unlikely that he suffered very much in being stuck in a hotel half a star off from his preferred rating. If it turns out to be true that this was done on a regular basis, then there’s a bigger story here, but so far, it sounds like it might be a case where someone is making a much bigger deal out of something than it deserves.

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Comments on “Travel Site Rounding Up Star Ratings?”

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gp says:

No Subject Given

Businesses set up these unilateral systems where the customer is at the mercy of the business once they push the “purchase” button, with essentially no recourse for unhappiness. Yet the company always gets their 100 cents on a dollar from the customer.

(This business model encompasses a number of variations — rebate scams, online banks that blithely send your money to Latvia, etc.)

I am no consumer-advocate type, but these “we always get our money up front, and you get whatever we deign to give you/do to you” systems cannot be effectively fought by any single customer. It is one of the few areas where a class action threat makes sense. Too many company systems appear to have been designed to make mistakes in only one direction.

But in the absence of these recurring real-world experiences, such a lawsuit over a half a star would indeed be absurd.

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