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Otel.com

posts: 6
Otel.com

I recently used Otel.com to book a hotel in Hawaii. The rate on Otel.com was better than what I found on other travel sites. Word of warning: I used my VISA card to book the travel, and for some reason my payment WAS NOT processed through Otel.com's New York site (I live in the United States) - it was processed through their Istanbul site. Thereby initiating a $20 international processing fee by VISA. (1% of my transaction.) You DO NOT get that processing fee back if you cancel, and you should take this into consideration when evaluating the cost at different travel booking sites.

103 replies to this topic
West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 53,872
reviews: 65
1. Re: Otel.com

Hi Lonnie13;

What did Otel.com say about processing the transaction through Istanbul Turkey when you called them ?

Best Regards

posts: 6
2. Re: Otel.com

I received the same response twice from Otel.com, but nothing that answered my real question. I asked them why my transactionwas processed outside of the United States when they do have a New York office and I live in the United States. I couldn't see any reason why the transaction had to be processed through Istanbul, and especially since their website said nothing about it. Otel keeps telling me that they did not charge the fee...that VISA did. All true, but nevertheless does not answer my question.

Istanbul
posts: 72
3. Re: Otel.com

Hi Lonnie13

Thank you for your post and firstly I am delighted that you found our hotel rates to be most competitive. However, I am sorry to learn of your disappointment with regards to the International bank charge that your bank has passed on.

I wonder if you can drop me a line with your booking tracking number and I will do my best to assist you. Alternatively you may open a query from the My Account page of our website and mark it for my attention.

Caroline

Customer Care Manager

posts: 6
4. Re: Otel.com

Well thank you, Caroline, for your offer, but now I have received responses back from two other customer service reps at Otel.com, and they both say the same thing now. That Otel.com's head office and bank are located in Istanbul. Since the representatives didn't say anything about the New York office in answer to my question, I must assume ALL credit card transactions are ALWAYS processed through Istanbul. Which means the fee from VISA will ALWAYS be charged to customers not living in Istanbul. I am not trying to get my money back, I am trying to warn others that this fee from VISA exists, and Otel.com does not mention this on their website anywhere. Otel.com should not hide things like this. Some travelers don't mind extra fees, but some DO.

Kingston, Canada
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel
posts: 3,678
reviews: 108
5. Re: Otel.com

Does otel.com state the fact anywhere in the terms and conditions that charges will originate in Turkey?

If they do, then fine...if they don't, then I agree that it is wrong - it would be fair for a person making a purchase to think the charge will be processed in the currency they are seeing listed on the screen.

ktown

posts: 6
6. Re: Otel.com

Otel.com mentions in their Booking Terms & Conditions, under "Resort & International Transaction fees that the majority of credit card providers charge some sort of Internation Transaction fee. However, they don't mention in a definite way that your payment WILL be processed through their Istanbul office. Until you have made your purchase and printed out your confirmation notice - there it will say, "Charges will be processed from our branch (doesn't say which branch) and will appear on your next bank statement as "Otel.com Istanbul".

Also in their "Contact Us" section they say this:

"We are proud to have built up a team that literally covers the globe, with offices in Europe, the Philippines and the USA. This means that there is always someone on hand at one of our offices to assist you."

I took that to mean that since I reside in the U.S., my transaction would occur in the U.S. My mistake. I don't want others to make the same one.

Thank you, people, for your replies. I appreciate the learning experience.

Edited: 11:06 am, March 07, 2011
Kingston, Canada
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel
posts: 3,678
reviews: 108
7. Re: Otel.com

I've read the terms and conditions and agree that they are not clear. I don't think otel.com have done everything they could do to make this clear, therefore I would not use them.

Thanks Lonnie13 for bringing this issue to the attention of TA members.

ktown

p.s. How about it Caroline? Could otel.com not make the t & c's clearer?

Edited: 11:43 am, March 07, 2011
Istanbul
posts: 72
8. Re: Otel.com

Hi ktowntravllr

Thank you for your posts and for your comments.

I should firstly just like to clarify that if a client selects the currency of USD online then the charge will be made in USD.

International transaction fees are passed on by some banks, not all. This bank fee is passed on in relation to charges that have been made outside the country of card issue issue which means that when you travel overseas and make for example a shop or restaurant purchase that you may also be liable to an International transaction fee. This equally applies to any online shopping purchase when the country is not the same as the card issuing country.

We have many repeat clients from all over the world who are happy with our services and hotel rates but following your constructive comments I shall certainly look into updating the Terms and conditions and the company profile pages to reflect more clearly where the charge will be processed. I am sorry to learn that this was not clear before because I have to be honest and say we receive very few complaints in relation to International transaction fees that have been passed on by banks.

Obviously is it comments such as yours that enable us evaluate and to make changes and improve our services, so I should like to thank you for these constructive comments and for giving us the chance to make any relevant changes on the website.

Caroline

Customer Care Manager

Kingston, Canada
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel
posts: 3,678
reviews: 108
9. Re: Otel.com

Please let us know if otel.com changes its terms and conditions to clearly state that the charge for the purchase will occur in Turkey. Also, if a customer was to choose for example US dollars, I imagine they not only would pay the transaction fee for their credit card, but an inflated currency exchange rate by otel.com - I believe this is called dynamic exchange, or something similar. Essentially, it's a bad deal for the consumer, which is why I always choose to have my credit card charged in the currency of the country in I am visiting when I travel.

ktown

Rattray, Perthshire
posts: 8
reviews: 3
10. Re: Otel.com

This company is a SCAM and should be avoided!!!

I booked hotel accommodation in London recently. The next day I discovered that the cost had been charged to my credit card!! I phoned the London hotel who advised me that NO bookings in my name had been made.

This has been reported to my credit card company who are following up this scam with police. Also the UK police have been informed (also Interpol) so the problem should disappear eventually when these crooks are out of business. I phoned the number on their website (which is in the Philippines!) and the gentleman who answered happily confirmed I had been conned!!!

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !!!

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