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Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

Munich, Germany
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256 posts
233 reviews
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Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

If you are thinking about booking your hotel room with Agoda, be very careful. I have looked at Agoda rates for some Asian countries and they appeared to be lower than the rate quoted by the hotel. I am now booking a 3 week vacation in Vietnam and I checked the rates. They appeared to be less than the hotel rate and I made my first booking for 2 nights.

The rate quoted was in bold. When you click 'Book', the rate is also shown in bold and then at the bottom, there is another figure saying 'hotel taxes'. However, since it was not bold, I assumed that the figure in bold was what you would be paying. When you mouse over 'hotel taxes', it says that 'Agoda has included all taxes and fees so that you know what you will be paying when you check out'. I thought, that this was included in the price in bold as normally bold font indicates the final price.

Well no! this extra hotel tax is added on and in the end, the price becomes HIGHER than what the hotel website offers.

If you do not realise this, you will be paying more per night and if you are staying 3 weeks, then it amounts to alot of money.

I wrote to them and informed them. They also claim to give the 'Best Price Guarantee' and asked me for proof which I sent them. In response they gave me a half baked excuse that rates change all the time. Well the rates definitely DID NOT change because I have been planning this trip for months and the rates are the same as in the beginning.

In some other countries, Agoda does give a competitive rate but for Vietnam, I checked 3 different hotels and all the prices in the end were more than what the hotel was quoting!

So if you are scouting for the best price, avoid a 'Hotel room 'booking service. I have found other unhappy customers but when you first start out, you don't go around looking for complaints!

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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7,575 posts
30 reviews
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1. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

I am a bit surprised. In the past, Agoda has been very quick to give credit if a lower price was found online. Until now there have been no excuses, but a credit towards yur next reservation.

Hmmmmmm

Owee

www.owee58.com

Lincoln, United...
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2. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

I've never had any problems with Agoda. You know what the price is before you actually pay. Yes, I'd agree they don't tell you the prices, including taxes, until you come to pay but then a lot of hotels don't tell you they use the black market $USD exchange rate when it comes to paying in Dongs in Vietnam.

As usual, BUYER BEWARE!

I might add, I've had some cracking good deals ($44 / nt for a 5 star hotel) through Agoda but shop around. That is what the internet is for.

Munich, Germany
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256 posts
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3. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

69Bertie - if the hotel quotes in USD, are they expecting to be paid in USD or in Vietnamese Dong. No where do I see a VND rate. Since I am from the Euro zone, does this mean I have to carry USDs around?

I am really quite surprised by the behaviour of Agoda since they do not appear to be a small company. I will see what they say about the credit.

North Carolina
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176 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

I'm not sure i see the deception here, perhaps confusing would be a better way to put it?

It is sadly pretty much the standard procedure for just about all of internet business to try to get you to their site by posting the lowest initial price. The final price is found when you accept/book/checkout from your shopping cart and get ready to pay for the goods or service. You can still shop around before entering your credit card info and actually paying.

One nice thing about VN hotels is that (for now) they tend to show the total price including taxes on their websites.

Westminster...
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350 posts
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5. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

I have booked with Agoda once, it went pretty smooth except for the cancellation fee of 15.00 US While Booking.com doesn't charge the cancellation fee. However, MOST OF THE TIME, it's about 5.00 cheaper to book directly with the hotel ( I guess they paid the booking company this 5.00 fee)

Lincoln, United...
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6. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

bulleta

69Bertie - if the hotel quotes in USD, are they expecting to be paid in USD or in Vietnamese Dong. No where do I see a VND rate. Since I am from the Euro zone, does this mean I have to carry USDs around?

-------------------

It's illegal to demand payment in Dollars, recently two sectors (news reports - real estate etc lookatvietnam.com/2010/09/dollar-price-fluct… ) have been told to change their ways of quoting in Dollars and expecting payment in the same. Not that I expect much to change until they substantially increase the penalties for non compliance. There really is no deterrent effect as yet. But things are without a doubt moving, if slowly, on that score. …stockbiz.vn/News/2011/1/20/176468/state-ban…

But when it comes to paying hotel bills when you've been quoted USD, certainly the lower end hotels are tending to use the black market rates as the exchange rate conversion. You'd be wise to clarify what the position is with regards paying in Euros and the exchange rate used.

Milan, Italy
Destination Expert
for Ho Chi Minh City
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13 reviews
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7. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

@bulleta

see my review

tripadvisor.com/…CHECK_RATES_CONT

the hotel must accept dong but if they quoted the price in USD like all do the exchange rate used must be asked in writing at the booking.

ATM in VN gives only Dong so there is no way you can get USD without making multiple exchange and losing money.

Same for credit card, it is not possible to force a transaction in USD or Euro like in other SEA countries.

There is no way out, the hotel can ask whatever they want for a USD.

Just get a confirmation before.

Nha Trang, Vietnam
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4,140 posts
3 reviews
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8. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

Which brings up the question if the hotels are even allowed to use a conversion rate other than the official bank rate?

Milan, Italy
Destination Expert
for Ho Chi Minh City
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4,735 posts
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9. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

@on&off

The rates of hotels are all approved by the VN governament, in dong of course, and they must be posted at the reception.

Price in USD are technically just a reverse exchange from the original in dong so not regulated....

Back to Agoda, i tried to book a room and , YES, the way they now display the summary is very misleading.

The bold amount is the net, after there are taxes but nowere there is the real TOTAL, although the price column says Total.

I mailed the hotel and the price was lower anyway.

Agoda is good for medium/high price place when they discount...

Munich, Germany
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256 posts
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10. Re: Watch out for AGODA - Deceiving!!

I do admit, when I was looking at the rates on Agoda, they were in Singapore dollars (don't know why they appeared in Singapore dollars but since it is a Singapore based company, I didn't think anything of it) and the US dollar figure only showed up just before the last button was clicked. I did not realise that it was higher than the US dollar rate offered by the hotel which is why I accepted it.

What irks me is that Agoda advertises 'Best Price Guarantee' . To me, guarantee means that they guarantee that you are getting the best deal. They even wrote to me and said that they would match a lower rate and that I should send the URL of the website and a screen shot. Well, I did. But then they turned around and said their rates are changing every day. Well, the rate on their website and on the hotel website are both the same as the day I made the booking. So where I ask, is the guarantee and rate matching promise?? Instead, they sent me a fantastic reply after I sent in the 'proof'. It read 'Thanks you for your review' !!!

Luckily, most people don't have problems with Agoda but it seems that when you challenge something, your challenge falls to deaf ears.

What I am saying with this post is that their prices are not really the lowest for Vietnam at least. They are lower than the hotel quoted rates in Macau and Hong Kong. I am going there too. For Vietnam, they are either higher or equal.

I booked a hotel in Hue last night direct with the hotel. The rate was the same as on Agoda (after all the small print taxes were added in) but the difference was, I did not have to pay for the 3 nights now in full for August. In fact, I only had to give my credit card as a guarantee. Agoda would have taken 100% off my credit card and charged me USD10 (or is it USD15) if I changed my booking tomorrow!

One could argue that the benefit of booking through Agoda is that its rate is fixed in USD and one does not have to deal with Dongs when there as it is fully paid. That could turn out positive or negative since exchange rates fluctuate and it is a risk one has to take.

All that said, I am only mad that they refuse to stand by their 'best rate guarantee'.