Looking for a room for Mardi Gras? Many visitors will search online for hotel rooms as they plan their Mardi Gras travels. BBB warns consumers to be cautious of third party booking sites. While there are many deals to be had, it is easy for scammers to make a site look authentic and trick people into divulging their personal and financial information. Nobody wants to find out on arrival that they were scammed with no place to stay.
One such site, MardiGrasRooms.com, offers deals for rooms at many popular hotels along parade routes. BBB has learned that the company is not located at the physical address that they provide on their website. While room rates listed on the site are lower than the actual rates at the hotels, several of the hotels offered on the site have indicated that they have no connection to the company and have not contracted with this site to book rooms for their hotels. BBB advises consumers to consider a hotel’s official site or use a reputable booking site. Many of the well-known third-party sites are BBB Accredited Businesses. Look them up on www.bbb.org.
BBB tips for travelers include:
Check with BBB first. You can go to www.bbb.org to find a list of hotels and booking sites, and also find information on a particular company in the BBB Business Profile.
Shop directly with the hotel. You will be able to determine if there is a better deal, you can verify the third-party entity’s connection to the hotel, or confirm your reservation.
Check for look alikes. Many websites can make themselves look like official brands, even fraudulently using official names or logos. Some use very similar web addresses.
Confirm your reservation. Even a third-party booking site should give you a way to confirm your reservation so you won’t be stranded when you arrive. Remember that confirming a phony reservation with the hotel afterward, may be too late.
Determine location.If a company cannot provide a verifiable physical location, you may be dealing with someone who doesn’t want to be found afterward.
Use a credit card. Using a credit card instead of a debit or pre-paid card, may offer more protections if things aren’t what they seem.
If you have experienced a problem with a hotel or booking site, please contact us at: (504) 581-6222. You can file a complaint at bbb.org/complaints, or register a scam on BBB ScamTracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.