How to avoid being ripped-off while booking a hotel room online

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Have you ever booked a hotel room online? Many of us have. More than a billion dollars are lost each year due to online booking scams. The Better Business Bureau has information to protect yourself from falling victim.

BBB tips for travelers include:

• Do an online search and compare the URL of any booking site to the URL listed for the hotel chain or booking site in the online search. Consider going directly to the hotel or booking site rather than the one in an online ad or email offer.
• Read any ads carefully, making sure you understand what is being offered and what the total price will be.
• If you are talking to a reservation center, ask where it is located and verify the contact information. If the agent is evasive, hang up and call the hotel directly.
• Ask for the name, address and phone number of the hotel where the room is located, and call the hotel to verify that the room actually exists.
• Before you enter any payment information, make sure the site is secure. The URL for the reservation page should begin with https://.
• Use a credit card to make your reservation. A credit card company can assist you with obtaining a refund if the offer turns out to be fraudulent or if there are other problems with the accommodation.
• Make sure you get a confirmation number from the business when reserving a room. Also, make sure you know times of check-in and check-out, and clearly understand the type of room you are paying for (smoking or nonsmoking, queen or double beds, regular room or suite, etc.)
• If you have any concern about the quality of a motel or hotel, ask to inspect your room before moving in. You have a better chance to get satisfaction from staff or management if you have not already accepted your room. If you spot a problem, report it to the front desk immediately.

Before you do business with a charity or company, check its BBB Business Review or BBB Charity Review at or by calling 314-645-3300.

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