Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bad Bad Business Travels

(This is a semi old story but the ending is relatively new, so here goes)

We decided to go to Al Ain during the eid holidays. Why Al Ain of all places you may ask. Well, its because Mux refuses to take me to Dubai during any official holiday. He claims we end up spending more time in traffic getting from place to place than at the place itself. No argument there.

I call up Business Travels to make a reservation for a hotel room there. Booked one room at the Bustan Rotana for Mux, myself and Faisal. Then my mom and brother decide they'd like to come as well. Then we thought, ok we'll take the nanny also. Thus, we decided it would be more convenient to reserve a furnished apartment instead. I called up BT again but was informed that they don't deal with any hotel apartments in Al Ain . Anyhow, we managed to get a booking through our friends there.

So I cancel the reservation with BT. A week in advance. They said sure, but you have to pay the rate for the first night (RO 66). So I said, but I'm not cancelling last minute, this is a whole week in advance. They said sorry this is our policy, you should not have made a reservation if there was any doubt you would not use the room. To which I said, but I'm not psychic, how was I to know others would want to join us?? Not their problem ofcourse.

Years and years ago, ever since I started booking holidays for my myself and my family, we have changed our plans over and over again. Heck, Mux and I changed our entire honeymoon package from Australia to the Far East. Not once were we ever charged. I can understand if someone charges you if you cancel last minute, because they incur losses because of you, but when its one week in advance, its not fair.

Mux refused to pay on principle. But I begged him to because I know the girl at the agency and because she told me they would cut it out of her salary.

I asked if I could pay by Electron and they said sure but we charge you 2.5% on top of it. Mux hit the roof.

Anyhow, we paid. In cash.

We are not happy.

Never going back to Business Travels again.

16 comments:

muscati said...

For the record: I refused to pay and they didn't have a credit card taken from me so there was no way they could have made me pay. The fact that Business Travels threatened to deduct the amount from the girl's salary and made her call to emotionally blackmail my wife into paying the fee got me so pissed off.

I'd have been willing to pay a partial cancellation fee, but to pay the full on a room I didn't stay in which I cancelled more than a week before the booking date and which I am 100% sure the hotel rented to someone else.. Totally unacceptable.

Definitely not a place I'd recommend to anyone. Do not book through them.

Sleepless In Muscat said...

is this the one in Qurum...?

muscati said...

Yep, Qurum in the GBM building next to Raz. Same building that has Al Hayat Clinic and the new Nokia store.

Kamakazy said...

was it mentioned anywhere in their terms? or even a minimum cancellation period? does the money go into the hotels pockets or BTI???

nomadica said...

That is so so annoying! Did you guys complain to the manager or any one higher up? Simply unacceptable. Any normal hotel gives you atleast 24 hours to cancel your reservation before proceeding to charge you for it. I would be one angry client too if that happened to me! And making the salesgirl resort to emotional blackmail is also just unacceptable.

Sleepless In Muscat said...

i have always dealt with them and i have never had a problem with them, and there were dozens of times i cancelled with them and they never charged me one baiza...

piece of advice if you're going to deal with them in the near future, don't take shit if they give it to you. and if they resort to that kind of blackmail ask for the manager and give him a piece of your mind..

Mindazi said...

Write a letter to the hotel, about how they have scam artists booking rooms at their establishment.

illogicist said...

...and this is an example of bad business, because theyre lost a customer, who has in turn spread out negative publicity to the people he knows, who now know to avoid this business. In a country like Oman, that is very, very bad news indeed. All for the sake of the money of a single night's stay.

Greedy bastards.

OceanDream said...

Kamakazy, the girl told me that the supplier they deal with in Al Ain is the one who imposes this fine. She said that she had mentioned to me that there would be a cancellation charge. I told her that I don't remember that, but that even if she had, there was no I would have imagined that the charge would be imposed on someone who cancels a week in advance.

I think Mindazi and Ali are right, we should write a letter to their manager. I don't care about the money and I'm not expecting to get it back. I just want to make it clear that this is not good customer service and that they have lost our business.

Oh and Mux should probably send someone from Bank Muscat to talk to them about this 2.5% that they are charging people who pay by Visa Electron.

muscati said...

No use complaining after the fact. They made the girl call my wife and blackmail her into paying the money. The girl knows my wife and her family from before and she was telling everyone how her employers were gonna dock her salary because of us. It made OD uncomfortable and she wanted to pay them to get them off the girl's back.

I've dealt with Business Travels before without problems, but I am definitely not going to again. 66 rials might not be a lot of money, but it's not chicken feed either. It could cover all the DVDs I ordered from Amazon this month. It can cover the cost of the new Lowepro camera bag I was planning to buy. It could have covered the cost of a 2GB ultra fast compact flash card for my camera. Or that new iTrip that Balqis to hear me bitch about again :)

OceanDream said...

Basically its money that could have been spent on his toys ;)

Balqis said...

lol wish i could see Mux face in these occations

Ali said...

Dude you should've just not paid and instead paid the money to the girl who works there since you guys know her and such.

illogicist said...

I thought of that as well, but I think maybe that might be a little insulting to the girl...i dunno

ColOman said...

MCT at least try to negotiate an instalment scheme to pay them back the RO 66/-

Jewaira said...

That is totally unacceptable and quite irritating.