Surprise third party

ITN performed an invaluable service for travelers in publishing the reader’s letter entitled “Mystery Charge on Credit Card” regarding Internet hotel reservations (Dec. ’03, pg. 30).

I, too, made a reservation over the Internet with a hotel in Dublin. This was in 2001. After returning home I got a bill from an unknown “travel arranger” in England. I was billed in pounds for my hotel in Ireland, which at the time used punts. I had paid the hotel directly in Ireland.

When I refused to pay my credit card company for this bill, I received an outstanding piece of fiction from the travel arranger. They claimed a John Doe in their office spoke with me directly and offered several hotels in Dublin from which I picked the one in which I stayed. I never spoke with any person at the travel arranger’s, nor was I offered any other hotels. I e-mailed directly the hotel of my choice.

The upshot was the travel arranger threatened to take legal/criminal action against me. I e-mailed them that I expected the bobbies to arrive at my door with truncheons at any time. That was the last I ever heard from these rascals.

Since then, I have been careful in making e-mail reservations and determine first that no stranger is going to bill me. Internet users, beware!

Seal Beach, CA