I booked and paid a deposit which was deducted from my credit card for accommodation at Upendi Backpackers in Sedgefield South Africa. I received confirmation from Bookhstels.Com ( I went through Travellerspoint website and was refeered to Bookhostels.com to do the booking
When I phoned the backpackers i was informed that they are no longer in operation and cannot accommodate us (party of 4 people)!!! So there I am stranded - no accommodation but the deposit - which is NON REFUNDBLE was debited against my husband's credit card.
So who should I hold responsible and who is suppose to refund me - the booking agent or the Upendi Backpackers - they are still adverting on many websites.:::
The deposit serves as a provisional booking fee, and is restituted to you in the form of a discount of the same amount, given by the hostel on your arrival. The hostel in turns pays the booking agent for making you his customer. That's more or less how booking accommodation through the internet works.
When the chain breaks down, there sadly is no-one that you can hold accountable. Not Upendi,since they were not the ones charging the deposit, and not bookhostels.com, since they did what you paid them to do (booking your hostel); théy can't help it that Upendi is no longer in business... However note also that, in the unlikely event that you paid a substantial deposit, that is larger than what can reasonably be said to cover the agent's expenses for booking, you DO have a possibility of starting a procedure to get your money back from bookhostels.com.
The volatile hostelling market is exactly why booking agents ALL stick to this policy of non-refundable booking fees; your legal options largely depend on how they phrase their terms and conditions.
enjoy your trip,
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 29, 2006 6:16 AM by bentivogli ]
I believe in cases like this (with the many thousands of hostels listed, there's always the possibility of one or two which've recently gone out of business) they do refund the deposit. If you contact travellerspoint through the contact link at the bottom of the screen, they will look into this for you. (And make certain that Upendi is delisted, if that hasn't happened yet.)
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 29, 2006 6:10 AM by Sander ]
I think that legally she hasn't had any dealings with Upendi yet, Sander, but only with bookhostels.com... that's what makes this thing so complicated.
I know; Upendi doesn't matter - bookhostels does. I've seen a number of similar cases come by over the last year here on travellerspoint, and if I remember correctly, for most of them travellerspoint could get the booking agency to refund the deposit. (Although I think mostly they were with the other booking agency used, so no guarantee that this will happen again this time.)
Bad customer experiences are far more harmful to any party than the deposit is worth. It definitely is something travellerspoint will want to look in to, hence my advice to contact them. (And likewise bookhostels will definitely want to delist a non-existing hostel as swiftly as possible.)
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 29, 2006 7:17 AM by Sander ]
I apologise for your inconvenience! If you haven't already, as Sander suggested, you need to get in touch with us through the contact form linked to from the bottom of this page. We will take it up with bookhostels.com and should be able to ensure your deposit is refunded. They are very reasonable people. Clearly, it is in everyone's best interest that this property isn't listed on bookhostels or any of its affiliate sites from now on. It's very unfortunate you had this experience.