Planning your first big trip? Advice and humor to get you through the process.
Jessica from Travelodge.com won't take "no" for an answer.
Tricky Tactics at Travelodge.com
Booking a room online turns into a creepy, time-consuming encounter. Did my credit card number and online identity just get lifted?
The other day, I went to Travelodge.com to book a room online. The process went smoothly until I went to check out. I entered my credit card number and a confirmation appeared. Then a mysterious chat window popped up in the middle of my screen and text started to appear.
"Hi Randy, I'm Jessica "
I wondered to myself: Who is Jessica? Now that I've booked a hotel room, is she going to ask if I need a date to go with it? Oh, great, now some phishing floozy has my credit card information.
She continued: "and just for visiting Travelodge today, we'd like to give you an opportunity to get $20 off your Travelodge reservation."
And all I have to do is sit through a three-hour presentation about their new timeshare condos in Las Vegas. I'm sure my investment will earn 1000 percent a month, guaranteed.
"Please type HI or Hello," she continued.
The lure of $20 off sounded appealing. But I didn't want to touch my keyboard because I didn't want to catch anything from her.
"Just type HI," she repeated.
I typed "Hi."
Yes, I'm an idiot, but I felt blackmailed -- she already had my credit card number, my address, and my phone number -- my online identify had just been swiped, I was angry but intrigued.
Next, she described an offer from Travelodge Travelers Advantage. Apparently, by typing "Hi," I had enrolled. Or maybe not -- I couldn't tell because she'd overwhelmed me with a flurry of trial periods, time frames, and prices. Buried in her ravings, something caught my eye.
"…Unless you call to cancel during the 30-day trial period, your benefits will automatically continue at the low $11.00 monthly membership fee … and will be automatically billed monthly to the credit card account you just provided..."
Now, I was furious. I declined, but she didn't take the hint and rattled on. Then I spelled it out once again.
I typed: "I just declined, do not sign me up. I am reporting you to [the] attorney general."
I called the hotel where I booked a room. They didn't know anything about Jessica and referred me to an 800 number. I called the 800 hundred and I was told to call "customer care." Before I hung up the agent tried to sell me a three-day vacation deal. This company seems to hire a lot a pushy people.
I called customer care and told an agent that I wanted to talk to a supervisor. He put me on hold for about six minutes. Then he said his supervisor is going to contact Travelers Advantage to make sure I don't get charged for something I never signed up for.
Then I asked for a credit towards the price of my room because I'd just spend almost half an hour trying to find out who Jessica is and what she was going to do with my credit card number.
I was supposed to hear back in 24 hours. It's now been nine days and counting.
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