Hotel Overbooking, Serious Enough for a Class Action Lawsuit?
Ever experienced this: You go to the web or call a hotel to book a hotel room for a scheduled trip, vacation or business, use your credit card to guarantee your reservation, but arrive to find that you have no room because the hotel “overbooked”? Apparently this happens quite often. In fact, it happens so often that a Dallas civil trial attorney is considering launching a class action lawsuit.
Is this serious or just another example of an eager trial attorney looking for an opportunity to make a name for himself. According to a New York Times article, Dallas trial attorney, Allen Stewart, says he is fed up with hotels that overbook then turn people away who have guaranteed reservations. Although, each individual case involves relatively small amounts of money involved. it adds up to a lot of money when combined.
Reservations Secured by Credit Card are Enforceable Contracts?
Stewart argues, correctly that that when a reservation is made and secured by a credit card, an enforceable contract is created between the hotel and the guest. In fact, if you don’t cancel the reservation within the required time (term of the contract) the room will be charged to the credit card. If the hotel can enforce the contract, shouldn’t the guest be able to enforce the contract as well?
But, is this such a concern that a class action lawsuit ought to be filed? According to Stewart, hotels need to acknowledge that guaranteed reservations are contracts, just as airlines do when they overbook flights. “To me as a business traveler, the frustration of being turned away from a hotel is significant,” he said. “When you get to your hotel on a business trip, mentally, you are home in a way. Except when you get to an overbooked hotel, you are not home. You’re back on the road.”
For now, Mr. Stewart is still investigating and collecting stories.
Consult a Lawyer About Your Legal Rights
If you have experienced an issue that you believe breaches an agreement or a contract speak to a lawyer. You may have legal rights that can be enforced or a right to collect damages. Unfortunately, however, often times the damage is a relatively small amount, even less than it would cost to file a lawsuit. But, don’t make that decision before you speak to an experienced civil attorney.