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Hotel booking site stops trading – what you need to know

The hotel booking website has stopped trading – if you've booked a trip or you're on holiday at the moment, here's what you need to know.

Amoma's website is warning that bookings are now likely to be cancelled by hotels. It's telling customers who have booked rooms via its site to contact their hotel to check if their reservation will be honoured.

At the moment it's unclear how many customers are affected, but see below for what to do if:

'I haven't been able to sleep – we've lost £900'

A number of MoneySavers have posted in our forum after receiving emails from Amoma to say it had stopped trading.

One said: "I haven't been able to sleep since!

"We've lost over £900 on our hotel booking in Thailand... I've contacted the hotel but they haven't replied."

Another added: "Had booked JW Marriott in Dubai for next month. Called them directly and they said booking is valid and I don't have to pay. I wonder if it stays this way."

Another replied: "I have a booking for a hotel in London on Friday evening. I have just spoken to hotel and they confirmed that they have the booking, but were unable to confirm whether it had been paid for. They suggested that I call back 48 hours before date of stay."

Guy Anker

'These are turbulent times for travellers'

Guy Anker, deputy editor, said: "If you had an Amoma booking, first check with the hotel whether your booking still stands, though sadly it seems most will be cancelled.

"If your booking is cancelled, check if you can claim from your card company or travel insurer, though as the news has only just broken, it's not yet clear if that will work for everyone as it's not always clear cut when hotel booking sites fail.

"That said, paying by credit card and having good travel insurance in place as soon as you book often works to protect you when your travel plans are cancelled by an airline, hotel or travel agent. It can provide vital cover in what are turbulent times for travellers amid a spate of company failures, strikes and other recent disruption."

I'm already away – can I continue my holiday?

If you booked your hotel through Amoma and you're already staying there, it's worth speaking to the hotel to check your booking has been paid for in full.

Hopefully it has been and you should be able to continue your holiday as planned.

If not, and you're asked to pay for your hotel again, keep hold of all evidence including receipts. You can then try and claim via your card provider or travel insurer. See below for more details.

I've got a future Amoma booking – what can I do?

First of all, check with the hotel to see if it's honouring your reservation and that it has been paid for in full. If so, you shouldn't need to do anything – your stay should be able to go ahead as planned.

If your hotel won't honour your booking, presumably because it hasn't received payment from Amoma, there are a number of options you can try:

  • Paid on a credit card and the item cost more than £100? Try Section 75. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you pay on your credit card for an individual item costing more than £100, the card company's equally liable if something goes wrong, eg, you've paid for a service that isn't provided.

    Technically for Section 75 to work, there must be a direct link between the debtor (that's you, the customer), the creditor (the credit card company) and the supplier (the retailer selling you the goods or service). If that relationship is deemed to be broken by the involvement of an intermediary or third party, Section 75 protection won't apply.

    So there's a risk it won't work if your contract was with Amoma (which we're currently trying to confirm), but it's the hotel that's not been paid to supply the service and has therefore cancelled your stay. In reality, it's still worth putting in a claim and seeing if your bank will accept it, as most banks deal with each claim on a case-by-case basis. See our Section 75 guide for more information.

    Alternatively, you could try to claim via chargeback or via your travel insurer.

  • Paid less than £100 on a credit card or paid on a debit card? Try chargeback. Unlike Section 75, the chargeback scheme isn't a legal requirement, it's just a customer service promise.

    But it's worth trying and when other firms have collapsed previously, we've seen successful claims from people using this, particularly as there doesn't need to be the direct link between the product paid for and the debt, as with Section 75.

    You may be covered by the Visa, Mastercard or American Express protection schemes. See our Chargeback guide for details of how to claim.

  • If you booked travel insurance, contact your insurer to check if your policy covers scenarios such as this, though it's likely to vary by insurance and level of cover.

    LV, for example, told us customers would be covered if they had its Premier insurance policy.

Can I claim for car hire, activities etc?

Some travellers who booked accommodation with Amoma may also have already paid separately for other elements of their trips, such as car hire or tickets to attractions.

If you need to change your plans as a result of Amoma stopping trading, first get in touch with the supplier of the service and see if you can change your booking or get a refund – even if it's officially not allowed, it's worth explaining the situation and seeing if the firm will make an exception.

If you don't have any luck, you may be able to make a claim through Section 75 if you paid for your Amoma hotel booking holiday using a credit card and it cost more than £100.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means the card company's equally liable, so you may be able to claim your money back from it instead – though it's not guaranteed. Section 75 also offers protection for 'consequential loss', so you may be able to get cash back for extra money you've lost as a result of Amoma stopping trading. See above for more details.

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