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Most absurd pricing error I have ever seen – what are the rights?

  • dan_a_man

    So yesterday I booked the craziest deal I had ever seen. Through a luxury travel agent I booked a 3 Bedroom 1710 sqm Villa at Bulgari Resort Bali. I was shocked when I saw the price for the 3 weeks is 44 euros. Can’t be right, can it? Anyway, just booked it and thought I’ll think about it after. 44 Euros as a pre-paid rate isnt bad and if thats gone, I can swallow the loss for an incredible opportunity. Daily rate was shown as something like 2.09 Euros.

    Booked the Virtuoso rate and was curious what’s gonna pop up in my Marriott app. Was it just a Travel Agent error or will it also show up in the app? A minute later the Marriott app updated to reflect the reservation and indeed the price for “total stay” was showing as “-677,296 IDR”, so looks like they are going to pay me £37.54? Sweet. Weirdly the daily rate was now showing as 169,000,000 IDR. Roughly £9,300… a night. Immediately talked to the travel agent to confirm the rate who said clearly there is a mistake somewhere. That 3 week holiday market price? £238,102.75. This is as absurd a pricing error as I had ever seen and the travel agent suggested that if I don’t cancel, the hotel may actually demand regular rate. I don’t have that kinda money lying around for a 3 week holiday, so was rather quick to cancel.

    Long story short, now the question is:
    – What are an individuals rights in a situation, maybe not quite this extreme, but where a price looks great and the hotel argues it was an error?
    – Who is responsible for the mispricing and whose obligation is it to cover the discrepancy?
    – Has anyone ever been denied entry/Hotel refused to accept a rate?


    It would depend on many things including jurisdiction, but obvious mistake would a legitimate reason for voiding a contract in England.

    Nigel Keya

    You simply don’t get silly pricing errors like 5p a night, honoured. I’ve had silly-ish pricing errors honoured in terms of computer kit etc, but it was more like £30 when I should have paid £300. They typically only honour a few people and refund all the others.


    I have a suspicion as to what has happened here. Given the cost of the hotel in local currency is reasonably high, as soon as you had a sufficiently high number of nights, the total cost of the hotel overflowed a 32 bit integer. Some part of the site clearly couldn’t cope with the large numbers caused by a high daily rate in a currency like Rupiah.

    Unfortunately I think in this case you’ll get no recourse as it was just a “presentation” bug rather than an invalid rate. The hotel clearly knew the actual rate was 169000000 per night and since Marriott processes all payments at the hotel I would anticipate the hotel would be able to process such a high rate which marriotts it couldn’t.

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