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Friday, February 23rd
Agoda, a travel-booking platform operating for 20 years, is part of the Booking Holdings family, which includes other brands like Kayak, RentalCars, and Priceline. While Agoda claims to provide deals to millions of travelers worldwide, its track record is far from stellar.
Agoda has faced legal action and criticism for listing illegal and unregistered hotels, engaging in alleged unfair competition, imposing hidden charges, and delivering poor customer service. The company has made efforts to rectify its practices, but the past transgressions raise red flags about its reliability. However, Agoda boasts an impressive selection of properties, with 3.6 million options available worldwide across 200+ countries and territories.
Best price guarantee and price freeze
Agoda provides a Best Price Guarantee for hotel room reservations. If a lower rate for the same room and dates is available and bookable on another website, Agoda will match that rate or credit the difference in AgodaCash to the customer's account. Agoda also offers a "Price Freeze" feature where customers can pay a small deposit to lock in a room price. If the price goes up, they pay the frozen price, but if the price goes down, they pay the new, lower price.
Mostly up-front booking fees
Agoda does not list their range of booking fees anywhere, but for a 3-night listing in a Portland hotel, a 1.5%, 6%, and 3% fee were all labeled as "tax" without any explanation. These fees can add up quickly on purchases of hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, these separate fees still only added up to 10.5%, which is better than some other services we have reviewed. We appreciate that we did not have to search for the amount being added as tax as it was displayed on the checkout screen.
Too much stress
Agoda's website layout and functionality is comparable to reputable travel sites. Users can easily search for properties by entering their destination and dates, and apply filters for deals, discounts, property type, distance to the city center, and amenities. However, the use of flashing red buttons and labels on listings urging immediate action gives the website a scammy feel and creates unnecessary pressure on users. The level of stress we felt while trying to make a booking was akin to entering a casino.
Labels such as "JUST MISSED IT!" were even present on listings for a booking that was a year in advance. It would be better if the website simply did not show listings that are no longer available, instead of making users feel like they need to book right away and having to dig through unavailable listings for the ones that are available. Additionally, technical glitches such as non-functional buttons and disappearing sidebar elements were frustrating and inconvenient.
Customer reviews: disillusionment and financial loss
Dissatisfied customers have voiced their frustrations with Agoda's service. One reviewer recounts a nightmarish experience where their hotel had no record of their booking, and Agoda's customer service failed to resolve the issue effectively. The reviewer did not receive a refund and lost $2,100 despite being promised one. In another instance, Agoda originally showed a vacation rental booking as refundable, but changed it to non-refundable during the booking process. When the customer tried to adjust the booking by one day, Agoda falsely claimed that the hotel would not allow it. The hotel confirmed they were happy to adjust the reservation but Agoda lied again and said the adjustment was unavailable. Instances of misleading information and unresponsive customer support highlight the service's shortcomings, leaving customers disillusioned with Agoda and out potentially thousands of dollars.
Inconsistent charging methods and potential disputes
In certain bookings, the platform shares customers' credit card information directly with hotels or properties. This means that the property will charge you directly, rather than through Agoda. In other cases, you will be charged by Agoda. You can determine which option applies to your booking on the checkout page. This could lead to inconsistent experiences between bookings, especially if there are any charge disputes that you need to resolve. Remember that customer review where the hotel said they had never received a booking from Agoda, but Agoda still took the customer's money?
Convoluted return policies
Agoda's refund and cancellation policies vary depending on the type of booking. For vacation rentals, customers may face penalty charges if they shorten their stay during the high season or fail to cancel before the specified due date. Refunds for cancellations made before the due date are usually processed within 10 days, while refunds for late cancellations or changes in reservations may take longer and incur penalty charges. Agoda's return policy seems convoluted and potentially inconvenient for customers, especially if they encounter unforeseen circumstances or need to modify their plans.
Better Business Bureau: alarming "F" rating
Agoda's reputation takes a significant blow with its "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. This rating, the lowest possible, raises serious concerns about the company's business practices, customer satisfaction, and ethical conduct.
Seek more reliable alternatives
Agoda's vast property selection and user-friendly website may initially seem appealing, but deeper examination reveals a multitude of issues. From legal controversies and poor customer service to misleading pricing tactics and unclear return policies, Agoda fails to inspire confidence. We caution potential customers and advise you to explore alternative travel-booking platforms that offer more reliable service and prioritize customer satisfaction.
Are you tired of the same old hotel experience when you go on vacation? Do you crave something more unique and personalized, where you can truly feel at home even when you're away? If so, then vacation rentals might just be the perfect solution for you.
If you've ever stayed in a vacation rental property, you already know their charm and allure. Unlike traditional hotels, vacation rentals offer a level of comfort, privacy, and flexibility that is hard to match. These properties are often privately-owned homes or apartments that are rented out to travelers on a short-term basis.
Vacation home rentals come fully furnished and equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, from kitchen cupboards full of cookware, to cozy living areas and comfortable bedrooms. It's like having a home away from home, complete with personal touches that reflect the unique style and taste of the owner.
One of the best things about vacation rentals is the sheer variety of options available. Whether you're planning a family reunion, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, you can find a vacation rental that fits your needs perfectly. Want to relax by the beach? There are countless beachfront properties waiting for you. Prefer a secluded cabin in the woods? You'll find plenty of those too. From urban lofts to countryside villas, there's something for everyone.
Unlike traditional hotels that are typically owned by large hotel chains or corporations, vacation rentals are often owned by individuals who use them as second homes or investment properties. These owners may be local residents or people from different parts of the world. Some vacation rentals are also owned by small property management companies or vacation rental agencies that handle the day-to-day operations on behalf of the owners. These agencies may handle tasks such as marketing, guest communication, and property maintenance.
How do you go about choosing the right vacation rental? That's where vacation rental websites come in. These platforms connect travelers with property owners, making it easy to browse and book the perfect vacation rental for your needs. Not all vacation rental websites are created equal, though. It doesn't matter how many properties they have if they don't offer good customer service or aren't responsive when you need assistance.
Here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice:
Ready for a vacay? To make it a breeze to find the perfect stay, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the best vacation rental websites currently on the market. We hope this information helps you find the perfect home-away-from home accommodations for your next trip, no matter where you want to go.
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