Last week, the Oregon Department of Justice warned tourists chasing August's total solar eclipse: Double-check those hotel bookings.
The Justice Department has received an unusually high number of complaints alleging that hotels in the celestial path have revoked reservations and rebooked rooms for as much as five times the rate originally offered.
The Aug. 21 eclipse—which is best viewed along a path through the center of the state—is a windfall for Oregon hotels and campgrounds, which are charging as much as $7500 for tent spaces. But customers allege some hotels that initially offered low prices changed their minds as demand went up.
Twelve hotels racked up a total of 29 complaints. WW obtained copies of the complaints via a public records request.
Several hotels allegedly told guests there had a been a "computer glitch" and the hotel bookings had been made by mistake. Others simply denied a reservation had ever been entered into their system. Many hotels then told customers they could rebook the rooms for as much as $1,000 a night.
Here's where people say they were scammed.
America's Best Inn and Suites
Sample complaint: "I think the motel's actions should be illegal and that they should be held accountable for this. I understand making a profit when you are aware of the situation and make the appropriate plans ahead of time, but not screwing over people that properly book a room."
Hotel's response: America's Best Inn and Suites says it hired a lawyer to rebook the rooms at the originally promised rates.
Sample complaint: "Apparently 'guaranteed' doesn't mean what I thought. Either these people are incompetent or maybe they decided they could rebook these rooms at a higher rate for the eclipse. All in all I feel this hotel screwed me over."
Hotel's response: A Liberty Inn employee who answered the phone said the hotel had "no response" to the complaints. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, and hung up.
Palace Inn and Suites
Sample complaint: "They blamed a 'computer glitch' and only gave us one of our rooms back, which now has 4 people needing the one room. We did everything we were supposed to do and they ruined our plans that we made 11 months in advance and never even told us of the cancellation."
Hotel's response: Did not respond.
Sailor Jack's Oceanfront Inn
Super 8 Motel
Sample complaint: "Solar eclipse motel scam victim. When I protested, he told me that they had a computer glitch on the day I made my reservation, and the motel was actually full for the day I wanted."
Hotel's response: Ankur Prashar, a manager at the Super 8 Motel in Baker City, said the rooms were erroneously booked while the motel was changing its computer system. He added that Super 8 allowed some of the affected customers to rebook the rooms directly through the motel.