http://www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/ar ... res/19767/
I booked 7 nights and paid my 10% deposit with a Visa card. You will notice it says the following on the above page:
-PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO CREDIT CARD REGULATIONS THE HOSTEL REQUIRES THE 3 DIGIT SECURITY CODE IN ORDER TO CONFIRM YOUR BOOKING. OTHERWISE YOUR BOOKING WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY CANCELLED AFTER 24HS.
I figured this just meant it was part of the deposit process. Turns out it is not, hostel bookers do not require this. After booking I got sent this message again via email. I replied and told them I would not send this information over email as they was insecure and bad practice. I had paid my deposit and would turn up. Here was the reply:
Unfortunatelly a lot of people book trought the web sites bookers, pay the 10% in advance with credit card and finally never appear. making us loose the 90% of the booking... that´s the reason to ask for the code. We wont use it if you come and stay at the hostel in the booked dates. we only need it as a guarantee in case of no shows.
So It is not possible reconfirm the booking without this requirement, everybody is doing it every day and It is not a problem for anybody yet.
So it is not at all 'CREDIT CARD REGULATIONS' (I knew that) and this sounds highly suspicious anyway. Does that mean if you do not turn up they try to pull out the full amount? Also 'everybody is doing it every day' is a comment that always makes me angry, and they fed that to me constantly over this whole dispute. There were several more emails back and forth and I refused to provide the number and insisted I would be there.
On the day I arrived they told me my booking was cancelled and the room was not available. They offered a more expensive room and I almost took it until I found out my 10% booking fee was 'lost'. I got very angry with them and made it clear that this violated Visa policy and they just did not give a damn.
The question is, how would I go about alerting Visa about this? It is not about the money so much as getting them to do something about the practice, and at least a wrist slap for the hostel in question. If I just ring up a general number they will not care, but Visa as a company will I am sure. Also, I am unsure whether I should point the finger at hostel bookers, or get them to tell off the hostel (a delisting would hurt bad, but is not likely).