Make overbooking illegal

Make overbooking illegal

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Alex Kwok started this petition to Federal Trade Commission

Overbooking is the practice of accepting more reservations than there is room for. Businesses in the travel industry (hotels, airlines, rental cars) have been overbooking to the detriment of consumers for decades, without recourse, and there needs to be a change. The ONLY reason that overbooking exists, is so that greedy corporations can maximize their profits at the expense of their customers. 

We believe that traveling should be better. We believe that if a person is billed and their money is collected for a flight/room/car at a specified price for a specified date and time, that they should not have to fight for the right to that flight/room/car when that specified date and time come. There is no just cause for overbooking. It is unethical, unfair, and unacceptable. In any other industry the act of overbooking would be seen as a deceptive trade practice, and yet the travel industry (the one that received over $25 billion in government bailout) gets a free pass in order to bolster their balance sheets. 

Perhaps you've been fortunate enough that overbooking hasn't affected you. Perhaps it did affect you, but the hotel/airline/company refunded and compensated you to your satisfaction in that instance. Well prior to this weekend, I was you - and I'm ashamed to admit that I also overlooked the unethicality of the industry because I was relatively unaffected. This weekend, my family was one of many other families who had paid for a hotel room months in advance, only to be turned away upon check in time. No phone call, no email, no prior notice, but most importantly, no consequences. The hotel had overbooked. "Don't worry, we'll issue you a full refund.” With our "full refund" of $260 my wife, my 18 month old daughter, and I were left to find last minute shelter on a busy Memorial Day Weekend. We called 10 different hotels in the area, and all but one were completely booked. "You're in luck! We have 1 room available. Let me talk to the manager to see what I can do for you.” After 15 minutes the concierge comes back and says "so we'll be able to rent out our last remaining room to you; however, due to the circumstances and the busy holiday weekend, it's going to cost $750 per night" (this same room is < $225 any other weekend).

Price gouging is when a seller significantly and excessively raises the pricing of their products or services usually caused by an increase in demand or a supply shock. It's exploitative, it's unethical, it's predatory...and completely within the rights of the hotel to charge what they believe is fair given the circumstances. The system of overbooking allows for corporations to take advantage of the general public, and so they do! All of their competitors are doing it, so why not them? While immoral and despicable, we can't blame the players in the system, we have to change the game. Help us to make the overbooking of hotels, flights, and car rentals illegal. We deserve to travel with peace of mind. 

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