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U.S. Park Lodging / / Deceptive Trade Practices

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:

Wanting to plan a vacation at Yellowstone National Park, I did a search on Google for "Yellowstone". The first site listed was I visited the website and found a lodge that I was interested in, so I called the phone number on the website.<br />
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I asked for the Old Faithful Inn, and I was told that it was sold out. The clerk offered to reserve me lodging at another facility. I asked if there was any other source that I could check for rooms in the park as I had my heart set on staying at the Old Faithful Inn. The clerk assured me that the phone number I had called was the only way to make the reservation.<br />
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I ended up accepting a reservation for a different property which was described as being in west yellowstone. Having never visited the park, I assumed that this meant the western part of Yellowstone. As it turned out, the hotel was located outside the park in a town called West Yellowstone, Montana. Even a bigger surprise to me was the extra charge that appeared on my credit card statement. When I called back to discuss the charge and the fact that the hotel was not inside the park, I couldn't get anywhere with the clerk. She argued that they told me all about the hotel's location and the fee which was supposedly a non-refundable 10% reservation fee. I asked to cancel my reservation, and the response was "that's fine, but you still don't get your money back". When I asked to speak with a manager, I was simply told that no manager was available to assist me. I cancelled the reservation anyway.<br />
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After several different phone calls in attempts to get a manager, I finally took the matter up with my credit card company. The website clearly attempts to mislead consumers by representing itself in a manner that suggests it's an official site. The fact that the website address includes "U.S." in it is further support of this fact. After being scammed, I carefully reviewed the site. While the site does have terms, they are buried and in small font. When I clicked the link on Google, it took me directly to a Yellowstone page on the site where there were no terms disclosed to warn me of the fee or the fact that this company was merely a middle man reservation service charging to do something that I could just as easily do myself. In my opinion, is a fraudulant website that seeks to take advantage of the average consumer. My advice is to avoid the website completely. Don't allow yourself to be scammed by this unscrupulous website.<br />
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The official websites that consumers should use are (the official National Park Service) and (Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the official lodging concessioner inside Yellowstone). I learned my lesson the hard way, and I hope that by posting this complaint that I can help others avoid making the same mistake.

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  • Co
      13th of Mar, 2011
    +3 Votes

    I had a similar experience as Cindy. I wish I would have found her review before booking with this company. They put a non-refundable 10% fee into their fine print, and they booked me for nights at yellowstone which I didn't even want. When I tried to cancel them, they refused to refund my money. The customer service people were very rude and unwilling to help me. Do not book through them! They will rip you off!

  • So
      11th of May, 2013
    0 Votes

    This company web site is very deceptive. Can we ask our credit card company not to pay the non-refundable 10% charge?

  • Ns
      23rd of Aug, 2013
    +1 Votes

    I too found the website deceiving and wish I had done more research. I checked various options for lodging and received a confirmation without even knowing what I had booked. I assumed there would be some options and prices to choose from. this is a terrible web site and people need to know.

  • Kk
      3rd of Jan, 2014
    +1 Votes

    This is the worst experience I have ever had booking a reservation. The terms are misleading and unclear. I also thought it was the official National Park site. When the charges appeared on my card, I called to inquire, and the representative was extremely rude and would not try to accomodate me in anyway. She actually seemed to enjoy my dissatisfaction and confusion. She indicated it was my fault that I didn't understand the terms. I wish I would have researched the website before proceeding with any reservations through US Park word...SCAM!!!

  • Tr
      15th of Nov, 2014
    +1 Votes

    Both AND are one in the same entity; do not be confused, it was deliberately set up this way, as was the way both sites look. It was intended to look this way to "trick/mislead" consumers . The sites may look different, but they both operate the same way and are owned by the same "people". DO NOT USE EITHER FOR BOOKING YOUR RESERVATIONS within out National Parks. Save yourself the money, time, hassle and heartache by going to the Official Government Websites instead (NPS.GOV and Recreation.GOV).

  • Pa
      15th of Mar, 2015
    +3 Votes

    I was ripped off by this company, same way!

  • Jl
      25th of May, 2015
    0 Votes

    Similar experience - we booked Old Faithful Inn via this company. Due to a power outage Old Faithful had to cancel our reservation. We didn't find out until we got there having done loads of miles and arriving late. Old Faithful refunded our payment in full and acted in an excellent manner. US Park Lodging refund to cancel our 10% fee despite the fact that it was the hotel that cancelled our reservation not us! In addition, they advised us of the route to take not checking first on opening date for certain roads in the park. If they want to promote themselves as 'US NP specialists' they should have the information correct! Replies to my emails have been borderline rude. i totally agree with other comments on this site - DON'T USE THEM.

  • Ja
      25th of Jul, 2015
    0 Votes

    I had a similar experience. Why pay a 10% fee when you can do it for free with using the official park lodging portal? NPS should not do business with these folks. I honestly thought I was dealing with the Park Service provider. Shame on Google for putting this site at the top of their search list.

  • Jo
      14th of Aug, 2015
    0 Votes

    it's basically a scam. they have another website called "national park reservations" and do the same type of scam. please file complaints to BBB and your state's attorney general for consumer affairs.

  • Da
      9th of Jan, 2016
    +1 Votes

    I agree with all previous reviews that this company is a scam. They do not provide any "service" above and beyond what you would get if you had simply called the Yellowstone Park reservations number yourself, within WY, which charges zero to reserve rooms. I reserved 2 cabins in Yellowstone for 3 nights and immediately found out through the real National park service, who I happened to call afterwards, what I'd done. The online invoice I received from US Park Lodging was very deceptive, as it only lists the actual first night cost of the room and nowhere mentions the $107 fee I was charged for the "service" of reserving those rooms. I immediately called the call center for US park Lodging back and kindly asked for a full refund, knowing that there are federal consumer protection laws in place and that I know I should be able to get one within the first 24 hrs after a purchase. I was told that the supervisor, Dawn, would not be in the office until Monday, and that the decision would be up to her. I definitely plan on complaining to the Better Business Bureau if I do not get my $107 refunded.

  • Ri
      27th of Mar, 2017
    0 Votes

    U.S. Park Lodging is still at it. It's a booking site for National Parks, but not sponsored, nor condoned by them. All I can say is "beware the 10% cancellation fee." When we were looking for lodging we had to give three choices of where we wanted to stay and it wasn't even clear we could get a room. We decided to book elsewhere and then got hit with their fee, which they do mention both on their phone message and in fine print on their website. Nonetheless, they have a good little sideline going with this refund thing. The customer service rep "Jade" told me they've been in business for "twelve years" and I replied, "Well this little fee has certainly helped keep you in business!" I say: just call the hotel and cut out the middle man--it smells of "scam."

  • Ka
      1st of Aug, 2017
    0 Votes

    @Ricky Ricardo Montalban Very confused by all these comments just went to both of their websites its if VERY clear they are a travel agency/booking company and not the official park concessionaire (just so everyone knows there is not just one BTW) They also clearly disclose their 10% non-refundable booking fee. So just read and not blame others for your lack of reading things prior to entering your credit card.

  • Mi
      30th of Apr, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Kanniq You don't typically reread reservations contracts that say you get a full refund if you cancel within 30 days. Who looks for a service fee when you are being tricked into using a service you didn't even request. They make it look like it's a helpful suggestion from local lodging.

  • Rw
      25th of Sep, 2017
    0 Votes

    I wanted to reserve a room at the Zion Lodge and when I went to the US Park Lodging website I was told the lodge was full and was directed to the Ponderosa Ranch. It did not say that the ranch was outside the park so I made a reservation. In the process, there was no mention of the cancellation policy and it was several days later that I read the find print in the confirmation that told me that the Ponderosa was outside of the park and that there was a cancellation fee of 50% if I cancelled within 30 days of my reservation date. So I am charged $150. for a cancellation. US Park lodging website is misleading at best and false advertising in my opinion.

    Robert Ruth

  • Mi
      30th of Apr, 2018
    0 Votes

    COMPLETELY AGREE with ALL the above comments. VERY misleading...reading the small print. They charge you 10 percent of total billing rather you cancel or not. I booked at Old Faithful Inn. I received an email saying it was booked but there where other options near by. Because it's called US Parks I thought it was a service they were providing. Once you use their recommendations you are locked into paying them 10% of the total booking. EXTREMELY misleading, and very frustrating. I cancelled 60 days out...doesn't matter. It's the "SERVICE FEE", provided by a third party that I wasn't even aware I was using.

  • J7
      13th of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    I also booked through this company. I was supposedly informed that they were an independent agent. I was not informed that they are a TRAVEL AGENCY. The confusion and deception comes from being also told that there is no actual National Parks department that handles these reservations. Xanterra, as I am understanding, is affiliated with NPS; however, they are not part of the park, if that makes sense. So the whole thing is confusing. At no point was I informed I was working with an actual travel agency. I later spoke to Marcy (agent #6319) to try to review and adjust reservations. I also discussed that I was unaware that I was dealing with a travel agency. At that point she became extremely defensive. She interrupted me multiple times and was otherwise quite rude. She stated that she would send me a copy of the phone call where I was supposedly informed that they were a travel agent so that I could review it. She never returned to the call. And I never received that email. The lack of professionalism in this company is shocking.

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