U.S. Park Lodging / usparklodging.com / Deceptive Trade Practices
Wanting to plan a vacation at Yellowstone National Park, I did a search on Google for "Yellowstone". The first site listed was www.USParkLodging.com/Yellowstone. I visited the website and found a lodge that I was interested in, so I called the phone number on the website.<br />
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 />
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 />
After several different phone calls in attempts to get a manager, I finally took the matter up with my credit card company. The website www.usparklodging.com 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, usparklodging.com 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 />
The official websites that consumers should use are www.nps.gov (the official National Park Service) and www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com (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.