Qantas: Misdescribed hotel room refund

I booked a holiday
The room was significantly substandard compared to the description used to book the room features missing and etc

I contacted Qantas about this as it was through them, they said want their problem, but a couple weeks later as ‘good will gesture’ sent me cough cough the refund I asked for.

The invoice for the refund is
Booking reference number **
Tax recovery charges and service fees $35
Total Paid Today ($AUD)
Excl. GST $-23
GST $-0.0
Refund $23 AUD

This is a fraction of the price or differential of price
Is it also normal to pay a service fee and service tax when seeking a refund for inaccurate description too?


A couple of questions:

  1. Did you say in the room which you indicated was ‘substandard compared to the description used to book the room features missing and etc’ and did you raise it with the operator/reception at the time of or soon after arrival to your room?

  2. Was Qantas the booking agent/platform for the accommodation and the accommodation was run by someone else?

In relation to refunds, it is likely that local taxes will need to be removed as part of the refund. This is often done as taxes will have been paid by the accommodation provider and may not be able to to recouped by the booking agency. There can also be service charges as well - such as reasonable credit card and administrative fees, noting that some Point of Sale systems don’t refund merchant credit card charges for refunds which would also been applied to the amount when booked. Any fees and charges for refunds are likely to our outlined in terms and conditions associated with the booking.


Care to comment on why a not as advertised duds the customer for government and bank fees, not the business that might have misled?


The booking platform/agency isn’t responsible for the delivered service. The payment is as indicated a ‘good will payment’ by the booking platform/agency. This means one is subject to good will payments under the bookings platform terms and conditions where they exist. Hopefully feedback on poor service providers is used to determine whether such providers are given the opportunity to advertise their services through the booking platform into the future.

The booking platform/agency (Qantas in this case) doesn’t control content on their platform. Content is under the direct control of the service provider. This model is common across booking platforms and is usee by Qantas.

The questions asked in the earlier post is to confirm that the booking platform/agency isn’t the accommodation provider - such is very common across the hospitality industry (I am not aware that Qantas runs or operates accommodation/hotels - their website allows booking of third party accommodation providers to which they will he paid a commission). The other question was whether the deficiencies were raised with the accommodation provider on arrival as they are responsible for the standard of service provided. If there was a deficiency, it is the provider which should have provided a resolution at that time.


Did you say in the room which you indicated was ‘substandard compared to the description

The room said ocean views , instead was brick wall and noisy air con from next door
Patio but no patio
Dining space, no dinig space
Large 55" TV , 32" tv
Water fall shower , shower that trick 1 Litre per minute

I did bring it up with Hotel directly first , they were full.
and i did bring to that took the booking, listed the property room and deducted the money from my account.

The booking platform/agency isn’t responsible for the delivered service. 

Its a very strange business model, other platforms such as AirBNB eBay Amazon seem to actually deliver quite a bit around guarantees and promises when products not as described or not satisfied
but i suppose that is not compulsory they choose to do so.

1 Like

Airbnb are the same where they are not responsible for the service provided, likewise other hospitality booking websites such as, Expedia etc. They are booking platforms used by service providers to advertise their services. This is standard in the booking platform industry. They are comparable to the bricks and mortar travel agents. Traditional travel agents aren’t responsible for service providers they book their clients into, but like booking platforms, will assist when issues arise.

If one of the service providers deliberately misleads consumers on their platforms, booking platforms have the ability to suspend bookings or remove accounts - particularly if information provided is fraudulent. It is hard to know if this is the case.

Consumers also have the ability to provide genuine feedback/reviews through the booking platform to assist future brokers on the quality of service provided by the provider.

Amazon and eBay aren’t accommodation/hospitality booking platforms.

Did you ask for a resolution such as a reduced room rate or other alternative compensation since they couldn’t move you to a suite you believe you booked?

Qantas is the booking platform and not the accommodation operator. Resolution should have been firstly with the accommodation provider/hotel shortly after arrival.

Booking platforms however can assist in resolving booking issues through their platforms. If the accommodation is unwilling to resolve an issue, contact should be made immediately with the booking platform for assistance. The booking platform may cancel your booking and find alternative, comparable accommodation for you. They might also be able to negotiate a reduced room rate or other compensation from the provider on your behalf is alternatives don’t exist.

It is also worth noting getting resolution after staying and leaving a property is becoming extremely difficult as there has been some who have scammed free stays (demanding refunds) by doing such.9


The hotel said to contact Qantas


You were mentioning platforms in general
So I stated these as platforms that in general a congregation of 3rd party descriptions and sellers
The commission’s in their industry trends to feed back to assurance programs.

Unfortunately that advice may have been misleading. I have made a habit recently of taking screen shots and booking confirmation details with us when booking for extended stays.

In one recent instance (NSW) we were booked into a two bedroom self contained apartment. It was a property we had stayed at 4 years previously. On arrival the kitchen was well populated with unwanted vermin, the cooking equipment, crockery etc deficient, and other displeasing issues. We had a contactless outside of hours checkin on a Sunday evening. On complaint the next morning to the site manager, an alternate apartment was provided.

Perhaps it is how the manager sees the situation and how one communicates. It’s also possible but less likely the agent was presenting one version of the accommodation, while connecting your booking to a lesser. It’s important to take time with online web bookings. A delux offering in the opening pages can often offer up specials as one navigates around. It’s easy to click the special offer, and if not following through all details believe it is for the same as the delux/premium used on the front page. We’ve been caught out when looking for laundry or other features suitable for longer term stays.

Perhaps in your situation it would have been better to refuse the room on arrival? As difficult as that might have been at the time it may have spurred both the hotel and Qantas to deliver a more suitable outcome on the day.

We’ve had numerous fails with domestic accommodation booked in the previous 12 months. The industry has IMO failed to invest or maintain many properties. Where demand has returned it’s often premium prices for less. Unfortunate but one way the industry can claw back lost income. YMMV


It was 10pm in Fiji, not really a gamble I would like to take. Next day I did see why the place was full. A Christian Mission group of 50 teen-agers was there.

I’m more interested where the funny numbers come from.

I assume the booking agent in this case Qantas collects
Room rate advertised from customer

Qantas then separates this paid amount
Pay the accommodation provider

  • minus tax to government
  • keep their commission

I presume the obscure $23 figure is equal to the commission the booking provider earned.

Tax portion they cannot reclaim from government $35

And yes no oversight on my side the description was not accurate, no confused redirect mistakes. screenshots and statements were forwarded the next day room descriptions were updated to correctly present to customers.


That is correct and then Qantas takes a commission from this payment.

With prepayments, it is standard practice for the booking platform to hold onto payment from consumers until after checkout. This is so that any changes to room rates or total booking amounts can be made to finalise accounts (and commissions).

As I indicated above, the accommodation can change the room rate if a different room is provided to a guest to that booked. The accommodation does this with the booking platform and if a prepayment is made, the booking platform refunds the difference to the guest after checkout.

A booking platform doesn’t have the ability to change the room rates (or sold room rates) without the approval of the accommodation. Approval can be sought for a change in room rate from the booking platform if the hotel is unwilling to offer an acceptable resolution and one contacts the booking platform. This is done by the booking platform liaises with the accommodation, determining whether the issue requires addressing and needing resolution and then agreement on the resolution (which might be to cancel to accommodation and rebook elsewhere are the expense of the original accommodation provider, reduce room rates or other methods of compensation such as a room credit to be used within the accommodation facility for other services). Cancelling a booking is a ‘big stick’ to get a accommodation provider to accept a resolution as cost of replacement accommodation may be substantially more than that originally booked.

It is poor practice to not provide a suite/accommodation as advertised either in the description and/or photographs. It is also poor practice for an accommodation provider not to advise a guest immediately on booking if a change to a room is necessary for unforeseen reasons. I would be using such in a basis for a review for the property so that other potential guests are warned of the provider.


While I indicated that it can occur, and since we know know that your accommodation was in Fiji (I assumed that it was in Australia), it appears that your refund which was offered was in Fiji dollars. The AUD23 would be the conversion from FJ$35 based on current exchange rates.


i don’t think it is FJ conversion
“(Tax recovery charges) and (service fees) $35”
the itemised description implies the refund was AU$58
but Qantas charged a $35 fee deduction from the refund amount

As you have implied there is no expectation for any refund at all,
just intrigued why they bothered to mention or charge a tax recovery fee if it really is a thing

A number of years ago I booked a room through NRMA at a Gold Coast resort which proved to be way below what was advertised. When I complained to the resort, they sent me a voucher for a bottle of champagne to be used on my next visit. What a cop-out; as if I was going back. Unfortunately I was much less consumer-canny in those days and didn’t take it further. It still rankles.