Local State Senator Steve Glazer recently introduced a bill that, if passed, would allow people to cancel their hotel reservations within 24 hours of the original booking and receive a full refund at no charge.
"Internet searches can provide a jungle of conflicting links, and consumers can easily fall into a quicksand of misleading pricing on lodging," Glazer (D-Orinda) said in a press release earlier this month. "Many mistakes are irreversible on some third-party reservation sites. Unfortunately, no state or federal law protects consumers under these unfair circumstances."
Senate Bill 644, which would also apply to short-term rentals and third-party booking services, states that any booking or lodging service could be penalized up to $10,000 for any violations of not providing those refunds, according to the bill's text.
"This bill would provide greater protections for consumers in case they inadvertently made a mistake while booking, or change their minds about where to stay," said Glazer, whose district includes the Tri-Valley.
If passed, these rental services would be required to refund a customer's money in full to the original payment method within 30 days of when the reservation was canceled without any penalties.
"This bill would require a hotel, third-party booking service, hosting platform, and short-term rental, as defined, to allow a reservation to be canceled without penalty if the cancellation is commenced within 24 hours of the reservation being finalized so long as the reservation is made 24 hours or more prior to the day of check-in," according to the bill text.
Glazer also proposed a second consumer protection bill the same day, Feb. 16, that would require these lodging services to provide upfront pricing that shows any and all additional fees.
That would include the total cost of the stay inclusive of all extra fees, rather than just the nightly cost. Lodging companies would also be required to display all fees, such as resort and destination fees.
"This bill would help consumers by making sure they are aware of the total cost prior to payment on the internet or before check-in at the lodging establishment," Glazer stated in the press release.
The senator co-signed the bill with 13 other state senators before introducing it on Feb. 16.
In order for the bill to be brought forward in the State Legislature, it must first go through the 31-day introductory period before a senate committee hearing can take place -- which according to the bill text will be after March 19.