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message Posted By    Posted
On-Line Travel Booking Nightmares... Anyone Else? gilgreen    6:26 PM Jul 19,2007
**    Maybe it's just us, but I'm beginning to think there's a co . . . gilgreen   6:26 PM Jul 19,2007
**        There are lots of companies that rank high in the search eng . . . 123456789   8:53 PM Jul 19,2007
**          Thank you for the information. We have a small B&B and I wa . . . Jenny   2:49 PM Jul 21,2007
**            Just remember that no one is doing this from the goodness of . . . 123456789   8:02 PM Jul 21,2007
**              Hi, I have booked a rental car with Costa Rica Link before. . . . Diamond   6:48 AM Jul 23,2007
**                To Gilgreen and Celeste, Could either or both of you plea . . . bunnyrunny   12:56 PM Jul 25,2007
**                  I'm awaiting on my son contacting me again from Jaco now to . . . gilgreen   1:37 PM Jul 25,2007
**                    I too have received complaints from forum members as you can . . . Scott   3:30 PM Jul 26,2007

message Posted By
Posted Jul 19,2007 6:26 PM gilgreen

Maybe it's just us, but I'm beginning to think there's a conspiracy in CR these days. Two years ago we centered in Manuel Antonio area and had a memorable 9-day vacation that was perfect. We really looked forward to our 2nd trip to Costa Rica, this time visiting the Guanacaste area: fly into Liberia, rent a 4wd and do 2 nights in Arenal, 5 nights in Tamarindo, and 5 nights in Ocotal.

My family of four ended up booking at the Arenal Lodge and Jardin de Eden (Tamarindo) though Nooreen at Our credit card was charged in full for all those nights over 4 weeks in advance, and we were issued separate travel vouchers
for the properties.

Imagine my surprise upon checking in at The Arenal Lodge that being told the travel agency had not paid for our room yet, and that we would be responsible to pay for it again before departure. They said they had been corresponding with International Travel for weeks and had not been able to receive full payment. Standing at the front desk, I was miraculously was able to reach Nooreen directly, who said that, in fact, her accounting manager said they had paid the lodge, blah blah blah. Here we are tired after traveling 14 hours in foreign country being told each side was lying to the other. And I had a worthless "Travel Voucher".

At check out, the hotel claims the travel agency had made partial payments, but was still $126.50 short. International Travel supposedly promised to transfer the funds that day, but I had to presign a credit card slip in case they didn't. Surprise! My Amex card now has that charge on it. Thankfully, the hotel in Tamarindo had been paid and we had no other problems. After multiple emails and telephone calls to International Travel after our return, a representative called me yesterday to begin "researching" the problem.

This week, my 21 year old son Casey went back for 2 weeks with his best friend and their girlfriends on a 2-week first-solo-vacation "surfing sabattical". They had booked 6 nights at Hotel Playa Espadila in Manuel Antonio through COSTA RICA LINK.COM. They too, had been issued a voucher/confirmation#. And again, on check in at the hotel this Tuesday they were informed that the hotel had never received any payment for the room and the reservation had been released (All rooms were now booked). Thank God he had the Tico Talk Card I had purchased though Scott's recommendation and they were able to call us. The group of tight-budget college kids who had saved all year to split this trip were obviously upset at this predicament, not to mention how helpless all the parents felt here at home. They were able to find one room for the first night, and then had to spend the next vacation day searching for somplace to spend the rest of the week. Plus, good 'ole dad had to wire in extra funds to my son's Visa bankcard acct to cover the additional hotel costs. Now, he too is scrambling contacting American Express to contest the $800 in travel charges he's out of. Ironically, after our Arenal problem, he had checked and corresponded with the Costa Rica agency and they assured him everything was taken care of.

My question remains: Is this a common occurence? I thought my first experience in Arenal was a minor mis-communication, but to have it happen again within 3 weeks seems odd. These seem very reputable travel organizations that we both went though independently, but suffered the same results. As foreign visitors, we don't know if the hotel personnel are in a little "voucher scam" here, or if we are really getting the run-around from the travel booking agencies. Who do you believe?

We travel fairly often through many Carribean countries, and have never had problems like these. We love the country and the people, and are very close to deciding on a condo investment after this trip.

In retrospect, from now on I suppose we will book directly with any hotels and insist on a valid type of confirmation of payment being received. Any other suggestions?

Signed, "Thin Wallet in St. Pete"


message Posted By
Posted Jul 19,2007 8:53 PM 123456789

There are lots of companies that rank high in the search engine rankings that are not really representing the hotel at all, but make commissions for sending bookings. Unfortunately they don't always pay the hotel for them.

As a hotel owner, I can tell you it is becoming more common each day. We have stopped allowing some of these travel organizers from booking with us because of the fight we have trying to collect.
We have to charge the guest, and let them try to collect from their agency. Many of these "agencies" are nothing more than expats making a living without residency, so you really are taking a chance some times.

Call the hotel directly to make your bookings, then you have a physical company you can argue with if you need to.

It seems sometimes that tourists are here to be taken advantage of, and it is not always the locals doing it.



message Posted By
Posted Jul 21,2007 2:49 PM Jenny

Thank you for the information. We have a small B&B and I was thinking about allowing a company to book rooms for me. The only reason I did not is because they want a chunk of money for commission. One person told me that some of these agencies aften book people when they know you have no room. That leaves you to face the upset traveler. You have helped me to make my decision not to allow anyone to make reservations for me. I will have the potential guest to contact me directly. You have saved me a lot of frustration and perhaps some money losses.


message Posted By
Posted Jul 21,2007 8:02 PM 123456789

Just remember that no one is doing this from the goodness of their hearts. There is always a payment made somewhere for the service. Sometimes booking direct gets YOU that discount!

Other times you may feel it is worth the service you receive.

Hotels allow it because it give access to a customer that may not have known about them. It is a booking they might not have anyway so a commission is justified.

The problem has come with the internet. Anyone can call themselves a travel agent and there are few people who would know differently. A good travel agent has often visited the location and has specific recommendations for a reason. Others just know which one pays the higher commission and that's where you are sent.



message Posted By
Posted Jul 23,2007 6:48 AM Diamond

Hi, I have booked a rental car with Costa Rica Link before. They are bad news, pre paid on a car rental through them, only to have the car company not receive the payment. Then you are stuck with having to pay again on the credit card. When you get
home then you have to fight with the credit card company to get your money back.
Toyota has stopped doing business with them. It is unforunate that they take up so much web space, that is how they suck you in. Buenos suerte.


message Posted By
Posted Jul 25,2007 12:56 PM bunnyrunny

To Gilgreen and Celeste,
Could either or both of you please clarify the exact name of the website you used, so it can be avoided. There are several sites that use the words "costa rica link" in their web address. It would be helpful if you could give us the exact URL so that the other reputable sites, with a similar name, are not mistaken with the one that you both encountered.

Reply     Edit

message Posted By
Posted Jul 25,2007 1:37 PM gilgreen

I'm awaiting on my son contacting me again from Jaco now to confirm exactly which one it was. He has tried calling them multiple times without any answer.

I just saw last night the difference between and The "Dash" is evidently the big difference between the good and evil sides. One site claims they act only as an paid advertising site for properties and tours, while the other actually collects money for reservations. I think my son fell into mistakingly doing business with the latter group.

I don't know any history between these two.. does anyone else?


message Posted By
Posted Jul 26,2007 3:30 PM Scott

I too have received complaints from forum members as you can see below (name withheld, but email is on file):


-----Original Message-----

From: []
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 4:07 PM
Subject: 1costarica link
From: ------ ------


Scott just wanted to check if you know anything about a website 1costaricalink -flamingolink run by someone called Jorn Malek. They have unfortunately ripped me off for approx $2000 over a hotel booking in Manuel Antonio that suudenly got changed to a lower grade hotel two days after they debited my credit card.When i objected they agreed to refund me in full on 29th January and as of today I am still waiting for the refund.They have ignored all my emails and phone calls since 3rd February and my bank has assured me ther has been no attempt to refund the money debited under false pretences.Fortunately i am protected under visa card cover but maybe you should warn your members to avoid this company like the plague. I arrive in costa Rica on 28th February and will be taking any action possible to have this website exposed.


Please read very carefully as there are two websites involved and their website names are nearly identical. One website is OK, the other has been the subject of numerous complaints.

The good website that I know and trust is
The other website with the complaints is

The only difference between the two is the "-"

It is unfortunate that most people leave out the “-“ dash when describing their problems with, as I do personally know the owner of the true site, without the dash. Forrest Geiger is the owner and he and his wife were neighbors of mine for quite some time.

Forrest Geiger is in no way associated with his ex-partner's website,, which his ex-partner started after they split.

I do know that Forrest uses reputable, licensed travel agencies to fulfill his reservation requests - he does NOT accept credit card payments and as far as I know, there are no complaints against his Forrest, his website or the travel agencies that he does business with.

In short, 1Costa is OK, and BEWARE THE DASH!

Scott Oliver - Founder


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