Fraudulent Craigslist Ad Asks $300 for Hotel Room "Reservation Only"
The advertisement on Craigslist wasted no time getting to the hype: “Be A Part of History!”
It went on: “Be there to witness a moment in history that you won’t soon forget. You’ll be able to tell your children or grandchildren that you were there. America has waited so long for this moment. Witness the inauguration of our first African-American President, Barack Obama.”
So what was the product for sale? A hotel room at Hilton in Gaithersburg, Md., available for a four-night stay for $270.07 per night, totaling $1,080.28.
“What a steal!” the ad said. There were pictures of the hotel, along with a description of the hotel’s amenities taken right from the Hilton Web site.
Amid the mad scramble for housing for inaugural week Jan. 20, this might have seemed like a good deal. After all, most rooms in the District are booked and average hotels were going for up to $1,000 a night, according to booking agents.
But a closer look at the advertisement revealed that the Craigslist poster wasn’t offering the room. It was asking $300 for a “reservation only.”
“This does not include your hotel cost,” the ad noted.
So $300 was just for the right to have a reservation? Is this for real?
Inauguration Watch contacted Hilton General Manager Ed Brogan, who was stunned to learn about the ad. It was absolutely not the hotel’s doing, he said.
“My take on this is this is somebody’s way to collect $300 to try to make a reservation for them. That is crazy,” Brogan said. “This must be the latest greatest” scam.
Brogan said he has almost sold out his 301 rooms for about $300 to $500 per night, depending on the size of the room. In a normal January, the rate would be about $209 to $259, he said.
Brogan sent a message to Craigslist, flagging the ad for removal, and it was removed today.
But Inauguration Watch copied the text of the ad:
Barack Obama Inauguration Hotel Room Reservation Only! Jan.19-23, 2009 - $300 (Gaithersburg, Maryland) Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [?]Date: 2008-11-24, 2:22PM EST Be A Part Of History! Be there to witness a moment in history that you won’t soon forget. You’ll be able to tell your children or grandchildren that you were there. America has waited so long for this moment. Witness the inauguration of our first African-American President, Barack Obama.I have one non-smoking Standard room with King Size Bed (RESERVATION ONLY), available for a four-night stay for $270.07 per night (tax included) totaling $1080.28 for all four nights (tax included). What a steal! In DC, hotel rooms are going for $1000+ per night. At this price you can make it a family affair. The Hilton has a free shuttle that will take you straight to the Metro so you don’t have to drive. The shuttle will also be available on Inauguration Day. Check-in time is 3:00pm and Check-out time is 12:00pm. If you’re not able to make it, you have until 4:00pm on January 19th (date of arrival) to cancel.TAKE NOTE 1. No refunds will be given 2. Once payment is received (through PayPal), we will do a conference call with the hotel and the reservation will be transferred into your name. You will also need to give the hotel your credit card number so that they have it on file to hold the room and cover any possible incidentals 3. The $300.00 charge is for the RESERVATION ONLY! This does not include your hotel cost
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