Claudia and Bernd Steiner wanted to go to Paris during the Summer Olympics. They had booked a hotel in good time in October 2023 for a mere 60 euros per night. But a few days ago the hotel canceled the booking. And now charges almost three times as much. But is that even allowed? FOCUS online provides answers.

The retired couple from Munich wanted to experience the German athletes up close during the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The couple has been watching the Summer Olympics for as long as they can remember. “When the Summer Games were in Athens, we wanted to go there, but that didn’t work because our daughter gave birth to our first grandson at the time,” says Bernd Steiner in an interview with FOCUS online. When Paris was awarded the Summer Games in 2024, there was great anticipation. “We decided to go there and found a good hotel in good time,” reports the 71-year-old.

“We were really looking forward to Paris,” adds Claudia Steiner. They wanted to spend almost 3,000 euros on their vacation. It was supposed to be ten days in the city of love. “We’ve never been there before,” says her husband. But the anticipation didn’t last long, because the hotel canceled her booking a few months before arrival and suddenly charged three times the originally agreed price – at significantly worse conditions.

“We had booked a night for 60 euros, but then we were told we had to pay 150 euros. In addition, there was now no parking space and no breakfast either.” Steiner called the hotel, where they explained to him that the prices no longer covered the hotel’s costs. The hotel also had to adjust prices due to high demand.

It is not an isolated case, as the European Consumer Center (EVZ) reports.

“Since the beginning of the year, EVZ lawyers have discovered that room reservations for the Summer Olympics are being changed or even canceled by hoteliers,” says the authority. However, the hoteliers would be violating applicable French law.

Price increases are only possible with the guest’s consent, cancellations only if there is a valid reason. Price errors, invalid payments or technical errors in the booking system are particularly common. However, these are not valid and are often illegal. Furthermore, in France, a price increase after booking is only permitted with the consumer’s consent.

FOCUS online advises: If the guest rejects the price increase, the hotel cannot simply cancel the booking. A cancellation requires a valid reason – for example damage, short-term closure or security deficiencies. Consumer advocates advise guests to always ask the reason for the cancellation – ideally in writing. If the reason is untenable, guests can claim compensation from the hotel. To do this, those affected must seek legal advice in France. The chances of success are good if travelers had to move to a much more expensive hotel due to an unfounded cancellation.

Regardless of the reason for a cancellation, according to EVZ, the hotel is obliged to refund the amount already paid. However, if the guest cancels themselves, there is not necessarily a refund. This depends on the hotel’s General Terms and Conditions (T&Cs).