Saturday, 15 March 2014

Caveat emptor

To update on our search for a New York City vacation apartment we eventually settled on one with our preferred location, price range and facilities. It fell to me to book the apartment online because CW happily lives without a personal computer, mobile phone or other 21st century accoutrements and CZ has advanced technically only as far as a Blackberry with miniature dimensions quite unsuitable for internet interaction given the stubby nature of his fingers and thumbs.

We knew from our research that a reasonable cleaning fee might be an added charge and also a bond against damage might be asked from us. There also were generalised references to a club membership but no reference to any charges regarding that so I guess we assumed that was a free formality. Otherwise we weren't expecting to be charged significantly more than the quoted tariff.

That proved to be a miscalculation. A little miscalculation in the order of nearly 100%! When I entered the booking online the (true) cost appeared. On top of the advertised tariff was added a cleaning fee and damage bond - as predicted - but in addition to these was;

  • a club membership fee
  • sales tax
  • a New York State unit fee
  • a New York City occupancy tax
  • a New York City occupancy/room tax, and
  • a processing fee

The total charge approached double the advertised amount and those taxes were particularly interesting to me given the supposedly illegal activity of offering vacation apartments.

So it was back to the drawing board until we found another apartment to our liking which did not require a club membership and which does not list any of the taxes. We are booked in, deposit paid and looking forward to our visit.

This, more or less, is where we will spending two weeks next September.

So, beware the hidden taxes and fees. Reasonably priced accommodation can be found online.

The site we found easiest to search online was airbnb but the one we found our eventual accommodation through was VRBO.


  1. Victor, what a shame but your photo is an invisible.

    1. Sorry Gosia, it was visible in preview mode but I can't seem to get it back now.

  2. Comedian Wil Anderson is now living in LA and said that foreigners are charged double the normal bond for accommodation, or as he quipped, perhaps that is just for Australians.

    1. Hopefully, Andrew, we three senior citizen gay men will not have reason to forfeit any portion of the bond.