(WHTM) — After you make a hotel reservation for your next trip, you may want to call the hotel again before leaving your home, as one woman recently learned.

Juanita Stevenson and her husband booked a hotel in Chicago through Hotels.com to celebrate their anniversary. But when they arrived at the hotel, they were told that the hotel had no record of their reservation — and this after they had prepaid over $400.

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Stevenson showed someone at the hotel her confirmation with Hotels.com. “She said, ‘Yes, that is their confirmation, but they have not given us the information,'” Stevenson said.

Luckily the hotel still had a room left, but Stevenson was told she would have to pay for it.

This complaint has come up before with many third-party travel sites. You make a reservation, prepay on your credit card, and then when you arrive, there is no record of your reservation.

Nonprofit consumer group Elliot Advocacy says this happens more often than people realize. It says hotel reservation systems sometimes don’t sync up with the third-party booking site. To avoid this, Elliot Advocacy recommends:

  • Always have a printed copy or screenshot of your reservation
  • Double-check the dates
  • Call the hotel directly the day before you arrive to confirm your stay

Stevenson was billed twice for $400, once by Hotels.com and once by the hotel. After reporter John Matarese contacted Expedia, the parent company of Hotels.com, it promised Stevenson a full refund.

Remember to check your hotel reservations so you don’t waste your money.