April 4, 2014 -- Lucky travelers happened upon an extreme discount last weekend, when an online booking site posted an incorrect rate for a tony Long Island hotel.
Jetsetter, a membership-based travel site that focuses on exclusive deals for luxury travel accommodations, featured a rate of $2 per weeknight during the month of August at Sunset Beach, an André Balazs property located on Shelter Island, N.Y.
Overnights at the 20-room retreat typically are quoted beginning at $345. At Jetsetter’s glitch rate, a three-night stay plus taxes and fees only came to $12, less than even a single glass of Sunset Beach Rosé, Balazs’ proprietary wine sold at the hotel restaurant.
Alas, summer vacation plans resulting from the lapse were short lived.
Despite receiving confirmation emails and charges to credit cards Sunday evening, members who made reservations at the $2 rate, including this reporter, had their trips canceled the following day. An email notification from the site stated that the rate was the result of an “inventory error” and that charges would be reimbursed within three to five business days.
Jetsetter also issued a $25 credit to members’ accounts for the inconvenience. It is unknown how many people took advantage of the steep savings, but the company said the glitch was not widespread.
“The error was limited to a very small number of visitors and just that one hotel,” a Jetsetter rep told ABC News, adding “the error was only on the site for a very short amount of time.”
Online glitch rates are one of the risks of conducting e-commerce and they don’t just plague hotel booking sites. When airlines such as Delta and United mispriced similarly low fare filings on their websites last year, both carriers opted to honor the trips purchased as a result.
"United has reviewed the error … and decided that, based on these specific circumstances, we will honor the tickets," a representative for United told ABC News in September 2013. At that time, one Houston woman walked away with a family trip to New York for $15.
When ABC News asked Jetsetter why it did not abide by its “inventory error,” the company said it would reinstate this reporter’s original reservation at Sunset Beach, an offer that was declined. The company said no other members who booked at the $2 rate had been extended the same courtesy as of this morning.
Inquiries into the company’s official policy on incorrect rates yielded the following response:
“Errors are an extreme rarity on the site and so, are handled on a case-by-case scenario,” the representative said in an email. “We're working with those who were affected by the minor glitch, and making sure they enjoy the same great travel experiences as all Jetsetter travelers.”
Sunset Beach has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.