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Watchdog: Dec. 23, 2012

George Gombossy

Publication: The Day

Published December 23. 2012 4:00AM

You can get great deals on hotel rooms on the Internet just like you can on airline ticket. And just like airline tickets, many discounted hotel rooms have restrictions on cancellations.

Patricia, a senior at Central Connecticut State University, discovered the restrictions after booking a hotel room on Priceline.com

She was planning to travel to Illinois for her boyfriend's graduation from Navy Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Station.

After charging $307 to spend four days at the Ramada Waukegan Gurnee, Patricia's boyfriend got injured at boot camp and his graduation was delayed. She contacted Priceline and asked for a refund.

Priceline refused, saying the ad for the hotel room she chose clearly stated that there was a no cancellation policy.

Patricia insists that when she went on Priceline she did not see the no-cancellation warning.

"When I registered for the hotel, I was not informed that the reservation had a no cancellation policy until I printed out the confirmation reservation; at which time, it was too late to change," she wrote CtWatchdog. "I think this is a very unfair policy and very deceitful."

Patricia may not have noticed the warning, but when I duplicated her search on Priceline for the Ramada Inn, every room clearly stated whether there was a cancellation possible with the booking.

I contacted Priceline spokesman Brian Ek to see if anything could be done considering the circumstances of a financially strapped college student and a military man. Patricia works two jobs so she can pay for her school.

Ek said he would have someone at Priceline contact the Ramada Inn and see if they would give Patricia a break. Ramada agreed and Patricia has her money back.

But this was an exception. When booking your hotel room on the Internet check to make sure what the cancellation policy is.

Grapefruit with medicine

Some people ignore the little warnings on medicine bottles about drinking alcohol while taking the drugs or being extra careful driving or operating machinery.

The warning that probably more ignored is about drinking grapefruit juice with the medicine.

Grapefruit juice is good for you, right?

It is, but not when combined with dozens of drugs. The combination can cause serious illness or even death as the potency of the drug is heightened because the juice can interact with the medicine increasing its concentration in the bloodstream.

Canadian scientists, according to NBC news, say that 43 drugs that when mixed with grapefruit juice can be harmful.

To see a complete list of drugs that interact with grapefruit, check out www.cmaj.ca.

You can reach The Watchdog at george@ctwatchdog.com.

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