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'DISCOUNT' MAY BE ANYTHING BUT

Nearly one out of three hotel rates quoted by so-called discount brokers turned out to be higher than those obtained directly from the hotel, says Consumer Reports Travel Letter.

The report in the August issue says that in making more than 100 calls for room rates, it found only one discounter, Quikbook, that offered discounts in virtually every case. But Quikbook handles only about 200 U.S. hotels, the report said.

The four larger discounters checked did not fare so well, and in some cases offered quotes that were as much as 40 percent above what the hotel offered, the report said.

Besides checking the hotel on your own before making a reservation, the travel letter also advised that consumers ask about taxes, surcharges and cancellation fees.

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