In one instance a couple had the horrible experience of arriving in Barcelona and discovering that their hotel had not been paid for by clever-hotels.com. The hotel was full and on a pissing wet day, had to go and find and pay for accommodation. The other person has booked a hotel for the end of September and made the payment two weeks ago. When she check with the credit card company, it seems she will get her money refunded but there is no indication of when.
Both customers found the deals for the hotels on clever-hotels.com via Trivago. The price comparison website compares prices across a selection of websites and allows users to then book directly with the cheapest one. But what is Trivago doing to ensure that the companies they use are going to honour the bookings they take. Trivago has been heavily advertising in Ireland and elsewhere and being part of the Expedia travel conglomerate one would expect that they would ensure that customers funds would be protected.
Maybe it is time to return to direct bookings with hotels, at least you know they exist and they don't always look for money up front. Price shopping for hotels will show very little leeway between websites, usually it can just be a few euros in the difference.
Recently I was in Murcia and the hotel I wanted to book was around 78 euros per night on various booking sites. In the end I booked directly with the hotel, the Silken Siete Coronas and it was 51 euros including breakfast and a very nice four star hotel too.
See this story from the London Independent about what to do if you have a booking with Clever Hotels. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/qa-i-booked-a-room-through-cleverhotelscom--what-are-my-rights-8783958.html