A few days ago, I made a reservation for a hotel room for a Marriott hotel in Michigan, going to what I thought was the Courtyard Marriott website for that specific hotel. The web address said Marriott all the way through the transaction. However, apparently some company called Reservation Counter spoofed the website. While it turned out that I actually had a reservation at this hotel, it was through a third party company, not eligible for rewards, etc., and had another fee associated with this "convenience."
This is not just associated with Marriott hotels, it's other places, too, I have found, after checking complaint sites about this company. I am not, however, impressed with the Marriott guy I on-line chatted with. Kind of a "sucks to be you" attitude. I would think they would be more concerned about another company spoofing their web address.
We stayed at a different Marriott property in a different state in June, making on-line reservations with no trouble. I have no idea how you make sure you are actually contacting the hotel that you want - maybe go to the franchise web site and not what you think might be for the specific hotel? I cancelled the first reservation and made a different one at another Marriott property. Yikes!