I received a response from customer service this morning which said exactly what I'd expected:
The amount of 245.78 USD has been credited to your credit card. Credits are usually processed within 5 business days, and will generally appear on your credit card account within 10 business days. The amount of time necessary to process your credit may vary, depending on your bank. The amount of $25 has been charged as a cancellation fee.
Yeah, I don't think so! I hope I'm not turning into a c_s, but I'm not going to accept them charging a cancellation fee I wasn't informed about.
I just double-checked the webpage - hotel-assist.com says nothing about a $25 cancellation fee. The cancellation policy there states:
WE MUST RECEIVE CANCELLATION BY 6 PM 4 DAYS BEFORE ARRIVAL. AFTE R[sic] THAT DATE YOU WILL INCUR A FEE OF THE FULL STAY.
Since I never agreed to a $25 cancellation fee, I will expect this to be credited back to my account within 2 business days. After that I will contact my bank about this fraudulent charge.
I don't know if I went overboard calling it a 'fraudulent charge', but in my eyes that's what it is. I was never informed about that charge before it was too late, and thus I never agreed to it. Come Wednesday I'll contact my bank and see what they can do about it.
Does anybody know if there's anywhere I can share my experiences with others, so they don't get caught in the same trap?