LUXEMBOURG, EUROPE -- I had booked a car with Hertz to be picked up at Luxembourg airport (Europe) the rental price for the Hot Wire booking was $300 the charge at the airport from Hertz was $500. When I returned and complained to HotWire I was told they only check the rental company's web site and do not actually contract for a charge, so I had a $200 surprise with no acceptance of responsibility from HotWire.
SAN FRANCISCO, WASHINGTON -- I used to be a diehard Hotwire fan, booking every business trip through their service. Today changed everything, when they not only wouldn't honor my hotel booking, but made me endure an atrocious customer service experience. Did you know that Hotwire can call you at 1:49 PM on the day of your reservation and say the hotel you booked and PRE-PAID for is full and you're out of luck?
Earlier this week I booked two rooms in Vancouver BC at a 4-star hotel. The hotel I selected was in the Burnaby area, close to where I had a customer meeting the following day. At 1:49 PM, shortly before I was due to check into the hotel, I received a voicemail from Hotwire Customer Service, informing me that the hotel I had reserved and paid for in advance no longer had a room. He said that I needed to contact Hotwire if I wanted to book an alternate hotel or get a refund.
Did you know that Hotwire's Customer Service processes are cumbersome, time consuming and ineffective? When I reached an agent, she said that they could see if another hotel might be available. The first alternate hotel she found cost more money, and she said Hotwire would cover the cost difference. However, she said that she had to do something with Hotwire HotDollars, and could I please be put on hold.
Ten minutes later (I kid you not, because my cell phone indicates the duration of the call) she finally came back and asked for my credit card information. I asked her why she needed it, since I had already paid for two rooms. She insisted that she needed to charge my card again, so I gave her the information. Then, when she went to book the rooms, they weren't available.
So we started again, and she found two rooms at the Westin Bayshore at standard pricing, and again said that Hotwire would cover the difference. She said that she would have to put me on hold again to take care of the HotDollars needed. Five minutes later she came back, got my credit card information again, and GUESS WHAT? The rooms at the Westin were no longer available.
She then said that nothing else was available. I insisted that there must be something available further out, so she eventually found a 3.5 star hotel in Surrey. By now, I had been on the call 35 minutes, and I desperately needed to call my colleague so that he didn't show up at the original hotel looking for a room that didn't exist. I asked the agent to quickly conclude the call, and I told her that I was very upset about the customer service exhibited by Hotwire. She offered to deposit 50 HotDollars in my account, and I told her that I didn't even care about the HotDollars, as I needed to get off the phone and call my colleague.
Sadly, the Customer Service Supervisor wasn't much better. Later, I called Hotwire Customer Service back. I requested a Supervisor and explained my experience. I posed questions such as: Why was a booked reservation paid for in advance not valid only hours before check-in? Why didn't Hotwire secure other rooms in Vancouver before calling me, instead of putting me through 35 minutes of torture and 2 thwarted attempts to book another hotel. Maybe a process that requires 10 minutes to get HotDollars approved isn't good when hotel rooms are scarce and rooms disappear in that time frame.
Why did I need to keep giving the agent my credit card number? Why was I paying the same for a 3.5 star hotel as I originally paid for a 4-star hotel….that was 3 times farther away from my business meeting location? The net result was that the Supervisor offered me a whopping 25 HotDollars for my trouble. What an insult! That's less than a dollar a minute for the first call to Hotwire, much less the time and trouble I took to bring this to his attention.
My lasting impression is that Hotwire doesn't want to examine customer service issues, or improve processes. All they want to do is try to buy off dissatisfied customers with a dollar amount that is insulting. It's especially interesting in comparison to the 818.90 in HotDollars they would have spent when the agent thought when comparable hotels were available for booking.
I also tried emailing with Hotwire Customer Service, and the responses I got were boilerplate and impersonal. Each email said “over-bookings do occur in the hotel industry and are not unique to Hotwire customers.” They also said they looked forward to serving me in the future, which clearly shows that they don't think their service was that bad. I'm still shaking my head. All of this is especially crushing when I have been a loyal customer and vocal advocate of Hotwire with friends and on social media. I don't ever plan to use Hotwire again.
SAN FRANCISCO, FLORIDA -- WORSE SERVICE EVER!!! When we arrived at the hotel I was informed that the hotel called Hotwire at 10:20 am to inform that they were sold out and had to cancel the reservation. The hotel was told by Hotwire they would contact me about the cancellation. I didn't receive any phone call and drove over 250 miles to find out we didn't have a room to stay in. The hotel representative called Hotwire and waited 35 minutes for someone to answer.
The representative who answered told her he couldn't do the rebook and I needed to call directly 866-hot-wire. It took 45 minutes for me to get a representative on the line while my whole family, including my 2 year old son and veteran father in law, slept uncomfortably in the car due to the incompetence of your company. I spoke to a representative who gave me NO solution and therefore asked to speak to a supervisor. I waited another 15 to 20 minutes for a supervisor to come on the line to finally tell me that since it was after midnight he couldn't book the reservation for me, I had to walk in and request the rooms.
I ended up at a very run down hotel not a 3 star like the one I booked. Due to no real solution I was forced to drive there and pay for it out my own pocket to find that the conditions of the hotel less than desirable. I was told by the supervisor that I needed to fax the receipt in and the research department would determine how much to credit me. Your company ruined my Memorial Day weekend vacation with my family. The gift of relaxation and visiting another city was ruined by your company.
PLEASE do not use Hotwire to book any sort travel. I booked a flight from Philly to Chicago on Hotwire, received a confirmation email, had money taken from my account, and was under the reasonable impression that everything was fine. I arrived at the airport well before take off to print my boarding pass (my flight had assigned seating, so there was no incentive to check in online beforehand, and I only travel with a carry so the check in process takes mere seconds).
At this time, I was informed by Delta that Hotwire had voided my ticket from their end (with absolutely no notice given to me, despite Hotwire having a phone number and email address on hand). I immediately called Hotwire and was informed that my account had been deactivated by risk management and only they could resolve my problem. So what do I logically request? To be put in touch with risk management of course. Turns out, they ONLY have a voicemail system (so you never actually get to speak with anyone).
After leaving multiple voicemails, I called customer service again and they informed me that risk management can "choose" who to get back to. If they conveniently decide to never return your call, you're left with absolutely no recourse. Hotwire's entire risk management system is flawed, lacks transparency, and is prone to be abused since there is no accountability to customers.
As a result of this ordeal, roundtrip airfare which originally was $334 cost me upwards of $700. This was purely the result of Hotwire's unilateral error and failure to notify when unable to render services which had been paid for (clear breach of contract which requires mitigation of damages incurred). I have spent hours on the phone with customer service over this issue, and like others have noted, they were rude, unhelpful, and literally offered to assist me by giving me the number for Kayak. In years of traveling, I have never experienced such a failure to assist customers who have done absolutely nothing wrong.
If you have been similarly affected by Hotwire I suggest you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Also, let's see if we can get a critical mass going and file a petition with Hotwire, or use another channel (change.org etc) to hold this company accountable for its poor and abusive business practices.
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA -- I have never in my life been treated so badly. The gentlemen, and I use that term very loosely, at the front desk are truly rude. Tonight, my family traveled from Fayetteville, NC for 3 1/2 hours to spend Thanksgiving with our loved ones, only to have our trip ruined. I booked through Hotwire as we normally do. Maybe this is what makes Jameson Suites feel that we can be treated as second-rate citizens, but as an active military family, we utilize the site to accommodate our budget.
Online, I booked a reservation for 2 adults and 1 child as I normally do, as I was instructed to do to ensure double beds. I checked in and was given the hardest time about the booking last name being different from my military ID, but DID match the billing name on the reservation. I was finally able to check in by showing my child's insurance card. Make sense?? It didn't to me either. I was given a king-size with a pull out. A pull out that when unfolded, popped out a dirty Q-tip and a flimsy mattress - something that my child does not even sleep on at home.
When I called the front desk, the FIRST thing I was told was HOTWIRE, HOTWIRE, HOTWIRE!!! "We have no control over what Hotwire does and we have nothing that we can offer to accommodate you." I proceeded to explain that in this room, once you pull out the "bed", move the end chair to the sofa, and the table, there is zero room to move about freely in the room. Again, I was given HOTWIRE, HOTWIRE, HOTWIRE!!
I hung up the phone after being yelled at to the tune of "MA'AM!!!", not Mrs. **, at least four times. My husband went downstairs to try to address the situation and come to a resolution, and again was treated as scum because we booked via Hotwire. When he mentioned not being able to maneuver freely throughout the room, he was offered to option of having someone come to move the table and extra things out of the room. Make sense??? It didn't to us either!!
I can't begin to explain how frustrated we are. We had a similar situation previously this past summer at the Jameson Inn on Park W Dr. in Grovetown, GA and was advised that we should book with the Claussen Rd location as the other is independently owned and we would be treated much better. I beg to differ. It appears that all of the customer service "professionals" skipped the customer service part of training.
I've never felt such blatant discrimination and treated in a "you get what you pay for" manner in my entire life and will ensure that this is known throughout my hometown of Augusta, GA as well as via reviews on the site. I called Hotwire and of course they were NO help. The representative barely spoke English. Thanksgiving ruined!!
I booked a car rental through Hotwire.com that cost $307.20. My wife called me 2 days later and states that we were charged twice, once on February 27th and again on March 2nd of 2015. I call Hotwire, someone from the Philippines answers and tells me that "I'm one of those customers whose been charged twice" and that'll I'll be refunded within 24 hours. As of writing this review still no refund of my money.
A few minutes later I email Hotwire and tell them I want some form of compensation since I paid for this reservation with a debit card aka cash from my bank and not a credit card. (Unlike other vacation booking sites Hotwire ALWAYS requires immediate payment with no cancellation whatsoever with no option of cancellation which is shady) So that's an additional $307 that could be in my account but isn't available to me.
They email me back assuring me my account wasn't debited twice, while I'm literally looking at my bank of America account seeing it was, without any mention of compensating me for the inconvenience. They told me this is how they authorize a credit card charge. So basically if I'd of booked a $3000 trip, I'd have been charged $6000 to authorized. I emailed them that info that I clearly see it was and I was never email back. The Chicago Sun-Times back in 2008 wrote that this is something Hotwire does, Google Hotwire charges twice to read article, and obviously they still up to it. SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM. (transcript below)
"Thank you for contacting Hotwire Customer Care regarding your reservation with Hertz at the Austin–Bergstrom International Airport, scheduled for pick up on itinerary ********98. I understand you were charged twice on your reservation. I would be willing to check and provide details regarding this matter.
I can assure you that you were only charged once for this reservation. What you are seeing is an authorization on the card or account. These authorizations occur when we validate your card at the time of booking. Most financial institutions remove authorizations routinely within a few days. For more information about your specific financial institution's policies and your credit card or account, please contact your bank or credit card company. If you have any questions, please reply to this message or call Customer Care at 1-866-HOTWIRE (468-9473). Thank you for choosing Hotwire."
CAMAS, WASHINGTON -- Urgently need to travel to San Francisco to sign documents in the consulate of my country. On January 06, 2013, I visited a few website and Hotwire.com show up in the search result, offering tickets with a tentative discount. By filling my information to find out my schedule, Hotwire required to put my credit card information to verify and confirm my identity. The next step was assumed that would give me the option to select the time of my flight (like any other flight service website).
I continued the steps, and with surprise that this “company” selected, reserved and collected the ticket payment, and they “choose” the time of departure and return. It was landing in San Francisco at 1:15 pm, and taking off to return to my city (Portland OR) at 3:35 pm. This is completely “ridiculous” they just gave me 2 hours and 20 minutes, is no way in the earth I would have time to leaving the airport to downtown and come back to the airport. National flight is supposed to be 1 hour prior flight, so this leave me 1 hour and 20. It is impossible that I would make it on time!
On the same day, few minutes after this happened, I contacted Hotwire.com Customer service to 1866 468 9473 and I spoke with **, she refused to give me her last name. I explained my situation, she agree with me that this flight schedule was ridiculous. After I explaining her, I asked to make some changes in the flight, either leaving early or return a few hours late. ** deny doing any change on my ticket, so I asked to ** to cancel this ticket and return my money, explaining her that the service that this company offers is not real. Of course she deny one more time. I did not get help from her in any way, so asked to talk with her manager. She refuses and hang up on me.
After this situation, I did some online searches and I am speechless for the quantity of complain this site has. I always used Expedia.com, they offer an amazing customer support. I should never buy from this scammer company. Now I am so afraid because they have my credit card information!! I was advised to fill out a complaint with BBB. This case will be reviewed by a complaint specialist at the Better Business Bureau.
LAS VEGAS, NEBRASKA -- System glitch but they will still not refund your money. This all happened within 1 hour. Booked once "no availability." Booked the second time, no availability BUT was charged for both bookings. Booked elsewhere. Checked my account, 2 charges of $250+. Called to dispute charges. First call, agent said he will look into it. After a few minutes of being on hold, he hung up on me.
I called the second time, spoke with an agent who said they can only refund one booking. Spoke with a supervisor, she said the same thing. GLITCH in their system BUT I STILL HAVE TO PAY. They do not want to refund despite acknowledging the error message. I asked Lorraine (supervisor) from the Philippines a rhetorical questions what she would do if she was placed in the same situation and she accused me of calling her names. Oh lordy. Chargeback here I come. Stay away from Hotwire, use other booking sites that are more reliable than these crooks. Their fault but blaming it on the customer.
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS -- I called Hotwire's customer service after reading reviews on this and other sites, to let them know that they just lost a new customer before I ever became one due to all the negative reviews about them, on the Internet. The lady who answered the phone said that she was just an hourly employee who didn't have any control over the quality of their listings, and that my complaint would be registered in their system. But that it is but one of thousands like it that have had no effect upon their business.
Based upon her comments, I have a feeling that Hotwire's general opinion of their customers is probably apathetic, if not hostile. Either use their service or don't. They really don't care. Enough suckers will fall for their scheme, so that they will be laughing at us, all the way to the bank. The only reason I'm rating them with two stars instead of only one is because at least their phone representative was polite.
SAN DEIGO, CALIFORNIA -- On June 16th 2015 I booked a hotel from Hotwire.com in San Diego, CA at the Roadway Hotel on Roosevelt St. When we arrive at the hotel they gave us a room that smells so bad that I found myself gagging and coughing. It smelled like stale cigarette smoke and butt.
When we went to the office to complain the clerk that we ask for a non-smoking room. He treated us like we were dogs. He talked down to us and he told us that we couldn't get another room because they were all booked up. They refused to give us a refund of our money so we could go elsewhere. They told us that there was nothing that they could do so we had to spend the night in the car, In a strange city, and a not so safe neighborhood. When I told them that my wife suffer from upper respiratory problems and could not stay in that room, they offered to book us a room at another hotel that cost three times the money.
We were in a strange area and didn't know our way around. Mind you, this was at night. They had no sympathy at all for us. When we called the company, they took almost two hours to get through to them. They did not solve our problem. So we just decided to give up and spend the night in the car. I wish that I had read the reviews about this company before I paid out my money. I could have saved myself and my family a lot of heartache and pain. I want everyone to beware of booking hotels with this company. You will be out of money and no place go.