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.
Stay away from Hotwire, they are going to ruin your trip and steal your money. Their star rating system is at least one star too high. The savings you think you're getting are in actuality only about $5. No matter the circumstances they will not refund or change your reservation. Their customer service is in the Philippines and they will just read off a pre-written statement.
CALIFORNIA -- Consumer alert: never ever use Hotwire because of its business fraud and cheating practice. As soon as you get charged in this booking site, your money is gone. Yes, gone, as same as service you paid. Hope you are not stupid enough as me to use their service, once enough.
OTTAAWA -- I made a reservation for 3 hotel rooms and insurance from Hotwire. I was surprised to find an unauthorized charge on my credit card for $72.90 from Allianz Global Assistance. At no time was I told about this charge they just charged it. Neither Hotwire or Global Assistance will take responsibility for it both blaming the other. Hotwire will not even respond to this issue. I travel 20-30 times a year. I will never use Hotwire again.
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.
WWW.HOTWIRE.COM, FLORIDA -- Please Share!!! BEWARE of HOTWIRE hotel reservations. For those of you who have never used Hotwire to make a reservation with a hotel let me explain how it works. You select a destination and they give you a general rate on hotels in a star rating system. For example, any hotel in that area with three stars will be one price, and any hotel with four stars will be more, but you are guaranteed a savings because they don't show you the name of the hotel until after you have booked.
So you are playing Hotel Roulette. However, you can feel comfortable booking a hotel without knowing the name because of the star rating that they have. I have used this service for years and have scored some pretty amazing deals, but last night was the exception, and the customer service on Hotwire's end to fix the problem was non existent.
A hotel room was booked under a three star rating. My husband wanted something affordable but nicer than a one or two star hotel. Three stars mean "Extra amenities and clean rooms that will make your stay comfortable." However upon arriving at the 'three star' hotel my husband was completely dumbfounded. If you were to give this hotel a star rating it would be negative stars.
The room was absolutely terrible. The lock on the door was broken. The light fixtures were broken and were just hanging on the walls by string to keep them up. All the furniture had terrible stains and looked like it had not been cleaned in years. There was silly string and grimy dirt on all the walls and door. The mirror in the bathroom was broken. The shower tiles were falling off the walls. The smell of the room was so acrid that by morning his lungs hurt. Plumbing pipes were sticking up from the carpet near the broken air conditioner and the ceiling was caving in.
Not only that but the hotel offered the exact same price through their personal website so no money savings at all through Hotwire. Arriving after 11 o clock at night and driving for over 12 hours sleep was the only thing on my husband's mind so he hunkered down for the night and at first light he was out of there.
Now am I upset about the quality of the hotel? Not really. You run into hotels like this but what you see is what you get. I am upset at the portrayal of this hotel through a once trusted site like Hotwire. So, OK, they got it wrong. Maybe they just needed to be informed of the situation, so I called them to let them know.
I told them about the hotel and the room and their response was, 'every booking is nonrefundable and cannot be changed'. Even after telling them that this hotel was no three star hotel I got the same response. They kept trying to pass the buck off on other site by saying that they get their star rating from what is already posted online by other sites. OK, so you offer a service but it's not your fault because other people are doing it? Ya OK.
Towards the end of the conversation I was being blamed by Hotwire customer service for not switching rooms. It wasn't like this place had an off chance bad room, the WHOLE place was like this room. It would be like switching sleeping in landfill A because landfill B might have better trash. There was no point.
So beware when you book a 'star rating hotel', you are playing Hotel Roulette even though they 'GUARANTEE' their stars ratings, and if you get scammed into a one star or no star rating hotel and pay three star prices their response is, "Oh well. Better luck next time." Well, there will be no next time for me. Quoting my husband on the quality of Hotwire's 'three star hotel' - "If I were to sleep with a prostitute I would be more scared of getting diseases from this hotel than the prostitute." - puts the 'three star rating' in perspective.
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.
CALIFORNIA -- I normally don't complain about being treated poorly by a company but I have to vent and warn everyone about booking airfare with My son is in the Navy stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. His grandfather died and he needed to come home as soon as possible, as cheap as possible. So under my recommendation he called Hotwire to book his tickets. I did some research and found that you would be the people who could best help him in this situation. Well I was wrong!
He called and booked at ticket with you over the phone. He was told he had a flight for $379 from Florida to Indiana and he would get an e ticket mailed to him. When he didn't get the email he called me because his phone kept dropping calls when trying to contact you.
So I called and gave the representative my email address to send the confirmation to and did not receive an email. I then emailed you but because the flight was for today I also called back only to learn that the person that took his information spelled his last name wrong. The person that took my email address spelled our last name wrong. Even though as I was giving the letter I was also giving words to go with the letter.
So after talking to another representative I was told that my son would need to cancel and rebook the flight because of the spelling of his name. I called him got his credit card information and called back. They cancelled his ticket and then told me that we would not be able to get the same price ticket, or the same flight when we rebooked. They told me that I would have to purchase the ticket retail. I asked to speak with a supervisor and explained the situation and they told me that I was LUCKY to be getting a refund.
Please explain to me how I was lucky? A flight was booked over the phone and because your customer service representative misspelled our last name now I am left at 8:30 at night with no ticket for my son to come home for the funeral and I am back to square one trying to find a flight at a reasonable price for the next day! I normally try to give a positive when I am complaining but frankly I don't have one when it comes to my experience with Hotwire.
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."