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Hotwire refused to pay hotel after we were already staying there
Posted by on
I have used Hotwire many times in the past and had no problems. But the problem I am currently experiencing will make me NEVER use them again.

My wife and I booked a hotel at a great rate. She used her Hotwire account and credit card to pay for it and when we got to the hotel it turned out to be very nice and normally cost twice what we paid for the rooms.

All was good until the day we checked out and received a bill for all 4 days at the regular hotel rate. When we went to the front desk to ask why they were charging us again after we had already paid via Hotwire, they told us that Hotwire had contacted them and told them that our account was used fraudulently and refused to pay the hotel.

Nobody from Hotwire tried to call us, e-mail us or make any contact at all with us to explain why they decided to cancel our account (or to even check if it was actually us using the account).

My wife called her credit card company and they said nothing had been reported to them and they had not reported a problem to Hotwire about the account and that it was working fine. We then called Hotwire and were told that we had to contact someone from a special department because nobody at the regular help line could help us at all.

The problem with that was that this was a Sunday and their "fraud" office was only open during regular work hours during the week. We were left paying a hotel bill that was hundreds of dollars more than we thought we had agreed to pay.

On Monday my wife called the special number we were given but it just went to a generic voice mail box that does not even sound as if it has even been set up to take messages. She left a message and a phone number. And waited. No call, no e-mail.

So she tried back and got the same generic voice mail box. No matter what time of day you call you get the generic voice mail box. And nobody returns the call or e-mails back. So she tried calling the regular help line again and after about 20 minutes of explaining what the issue is she is again told to call that number. When she explains that nobody picks up and ask if they can transfer her to an actual person in that department they just transfer her to that same pointless generic vice mail box.

It has been several days now and nobody has returned any calls or sent us an e-mail or letter or anything to explain why they left us stranded at an expensive hotel without any support and refused to pay the bill as agreed to in the contract we had with Hotwire.

The only good news is Hotwire did refund the original charge on the credit card they took when we made the reservation. But we still ended up stranded and had to spend hundreds more than we thought we would for our hotel. We would have NEVER booked at that hotel if we knew we had to pay the full rate.

Since this horrible experience I have searched the Internet for Hotline stories and found that our experience is not all that uncommon. Many other people have been stranded by Hotwire after they got to their destination and found that Hotwire refused to pay their hotel or care rental company (or Hotwire does not send the required reservation information to the hotel or rental car agency so they have no room or car waiting for you).

So, since Hotwire will not make good on what it promises to its customers and will randomly just leave customers stranded having to pay hundreds more than what was originally quoted to them, I am telling everyone I know to run away and avoid Hotwire like it is a plague.
     
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Alain on 10/16/2011:
This sounds similar to http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=105922
The best bet, it appears, is to avoid using Hotwire.
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Car Rental Goes to HELL
Posted by on
I had the worst experience with Hotwire for a car rental with Enterprise company. My husband and I had to fly to Seattle, and our flight arrived at 10:30pm. We had scheduled for a car reservation for 10:30pm with Enterprise, which is at a off site location. We READ EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING on all the information sent to us by Hotwire before we decided to complete the reservation. After we got off our flight, and finished picking up our luggage, it was 10:57pm, We proceeded to the island to wait for a shuttle to take us to the off site location of Enterprise. After waiting for 1 hour to midnight, in the mid 50's weather, no shuttle from Enterprise ever came. So, we called Enterprise, and they told us, the ENTERPRISE OFF SITE location close at 11pm. Now, it is midnight, and we just found out we cannot pick up our rental car. We called HOTWIRE immediately because in no-where on our reservation did HOTWIRE say that Enterprise closed at 11pm. IF we had known the off site counter at Enterprise closed at 11pm, we would not have chosen this company, and we would not pay for the reservation. Instead, HOTWIRE claims they have no responsibility to tell us Enterprise closed at 11pm.

I don't understand why HOTWIRE feels that they have no responsibility to tell us that Enterprise closed at 11pm. Instead, HOTWIRE said we should have known ourselves. So, we called back Enterprise to see what they can do to help us, and Enterprise tells us that Enterprise had always told HOTWIRE that their location at Seattle International Airport closes at 11pm. So, HOTWIRE IS LYING, and NOT ADMITTING THEY ARE DECEIVING CUSTOMERS BECAUSE HOTWIRE DON'T WANT TO ADMIT THEY ARE AT FAULT.

I am posting this here because I want to make sure this never happens to anyone. I mean, imagine if you are a single mom with a young child or baby, and you found out at midnight standing outside of the airport at the shuttle bus island, and just found out that you now have to wait until the next morning, until 4am to pick up the car.

Just to be clear, Enterprise did not wrong us, because Enterprise always knew they would close at 11pm, and they sent over this information to HOTWIRE, but HOTWIRE NEVER DISCLOSED THIS INFORMATION TO US.

SO, PLEASE ANYONE, IF YOU EVER MADE A CAR RESERVATION AT HOTWIRE, MAKE SURE YOU CALL HOTWIRE TO FIND OUT WHAT TIME THE CAR COMPANY PICK UP LOCATION CLOSES BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO PAY.
     
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jktshff1 on 07/05/2011:
Good review, welcome to m3c and stick around..
Ben There on 07/05/2011:
I always make car rental reservations for 30 minutes after my flight lands. This allows for small delays, standing in line to get off the plane, waiting for checked bags, take the shuttle for the car rental office, etc... If my reservation is really late at night, it will also reduce the chances of getting a rental company that will be closing at the time I realistically will be walking up to the counter.

You told Hotwire that you would be at the car rental counter at 10:30 pm. Unfortunately they did not know that you really meant that your plane would be pulling up at the gate at 10:30 pm, and it would take some time for you to get your bags and work your way over to the counter.

Next time you make a car rental reservation, be sure to give them the time you will be at the counter, not arriving at the gate. If you arrive early, you normally can get your car early too!
trmn8r on 07/05/2011:
Hotwire did not lie to you. They told you it was your responsibility to check on the Enterprise hours. If Enterprise lets Hotwire know what time they close, it doesn't require Hotwire to post it in their ads. Hotwire may have that information on file, and if you told them you were arriving at 11pm or 11:30pm, would have warned you the location was closed. But your arrival was 10:30pm.

I doubt *highly* that Hotwire does this to "deceive" and inconvenience their customers. This is a consequence of using third party services - you have to do homework. I'm sorry this happened to you - one more reason I will avoid third parties for car rentals, air tickets, etc.

By all means, "welcome to my3c." Stop over in the Community Ward if you get a chance.
trmn8r on 07/05/2011:
Great suggestions, BT, of making the reservation for 30 minutes after the flight is due and everything else you mentioned.
Tom2011 on 07/14/2011:
Horrible everything!!!! Customer service, supervisors and car company act like they are talking to an ignorant person and whatever happened was my fault because I did not research my choice. I insisted I filled in the correct information and found a "deal" but then a pop-up appeared with a lower car rental price so I fell for it. The car was 30 minutes away from the airport and I had to take a cab which the car rental rep at the airport said would be around $10 but wound up being $45. It cost another $35 to be able to return the car at the airport. I think the pop-up is misleading especially since it changed the destination away from the airport.
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Hotwire does not take responsibility for its errors
Posted by on
This is an email exchange with Hotwire Customer Service regarding an error on their website:
Dear Catherine,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your hotel reservation, Hotwire Itinerary Number 3594205859.

I understand you are not pleased with the service you have received from Hotwire in regards to your rental with Alamo and I regret that your experience has been less than satisfactory.
In consideration of the details provided, our decision has not changed and remains that we are unable to offer a refund for this reservation.

Customer feedback is an important component in ensuring quality products and services at Hotwire. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and we regret we did not do so on this occasion. We hope to have the opportunity to better serve your needs in the near future.
If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to reply to this email or contact us directly at 1-866-HOTWIRE (468-9473). Thank you for choosing Hotwire.

Sincerely,
Ashley B.
Hotwire Customer Care

-----Original Message-----
From: Catherine Pierce
Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010 11:18 PM
To: Hotwire Support
Subject: RE: Itinerary 3594205859

Dear Roberta,
The reservation was caused by an error on your website. I did not authorize the reservation or the charge for it. As I stated before, I have used your service in the past without a problem, however, due to your lack of accountability for your error, I am disputing the charge with my credit card and will not use your service again.

Sincerely,
Catherine Pierce

From: Hotwire Support [mailto:support@Hotwire.com]
Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2010 12:32 PM
To: Catherine Pierce
Subject: RE:'HW=388-112' Itinerary 3594205859
Dear Catherine,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your car reservation, Hotwire Itinerary Number 3594205859.

I understand that you feel that an error occurred on our site when making your car reservation for Alamo. You did not use this reservation and want a refund. I regret that we are unable to offer a refund for the reservation.

At Hotwire, we are committed to getting you the best deals possible. Because of the extremely low rates offered by our supply partners, refunds, exchanges, transfers or changes are not available. Our partners are able to offer Hotwire these great rates only if customers guarantee that they will use the originally booked reservation. This enables our partners to better manage their unsold inventory.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to reply to this email or contact us directly at 1-866-HOTWIRE (468-9473). Thank you for choosing Hotwire.

Sincerely,

Roberta R.
Hotwire Customer Care

-----Original Message-----
From: Catherine Pierce
Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010 08:41 AM
To: Hotwire Support
Subject: Itinerary 3594205859

Dear Hotwire Representative:

I just received a survey asking whether I picked up the rental car for Itinerary 3595208859. The answer is no, because there should not have been an itinerary at all.

Although there was an error on your website and I did not plan to use your service for my recent travel plans on August 9, you sent me an itinerary (3594205859) via email. As soon as I accessed my email on August 8 in the evening and saw your email, I responded by calling your customer service and explaining the situation. Your customer service rep, Tom #3759, stated there was no error message and my credit card was appropriately charged $389.77. He did not care about my explanation and very rigidly stated that is not the responsibility of Hotwire and that no credit would be issued.

I made other plans and did not pick up the Alamo rental car on August 9 in Detroit and, as a result, have registered a dispute with my credit card company. I was a loyal customer of Hotwire until this incident. Now, I will never use your service again and I have told this story to over 20 people, including the customer service representative at my credit card company (who already had heard the story several times!). Those 20 people will probably tell 20 others and so forth and so on.

You have lost a loyal customer and many potential customers all over a few hundred dollars. Not a good business model in this economy.

I wish you would reconsider your error and credit the charge to my credit card. It is the honorable thing to do.

Respectfully submitted,
Catherine Pierce



     
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raven2010 on 08/15/2010:
You say, "I made other plans and did not pick up the Alamo rental car on August 9 in Detroit and, as a result, have registered a dispute with my credit card company."

How is your change in plans Hotwire's website error? What am I missing?
PepperElf on 08/15/2010:
not to mention ... the credit card company will very likely say "no".

rental agreements state the refund policy. credit card companies don't refund you your money if you lose it from violating a rental agreement.

now if the company had broken the agreement that'd be a different story, but since you did it yourself you'll be very unlikely to get the money back from the credit card company.
Anonymous on 08/15/2010:
I don't understand. If you did not authorize the reservation, then how was your credit card charged? Obviously you inputted your credit card information, and submitted something, or they wouldn't have charged your card in the first place. I think this is user error, or user trying to find an excuse to get out of their reservation.
Anonymous on 08/15/2010:
People need to learn how these 3rd party bookers work. When someone accepts an offer, and books the room, the 3rd party companies bill the customer. Then in turn, the company that made the offer, such as Alamo, bills the 3rd party booker, such as Hotwire. That is why there are NO refunds. Hotwire already paid Alamo for the reservation. So why should Hotwire be out all that money, minus a small fee they get for the reservation? If these bookers just allowed whoever cancel their reservations whenever, they would never make any money and not exhist.
Jerome on 08/21/2013:
I agree with you about your terrible experience with Hotwire! I gave them a compliant 3 days ago and my results were the same as yours. I told them I would be taking my business to the other companies. I do a lot of traveling throughout the year and will not continue to tolerate their attitude! I am sharing this with thousands of family and friends. Do not use Hotwire!!!
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Hotwire Hotel Warning = SCAM, FRAUD, LIES
Posted by on
CALIFORNIA -- Please do yourself a favor and avoid Hotwire for hotels, unless you want this to happen to you---
I booked a "3-star" hotel near Santa Barbara on Hotwire. Hotwire listed "retail" value of this "3-star" to be $243. They listed their price as paid $116 + tax/fees (which they noted to be a "52% savings"!). Sound like a deal? WRONG. What I got was a room at the Holiday Inn Express. Hotwire's own site lists Holiday Inn Express hotels to be 2.5 star, so passing this off after my purchase as a 3-star is misrepresentation #1. Was told by a Hotwire "manager" that this particular property was reviewed by their own Hotwire staff and by Hotwire customers and based on that, they had given this particular property a 3 star. (sidenote - Both Priceline.com and Tripadvisor rate this very same hotel as 2*)
---so, my PROBLEM #1 is---
**You can't state one thing on your site, and then make a special exception for one specific property AFTER the fact.** Even the hotel itself does not consider itself 3 star, because I called to ask. Bottom line= MISREPRESENTATION
Furthermore, the price on the HI Express website was actually less that Hotwire --- worked out to be $1.88 cheaper than the Hotwire price, for total savings of... less than zero.
----so, my Problem#2 is---
You can't tell me that I am getting a 52% savings, just to sucker me to buy, when in reality I am getting 0% savings, because that is ...MISREPRESENTATION
Further, the "retail" rate for a standard room at this HI Express has never been, under any circumstance or any stretch of the imagination, $243 (which was confirmed to me by the Hotel staff, and evident on their website). Upon questioning this with Hotwire, I was told that the $243 rate is supposed to be a representation of what other 3 star hotels in the area might go for. But it doesn't explain this anywhere on the Hotwire site before you buy!
So, my PROBLEM #3 is---
The HOTWIRE site basically just lies--the "retail prices" listed do not represent the actual price of the hotel you are about to buy -- in this case, not even remotely close..
Hotwire completely misleads consumers with completely false information. Their slogan of 4* hotels at 2* prices and their listed "savings" percentages lead you to believe that booking through them actually saves you some kind of money, when in reality, you will probably pay less directly through the hotel's website or somewhere else. Plus you get the worst rooms and get treated like a leper by the hotel, as the manager of the Holiday Inn Express treated me when I asked to at least pay him for an upgrade to my room.
--- "Manager" at Hotwire call center was of course no help whatsoever - a robot reading from a script ---would not help even switch me to another hotel that meets the parameters that I thought I was signing up for == ie a REAL 3 star hotel, and or a real hotel with a retail value of $243 or anything close to it. Calls to corporate have not been returned.

I will be filing this complaint with the BBB.

Any one ever, ever had any luck with a Hotwire refund or switching of properties, due to their misleading business practices?
     
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Jambra on 02/09/2008:
First of all, hotels given a star rating, not chains, and this star rating is based on opinion only. For example: a 3-star hotel could easily be a 4-star for someone else. Hotels also have different prices for the same rooms (just like airlines have for the same seats) which are based on offers, discounts, etc. And yes, Holiday Inn Expresses can be that expensive in certain areas. You obviously don't understand much about this; otherwise you wouldn't have become upset at the manager for not allowing an upgrade, when he was not permitted to do.

My advice to you: sleep in your car next time, or buy a really nice (3-star) tent.

The old adage applies here: If something sounds too good to be true, it is.
Anonymous on 02/09/2008:
A frustrated manager complained that every time he provided training, the now highly skilled employee was snatched up by a competitor: The only thing worse than training people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.
-Zig Ziglar, Author, Orator
Anonymous on 02/09/2008:
In my opinion, there's not much of a difference between a 2.5 star hotel and a 3 star hotel - it's just half a star. I don't know what the fuss is about.
FoggyOne on 02/09/2008:
Check hotels in the area you want to stay first - get rates THEN go to one of these 3rd party agencies to see if you can get it cheaper. I checked at a hotel in Cancun, I went to Orbitzz and it was $12 MORE per night at Orbitzz plus their fee. Same for car rental, flights, etc. Do not believe what is on these 3rd party sites.
Anonymous on 02/09/2008:
I agree with Foggy and it is.
customerXXX on 02/09/2008:
"In my opinion, there's not much of a difference between a 2.5 star hotel and a 3 star hotel - it's just half a star. I don't know what the fuss is about."

It's about false advertising and misleading business practices. This is about protecting consumers so that they don't get suckered into something that is NOT what they were sold on.

Further, I thoroughly researched all the hotels in the area, and all the real 3 star hotels are much nicer than the Holiday Inn Express. Further "Jambra" --you are the one who doesn't know what you are talking about--- the retail rate of this Holiday Inn Express is NOT $243 or anything even close to it-- so why are you people defending something you know nothing about?

Smells like Hotwire employee to me.

Good luck to you if you book a Hotel through Hotwire -- despite all your negativity I do hope that this complaint will help save at least one person from getting ripped by Hotwire.

You all are obviously missing the point. The ad stated 52 % savings -it was a lie - I saved 0% AND got stuck with a non-changeable, non-upgradeable, non-refundable hotel -- where is the benefit to that? Hotwire's advertising is deceptive, bottom line, no matter how much you want to defend them.

By the way even Hotwire's own PARTNER site Tripadvisor lists this VERY SAME exact Holiday Inn Express as a 2* (even less than Hotwire)



jlc9764 on 03/07/2008:
You should consider a class action lawsuit on this issue, definitely deceiving. They are not going to change it till it hits the corporate pocket books......
george94086 on 05/17/2008:
I have the same experience a few days ago. I should read this review before I made the booking from hotwire.com. They have false ad. on their website to mislead me that I can save 41% ($67 per night)if I make the hotel booking through them, but after I made the final purchase, the end-up result shows I only save $25 per night for a hotel which has quite a few negative feedback showing on the expediate.com custom feedback site. After I talked to hotwire.com custom care people, they only give me the so called $25 hotdollars credit which I can use within one year if I make the booking from them again. I'm not satisfied with this outcome and I've talked my credit card company (Citibank), they said they're going to dispute this transaction for me. I hope more and more people can be aware of this kind of false and misleading commercial behavior on hotwire.com. They don't honor their promise and their business model, which is very bad.
brem52 on 07/21/2008:
Just got scammed by Hotwire myself. I've stayed at hundreds of hotel, everything from 1 star to 5 stars so I know what is expected within a certain star rating.

My husband & I went to Madison, WI for the weekend to a benefit sale. I found a "2 star" hotel on Hotwire for a very low rate that was just down the road from the sale. Bought it & found out it was some unknown brand.

Got there & was disgusted by the filth! Mold every where, blood on the wall, bugs in the bed. You name it it was there. I wasn't expecting the Ritz after buying only 2 star, but I DID expect a CLEAN room from a RELIABLE hotel like advertised on Hotwire. I wouldn't have even given this hotel 1 star...that would be too nice!

I'm fighting the "all sales are final" policy now with the BBB since PayPal can't do anything about it.

Everyone should watch out for Hotwire. I used to have good luck with their services, but if they're allowing junk hotels such as the Road Star Inn to list with them than they will be losing my business & many others also I'm sure!

You can't sell nasty rooms even as 2 stars...that's false advertising & it's illegal to sell something & give your customers something else.
TK on 07/12/2011:
It is true what this person is saying about Hotwire. I had a similar experience with Hotwire's rental car. I actually ended up paying more for a mid size car through Hotwire than renting it directly through the rental company. Please look at the charges that is classified as tax recovery and fees. They won't tell you or give you the breakdown of what those charges are and customer service will not help even to tell you what those charges consist of. From my calculation, my vehicle rental was approximately $134.00 for 4 days and Hotwire charged me $93.45 for so called tax recovery and other fees. Some will say it was my fault for not looking at the total charges, but you know something is going on if they can't even tell you what those charges consist of. I will never use Hotwire again, ever.
Jb on 11/06/2013:
I bought a 2-1:2 star in Yuma az like the Sheraton or comfort in. It was a run down Americas Best. I sent pictures of trash lower price at office rust and mold and got the blah blah blah. I am going to dispute the credit card
Alex C on 12/22/2013:
BEWARE WHEN USING HOTWIRE. They may provide cheap bookings and on the whole they were good value for money, but that does not excuse failing to help when things go wrong.

We booked a car through Hotwire and pre-paid the full amount (we even printed off the e-voucher saying that we had), unbeknownst to us, the payment was withheld by our card company for 24 hours as part of normal fraud precautions as we were travelling. The following day the card company contacted us and asked us to authorise the payment. Too late! Hotwire had cancelled the booking! This would have been acceptable had they then not failed to tell us for the next 13 days until we arrived at the airport and were unable to pick up a car. We were forced to book a car on the spot (at crazy prices as you would expect) as Hotwire said they would not help.

Upon returning to the UK and raising the complaint it took 3.5 months and a huge volume of emails and calls (they charge you 14p per minute just to rub it in!) by myself to eventually get them to offer to pay some of the DIFFERENCE in cost!

So be warned, I agree that they may be the cheapest option but they will not think twice about leaving you hanging if something goes wrong, EVEN IF IT IS THEIR FAULT!
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Poor and Rude Customer Service. Fail to Provide the Offer Service That Promoting Their Website, Refused to Made Any Change or Retu
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
CAMAS, WASHINGTON -- Filed on : January 21 2014

Filed by :
Paula Odia
3616 NW Oregon CT
Camas WA 98607

Filed against :
Hotwire
655 Montgomery St Ste 600
San Francisco CA 94111-2627

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 1:15pm, and taking off to return to my city (Portland OR) at 3:35pm. 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 Clarissa “N”, 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 hors late, Clarissa deny doing any change on my ticket, so I asked to Clarissa to cancel this ticket and return my money, explaining her that the service that this company offers in 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.
     
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Soaring Consumer on 01/23/2014:
DOT regulations mandate that you have the right to cancel a non-refundable ticket within 24 hours of purchase without penalty. Dispute the charge with your credit card.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Consumer Beware: Hotwire Voided My Flight Reservation W/o Notice
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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 there 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, your 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, lets 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.
     
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Chevyfan1234 on 12/17/2013:
Always book directly with the airline. Frontier Airlines has dirt cheap flights to Chicago from Mercer County Airport (Trenton Nj) or wilmington Delaware.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Terrible Experience
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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.
     
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Pete on 11/10/2013:
Sorry for your loss and the problem with your son getting back.

"...come home as soon as possible, as cheap as possible." I did a random date search from JAX to IND. Departure 11/12/2013 - Return 11/16/2013. Delta: $881. Hotwire: $379. USAirways: 12 flights $325 or less.

Never accept a 3rd party site's fares without checking directly with the airlines.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Car Rental Hell
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
I made car reservations back in may 2013 for pick up and drop off in Las Vegas and in July 2013 my nephew was in a serious motorcycle accident in California and I live in Georgia as well as my husband and mother. Well my mother needed to get to California and was already headed to Vegas with my husband and I. I had all airline tickets to depart from California so I could take my mother to help her daughter and grandson.

My nephew just graduated high school in June with a scholarship to play football at university of Hawaii this August. They wanted proof he was my nephew told me to have my sister leave ICU while he was in surgery and go home and find his birth certificate showing my sisters maiden name and send in my birth certificate with my maiden name. I told them days later I could not get her to leave and do this, so they insisted I got a letter from the hospital.

After I was finally able to get this letter, my sister also text me a copy of the birth certificate. I also had my contract that clearly stated with the extra insurance I purchased for unforeseen circumstances I could cancel and have money refunded. I just wanted a different drop off location and couldn't do it. I faxed everything and received an email stating they hope my nephew is doing better but are still unable to refund my money... I called them up and they said they still are unsure its my nephew and they needed a release date which was stated in the letter as unknown.

I argued with them and they reluctantly agreed to refund my money after over 10 hours on the phone and countless hours of wasted time locating this stuff and stressing my family out. Needless to say this past Monday my nephew had his leg amputated from the thigh down:( so very unhappy!
     
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Pete on 08/28/2013:
Hope all is OK. This is a big reason to deal directly with the rental companies.
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StarStarStarStarStar
Mystery Discount Hotels are a great way to Travel
Posted by on
Rating: 5/51
I have been using Hotwire to book hotels on my travels for the past year and not once have they let me down. First time I tried this was in New Orleans where I booked a mystery 3+1/2 star hotel room near the NOLA airport for roughly 62 dollars. After the hotel was revealed, I was pleasant surprised that it was a Hilton Double-Tree. Service was great and the free cookies were awsome. Since then I have always used Hotwire to book hotels in my travel. '

The majority of the time, I elected to book 3 to 3+1/2 star hotels and have paid no more than 70 dollars/night (average around $60-$65 per night) for a hotel. The majority of the time, the results of the hotels are either a Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, or Hilton Double Tree. Only exceptions were on a trip once to Gatlinburg, we rented a 2+1/2 star hotel and was revealed to be a Days Inn by the River which was a very nice place but the ceilings in the room were a bit dirty. The other exception was on a trip to Baton Rouge where we booked a mystery 2 star hotel for 45 dollars which turned out to be a Red Roof Inn in which I was not impressed with.

All in all, I am very pleased with most results and with the company. The suspense of finding out what hotel and where you are staying is also pretty fun. Only word of advice is to aim for mystery hotels of at least 3 stars to ensure getting a nice hotel. One other thing is that you usually do not know what kind of room you are getting or how many beds are in it. So if you are traveling with another guy and want to ensure that the room has 2 beds, just put that you have three people in your party so that they have to give you two bed (I've heard from friends who have received a room with 1 bed due to assumptions that they were traveling as a couple).
     
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jktshff1 on 05/31/2012:
Will wonders ever cease?:)
trmn8r on 05/31/2012:
I admire your sense of adventure.
Mike on 08/16/2012:
Sooner or later Hotwire will leave you stranded.
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Not the Lowest Price, Poor Customer Service
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO -- Do not book with Hotwire. After their recovery charges I paid MORE than the cost of booking with the hotel itself. When I called customer service, "Stephanie" was literally the rudest person I have EVER had the displeasure of speaking with. Stephanie laughed at me when I expressed frustration, refused to transfer me to a supervisor after I asked at least 30 times (this is NOT an exaggeration, they can check the tapes), tried to refuse to give me her name, laughed at me again when I explained that it was mathematically impossible to pay MORE in taxes on a rate that was LESS than the hotel website and then, when I asked for her id number so I could report her poor service, she told me she didn't have one.

I then asked how I would report her if she were to tell me "screw you" in the course of our call (NOTE: I did not curse) and she told me I needed to act like a lady. When I explained again that I did not wish to wait on hold to speak with a representative who actually would connect me with a supervisor (she told me that was the only way I could because she was not allowed) she put me on hold. When she came back she asked how long I had waited on hold and I told her 5 minutes. She said "then you're lucky." I was furious. I asked her if she was proud to do her job because it did not sound like it. She laughed at me. I forced her to say that she was refusing to send me to a supervisor and when she agreed I told her I was unsatisfied with her service and that she had not helped me at all.

My agency of 30+ people will NEVER, EVER use Hotwire. Not only because they did NOT give me a lower total price (and that may very well be covered in the T&C to cover their rears but it's poor business and I should know, I work in marketing and branding) but because their customer service is horrible AND they are unwilling to undercut their own profit by $2 to make a customer satisfied.
     
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BigAl on 03/22/2012:
It is almost always cheaper to make your own resevations rather than using a service to do it for you. It is usually less complicated and has a lesser chance for mistakes. With the wonders of the internet it boggles my mind why these companies can attract business.
Ellen on 03/22/2012:
I purchased one night at a 3-star hotel in East Lansing, Michigan (the highest star rating available in that area) through hotwire.com. After completing the purchase, I was informed that the hotel would be Candlewood Suites. When I researched reputable reviews on this hotel (tripadvisor), I discovered that they have a significant (recent) problem with bedbugs. I called Hotwire to inform them that a hotel with a significant bedbug problem cannot be a 3-star hotel, but they refused to refund my money or change my hotel. This bait and switch tactic is unacceptable. DO NOT USE HOTWIRE - EVER!!! Stick with Priceline - they do their homework.

jonthethird on 03/24/2012:
I travel quite a bit, and have found that after totaling up the fees, etc charged by third party bookers, the cost of the hotel is less by going direct. AND you have the comfort of knowing what hotel you are staying at. The hotels are more inclined to give you upgrades also. One can also benefit from the frequent guest programs.
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