Hotwire - Page 2

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1.2 out of 5, based on 82 ratings and
152 reviews & complaints.

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Hotwire does not take responsibility for its errors
By -

I just received a survey asking whether I picked up the rental car for Itinerary **. 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 (**) 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, ** #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.

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.

Replies Dominates Con-Artistry
By -

With deepest regret, and their affiliates have disappointed me to no avail. I am shocked and offended at how my vacation planning took place with the Hotwire team, and will NEVER seek your services again. To begin, my vacation was quoted at $910.64, Hotwire took my credit card number, charged it, and was authorized to $910.64 of my U.S. dollars. To my surprise I did not receive my vouchers or hotel info via email, as stated. I called my bank, collected all information pertaining to the $910.64 authorization, including the terminal ID and toll free number.

Upon calling the toll free number I sat on the phone or hold for an hour or more, just for the CSR to inform me the price had risen $51.00 and I would have to pay that amount, regardless of Hotwire already holding my account for $910.64, the initial price of the vacation package. I then had to wait another hour for my bank to straighten out the charge and release it. I was instructed to call back, not use the website, to book the vacation. I voiced concern to ** the CSR and he advised to ask to speak to a supervisor for a favorable outcome.

As it just so happens, I call back, lose connection with the first CSR, then call back and talk with a second CSR who listens to me, offers little help, so I ask for a supervisor. The supervisor via CSR offers a $50.00 coupon -BUT WAIT- the price has risen another $50.00! I could not believe my ears! Could this be real? Supervisor ** had no understanding, no ability to see the obvious error from Hotwire charging $910.64, then saying, "No, that's not quite enough. Make it another $50.00." If there were ever a scam this is it. It didn't happen once, but twice, IN ONE DAY.

By the end of my 6 hour debacle with Hotwire and their affiliates I had nearly $1000 dollars tied up and unusable for future transactions, and no vacation to show for, but a horribly orchestrated fear tactic that my vacation destination was rising $50.00 on the hour, so I better make my purchase now. On closing, I want to make Hotwire and affiliates aware of the current and future business they have funneled to the competition. I will no doubt pay $900-950 for this trip. I will gladly pay more to another company, just so long as it doesn't benefit Hotwire or affiliates. I will not use this site for future trips, which is 2-3 a year.

Lastly, I will make very certain every companion on the trips (June will be me and four friends, all of which no longer consider Hotwire or affiliates trustworthy). I intend on my network of other business owners, friends, and family knowing that above all, Hotwire dominates but one market, con artistry. Being a business owner, I know all too well the power of referral. I also know it takes ten good referrals to counter one really bad referral. Good luck with that.

By -

I recently used your site to complete a car rental using a debit card. The verbiage on the site as I started to book the car under the heading "KNOW BEFORE YOU GO" was as follows: The rental agency will require a credit card or debit card in the primary driver's name. Sufficient credit must be available for a deposit. Funds used for debit/check card deposits cannot be accessed until the car is returned. Amount of available credit required depends on car type, rental period, and optional items. If using a debit card for your deposit, contact the rental agency for its policy.

After receiving the confirmation the verbiage changed to the following: ** must be present at pick-up with a valid driver's license and a credit card with sufficient credit for a deposit. Amount of available credit required depends on car type, rental period, and optional items. Debit cards may not be accepted. Funds used for debit/check card deposits cannot be accessed until the car is returned. If using a debit card for the deposit, contact the rental agency for its policy. Some drivers presenting a debit card will need to show a roundtrip itinerary.

Now being that I selected that I was using a debit card and thought after reading the initial disclosure I thought I was going to be fine. After printing and reading the confirmation I was concerned. Not only did the wording change, but it was no longer an option for debit cards to be used.

As most travelers, I wanted to call and clarify, so I went to the source of the policy, so I could get a definitive answer. Especially after getting such a mixed sign from Hotwire. Alamo was very clear that there was no way for me to rent with a debit card since I did not have proof of a round trip ticket. Well, after requesting if I could add my father to the rental and use his credit card I was told "no they cannot be changed" and I would have to contact Hotwire.

That is where the fun began. I contacted the customer service line. I was informed that I would have to go to the airport to be "denied" and Hotwire would have to verify that fact. At that point, I would then be able to work on the refund process.

I think they are forgetting something, I need a car and having to travel to the airport to find out that no I can't get a car even after talking directly to Alamo today to find out it's not going to happen was not suffice for me to receive a refund. Not sure what sense it makes to have a customer travel there to find out something that we all already know, but that's the policy of Hotwire.

I need a vehicle for a week rental using a debit card and proof of full rental liability insurance through my local car insurance policy, but after several calls to Hotwire I have gotten nowhere. I spoke with a Supervisor ** (no last name provided) in Pensacola, FL and was explained that was Hotwire policy. She also indicated that if I bring another driver with a credit card to the counter that I might get it worked out. Not sure how comfortable you would feel handling the might work part, but obviously reading over your verbiage and seeing it change Hotwire is used to providing a service that might work or might not.

How they were ranked by JD Powers as the "highest customer satisfaction independent travel websites" I am just amazed. Given my experience with them in the past I was very pleased, but this is totally out of context and there's nothing that can be done?

Bottom line, my fiance flies in Wed 10/21 early am from Brazil and I need a car for a week. I am seeking assistance with a refund since I cannot use the current reservation provided and do not want to have to travel to TPA to be able to get this done. I have been a loyal customer to Hotwire and in fact you can see that I have about $1300 in travel on Nov 3rd already booked with you. Can someone provide a solution to this issue?

Do Not Use
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

I booked a car rental through 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.

Poor and Rude Customer Service. Fail to Provide the Offer Service That Promoting Their Website, Refused to Made Any Change or Retu
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

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 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 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 hors 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 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, 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.

Consumer Beware: Hotwire Voided My Flight Reservation W/o Notice
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
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 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 ( etc) to hold this company accountable for its poor and abusive business practices.

Terrible Experience
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
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.

Car Rental Hell
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
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 sister's 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 it's 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!

Mystery Discount Hotels are a great way to Travel
StarStarStarStarStarBy -
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 awesome. 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).

Not the Lowest Price, Poor Customer Service
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
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, "**" was literally the rudest person I have EVER had the displeasure of speaking with.

** 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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