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Hotwire.com Dominates Con-Artistry
Posted by on
This is my letter of disapproval to Hotwire.com:

Hotwire.com Superiors and Affiliates,
With deepest regret, Hotwire.com 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 Ronald 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 Mikaela 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.
With Deepest Regrets,
Yours Truly,
Lindsey (last name withheld)
     
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Hotwire...ouch!
Posted by on
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:
Christopher S Cole 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 its 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 no where.

I spoke with a Supervisor Jennifer (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 web sites" 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?
     
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Never book with Hotwire.com
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
CALGARY -- So its my one year anniversary with my husband. We thought we would go away for the weekend to celebrate. So I booked a room with Hotwire for a 4 star hotel, the before price listed at $229, available for $158. So I booked the room, purchased travel insurance, as that seemed like a decent deal. After I purchased this, it was revealed that it was the Delta Royal Canadian Lodge. So I went online and looked at the rooms available at the Delta to try to see what kind of room I was getting. The standard room was listed at the Delta for the same days at $181, and the premier room was at $229. So naturally I thought that I would be in the premier room. So I call Hotwire to confirm the room they have booked me in. I am told it is the standard room. This is what they have told me in an email what their policy is.

" Hot Rates are booked based on the star rating, neighborhood and other details and so the crossed out rate we show before booking is an example based on published rates for similar hotels. The slashed out rate is not indicative of the specific hotel's published rates.

The savings are based on median published rate we've found on leading retail travel sites in the last 24-48 hours for the same neighborhood, star rating, and stay dates. Rates change regularly in the travel industry and we regularly check rates on other travel sites to ensure you are getting a great deal, backed by our Low Price Guarantee."

When I researched around a bit more, I compared prices on 4 star hotels in Banff on other websites, along with regular prices at 4 star hotels. The most expensive room I could find was listed at 180 a night for that time frame that I was booking.

So after I have called Hotwire, they have told me they cannot upgrade me to a better room that its up to The Delta to do that. I called The Delta, they are telling me that it is up to Hotwire to upgrade the room. So then I thought oh to heck with it, I purchased cancellation insurance. So I call the insurance company, they will not refund it for that given reason. It needs to be medical, provided by a examination, a terrorist attack, a death in the family, or the company going bankrupt.

So all of this means I could have gone to a different hotel paid the same price and gotten a way better room. I think this defeats the purpose of buying without knowing the hotel. I will now never ever book with Delta or Hotwire EVER again.
     
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"Could not be processed page" - CARD BILLED with NO BOOKING!
Posted on
My girlfriend and I attempted to book a Flight and Hotel with Hotwire, the total coming to approximately US$850. We put in our card details and clicked the button to complete. After a delay, a page came up informing us that the transaction could not process. My girlfriend checked the bank account to verify that there was enough money for the card, and suddenly saw that Hotwire had charged us $440 or so dollars, yet provided us with no booking.

After calling Hotwire to complain, at around 10pm PST, the absolutely hopeless call center person refused to do anything, and explained the charge was a "hold", which doesn't make sense to me, since before Hotwire I had only heard of Pre-Auths and Charges, but never "holds" that show up like transactions on your statement. He told me that the billing department was closed and to call back tomorrow.

Well tomorrow comes and my girlfriend calls, only to be told there's nothing they can do and to call up the bank to release the hold. So we're back to passing the buck around. Why can't Hotwire just refund the money like any other company would? Why is it so difficult to resolve something like this, and why is it acceptable for a company to take nearly $450 without providing a product or service?!

After calling the Bank, they informed us that it was indeed a hold, and that it would be five business days for them to complete an investigation. As I write this I am STILL out $450 dollars.

It seems like if anything goes wrong with Hotwire, or you're mistakenly charged, they can't do a damned thing about it. That should set alarm bells ringing for anyone else thinking of booking with them.

I have been buying things online for the past 10 years and have never experienced anything as horrible, unprofessional and corrupt as this disgusting company and, quite frankly, I hope that they go bankrupt.
     
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