Real life example of their low price claims: Hi, I have stayed at a hotel reserved via Hotwire, reservation #: xxxxxxxx. For this reservation I was charged 264.74. When I was checking out from the hotel, I was given a receipt for 192.62. There's about 70 difference. I kindly would like to request from you:
I have faxed to you both receipts along with a letter using fax # ** on April 15th. I also spoke to a customer support person on April 15th and she told me that to avoid confusion Hotwire asks hotels not to reveal the actual rate to the customers and that she apologizes for this incident but told me that Hotwire wouldn't be able to reimburse me the difference. This made me to believe that 70 was in fact the amount which Hotwire charged me for the Internet booking service. That seemed pretty high charge. That seemed pretty high charge and is spite to your pledge
found on: http://www.hotwire.com/customer-care/index.jsp.
Savings off the lowest retail hotel rate we've found in the last 24-48 hours for the same neighborhood, star rating, and stay dates. I'm not asking for "Double the difference", only for the difference. Please let me know ASAP what would be your decision in regards to this matter. Thank you.
The hotel receipt shows the total and final cost of staying there. So your claim that taxes are not included into that
bill is baseless and false. It appears that the ~$70 difference between yours and the hotel's bill, all constitutes your booking cost. It seems to be a bit excessive comparing to the industry median.
Second, your advertised "Double the Difference" rule states, that if I would find a comparable hotel in the same area and the same dates, for lower price, you'd double the difference. In fact, I found the same hotel for the same dates for lower price. I appears to me that you have decided not to honor your own "Double the difference" pledge. If you would like to add anything to your previous statements, please do so. Otherwise, thank you for explaining your business practices to me.
WASHINGTON -- I was driving to Yuma Az, so decided to use Hotwire, got scammed the very first time. They show you pictures of nice hotels but when we got there it was an old motel. We went to the check in, show the room and canceled. As for the price we were paying it was not worth it. For almost same price we stayed at another name brand hotel. Also Hotwire will not refund once you book it.
We booked two rooms for 4 adults and 4 children. Not sure how Hotwire can get rooms where smoking was allowed. We could not enter into rooms, so tried booking rooms in other hotels. After requesting so many times and waiting for 30 minutes got one non-smoking room. All 8 people had to sleep in one room. Some on bed and some on floor.
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.
NEW YORK -- Do not use! Hotwire gives you the opportunity to pay more by using a "low price guarantee" that compares apples to oranges. Hotwire never has to honor this so-called guarantee. Point being, Hotwire requires payment upfront, however Hotwire won't consider doing so with the supplier directly equivalent. They always compare their price against less restrictive terms. Pretty clever - buyer beware - in fact, I suggest buyer go elsewhere!
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.