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139 reviews & complaints.

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Lack of Customer Service
Posted by on
This is the email that I sent Hotwire after speaking with 2 customer service reps and a manager not asking for a refund, but simply asking them a change in location:

Until this evening, I have had no complaints about Hotwire. I have been happy with the services that I have paid for through Hotwire and have received what I have requested and paid for until today. After making a hotel reservation for near the Detroit Airport by selecting DTW, but being placed in downtown Detroit, I called customer service, not to receive a refund, but to be relocated to a hotel near the airport as I had selected because I do not have the transportation to get downtown. I had 2 customer service reps suggest that I take a taxi. When I told them that not only was the issue one of transportation to the downtown hotel, but also financially I could not afford to pay a cab to the hotel 18 miles from the airport which is why I selected DTW, their response was that my circumstances did not merit your company to honor my request for a change in hotel. I believe that not honoring what I requested is having no merit. I again was not asking for a refund, but to simply honor what I had requested.

I know you have rules, regulations, and policies to abide by and I respect that, but I also know that sometimes there can be extenuating circumstances that allows for those policies to be over ruled as in with most businesses. This was a situation that your management could have made a judgment call that allowed a family impacted by the economy an opportunity to have one less stressor, not by refunding any money, but by simply providing what I paid for which is a hotel closer to the Detroit Airport so that I would not have to spend extra money taking a taxi 18 miles further which will cost me about what I will pay for the hotel you routed me.

Thank you for the forum to voice my comments not that I am looking for anything to come of it, but that when your representatives and management speak of merit, they should talk from a place from which they show it. I will post this comment on every website that I found that has launched other complaints about your service and email, face book, and twitter everyone I know and ask them to pass along my story. I hate that I had this experience, but I will not make the mistake of using your services again.
     
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Ben There on 2009-08-29:
Was the hotel in the map area shown?
ATJ on 2009-08-30:
I don't believe it was, but I cannot say for sure. The map showed the DTW area but did not pinpoint the hotel in that area.
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Booking Unknown Hotel Through Hotwire Is A Crapshoot. Hotel May Not Be As Hotwire Represents
Posted by on
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA -- Hotwire designated hotel class ratings are unreliable. Hotwire hotel specialist ignored information that "three star" hotel placed guest in one star accommodation.

The Hotwire customer is one bad roll of the dice away from a bad value deal, particularly when the hotel booking is for multiple nights. Since Hotwire quotes only the price, general location and a designated star rating of an unnamed hotel, the customer is especially reliant on Hotwire 1) that the hotel class rating is accurate, and 2) that the paid-in-advance Hotwire guest will not be placed in a sub par accommodation by the hotel.

My wife and I did not expect to get the nicest room when we booked a three star hotel through Hotwire, but we did expect to get a room and treatment commensurate with the star rating that Hotwire said we'd get. This did not happen when the hotel we booked turned out to be the Executive Inn and Suites in Oakland from June 10-13. While our expectations were met at three other Hotwire booked hotel stays, this was the only hotel that relegated us to second class hotel "citizen" status on account of our Hotwire booking. Although I emailed the hotel in advance of our stay requesting a room away from the traffic noise or one in the newer building if available (I had read the online reviews), the manager declined unless we paid extra; and so I know that better rooms were unoccupied. He then gave me a card for a special web promo offering a better deal (treatment?) my next stay if I booked directly instead of through Hotwire. We were not advised of the superior amenities and fitness room in the new section of the hotel either at check-in or by info provided in the room.

The accommodation and amenities we received did not measure up to the three star rating that Hotwire claims is based on "family style rooms" and "on-site dining". None of the hotel website photos depict the older hotel building room in which we were placed. Our dark and dingy room, too small for even a closet, overlooked (in order) Embarcadero Drive, I-880 and a busy rail line. The steady drumbeat of vehicle and train traffic noise made it nearly impossible to sleep past 6:30am. Our so called family room was so bad that it would have most likely gone unoccupied in the absence of a Hotwire paid-in-advance guest. The continental breakfast selections were not comparable to the hot food and fresh fruit choices that are now common in many budget hotels like Comfort Inns. While the coffee and juice selections were good, the lone hot food dish was the self serve waffles, which were not as good as those at a Comfort Inn in San Diego where we stayed. The pastries tasted no better than 1-2 day old packaged pastries from Safeway. The silverware was plastic and the coffee cups styrofoam. There was no fresh cut-up fruit.

On our return home, the Hotwire hotel specialist refused to even look at my fax indicating that this so called three star hotel was overrated. He said "We just gave this hotel its annual rating of three stars on June 12th." When I pointed out that the 12th was the last night I stayed there, and I didn't even email my information until the 24th, he made no offer to reconsider. While apparently reading from a script, he just kept repeating "Hotwire is confident that the hotel star rating for this hotel accurately reflects the quality of accommodation and amenities provided."

Hotwire does not back up its own star rating description guide claim that it determines its star ratings by "customer feedback" and that it "adjusts its ratings accordingly." Moreover Hotwire's claim that it "researches and acts on customer rating concerns" is contrary to my experience. Perhaps this is because the Hotwire star ratings guide promises to compensate hotel guests who have stayed at a Hotwire booked hotel within 60 days of a downgrade.

I was not even looking for compensation when I contacted the Hotwire hotel specialist, just a reason to believe that if I ever booked a hotel through Hotwire again that I could rely upon the star rating promised to reasonably reflect the quality of accommodation received. This did not happen. So book through Hotwire at your own risk.
     
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dan gordon on 2008-07-05:
suggest you consult bidding sites such as betterbidding.com or biddingfortravel.com next time. They have active member forums who exchange info on frequesntly offered hotels so your not bidding as 'blind.'
Jen. on 2012-07-21:
Agreed! Booked a 2-3 star hotel and it turned out to be a dump barely 1/2 a star.
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Hotwire Overcharging - Beware - Stay Away
Posted by on
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: 1.
Explanation in writing of this difference 2. Reimbursement of the
difference. I have faxed to you both receipts along with a letter using
fax # 262.364.2419 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 and is spite to your pledge
found on :

http://www.hotwire.com/customer-care/index.jsp: Hotels
rooms, beds, details, city areas, amenities, special service requests,
hotel properties, pricing, discounts, check-in, parking, Double the
Difference Guarantee, international... and : Hotel: 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,


Hotwire response:

Dear Sergey,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your stay at the Holiday Inn
Frisco Summit County, Hotwire Itinerary Number xxxxxxxxx.

I understand the receipt you received from the Holiday Inn Frisco
Summit
County shows a different rate than what you paid on Hotwire. I regret
the disappointment this caused you.

Just as you have been advised during your call to us, I can assure you
were not overcharged. The hotel showed you the Hotwire rate, before all
taxes and booking fees were added. These rates are specially negotiated
for Hotwire, and are generally far lower than the available rates
presented to hotel customers booking directly.

Our rates are non-commissionable, meaning hotels do not pay us for
bookings; instead we apply our booking fee and state taxes to the rates
they offer us. Some of our partners with higher retail rates can offer
us extremely low rates since we book rooms in bulk. Even with our
booking fees applied, we still offer the lowest available rates, and
back this up with our Low Price Guarantee.

Hotwire is unable to reimburse you for the difference in these rates.
The amount on the hotel receipt was not a publicly available rate for
you to book, and therefore does not apply for our double the difference
back offer.

We ask our hotel partners do not disclose the Hotwire rate on their
receipts, as it leads to confusion. We will address this with the
Holiday Inn Frisco Summit County to prevent this situation from
occurring in the 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,

Dave M
Hotwire Customer Care
www.Hotwire.com



Response to their response:

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.


     
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User Replies:
Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-04-16:
Were you under the impression that Hotwire was some sort of non-profit organization? You got the price you did because of Hotwire's buying power - you are trying to take advantage of a paperwork error by the hotel.

If you had gone to the hotel's web site before your stay and you had received a lower quote, then you might be able to argue with them about their guarantee - but you didn't do that. You were apparently pleased with the Hotwire price when you got it.
FoggyOne on 2008-04-16:
Always check rates for anything (plane travel, car rental, hotels) at the company sites before using a 3rd party agency, otherwise, you have no benchmark on which to make a decision other than "they said they were the best".
MSCANTBEWRONG on 2008-04-16:
Always book directly with hotels and avoid these "lowest price" 3rd parties. It will save a lot of headaches in the long run.
carlm on 2008-06-27:
Amazing how the firt post to a complaint is always a shill for Hotwire. These guys are sleaze! Stay away. They take responsibility for nothing. Disregard the first post to any complaint.
Ponie on 2008-06-27:
How about the second and third posts? Are they also shills? Or are they possibly people who know how third party hotel reservations actually work?
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Do Not, I Repeat Do Not Plan A Vacation Or Any Holiday Or Get Away, Using This Company.
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA -- Hotwire is NOT THAT COMPANY, I assure you.

You may have used them in the past and everything worked out fine. . . . . but when things go sideways. . .. as they always can do with Travel and Vacation Planning. . . . .get ready for The Nightmare of your Lifetime

No Customer Service.

On Hold for 45-60 minutes.

Zero Compensation for your inconvenience

Zero Accountability

Nobody's a Supervisor

They won't do [snip], even though they totally [snip] you. . .. and now you're sitting in some airport terminal watching bags go around and around on the baggage claim thing while your 2 weeks of vacation for the WHOLE YEAR are ticking away.

Strap it on baby. . . .it's going to be a long ride with Hot Wire. . .better yet.. . . Just never give them you business in the 1st Place. . . .There's plenty of quality companies out there. . .these guys will ruin your whole day, week and vacation.
     
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Never Again
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
I booked a round trip ticket. Plans changed. I had purchased the insurance they sell on the website. It is total garbage and a scam. Couldn't use it. Didn't take my outbound flight, and didn't realize they cancel the entire flight if you don't take the outbound flight. I guess that's my fault for not reading the fine print. But Hotwire only sent me one tiny notification email about the canceled flight, less than two days before my flight. It got buried in my inbox while on vacation. Showed up to the airport only to find that I didn't have a seat on the plane. Hotwire should have called or texted me when my flight was cancelled, or at least flagged the email they sent. I called customer service but they were completely useless.

Also, about 3 weeks prior to this mess, they changed my flight time. The new time didn't work for me, so I called Hotwire to have them re-book the outbound flight for a different time. They told me it couldn't be done. So then I called Delta and it took about 60 seconds to change the flight at no charge.

Hotwire is alright if you don't have any issues with your ticket, but if there is even the smallest issue or if you need to talk to customer service for any reason, Hotwire is completely worthless. That's the gamble you take w/ Hotwire, and you will eventually get burned if you even semi-frequently.
     
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Peter on 2014-09-04:
You learned 2 hard lessons. 1) if you cancel any leg of your itinerary all legs are canceled 2) buy directly from the airlines, if there are problems you only have to work with one person (the airline) rather than going through a 3rd party vendor.

Also, the insurance is usually only useful if you have a medical emergency not that you just changed your mind.
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StarStarStarStarStar
Facts About Hotwire
Posted by on
Rating: 5/51
OMAHA, NEBRASKA -- Those that complain about Hotwire on their travel refunds needs to STOP there Bitching!! Any Adult with half a brain knows when booking any flight or motel is a "HUGE" RISK. If YOU are NOT WILLING to risk maybe losing your money, by changing your plans than do NOT pay ahead of time. Every travel agency are ALL alike. The person Bitching about there delay cause husband's medical issues has VERY RIGHT to get FULL PROOF. Some people are NOT SMART enough to weigh out ALL the problems that might happen when booking their flights a head of time. Instead they want to bitch at Hotwire instead of admitting what dumb shits they really are...Maybe Hotwire needs to send this person a Bottle to calm her down...These ridicules messages needs to be deleted. You ALL at Hotwire are running a business and a good business at that...Amen and Amen!!
     
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Melissa shepard on 2014-06-06:
You must work for Hotwire !!!!
We were on a trip to FLA this March,and were charged by Hotwire and Alamo !!!
We had to return early,for very important reasons( we stayed 2 days and were charged the full 14 days,with both companies.
Who do you think you are to tell people to " stop bitching", you obviously never got screwed by them.
Funny this never happened on Orbitz.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Fraud
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- We just checked into a hotel in Los Angeles that we paid for through Hotwire. Hotwire billed it as a four star. What a total joke. We were told we were getting a four star, non-smoking room with free WiFi. Instead, we got a room the size of a shoebox that wreaks of smoke, WiFi which will only allow you to check your email but worst of all a room that is literally on the freeway. Even with the patio door closed and locked, the noise is unbearable and the hotel has no other rooms.

I called Hotwire and they told me that the only thing that they could do was offer us earplugs!!! Really? A four star hotel offers us ear plugs so that we can sleep through the freeway noise? To bill this hotel and this experience as a four-star one is nothing more than fraud!!! I will make sure to report Hotwire to every organization starting with the Better Business Bureau so that no one else has to deal with this experience!!! Never will I ever again give Hotwire one penny of my business. They should be ashamed of themselves.
     
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jonthethird on 2014-04-23:
People who book through Hotwire, Expedia, etc are NOT the guests of the hotel, but of the booking company. This means you get the lowest room available, the better rooms are taken by the hotels own customers.
Booking through the third parties may save you money, but do not expect the same quality room as if you direct booked.
BTW, if you call the hotel direct, you can often negotiate the same price as you get from the third party, as the hotel only gets 80% of the third party fees, and would like the full amount
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BEWARE - Hotwire Is Nothing But A Bait & Switch
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NEWNAN, GEORGIA -- I have an upcoming business trip to Newnan, GA and initially I searched on Hotwire for a hotel in this city. The most attractive alternative was a three star hotel for $79. I did not look at the hotel listing at that time. I did opt for their price watcher that sends an email to the customer if the price drops. I got an email form them about an hour ago in which Hotwire stated that a price drop had been detected and the three star hotel was now available for $49.

When I clicked on the link in the email Hotwire's site brought up all the hotels in Newnan, Peachtree City, Union City, Fairburn and Hartsfield Airport areas. The ONLY hotel in Newnan was a one star dump (I am very familiar with this area). Here's the rub - HOTWIRE DOESN'T HAVE A THREE STAR HOTEL IN NEWNAN THEREFORE THEY COULDN'T HAVE DETECTED A PRICE DROP. I called Hotwire's customer service and after a five minute conversation conversation asked to speak with a supervisor. Neither person was familiar with their offerings. What we have here is a classic BAIT & SWITCH to get people to look at their website and hopefully buy a more expensive room.

Oh, by the way we have a two star in Peachtree City for only $68 and a three star for $69. In other words bait and switch. Stick with Priceline or book directly but don't get ripped off by Hotwire.
     
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Hotwire.com Risk Management Fraud Scam
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
SAN FRANCISCO, FLORIDA -- I booked a room through Hotwire.com and paid in full. I got to the hotel and checked in. Hours later I was called by hotel management and asked to leave because Hotwire sent them a fax alleging my credit card purchase might have been fraudulent! My 83 year old grandfather and I were thrown out into a blizzard snow storm in 18 degree weather over 1,000 miles away from home. We had to have family Western Union us money to get us to another hotel because Hotwire didn't refund our money. After reading other complaints online it is clear that Hotwire kicks people out when the demand for a room is higher and prices can be increased. THIS IS CRIMINAL! I placed over 20 calls to their "risk management" department which goes straight to a voicemail and NO ONE HAS RETURNED MY CALL. I have left at least 15 messages and sent 5 emails. I want my $380 refunded. And I want them investigated. They deserve a class action lawsuit filed against them because they are greedily ripping off and embarrassing customers with allegations of potential fraud when really they are just using that as a clever ploy to resell rooms at a higher rate!
     
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jonthethird on 2014-01-25:
Book Direct: you can usually get the same rate and, as a customer of the Hotel, better rooms and service
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Account Blocked For Fraud? No Flights Booked But $ Taken...
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- While booking two airline tickets, upon finalizing my order, received error and according to them my account was deactivated for fraud?

On 1/7/14 I tried booking two round-trip tickets from Albany NY to San Juan, Puerto Rico (1/25-2/3/14). Upon completing the booking process, instead of receiving my confirmation of flights on the screen, an error message showed up saying there is a credit card issue. Immediately I checked my cc/debit card online account and long and behold, my card was charged $830.00 and $1 sales fee. I called them right away. Rep at Hotwire stated that my account has been activated for possible fraud and that it is now being handled by Risk Management dept. They gave me # and transferred and it went directly to voicemail. I tried 3 more times with Hotwire representative and each time they either hung up OS stated that you need to leave a voicemail and wait for them to call me back.

They were extremely rude and said we can't tell you anything, you need to speak to Risk Management. I called US Airlines as tickets are for their airline; they don't have me booked on the line and they did not charge my credit card for fare. It has been 3 days since all that happened and I have left about 5 voicemails to risk management and no one calls me back and Hotwire representative today again refused to do anything about my charges and to refund my money to me as there is NO ticket! According to their site, Hotwire does NOT charge credit card until booking is confirmed, but they did charge mine WITHOUT booking confirmation.

*** After flooding their VM, they have refunded the money into my account on 1/7/14. I will never do business with them.
     
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Obsfucation on 2014-01-07:
First, there is no such thing as a cc/debit card. Your card is either a credit card, or a debit card. From your description, you used a debit card. Never a good idea for an online transaction.

If it was indeed a credit card, just call them and they will reverse it immediately. If it was a debit card, call your bank and dispute the debit. They will generally give you immediate credit for the disputed amount, but it is conditional on their investigation before becoming final. Since you never got the tickets, it isn't likely that they would find any reason to reverse the charge.

You will *always* have more protection by using a credit card instead of a debit. As a general indicator, you should limit your debit card used to small, in-person purchases, or any purchase where you would have written a check in the past. Think of it as a replacement for writing a check.
Obsfucation on 2014-01-07:
One more thought, since you got your money back after 3 days, it is likely that Hotwire did nothing. On the original transaction, they placed a hold on your funds, but created no actual debit. (it is a two step process) Since your bank never got a debit to match the hold, they deleted the hold. This happens automatically, typically after 3 days, but can range from 1 to 5 days.
Cwazychicken on 2014-01-07:
Guessing what happened was something did not match on your card, and so is now on a hold. Your credit card should release that hold eventually..might take a couple days (at least with my bank card, it takes 3 days). Might take longer if they feel is a fraud investigation. It is a hassle but that's their security for you....They didn't get the money, its on a hold obviously since no ticket was bought. I had this same problem with kohls.com. They held 300 dollars of my money for 3-5 days. Then it was returned. Because I had wrong zipcode.
Derrick on 2014-01-08:
A similar thing happened to me this week, and I was a member of their alleged "Hotwire Express," which they say values their customers. When I complained that they allegedly had NO CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPERVISORS available to speak with me, per their frontline representatives, the next day my account wouldn't allow me to log in.

When I called, they said there was some "fraud" detected on my account. It seems that others who have complained about its poor service also have been deactivated.

I am filing a complaint with the BBB -- which remarkably has Hotwire as A -- and also the California Attorney General's Office. Others should do the same.
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