I would like to share a disappointment I recently had with Priceline.com that will hopefully serve as a warning to other travelers.
As a retiree my wife and I have enjoyed traveling across the United States, internationally, and sometimes even close to home. For many years I have found utilizing Priceline.com’s “name your own price” a great way to find quality hotel rooms at a discounted price, however, recently I had a very startling, and expensive, experience utilizing Priceline. Because of this experience and my exasperation with Priceline’s customer service function about the issue I will no longer use them under any circumstances.
Recently my wife and I, and another couple, decided to go to Palm Springs. Rather than it being just a day trip we all decided to plan on spending the night there. With those plans in mind I volunteered to make the hotel arrangements for two rooms stating that I “always had a good experience using Priceline.com’s ‘name your own price.’” I went to their website and sorted through the selection options choosing a four star hotel with a “bid price” of $65.00 (plus tax) per room for two rooms, one night. I deliberately and intentionally did not select the “Resort” category because time would not permit us to utilize any of the resort facilities and we preferred a standard hotel for our stay. My bid price of $65.00 (plus tax) was accepted, however, they had “upgraded” my selection to a resort (Hyatt Grand Champion’s Resort). When utilizing the “name you own price” feature you are committed to purchasing the room if your bid price is accepted and your credit card is immediately charged the accepted price plus tax, so one is “committed” to the hotel selection that accepted your bid price.
Upon checkout at the Hyatt Grand Champion’s Resort we were accessed an additional $25.13 per room as a “per day, per room resort fee” which is a standard billing practice of the resort (which is one reason I deliberately avoided selecting a resort as an option when I made my original on-line selections at Priceline.com). The addition of this “resort fee” significantly changed the per night cost of each room, an increase of 38.7% over the accepted bid price. Not only was I disappointed and upset about this additional charge I was also embarrasssed in front of the other couple as I had proudly boasted of getting a “great price” via Priceline.com.
My calls and written communications to Priceline have obviously fallen on deaf ears….all their customer service function seems to be able to do is to read prepared text responses to customer issues and concerns. I feel the issue resides with Priceline and not the resort as Priceline guaranteed me the room(s) at the accepted bid price plus tax. Priceline claims they reserve the right to “upgrade” whenever they so desire. This “reserved right” gives Priceline the opportunity to “bait and switch” whenever they so desire which is nothing more than a corrupt business practice on their part. If they allow their participating hotels to add on additional fees, etc. that are not know at the time of “bidding” you never know what price you will ultimately be paying for the room. What prevents a participating hotel from adding fees of $50.00, or even $100.00?
Having failed to be able to resolve the issue of the additional “resort fee” charge with Priceline when a resort option was not selected, nor desired I find myself in the position of consumer choice. That choice being to never use Priceline again….but also to warn other travelers about the hidden “bait and switch” that Priceline pulls under the guise of an “upgrade” that can significantly increase the room price in a hidden manner. I have always defined a travel “upgrade” as being a nice plus without a price increase, evidently at Priceline it means “let’s get more money than we originally agreed to.” With Priceline.com’s “name your own price” you are not naming your price, you are agreeing to letting them “upgrade” you into a room that is far, far more expensive than you thought you had an agreed price for.
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT -- Our family has used Priceline for many of our trips... that will now cease.
Priceline does not appreciate it's customers nor do they care about delivering a high level of customer service.
We booked through Priceline for our last trip and things were going smoothly until we reached our second hotel in our stay. SURPRISE! I now have $60 to spend on parking for this hotel. There is absolutely no free parking. Nowhere did this disclaimer appear for this hotel on the itinerary or any way to de-select any hotels that do not offer free parking. For families who have planned out and budgeted their trips, this could be a big downer. If we would have stayed even longer, that price would be even more through the roof.
The hotel stated it's Priceline's problem, not theirs. They said we need to fight it with Priceline so that they give us this money back.
Priceline was called. First employee was unhelpful. Said that somewhere in the 100000 word hidden contract it says that incidentals is not covered. Incidentals is VERY understandable, but PARKING is not an incidental. PARKING is a necessity in order to stay somewhere. It should have given us an option to opt out of paid parking hotels if that's the case rather than hide a stipulation into their contract that parking is part of an incidental??
Since this was unacceptable for us that they did not want to reimburse us or offer us any type of incentive, we requested a supervisor.
Another employee was handed the phone. Under the impression we were speaking to a supervisor, we proceeded with explaining our situation again. Again, there was no desire to help us. They also said they weren't a supervisor and they have no supervisor to address our call. They told us we could write a letter via MAIL to the corporate office. When asked if they cared about our continued business, they basically beat around the bush and insinuated they didn't care and that it's our fault.
There were no kind words or incentives offered to make things right or to want us to stay a customer of Priceline. Everything that you will pay out of pocket that in real life are not incidentals, is your problem to deal with when you are already out of town. There's no management to oversee their employees on the phone or escalate an issue to. There's no customer service at all. In fact, they were pretty much outright rude on the phone and blamed us for everything. Aren't customers always right? Or at least they should be made to feel that way even if they are not. Not to basically make us feel like they are untrustworthy and we are stupid to fall for their tricks. Never again will we use Priceline. We rather use a service where everything is disclosed right up front without any surprises on our trips.
I have used Priceline.com in the past to book flights, hotels and car rentals. I have even had the thrill of getting what I considered to be some really good deals...up to 49% off the published rates on other "deal" websites.
Unfortunately, I feel victim to the biggest pitfall with the Priceline process today. I had booked a car rental for an upcoming trip through Priceline. Unfortunately, the dates of my trip had to be changed - the client company that I was visiting had some schedule changes and could no longer accommodate the original date of our planned meeting. I quickly called my hotel to change my reservations - no problem. I visited the Southwest Airline website to change my flights - no problem (but it did cost me some additional money due to the rate change). But when I reached out Priceline.com, I received nothing but problems.
Because I had used the name your own price bidding module for my car rental, I was told that I could not change the reservation dates or cancel the reservation. How much sense does this make? I am being charged $76.05 (total price with all taxes a good price for a standard size car rental at BWI), but I am receiving nothing for my money.
The Priceline associates that I spoke with said, "you should have read the contract page more closely...there is nothing we can do to help you". I say - BOLOGNA!!! How can they charge a fee and not provide a service or product in return? I understand that I received the opportunity to "make my own deal" - but is it worth $76.05 to negotiate a deal and then not be able to take advantage of that deal? I am outraged and I will never use their service again.
In the meantime, I have had to reserve another car for the new dates of my meeting. I'm paying nearly 25% more because I had to book a car direct and not "name my best price"...so I am out both my original bid (with additional taxes) which totals $76.05 and I have to pay for another car.
Buyer Beware! I, for one, will not use this service again until Priceline changes their policy on allowing changes to reservations.
I am going to Las Vegas on Friday for my 24th birthday with my friend who shares the same birthday(she turned 21). I decided to use Priceline since William Shatner is their spokesperson and I didn't think he would put his name behind such a terrible company.
You know that adage, "the customer was always right?" Well Priceline has never heard of it. When I was making my reservation I was able to pick the location I wanted I chose "ON THE STRIP" seconds after submitting my price I got an email that my reservation had been booked in a hotel MILES away from the strip.
I immediately called in(within seconds of receiving my confirmation email). The representative was from a 3rd world country and barely spoke any English(of course). After explaining my situation to him he basically told me I was SOL and became very rude when I demanded that he fix this issue. He told me there was no way that he was going to refund my money and there was no way he was going to change my reservation to a hotel on the strip like I had requested.
I have booked a hotel through Travelocity now(ON THE STRIP) and it actually ended up costing me less than Priceline wanted me to pay to stay at a hotel OFF the strip and I have placed a stop payment on the transaction with Priceline and they will not see a SINGLE PENNY from me.
Like a good consumer I book my tickets in advance. This particular occasion booked a flight 3 months in advance for my soon to be mother in law so she could come and spend time with our newborn. Two months later, to the day, I get a call from a Priceline representative stating that the flights had changed so my tickets were longer good. He did say he was pleased to tell me he was able to secure a full refund... what? I went on about how I booked in advance to ensure that I received the best deal possible and this was only $5 less than Southwest. (Only $5, but it's better in my pocket than someone elses =0) and now 3 weeks from the departure I'm told I have no ticket and there is nothing they can do. I said, her dates are flexible surely you can find alternate flights, we're open to other options (knowing finding a decent rate this late in the game would be tough). He stated that the rules an regulations of the name your price don't allow the change of dates. I asked who's rules, he said Pricelines... So your telling me you sold me a ticket, which you now cannot provide, and you are restricting yourself from finding me alternate flights when I'm being so flexable??
A business with good customer service would recognize that they have messed up and take it upon themselves to make things right, even if it's at their own expense. So I asked for a supervisor, and got Mary. She stated the exact same things as if reading it from a script. She again let me know how lucky I was that I got a refund. Shame on you Priceline....
That's my story. To sum it up, I will be forced to pay for overpriced tickets because I trusted Priceline. Remember, that just because they charged your card and you have a confirmation which you are not allowed to cancel, it doesn't mean anything. If something happens, you are on your own...
HONOLULU, HAWAII -- I've just had a horrible experience dealing with the customer service at the Priceline.com to include even the supervisor [snip]. It seems as though they have a "script" in front of them to only respond a certain way when people call them up with a concern. With all of them (1 company rep, 2 customer service rep, and a supervisor), they had neither the compassion nor the willingness to help a customer out except to say, "I am sorry, Mr. but the policy is that you can neither change or cancel this reservation." I used this service one or twice before but this would be the last time I would ever use this service again. I was planning a business trip and I was intending to take my family along with me, my wife and 3-month-old son. Well, something happened where now, neither I or my family wasn't going to be going on this trip. I called them a day later after booking the rental car reservation only to hear them say, "I am sorry Mr. but we cannot change or cancel this reservation." A reservation is a reservation to most of "customer caring" businesses except for the Priceline.com. I found out how people are frustrated with their service only after I had to deal with it myself. 85% of 262 people rated their service as poor.
Now, that says something about the quality of their service in this "people business." The phrase "Name Your Own Price" will have a bitter taste in my mouth for some time. Way to go...Priceline.com. You have just lost another customer dissatisfied with your service.
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT -- Be sure to read screens and offerings carefully. Amenities are not guaranteed when using 'Name you own price' tool. Free breakfast and free internet on one screen may not be shown in the next, what they refer to as contract. Contacted customer service. I offered to take a different location. Reservation can NOT be changed or canceled. Escalated to customer relations. Same outcome after one hour of waiting on hold. They offered mailing address to file complaint. What you see is not what you get. Beware.
This company has the "WORST" customer service I have ever seen. It sounds like they are reading off of que cards. They can't guarantee anything and the hotel even said "they hate" third party companies and Priceline is the worst. Don't even think I will show up for my reservation as I am not sure what I will get. There goes my money down the drain.
Name Your Own Price sounds great on the surface. This pricing system that seems advantageous to the consumer is actually the very opposite. Imagine a bank taking half a penny from each bank account they have. They will make a small fortune. Imagine a travel company asking consumers to bid on hotels in a market that is opaque i.e. the hotel and market price of the hotel is vague at best. This travel company will be getting a lot of inflated bids (the bid was more than the market value of the hotel). How many half a pennies do you think Priceline has taken?
I have used Name Your Own Price at Priceline many times and have been very happy with the results. On my last trip, I used Name Your Own Price and got a very nice hotel but it does not have an airport shuttle. I needed the shuttle to transport me, two small grandchildren (3 and 5 years old) and lots of luggage. By the time I priced Super Shuttle for 3 people back and forth to the airport, I realized I could rent a car for that price. So on top of my bid for the hotel I had to add a car, something I never needed to do before. Then when I got to the hotel, I had to pay $30.00 extra per day to have two beds in the room. In the past, the other hotels I have used just gave me two beds. Needless to say, by the time I added together the initial hotel cost, plus the extra per day fee and the car, this trip me a lot more than I expected to pay.
What do I expect? I think Name Your Own Price should have a place to incorporate Hotel Shuttle Service and how beds need to be in the room before you place your bid - otherwise you could end up with a very expensive bargain.