Priceline Vacation Packages

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Lessons Learned
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800 CONNECTICUT AVE., CONNECTICUT -- I thought it would be easier and cheaper to book a vacation package from one place than to shop several different sites. I booked flight and hotel to Las Vegas for 2 people. Paid extra to upgrade room as the lowest rate room stated, "if you require a particular bed type, please select from other available room types." I called to the hotel to request a room with a king bed and provided my confirmation number. I was told that this request had to go through Priceline because I booked through Priceline. I called Priceline and spoke with Gina. She stated that my request would have to go through the hotel. I explained to her that I had already spoken to the hotel and that the hotel referred me to Priceline. Gina then informed me that she would put in the request but that the hotel reserved the right to charge extra if the my request were honored. I referred her to the website and she continued to insist that it only means "more spacious accommodations". I also inquired about when I should expect to receive the electronic tickets. She stated that the electronic tickets are in the airlines computer and that you must check in at the airport to receive the tickets.

The next day, I found that I could have booked the same flight through the airline and same room through the hotel for LESS MONEY. I called to request Priceline and spoke with Chris. After a lengthy delay in order for her to verify that I could indeed have saved myself money, I was told that the Big Deal Guarantee does not apply if you have to use another site in order to receive the guarantee.

Things I have learned from this experiece:
1-I will not receive credit for my airline miles since this was booked through Priceline.
2-I cannot check in for my flight in advance from the comfort of my home as I would have been able to do had I booked through the airline.
3-I paid for an upgraded room only to have the flight selected for me knock off 2 days in Vegas by having me arrive close to midnight on day one and leave in the early AM (0715) on the last day. According to the hotel, this will necessitate my calling the hotel prior to my flight departure so that they will not release my room due to the late hour of my arrival.
4-I cannot locate my airline or hotel reservations via the internet. This must be done via telephone.
5-I paid more money for less service.
6-I haven't even left for my vacation yet and I already feel that Priceline has done everything possible to ruin it by failing to honor their own guarantee and making all communications a MISERABLE EXPERIENCE.
     
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Ben There on 2011-04-10:
Priceline tells you all of theses things before you purchase Name Your Own Price packages.

As for the hotel not honoring your request, I use Priceline a lot and most hotels have no problem taking a room type request. However, a hotel does not have to honor the request just like they don't have to honor room type request when you book certain rates directly with the hotel.

As for your flight time, when you book a flight that Priceline says can arrive between 6am and midnight, it means just that.
getoverit on 2011-04-10:
I've never used Priceline. I've looked at it a few times but never did any bookings because of the kinds of disclaimers and conditions Ben refers to.

I guess I'm the kind of person that likes to know exactly what I'm committing to before I commit. I think that policy has helped me side-step a lot of sleazy hustles over the years.

Thaks for this review. It gives me all the more reason to stay away from Priceline.
momsey on 2011-04-10:
Great review. Tough lessons learned and I'm glad you're passing them on to others.
Ben There on 2011-04-10:
FYI, all electronic tickets are in the computer. You don't get any pieces of paper. You can check in online with e-tickets regardless of how you book your ticket - just go to the airline's website and use your record locator to log in.
dan gordon on 2011-04-10:
as above ask Priceline to provide the airline locator # then you can do everything you want. Unless its some weird airfare you should be able to give you miles, seat assignment and online checkin.
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Never again, this kind of con artists should be in jail
Posted by on
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT -- We were browsing the web for vacation packages to Hawaii in July. One of them we were considering was offered by Priceline. It was not “Name your price” or bidding kind of deal - I had spinal surgery in May so we couldn't risk any uncertainty.
I found a package that was in the area we considered appealing in Maui, not a 'discount’ price but it was OK. From the website I knew that the flight would be Delta and I knew the exact departure and arrival time that were OK with us. We also knew in advance the name of the hotel/condo.
I called Priceline and the nightmare started.
I asked the agent several times during the phone conversation and booking process if I could cancel the vacation if I needed to. I was assured three times that I could, so we proceeded.

The first suspicious sign was that he asked me what kind of warm lunch and dinner we would prefer and he gave us a pretty long list. But, I interrupted him - no US carrier serves warm food or any food on domestic flights any more in economy class! "Sure they do" - he answered, "just make your selection". (I have my itinerary to prove that I chose, as a whim, vegetarian).

While I was on the phone with the agent my husband was browsing Priceline's website and found another vacation package. Same departure date, same hotel, practically the same price but we could have stayed one day longer. So I asked the agent to switch me to that package. Alas, I was 2 minutes late because I gave him my credit card number 2 minutes before. So he said: it cannot be done. Why not? Well, Delta would allow you to cancel the flight but the hotel would not allow you to change the reservation. That was on July 21 and our departure date was on August 6, so I knew that he was lying.
I got so furious that I told him that I want to cancel the entire package. "Cannot be done" And either he hung up or I did.

In 5 minutes I called the hotel/condo and asked them about their cancellation policy. They had a 7 days cancellation policy with full refund and 1 night fee if one cancels 3 days prior to arrival. But I didn't want to cancel; just I wanted to add one additional day. They were flabbergasted.

I called my credit card company and told them the story and they promised me that they would help me and would resolve the case to my satisfaction. I am still waiting for an adequate resolution. I just received a copy of the bogus paper submitted to the CC company by Priceline that is total lie, deceitful and not a word written there is true.

They sent them a policy that is true only for "name your price" bidding and then submitted a bogus facsimile as if I was booking the package online. This company has no shame. I think I will send a copy of this fraudulent document to the State attorney.

Based on what I read above I am glad that we were not even tempted to go to this trip. Or, Priceline would be sued for serious hospital and surgery fees if anything went wrong.

I think it is high time to rename them Rip-off.com
     
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Anonymous on 2009-09-18:
You need to understand that what you're told and what's on the contract are different. Priceline's agent wants to make their commission so at times will tell you what you want to hear. The website tells you that the reservations are not cancellable.

When you called the hotel they gave you THEIR cancellation policy. You subjected yourself to Priceline's policy by booking through a third party agent. Now you know why that's not a good idea.
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Customer Service Ever heard of it?
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
ILLINOIS -- They were so nice to me on the phone and in customer chats until after I spent over $3000 with them. Than all of a sudden the things that had previously told me were no longer true. They couldn't let me talk to certain people. Was told I would receive calls and never did. When I emailed them they replied with we did contact and the issue was resolved. Which I never spoke with anyone and the issue is still standing. TWO of their employees told me that if I booked with them they would match my price multiple times as long as it was within 24 hrs of departure, and the itinerary was exactly the same. I complied with that and they will not match the price. BEYOND the fact of that they are just rude on the phone. I am treated so poorly. I actually had to explain click by click to one of the employees on how to find the vacation rate! Complete idiots!!
     
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Terrible Service, and a HUGE ripoff
Posted by on
Priceline is a terrible company that I would not recommend to anyone. I booked a vacation package a few weeks ago, that was quoted to include free show tickets. After receiving a confirmation email for my vacation, I noticed that the free show tickets were nowhere to be found in the package. I called their customer service department, which is outsourced to India, and has representatives that do not understand, nor can speak English, and explained to them my question. They said they would follow up with a phone call the next day, after reviewing my request. I received an email about an hour later saying that there never was anything that said free show tickets (though I printed the page that says it) and that I am not entitled to any. Then, when I followed up with a complaint about their bad service and fraud, I never heard anything back from them. NEVER USE THIS COMPANY
     
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Unauthorized debits
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I cannot begin to describe the anger and disgust I feel with this company right now. I used this site to search for vacation packages for my husband and I, so that we could take along awaited and well deserved trip for our 10 year wedding anniversary. Initially when I began to search, a lot of the packages appeared to be really well priced. When I finally came across one that caught my attention, I went ahead and attempted to purchase it. Within a few minutes of submitting the request, I received a notification stating that my reservation was not able to be processed because there was no longer any availability. I was okay with that and assumed that no charges had been made to my account. Well, that wasn't the case. Although, the reservation had not gone through, rather than placing a hold on my account for the amount, I later found out that the amount had been debited from it. You can imagine my surprise to find out that I was now over $600 less in my bank account and negative. When I tried to contact the airlines that had been authorized by Priceline to refund me the money they told me that they couldn't do anything because it had been processed by a third party and that I should get a refund within 8-10 days. WHAT!?!?!?!! That was unacceptable. I then contacted Priceline who in turn contacted my bank. Long story short I had to spend over an hour on a conference call with my bank and the Priceline representative trying to get my money back. Finally because my bank person was understanding and helpful they were able to offer me a temporary refund while they filed a complaint and dealt with the issues involving Priceline. I don't understand how something like this even happens when there is no confirmation of the purchase. A hold I can understand but a debit makes no sense. Needless to say the Priceline representative was no help and I am very disappointed with them. I don't think I will be using their services again ever and I will let everyone know what I went through.
     
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new57 on 2010-05-31:
Using a debit card is a major risk to your bank balance due to temporary holds and unauthorized debits.

Please use your credit card for major items.

My child recently ran into the same problem using her card buying disney world tickets online. They put the hold on twice effectively put her in negative amount, aka overdraft! I had to run to the bank to put money in.

This taught her to use her credit card for big purchases online.
Anonymous on 2010-05-31:
Excellent advice new57.
saj80 on 2010-06-01:
You stated that due to the $600 charged by Priceline you were overdrawn; didn't you make arrangements to have funds in the account prior to booking, in the event you found a package you liked and would have to pay for?
sitara on 2010-06-01:
In response to your question saj80, when I received an immdediate cancellation notice from the site stating my request could not be processed due to the change in availability, I continued to search and purchased another vacation package which is what put me in the negative because I was unaware that there had been a charge made. So yes I did have the necessary funds however, I did not have enough to cover two trip purchases and my regular bills. And I try not to use my credit card except for emergency purchases however that may be something that I need to do now.
goduke on 2010-06-01:
I'm hoping you hung onto that notification that the reservation could not be processed due to availability. That's your proverbial "smoking gun." Priceline should never have allowed any charge (or, I daresay, even a credit hold) to be placed upon your account. Even if they are only operating as a broker, they still owe a fiduciary duty to you to make certain that if you are charged an amount, you actually receive the services requested.

I think (not 100% positive) that Priceline is based in Connecticut. I'd be filing a complaint with the Attorney's General Office in Connecticut as well as the Attorney General's office for your home state, asking that they give you interest on the money the forced you to loan them (it's not a lot, but it's a principal thing), any overdraft fees, etc., and an explanation of why they allow customers' cards to be charged when no service is provided. Best of luck.
saj80 on 2010-06-01:
Thanks for the clarification. As you have found out, processing refunds and cancellations via third party booking agents is very difficult. A common mantra on this site is to book directly, as all major airlines offer vacation packages, and issues are more easily resolved working directly with the carriers. Also, I have booked vacation packages via American Express, and have had excellent results if I need to resolve an issue. Good luck on getting this resolved; it sounds as if you and your bank are doing everything possible to get this worked out.
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The price customer service rep. was idiot
Posted by on
Tried purchasing a vacation package with Priceline.com ,, the customer care representative was rude and mean. BEWARE before dealing with this company.
     
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Anonymous on 2011-01-27:
Why would you be dealing with a CSR on a self serve Internet booking outfit? I wonder what exactly was rude and mean about their service.
saj80 on 2011-01-27:
Agree 100% throwback; if you want personal service, go to a traditional travel agency.
tnchuck100 on 2011-01-27:
Content Rating: Insufficient Information
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Priceline vacation package? More like a disaster package
Posted by on
We decided to book a last minute vacation package to Miami on March 10th. Priceline offered a $425 package and it said on the hotel (Ramada) description that the hotel provides shutter to the airport. We arrived Fort Laudedale Airport and found out that there is no shuttle to our hotel, because the hotel provides shuttle to the Miami airport, not Fort Laudedale. Priceline did not consider the distance range, and the description of the hotel was misleading. We ended up having to spend $70 on taxi. ($140 round trip)
When we talked to the customer service, the wait was long, and it also gave us a lot of unnecessary information when all we wanted to do was talk to the representative. The representative was unsure and unhelpful. They offered to cancel the hotel and refund us, and would not give me an estimate of how much money refund they would give me. The transparency of the service is questionable. When asked if they could place us in a better hotel, they gave us a complicated route of having us to contact the hotel on our own, then call them back to confirm the cancellation. Then we could decide on either booking with the sale department which is on a different line or walk-in to a hotel nearby (which would be outrageously expensive).
I am surprised in this digital age, all they can provide me is this not well-thought, not streamlined customer service.
I am very disappointed at their services. The all-friendly-old-dude in their commercials is a misleading image. That was not a good deal at all.
     
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Anonymous on 2010-03-14:
If a Miami hotel offers shuttle service to the Miami airport, I wouldn't them to provide that service 22 miles away in Fort Lauderdale.
Ben There on 2010-03-14:
Flights into Fort Lauderdale are often cheaper than flights into Miami, and hotels by the Miami airport are some of the cheapest in the area.

You might think that Priceline would just turn off the ability to book a Miami hotel with a Fort Lauderdale flight, but lots of people actually want that combo. I have done it myself.

I am guessing you made the assumption that Miami hotels run shuttles to the both airports, and that is not the case as with Fort Lauderdale hotels. Did the hotel happen to have "Miami Airport" in the name?
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Beware Of Priceline's Gimmicks
Posted by on
INDIO, CALIFORNIA -- Beware my fellow travelers! Priceline has a deceiving gimmick with their "opaque" or best price package deals. When you select it appears you can choose your flight times when in fact all they will guarantee is that you will get there that same day. My honeymoon is now dampered as I will not arrive until 7:30pm in Hawaii missing a whole day not to mention the hotel. Here's the worst part there is no changing, or cancelling once you have selected and don't waste your time with calling the airlines direct they can't do a thing nor can your credit card company as everything is "technically legal" - IT IS JUST APALLING CUSTOMER SERVICE!!

Priceline couldn't care less, but I want to warn people away from this site, Expedia was the same price (even with the booking fee) and better yet you could actually select your flight times. What a customer value concept!!!

STAY AWAY FROM PRICELINE, unless of course you liked to be treated poorly.
     
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FoggyOne on 2008-03-26:
"Priceline couldn't care less...", well, actually they couldn't care less. Unfortunately, to save a few bucks people go for these online agencies and changes are expensvie or not available. I'm not sure how you miss a hotel by getting in at 7:30pm, normal checkins are in the afternoon anyway, but you may have missed some activities during the day. I would guess there is a disclaimer on Priceline's website that states all the details (as you said, they'll get you there the same day). What time were you originally planning on arriving? And DO NOT let this dampen your honeymoon - enjoy yourselves. And I do find your post helpful to watch for this in the future.

dan gordon on 2008-03-26:
Priceline works great for rental cars and I have had great success with the hotel aspect. Using them forever for air flights would not be high on my list. The concept of selling 'unsold' air seats is fairly nonexistent unless its a weekday late nite or mid day flight that comes in at inconvenient times where there are empty seats. Websites such as biddingfortravel.com can help if you decide to use them but when there is a problem I agree you won't get much help if any.
Crown Jules on 2008-03-26:
I don't know for sure, but I'll bet somehow Shatner is behind all this. Shat-NER!!!!
Eba2383 on 2008-04-06:
Your CONTRACT PAGE states ANYTIME BETWEEN 6AM AND 10PM if you go back and look!!!!
frequent_traveler on 2008-04-07:
Wish I had read your review before using Priceline. Unfortunately, I used Priceline. My advice--stay clear!!
Deceptive practices and lousy customer service convinced me to go elsewhere next time.
Carmela on 2013-07-09:
WARNING: I'm looking for people that have had similar experience, and perhaps file a class action lawsuit. I clicked on Priceline link in my email. It was an ad to Name YOur Price. Well I named it. They showed me price with taxes etc. Requested my credit card info. Thinking I got this price, I clicked continue. Well, I got this note that no one accepted my price, and they gave me a price of $800 as the best deal. I even purchased the insurance so I could cancel ( I thought). I tried to cancel, and was told I was out of luck. So, I lost $800.00.
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They are thieves
Posted by on
They website needs to be shutdown. They lie, they are not honest and all their deals are fake.

they showed me good stuff before I book my package.. when I received the booking email, everything was messed up. I called them to alter/cancel, they told me it wasn't an option.

The customer service is probably offshore somewhere... Worst customer service I ever seen or heard of.

DO NOT BOOK A PACKAGE WITH THEM.

I know better now...
     
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Ben There on 2009-09-18:
I have never had this problem. What did they show you compared to what was confirmed?
Anonymous on 2009-09-18:
Probably got a lower rated hotel than was shown. Happens a lot.
MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-09-18:
I always book directly with airlines, rental car agencies, and hotels. It saves a lot of headaches in the end.
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