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Priceline- Be Very Careful When Booking Through Them!
Posted on
Rating: 1/51
We recently booked a vacation package through Priceline: Hotel, Airline, and Rental Car. You see the price for the package and you think it is a wonderful deal…. Well, THINK AGAIN! there are many many many (did I say “many”?) small hidden fees and other extra charges that are not even disclosure while booking. Unfortunately, you will find out about the extra charges the hard way after you have already paid/booked the deal.

Although our package said “all taxes and fees included”, we ended up paying more at the end of our vacation than if we would have booked everything separately and with the companies directly. The airline charged extra for some fees (not the bags, just to clarify) they said Priceline does not cover. The hotel charged us an extra 28% “service fee” per day that they also said Priceline does not cover. And finally, Priceline charged 4 days of rental car just because the drop-off time was booked 15 MINUTES after pick up time (pick up time was scheduled for 2pm and drop-off was scheduled for 2:15pm). The Rental car company (Avis) has a policy of 1 hour break or they charge for the extra hour after it (NOT THE ENTIRE DAY). We dropped the car at 2:03 pm and Avis gave us a receipt confirming the deal was a 3-days rental car… BUT Priceline did not want to make any refund for the extra day they charged for 15 minutes (even though Avis allows an extra hour at drop-off AND we returned the car at 2:03pm AND charges in Avis are per extra hour and not per day).

None of the companies involved in the package will help you to solve any issues if the deal is booked through Priceline. They pretty much wash their hands and send you back to call Priceline. Customer service at Priceline is extremely poor. Representatives barely speak English and all they say is “no refunds”. Make sure you research before booking with PRICELINE, it is not a good deal after all.
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Peter on 09/04/2014:
I am curious what extra airline amount did you have to pay that wasn't a tax or fee?
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Please Please Please Stay Away From Priceline!!!!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51

My name is Megan, I am writing you today to let you know how FRUSTRATED I am with Priceline and how you handle your customers!!!!!!

I was in San Diego for a get away and tried to book a room with your company but in the process I didn’t realize what time it was and just wanted to go to sleep because I had been up very early at a blood drive prior to going to California. So my intention was to get a room for that instant but they did it for later that day and check in was at 3! That’s NOT what I needed and asked for!!! So, Immediately I called to let them know there was a mistake, but it took 30 min on hold to even speak to someone!!!!!!

By the time I had reached an agent I had drove to the Hotel to see if I could explain the situation to them but it said NO VACANCY on the door. I explained what had happened and to your agent in which they explained that their was nothing they could do this reservation was non changeable or refundable! As exhausted as I was, I got angry because all I wanted to do was GO TO SLEEP!!!

I asked to speak to a supervisor and they sent me to customer escalation department and YES I got mad again because she would NOT help me!!!!! All I wanted to do was lay my head down and go to bed so, yes I was livid when I couldn’t get help from anyone!!!

I had to sleep in my car for a few hours because I was exhausted and I couldn’t afford to get another room, Then drive 5 hours at 4am back to my house to go to sleep when this whole thing started at around midnight!! I have never been treated so unfairly with a company as I had with Priceline!!! It is beyond unfair for anyone going through this situation and hope this is not how you do business!!!

Sad to say, I wrote this letter to Priceline because they would not let me speak to a supervisor and when they responded to my letter they apologized but there was nothing they could do once I agreed to the booking….. This is the Biggest BS and I refuse to be treated like this. So Everyone beware of Priceline.

Also, I’m out $100 that they gladly kept!!!!!
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Complete Monsters!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
HONOLULU, HAWAII -- Because of them I am missing my grandfathers funeral tomorrow!!! If me votive stars were allowed I would rate them that!!!!

I had to make and emergency flight to visit my grandfather who fell ill. I bought the flight and rental car package for $1200. Sadly my grand father passed away while I was visiting him. First I called the airline telling then my situation. They were more than willing to help me change my flight and at a very low price due to the circumstances. They however could not change the booking due to Priceline being the "travel agent." I called Priceline to ask if I could change my flight for only 3 days later told them that the airline was alright with it. Pricelines answer was "NO, it is against our policy to change a "non-refundable/changeable ticket" usually I would understand but this was a death in the family, not an extended vacation.

I kept asking to speak to someone higher up and was told that managers don't speak with customers over the phone but that I could mail them...not email, Snail mail!!! Eventually I got them to fold and give me a corporate number and called them. Shockingly I had to leave a message. No call back but a email explaining that it was the airlines fault!! Which it was not. It could not be changed unless Priceline would allow it.

At one point I asked one of the awful customer service agents if it was her grandfather's funeral would Price Line change it for her?!?!? Her answer was that my question was irrelevant. How dare she!!

I was eventually told I could have a "partial" refund, which from what I've read here I most likely would never see and that I could purchase another ticket home. The only one I could find was $1000. I don't have another grand to throw around!

Unfortunately I could be just stuck in Iowa with out a flight home to Hawaii. I had to get on the original fight home. Horrible company and I will make sure to bad mouth them as much as I can!!
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Peter on 07/23/2014:
Sorry for your loss. You bought a non-refundable ticket and you are tied to that. If you had booked through the airline you could have changed it for $150-$200. Once you use a 3rd party online agency you lose a lot of flexibility. As a side note, I always check the airlines for fares then check the online agencies, guess what, I've only once found a cheaper fare with an online agency but it required an extra layover. Not worth it. I wish you luck.
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Bait and Switched
Posted by on
Rating: 2/51
BOSTON, CONNECTICUT -- BUYER BEWARE Usually I Name my own Price through Priceline. This is great if you do not have specific needs such as a particular type of room. They only guarantee accommodations for 2. Recently I made reservations with their "negotiated" rates because I did have a specific need for two double beds .I chose the Tremont St Courtyard and chose between a room available with two double beds and another which was a king size bed. I booked the room type I needed. Upon arrival, I found I had been booked in a king size room. I explained to the hotel staff I had reserved the double bed room. They explained Pricelne books the most common room in the hotel which in this case was a king size bed. I was offered a double bed room at an additional cost of $35 per night plus taxes and fees. My $101 room ended up costing me $160. I called Priceline for assistance. At first they told me my reservation confirmation should say there are no guarantees. I explained I understood this BUT I had specifically reserved the way I did and the room I did because that was what I needed. I countered they should not offer a choice if one does not exist. She then explained when I name my own price...I again pointed out I DID NOT name my own price. She said my receipt should say I did. I explained it did not. She then said if I had extra people I needed to pay the extra fee. I pointed out I still only have two people we just did not want to share a bed. (She seemed to be drawing at straws to find a way this was my fault). She then offered to call the hotel and speak to them. She got back on the line to tell me they said they gave me a double bed room. I confirmed they had, for the additional fee. (Was she just not listening to me?) She said she was sure they would not be charging me but would call back to confirm, if I would like. When she returned to the line, she explained they had indeed charged me and she could do nothing about this. Thank you Priceline. This was a complete bait and switch tactic. I blame Marriott for the bad business practice and Pricline for doing business with them and not advocating for their customers to ensure their deals are honest, transparent and accurate. Marriott's bad practice reflects on Priceline. I can't do business with a company if I cannot trust I am going to get exactly what I purchased. This is regardless of whose fault it is.
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Priceline: A Shoddy Operation
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
Oy. After trying to book a trip for my upcoming fiftieth birthday with Priceline, I wound up with no vacation, an overdrawn bank account, and the desire to celebrate my milestone buried in a vat of Chunky Monkey and my own tears.

My dear husband suggested Anguilla, a place to which neither of us has been and which boasts one of the best beaches if not the best beach in the world. Great! After checking several travel sites, Priceline offered the lowest price for a combined flight and hotel package at a resort that sounded great.

Excited, we transferred money into our debit account, and pushed the "Book Now" button. The little dots swirled 'round and 'round for a while, until we were informed that our request could not immediately be processed and that we would have to wait, press the "check status" button after several minutes, and then perhaps place a call.

Well, the "status" turned out to be "No dice, losers" because the hotel we had chosen from the list of those advertised as available, did not in fact have the room category we selected. This was told to us by a perfectly polite and responsive representative. She then informed us that we could try to upgrade to a better room. My husband, being the dear he is, readily agreed so that we could get the party started.

Unfortunately, after several more minutes of being on hold, we were informed that the upgraded rooms were unavailable as well and that basically it was too bad, so sad for us -- which was made badder and sadder by the fact that Priceline had no problem authorizing our poor little debit card for pretty much double the amount that we'd earmarked for our trip -- which resulted in additional pending overdraft fees.

Dumb-dumb us decided to do all this on a Friday afternoon, meaning that all those holds won't drop off until Monday at the earliest. It's going to be a peanut butter 'n' jelly kind of weekend, I guess....

No one was rude to us -- in fact they were very polite, the way robots are when they keep repeating the same responses no matter how you try to phrase or re-phrase your grievances.

The upshot: They don't bother confirming the availability of the packages that they advertise as available until after they charge your card. And then they have the gall to "upgrade" you and then charge you a second time for yet another unavailable deal.

Their pitchman, William Shatner, "died" in a bus crash in one of their ads. Which is entirely appropriate; if you want to get thrown under the bus in the name of false advertising, Priceline will happily do it for you.
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cmthru on 10/26/2013:
Another typical complaint about Priceline. The worst mistake people make is using a debit card. The money is immediately gone and it's an uphill battle to get it back.
Paul on 10/26/2013:
Your core complaint is important for others to see - that the availability is not necessarily accurate. The lure of saving money is what keeps site such as this in business. Personally, I always shop to save but I would not go anywhere near one of these sites other than to get names of hotels and resorts. One of the benefits of using a credit card is it decouples your hard-earned cash from situations like this.
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Priceline Is a Scam
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
I had a very bad experience with and I am not going to use this website again.

I was travelling to Europe for three weeks and I rented a car through from the Berlin airport about 3 months in advance. At the time I made my purchase, their price was about 2 Dollars per day cheaper than other websites and I would save almost 50 Dollars by booking with them and so I went ahead and did so. When I went to pick up my car, I was told by the car rental company that the car I booked (economy) is not available and I was instead offered a similar car (compact) at 20 dollars per day more expensive. This now meant that I had to pay more than 400 Dollars extra.

I called Priceline and explained what was going on and I was told that they were not responsible for guaranteeing the availability of the vehicles and when I asked them why do they ask for my credit card information to confirm my reservation, the customer service agent told me that he can proceed and cancel my reservation without charging my card!!

Long story short, I not only had a very bad start of my trip, but also ended up paying 380 Dollars more than what I would have normally paid had I used a different website to arrange my car rental. All I can say is that is not conducting business honestly. What is the point of quoting a price to the customer and then confirming his reservation after getting his credit card details when you simply won't accept any responsibility and won't guarantee the reservation. How is that even reservation. To me it sounds more like a trap.

They simply quote you a cheap price and if you are lucky and get it, they earn their commission and if you don't get it, you are the one who is screwed and Priceline will not accept any responsibility.... and who knows, maybe they still get paid..

I would say stay away...
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Weedwhacked on 10/03/2013:
Your complaint should be with the car rental company. Priceline can only book what the rental company shows as "available to book." After that, its on the car rental company.
jktshff1 on 10/03/2013:
Don't think so weed, most companies have terms and conditions which include 3rd party's.
Book direct, little more, but better service.
Weedwhacked on 10/04/2013:
There's no way for PL to know if they are overbooking a reservation.
Old Timer on 10/04/2013:
Don't think so weed, Priceline has live real time API's running with the airlines, hotels, rental car companies etc that show real time availability of the rental. They know as fast as the rental company what is available at what price.

In addition to the live feeds this was booked three months out. Plenty of time for the rental company to get notified and make sure a car was available at the price Priceline sold it at.
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Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE -- I just returned from a 9 day trip. I stayed the first 3 nights at Music Road Inn in Pigeon Forge, TN for a conference related to my job. This was not booked by Priceline. I did use Priceline to rent a car from Hertz. I chose to pay the extra for full coverage insurance for the 9 days. After the 3 day conference, my Fiance' and I drove to Reidsville, NC to visit the site of her ancestors and speak with her relatives.

We went on line before we left the conference and reserved a room in the area for two nights. When we arrived to check in, we first asked how much a room would be for 2 nights. They told us the exact same amount Priceline said. I then asked about discounts for Disabled Veterans. They gave me a rate that was considerably better than Priceline. After that, we just looked up the rate on Priceline but did not reserve it. When we walked in and asked for their cheapest rate, it was less than Priceline. While on this trip we received notice from home that my Fiance's 73 year old brother had been rushed to the hospital. We cut our trip short and returned home early. I called Hertz and asked if I turned in the car early would we be refunded the last 2 days. They said yes. When I took the car back they refunded the 2 days plus an additional discount. I called Priceline, who I paid the full coverage insurance fee to, and asked about them refunding the 2 days I didn't use. The cost for this coverage was $11 per day for 9 days, or $99. The refund would only have been $22. Since the lady told me she had no way to authorize the refund, I asked to speak to someone who might have a way. She connected me to a man who said he could not refund the $22. He asked what the emergency was and I explained. He repeated, he could not refund the $22.

This was my first experience with Priceline. I don't know what the rental would have been on the car without them. I do know that all the rooms we stayed in were cheaper without Priceline. I also know that $22 in not much to loose a future customer over.
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nikalseyn on 09/25/2013:
Good write-up and I would hope people read it. I, too have discovered, albeit long ago, that booking through places like Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, etc. is not only not really cheaper but can cost you more if you have a problem. Remember, you are paying a third party, not the hotel or airline and if you have a problem, the customer service at these third party sites is problematical at best. As you found out, just book directly with the car company or hotel. A note: I never use Hertz anymore. My army son coming home on leave from Iraq was the recipient of the rudest treatment ever by a Hertz rep. He walked over to the Avis counter and they treated him with respect and from then on I always tell people to stay away from Hertz if at all possible, even if Avis costs a bit more.
jktshff1 on 09/25/2013:
Nikal, a review @ your son's Hertz experience would be interesting.
Pete on 09/26/2013:
I travel quite a bit and I've only found ONCE where a 3rd-party vendor got me a cheaper rate than a hotel's website. Most of the time I get a cheaper rate through the hotel's website because I use AAA or AARP. Also, the hotel's cancellation policies are much less rigorous than the 3rd party vendors.
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Don't use Priceline or Budget to rent a car.
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
UNITED STATES -- Buyer Beware!!!!!! I reserved a "Standard Car" "Mazda 6 or similar" on line through Priceline with Budget at the Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel. When I arrived at the Budget counter they wanted to give me a Mazda 3 hatchback, which is considered a Mid-Size car according to the Priceline website. The Standard Car I reserved stated that the vehicle would accommodate 5 adults and 4 luggages. The Mazda 3 hatchback is a smaller vehicle and barely accommodates 5 adults if they are squeezed together in the back seat and the trunk space does not accommodate 4 luggages. We were a family of five adults and had lots of luggage.

Budget would not honor my hard copy of my reservation for a standard car. They said their standard car category is not the same as that of Priceline. When I explained that I reserved a "Standard Car" which will accommodate 5 adults and 4 luggages they said there was nothing they could do about it and they always have this problem with customers who reserve cars with Priceline and they said that "I am not the first and I would not be the last with this problem". And they were very rude about it. They said if I wanted the "Standard Car" that I reserved I would have to pay an extra $60 per day for a total of $720 extra for my 12 day rental. That would be on top of the $411 dollars I had already reserved the car for. That's 175% more than my original reservation.

After I refused and complained they brought it down to an extra $15 per day for a total of $180 more than my original reservation. They would not budge and I had no choice and I had to pay that. When I came back to the states I contacted customer no service at Priceline and followed up with a letter to their Executive Service Customer Service Department. I thought they would be understanding and refund my $180. But instead they were rude, did not refund my money, and said that it is not their responsibility what the rental agency gives me at my destination and they can have car categories different than Priceline.

So Budget's Standard Car in Israel is considered a Mid-Size car here in the states and I as the customer am supposed to be okay with that according to Priceline. And on top of that their customer support team all the way to the top "Customer Relations Specialist were rude, not understanding, and not accommodating. I will never do business with Priceline again!!!!!!!!!! They do not deserve my business or my hard earned money. And they just lost Thousands of dollars in future business from me for car rentals and hotel reservations. Shame on them for treating customers like dirt!!!!!! If you don't want a hassle avoid Priceline.
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Pete on 08/23/2013:
Another reason to go directly to the vendor rather than using a 3rd party.
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Horrible Customer Service
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- I booked a round trip flight for two through Priceline flying Air Canada. The night before my flight I attempted to check in early to skip the lines, but was not able to. Something seemed off so I called the airline and they told me I was unable to check in because the flight had been cancelled two weeks ago and I had not been notified. I asked him how that could possibly happen and he said the airline contacts the travel agency (Priceline) who is responsible for notifying the customer. At this point I just wanted to get us on another flight, so the representative found another and put me on hold so he could book it. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes he came back and said he was not able to book my new departure flight because the return flight had also been cancelled.

At this point, I had to call Priceline because the airline representative said they couldn't help me. Keep in mind, this is almost midnight. After explaining my situation the Priceline representative blamed the airline for not informing them of the cancellation. He then called the airline to attempt to resolve the issue and put me on hold for over an hour. When he came back he said that they were unable to book new flights for me and instead gave me details of departing flights and told me to get to the airport as early as possible to try getting on one.

Because it was now 1:30 AM and he was telling me I had to be at the airport in a couple of hours I was fairly upset and wanted to know how this happened. Priceline refused to take responsibility for the mis-communication. The representative became extremely rude and was saying whatever it took to get me off of the phone. He told me there was nothing Priceline could do because they did not operate the flights, then began explaining the difference between an airline and a travel agency like I was an idiot.

I will NEVER use Priceline again after my experience and will continue to tell anyone that will listen to steer clear!
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PassingBy on 08/22/2013:
Pray that you get a full refund.
Weedwhacked on 08/22/2013:
Having worked for an airline and a travel agency I can explain to you what happened. When the airline has a cancellation an automatic message is sent to all reservations that are affected. Since your reservation was made through a travel agency the airline doesn't have a way to send you an email or call you directly. The message in the PNR (passenger name record) is supposed to be detected by the travel agency and they are supposed to inform you.

Since there are so many travel agencies, the larger one's don't bother to deal with changes or cancellations and rely on passengers actually keeping track of their own reservations. Which you should have done by continuing to verify if everything was still intact. They, of course are going to tell you that the airline didn't contact them (to get you off their back).

When working for an airline, we were able to rebook reservations if they booked directly with us. To avoid other situations we would simply refer travel agency customers back to their agencies. It was easier for us and the travel agencies took on the responsibility of taking care of THEIR reservations.
Jay on 08/22/2013:
Eventually all of these 3rd party booking sites will go through the entire population and go out of business. But that will take a long time (and they will make a lot of money) before that many people have figured out these places are a scam. They work most of the time but if a problem arises the customer will always lose.

Book direct! Save the headaches!
Author on 08/22/2013:
Thanks for your feedback, I will definitely be booking direct from now on. I'm still waiting to hear back from the airline but I have a feeling they will send me back to Priceline. Do you have any suggestions, or am I out of luck? I just want someone to take responsibility!
Pete on 08/22/2013:
Thanks WeedWhacked. I've noticed only once did I ever get a cheaper air fare by using a 3rd party site rather than using the airline's site. I always check an airline's site before I even look at a 3rd party, that way I know what fare I should be paying. At best the 3rd party sites offer the same fare but any changes become a nightmare and like the OP's experience, the passenger is out of the loop.
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Priceline Sucks
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
ST AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA -- My experience with Priceline is ridiculous. My room is NOTHING like your website showed on the internet that it was like. I have called customer services several times and no one cares. No one appreciates the customer when you call customer service! I booked a OCEAN VIEW DELUXE ROOM with TWO QUEEN BEDS and got a run down room with A BRICK WALL AND PALM TREE view, two DOUBLE BEDS, and the smell of moth balls and not even cleaned yet!!

I PAID PRICELINE for two nights. The hotel said I had only paid for one night and that I had to leave the next day. I didn't want to stay there at all after I seen the inside of the hotel. The hotel told PRICELINE they would refund me one night THAT THEY HAD ME DOWN FOR but PRICELINE would have to refund me for the other night because I PAID THEM FOR TWO AND PRICELINE TOLD THE HOTEL I HAD ONLY RESERVED ONE NIGHT. In in other words, I PAID FOR TWO NIGHTS the Hotel agreed to refund me for the night they had me down for but said Priceline would have to refund me for the other night because I was not even down to stay two nights. I paid for two nights and now no one wants to refund me my money or take responsibility for messing up!!!

The room and the hotel were NOT by any means what the website pictures said or showed. You would think PRICELINE would want to keep their customers happy and keep them coming back but after this experience I will NEVER use PRICELINE again. Sending an email with coupons to book again somewhere else is stooping pretty low and a pretty sorry way to resolve an issue that should have been resolved immediately.

I DID NOT drive to Florida 12 hours to stay in a run down hotel and that is exactly what I got. I am on VACATION and this has been the WORST experience of my life. All I am and have been asking for is PRICELINE to take responsibility and refund me in full and evidently that is too much to ask. I hope you take the hotel off your website because it is NOTHING like the pictures show and I am sure you will have many more customers to call you and complain about it, not that ANYONE CARES...
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