Beware of bidding on Priceline. I would avoid them entirely, but if you use them: Take each step slowly and take screenshots, or better yet a video camera of you operating the computer. Earlier this year, I bid on an expensive last-minute air-ticket on Priceline. The first time, my bid was not accepted. They suggested I allow additional stops and/or raise my price. I did this and after a long wait was taken to the "congratulations" confirmation of purchase page. However, it was for a higher amount than I had bid. (Moreover, I had quotes from Expedia and Delta for less than this amount.)
Within the minute, I called their toll free number to cancel. The representative said she could not do anything. Subsequent automated emails revealed that they had made a counter-offer which supposedly I had accepted. Their customer service even sent a copy of a web-page which I had supposedly initialed and submitted. Except I never did this. To this day, I don't know if it was fraud on their part or a freakish browser error.
Over the next day, I contacted Priceline by email and phone, only to be told they would not do anything, even if I supplied browser records and proof of my already better offers. They were extremely firm, unsympathetic, and unwilling to even investigate the possibility of an error. This latter fact and the fact that no information and typing other than initials are required for the counter-offer is what makes me suspect fraud. Browser errors can also happen, but their refusal to even look into it is revealing about their agenda. Hint: Integrity and customer service is not a part of it.
I do wonder if they prey upon last minute travelers especially with this forced acceptance of the counteroffer. With just days to departure I had to decide to keep their over-priced ticket (the itinerary was actually perfect, just not the price) or to risk purchasing a second ticket (for about $950 in addition to the $1200 they had forced on me).
In the end, I decided to stick to my guns, and buy the second ticket. I did this shortly after getting off the phone with Priceline and my credit card company the first time. I paid with the same credit card, in order to help prove that I already had a better offer available to me at that same time and that I had been serious about buying a ticket at that price.
So, my final recourse was to file a dispute with my credit card company. I had called them immediately after my first call to Priceline, but they couldn't do anything to prevent the charge. They also couldn't start the dispute process until the charge posted. Several days later, with the trip already underway, the charge from Priceline posted officially. I then started the dispute process.
My credit card company took explanations and sent paperwork for more. In the meantime, I had done my best to document the other offers I already had in my browser, and to preserve as much of that as possible. I sent them copies of what I had. They put a hold on the charge for the duration of the investigation. A couple months later, I had to fill out more paperwork, and wait again for Priceline to respond. About three months later I had the charge refunded. I don't know what response they received from Priceline. It may be that the credit card company just absorbed the charge.
The double booking was also a problem when traveling since there were two reservations under the same name on the flights. Since Priceline wouldn't cancel the ticket, it was necessary to discuss with the airline in advance. The airline couldn't cancel it, but it at least gave them the opportunity to overbook the flight if desired. It was also prudent to arrive extra early to allow time for this again at departures. My strongest recommendation would be to not to use Priceline, and especially not without a video camera capturing your actions and the screen.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- Didn't receive the room that I pre-paid from Priceline.com. The hotel charged my card even though I had a pre-paid reservation. They charged it at a much lower rate and Priceline wouldn't honor the difference. I will never use them again and neither should you. You've been warned.
I booked a hotel with Priceline and was called at 11:20 pm the night of check in. They informed me the hotel had no room available to me and there was no other rooms within a 40-mile radius. They did nothing to help me and only refunded amount paid.
NEW HAMPSHIRE -- We tried to add to our vacation and Priceline would have charged us an additional 460 just to add to our vacation - without the additional vacation charges... that is just the charge for the change. They had no ability to make any adjustments, which we were willing to pay for. If you want to add additional days you get charged the penalty no matter what. It is the worst business plan ever and cost all of the businesses and hotels that we would have gone to and spent money at, lots of money.
TEMECULA, CALIFORNIA -- As you can see on BBB.Org there has been 2936 complaints against Priceline and that's just one site! You can see just how many complaints there are on the "ripoff report". You may ask yourself why is there so many complaints against a company that is service based? First of all, I can truly say "they do not care about me as a customer" and apparently they don't care about 1000's of others!
I have had an issue that I've been trying to resolve for 2 days, multiple calls & emails. It has to do with star ratings & you can see 1000's of other customers have had similar complaints. I won't go into huge detail, other than I booked a 4 star hotel & when I won my bid I did further research on the property. I found trip advisor & Expedia both had it at 3 1/2 stars, 4 other travel web sites had it as low as a 3 star hotel. This upsets me greatly!
The 2 leading travel authorities show it as 3 1/2 & 4 other sites show it as 3, there is a major problem! My interactions with customer service is by far the worst I have ever experienced! They just don't care about you as a customer. Even after I sent them all the documentation on the property, they still refused to do the right thing!
When I told them I write travel reviews & will be writing a review a day for the next 7 days, I was told go ahead. It is sad in today economy all we want is what is fair & right, they just don't care about you as a customer! They would rather have you angry & upset, than do the right thing & have a satisfy customer! I just don't get their rudeness! All I can say 1000's of consumers can't be wrong, do not use Priceline.Com! You been warned!!!
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT -- PRICELINE - BUYER BEWARE! Using Priceline may look like a good deal at first, but beware: they use deceptive practices to load your bill. When making a bid on a hotel, the taxes and fees can add up 1/3 of the price you bid or MORE. If you bid 60.00 you will pay 85.00. But here is how they really *bleep* you over. There is a small box buried in a lot of busy text to purchase travel insurance. You have to un-check that box so you aren't charged a percentage of the bid for travel insurance.
At that point (after un-checking the check box) and you click submit, but forget to type your zip code or something, the page returns with a prompt to fill in your zip code (but they sneak that check box back in). The UI is so bad and so confusing, chances are you will submit without filling in something and re-submit without being aware that the travel insurance box (by default) has been re-checked. Finally, if you contact Customer Service, be prepared to speak to someone from India who doesn't give a rat's ass about customer service. They will just repeat over and over again, that there is nothing they can do and it's all explained in the "Terms and conditions."
And, if you ever do decide to file a travel insurance claim, you will see that there really is no travel insurance. You will have to go to a third party company, called "BerkelyCare" and file a claim. You may as well be filling out an IRS tax audit, as you will need to supply copious amounts of paperwork supporting the claim. Only certain cases apply, such as accident or death. Simply being late or deciding to go on another date, does not qualify.
It can take months to actually be refunded, so don't expect to re-book on the funds you used to book through Priceline. This company is so predatory. It's not worth using them, because one day, you will draw the short straw. Remember, the house always wins. If you think you got a good deal today, they will find a way to get it back from you. Best to use Kayak if you must stay in a hotel.
ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA -- After checking out rates of hotels in Erie, PA with various travel websites (including Priceline standard booking site), I chose to use the "Name Your Own Price" option (which is prominently thrust in your face at every turn on Priceline.com). When prompted for the "# of Adults," I entered "2" since I have 2 adults and 2 children in our family. After submitting a bid for a hotel room for our vacation, I saw that my bid was accepted and a reservation made at a hotel chain THAT ONLY HAS 1 BED PER ROOM.
I immediately verified this on the hotel website and called Priceline Customer Disservice. They explained that the reservation could not be changed. I would have to check with the hotel to see if they could accommodate my reservation and if not, I was to call Priceline back for a change.
I called the hotel. They had just received the reservation electronically (took about 20 minutes). They confirmed that they did not have any rooms in the hotel that could accommodate my family. They told me they could not cancel the reservation. Priceline would have to do it. So I called Priceline back (as previously instructed).
Imagine my surprise and disappointment to learn that I was now stuck with a 1 bed hotel room for my family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children). I asked, pleaded, etc. with both Customer Disservice and a Customer Relations "Specialist" neither of whom could assist me. I was given a case # and directed to file a complaint on their website. I filed a complaint with their VP of Customer Disservice.
The next day, I received a call back from "Ryan", an "executive officer" of Priceline. He proceeded to explain to me that they could not change their policy. It was a "contract" that could not be changed (even though the hotel room had not yet been occupied; my vacation was still 4 days away). After arguing my case (even offering to spend more money with them to take a reservation in another Priceline-serviced hotel) and explaining how dissatisfied I was with their "customer service," I told them that they had lost a customer for life.
I also told them I would warn as many others as I can to NEVER USE PRICELINE.COM. Be Forewarned - their practices border on deceitful and their "customer service" is NON-EXISTENT. Run away as quick as you can from these crooks.
Better price has to stay active from when you find it to when the Priceline customer service person sees it (but that isn't necessarily so either). They will do anything to not give it to you. I was on the phone for 45 minutes to (not) get the guarantee, took 5 min to talk to someone. I searched and price was the same, took them 15 min to check. I searched again and price still the same. They said while the price was lower it had to be identical. I had to explain if you read description it gives aa flight number and the other airline flight number so it is the same. So he says he will check again. We're now 15 minutes in.
20 minutes later he gets back on with me and says he verified the flight is the same but the price isn't cheaper. I just searched a minute before and it was the same but search again (takes me 30 seconds each time I search) and the price is different. Says there is nothing he can do. OK over 35 minutes to check one flight is absurd. And I believe he put the last three seats on hold just so that price would not be available anymore. I ask for a manager, explained the ordeal with the fact that he had to have seen the lower price the first time because he mistakenly said the fare wasn't the same because he didn't read the whole line.
But then later verified I was right for the same fare so he saw the lower fare and still did not give it to me because he waited so long the price had gone up. I explained the price was lower for 34 of the 35 minute "price check" I have 2 screen shots with times during the call. She says that won't work, and won't price match either, was a 45 minute $40 dollar mistake of thinking they would price match. I will never use Priceline again. I hope they enjoy that $40 because that's the last money they will ever, ever, ever get from me! Even if I pay more from some place else.