Priceline - Bait And Switch Stop!!!!!
Flight, Name Your Own Price. - Complaint
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT -- First off, NEVER take the BBB's rating at face value, always scroll down to their complaints to see if there are any. How a company who has 3000 complaints, with 1500 resolutions and 100% of customers dissatisfied with the resolution, hold an A+ with the BBB is mind boggling and misleading. They have an advertisement for Priceline on their website and Priceline pays to be accredited, reeks of being completely untrustworthy and downright lying.
Okay to my Priceline horror story. I was purchasing a ticket to Honolulu HI and decided to try the "name your own price" button because it guarantees up to 40% off, who can resist, right? It sounds too good to be true, you want to know why? Because it is. I was sent to the next page where I was given 3 choices of departure cities but only ONE arrival was was "Honolulu HI" so I chose my departure assuming the arrival was all set. It stopped me before I went to the next page with big red letters that stated "choose an arrival destination" so I clicked on the ONLY ONE that was there, the one I typed in, not in code but the words, Honolulu HI and then hit the next button. I decided to take the insurance, read the rules, put in my credit card info and hit purchase. Well my price was accepted, yay! You would think so, but not to my destination of Honolulu HI, but to Helena MT!!! Where did that come from?!
After frantically searching for a phone number hidden deep in the site like a treasure hunt, I finally found the number and called it. I was put on hold for almost 10 minutes due to high call volume at 11:20 PM in the evening. This was not looking good for me. I noticed they took the money out of my bank account immediately. I got a woman on the phone that could barely speak English and she was rude as all get out. I told her my story and asked her to please help me fix this. I said that I even used the back button and there it was plain as day Honolulu HI and a check mark right next to it, how could this happen? I was in panic mode but figured it would be all set since it was Priceline's system that did it. She told me that the codes for Honolulu and Helena are one letter off. I don't know why she told me that, I didn't put in any code, I typed in Honolulu because I don't know any "codes".
She then said that I initialed on the page that confirmed that I wanted to go to Helena and my ONLY choice was to cancel, take a 30 hit for a fee then apply 120 towards a new flight and the rest would be refunded. After insisting this wasn't true and that I used my back button and it clearly shows I clicked Honolulu, she said "yes I know I see that, but then on the next page it said Helena and you agreed to it." I was out of my mind baffled, but was exhausted by her rudeness and unsympathetic nature, I reluctantly agreed because she said it was my only option and I thought 30 dollars isn't worth all this aggravation. I mean this just happened 10 minutes ago, this wasn't like I changed my mind or didn't like the flight, it was the WRONG destination, no one is going to Helena MT and especially paying 200 more than a regular ticket is worth! That's nuts!
I asked her to stay on the line with me while I redid this because I was going to read to her every step of the way and she was so annoyed she ended up hanging up after my 2nd attempt of them NOT accepting my price AFTER it said "your deal is all but sealed!". Of course they only counter offered with FULL price tickets. After looking at her email and finding out they were keeping over 160 dollars of my money, not 30, I called back got another agent and got the same exact wording as the first one. However, he did in fact state that although he does see me checking off Honolulu since I already cancelled he could not see what I actually purchased. That made no sense to me. I said so you can see me checking off Honolulu but you can't see what I actually purchased? What do you think I was purchasing? I was even more baffled. I asked for their customer relations department because he said they're the only ones who could help. He wasn't rude thankfully, but he didn't speak English either.
Then another non English speaking woman got on the phone and it hit me, they're not in CT or even in the US and they're not going to help me. She did say as a "courtesy" that they would refund my insurance and that I should try again tomorrow since Priceline would no longer let me name my own price. I was almost up to the full price of the ticket but was refusing to go over the amount I was out if I was stuck with this. I finally gave up, went to bed at 2:00 Am and first thing in the morning called their corporate office which sent me over to yet another call center where they didn't speak English. I got the same script read to me, the same wording everything. I even asked a yes or no question and she answered with the same scripted sentence and I told her "please, do not read a script to me and just answer my question, do you or do you not have the ability to help with my problem?" and she still read the same line from the script. I said I would take that as a no.
After doing more research on the company I was astounded by all the bad reviews from actual customers. Something I should have done in the first place, check with real consumers not the BBB who is paid to give a great rating for a poor track record on their own site. Well, I finally tracked down the corporate office and reached the voice mail of this woman named Lisa who stated she would get back to me today if I left a message. I left a long message spelling out that their website made an error although their customer service agent stated I agreed to it with another agent stating they could only see Honolulu could they please call me back. Of course no call yet.
I did call my bank who were very sympathetic to this situation because it's a gift for my daughter's graduation and she's going with all her friends. Some of them used a different site and got a great price, I warned the rest not to even go near Priceline. In the end I got a temporary credit back from my bank, they're going to do a full investigation and I still filed a complaint with the BBB, I have yet to hear back from them also.
So there's my novel. VERY BAD experience. I don't care about their codes, they knew what they were doing, they bait and switched me and it amazes me how they're still in business. I am pleading with you people, do not listen to the morons on here telling you that it's your fault and they just happen to know what it states on Priceline's site down to the punctuation marks, they have to be working for them otherwise they're doing an awful lot of purchases with them daily to coincide with your Priceline Horror Stories. Just stay away from this company, save yourself the headaches, just don't do it. It's not worth it, it's just a way to get you to purchase a full priced ticket to somewhere or not take accountability for their own errors. Shame on them for scamming the consumer in this economy. They should be put out of business instead of paying Shatner and that annoying Penny chick to snooker you into believing they actually guarantee to save you up to 40% off and the best prices, but more than that, for ripping off the consumers with bait and switches. They should be arrested for all the scams they've pulled.