Run Away From Hotwire as Far as You Can!!!!!!
Hot Deal Flights and Hotel Booking - Complaint
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- Their business policy is totally based on increasing their profits, nothing else. They will be nice to you until they get your money. After that, they treat you like a second class citizen.
I have recently filed 2 complaints against Hotwire at BBB.org
1) On July 12, 2013 I booked a 3 star for 9/15/2013 in Monterey, California using HotRate feature. After booking, I realized that it is only rated as a 2/2.5 star hotel in most other travel websites. I called customer service (Name: Amanda) about the star rating inflation. I pointed out the lower star rating on the other sites. They checked it out and saw that it was different but told me nothing can be done about it. I made it clear that I wasn't getting my money's worth by receiving a lower star rating than I purchased but they refused to give me fair treatment. Each reason given for a refund was met with ''Hotwire policy'' explanations. I even talked to a supervisor and she basically told me that I have to keep the inferior hotel. So, this gives you an idea that they are basically running a "BAIT AND SWITCH" business.
2) On July 10, 2013 I booked 2 air tickets from DSM to LAX (departing on 9/13/2013 and returning on 9/20/2013) on Hotwire.com using Hotrate feature for subtotal of $530.00. Few days later, I was just checking prices for DSM to LAX flights for same dates and to my surprise I discovered that the retail prices for flights (United airlines) are going for less price ($513.00 for two tickets at various travel sites like Priceline, Kayak, Expedia and even Hotwire) than what I paid for a "hotdeal" where Hotwire picks the departing and arriving time anywhere from 6am to 10pm. For crying out loud, this exact flight booking are currently retailing at $263.60 ($527.20 for 2) which is still less than the hotdeal that we got.
So basically, I paid more for a hotdeal than a retail deal where I could pick my own flight times.
Being frustrated, I called Hotwire to explain the situation. They were unwilling to work with us. Since the hotdeal we got was higher than the ongoing retail offer, we asked to give us an earlier departure time with the same airlines for the retail price or cancel the whole flight booking for a full refund. They refused both of our requests. Every reason given was based on Hotwire's own policy which didn't make sense at all. If retail prices have dropped lower than the hot deal, how is it a good business practice for Hotwire to force their customers to keep the higher hot rate instead of lower RETAIL rate where they can pick airline company and flight times of their own choice. Plus, the booking was done 2 months in advance.
So, I would suggest all of you to stay away from Hotwire if you don't want to get ripped off. Also, for those of you who have been ripped off by Hotwire, please don't stay quiet about it. Share your horrible experiences with Hotwire in social media and file complaints @ BBB.org.