Hilton Hotels Complaint - Bait & Switch - Vacation Packages
Resolution Update on 02/23/2009:
The charges on my credit card were reversed.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- As a new "Hilton Honors" program member I was cold-called about a "getaway package for two" for three days and two nights in a big city. Included in the package was the promise of $100 in "Hilton Dollars" that I could use for any product or service at the hotel and two packages of coupons (each worth $75) that could be used for museums, concerts, plays, etc. in the city. The net price taking into account the value of the "gifts," while not too good to be true, seemed like a great deal. All I had to do was take a tour of a mock-up of Hilton's newest time share unit. Upon completion of the tour I would get my gifts. That was fine with me. The tour was at the hotel I would be at. Fine with me. The only restriction was that the package could not be used for a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. That was fine with me, too. I like to vacation in the middle of the week anyway. I was told that I could schedule the tour at my convenience and they would be happy to work around my schedule. But as I spoke to people at Hilton several times as I tried to book the visit more restrictions emerged.
Ultimately the restrictions included I could only use the coupons and Hilton Dollars while I was a registered guest at the hotel, I could not take the tour the day I checked in, and for many months during the year (including the time I wanted to go) there were no tours on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Huh?
Think about it. I couldn't arrive for Sunday-Monday-Tuesday because I would never be able to take the tour and get my gifts. Ditto for Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday. Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday was theoretically possible but I'd have to use all the gifts on Thursday after the tour but before checkout. Wednesday-Thursday-Friday was out because the package was not good on a Thursday Night. Similarly, Friday-Saturday-Sunday and Saturday-Sunday-Monday were out. Sunday-Monday-Tuesday? Nope, see above.
So it went from they will work around my schedule (with just the Thursday-Friday-Saturday restriction) to only one possible option: Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday trying to cram in the use of all the "free gifts" Thursday after the tour and before checkout.
By this time I was so annoyed I didn't want anything to do with Hilton. The person I was dealing with was so perky and cheery and seemed to have no comprehension of the problem that I wanted to scream! But they had already billed my credit card and there were no refunds. But when I told them that I was going to contest the charge with my credit card company and write to the Hilton "Complaint Departments" in Memphis and Beverly Hills with a cc to the Attorneys General and Better Business Bureaus in the state I lived and the state the hotel was in they said they would cancel the package and reverse the charges. It remains to be seen if that will happen.
How they can do stuff like this and not see what bad business it is is totally beyond my comprehension. Are they that dense? And even if I had taken the Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday option (and managed to use all the gifts before checkout on Thursday) there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hades that I would have bought a timeshare from them after this bait-and-switch. Hilton is forever off my list!