Priceline.com Complaint - Refundable tickets are not refundable...
WASHINGTON -- I used priceline.com for the first (and last) time about a month ago to purchase 3 round trip tickets from Seattle to Austin, Texas for a friends wedding. At the time of the purchase, I was not certain of the departure date - so I wanted to buy refundable tickets. Although the priceline.com website was very clear about stating that any tickets bought through their name your own price outlet were non-refundable, they were not clear about whether tickets purchased throughout the rest of their site were non-refundable. After digging through a lot of material on their website, I came to the conclusion that the tickets could be refunded (minus $150) as long as I canceled in a timely manner. This made sense to me so I purchased the 3 $350 tickets (for a total of $1050). A few days later I was realized I was going to have to change the departure date from Seattle to Austin to a day earlier. Good think I bought non-refundable tickets.
I called customer support and they attempted to help me. Unfortunately, the cheapest alternative to what I already had was $700 and I didn't want to spend that kind of money. I confirmed that I would be able to cancel the tickets and looked at other websites to find something cheaper. I purchased a $350 replacement ticket for myself from another company (Expedia) that left Seattle a day earlier than by priceline.com tickets. (The remaining 2 tickets did not need to be changed so I left them as is.) I then called priceline.com and told them I wanted a refund for my ticket. They informed me that the ticket was non-refundable and that they would hold the money for a year and that I could use it during that time - but after a year the money would be gone.
I told them that I felt that was deceptive - that I had been informed that I could get a refund for my ticket, that I didn't purchase non-refundable tickets - that their website STILL said that I could cancel the tickets and only be out $150. They replied that they would have to listen to the tapes of the person who informed me that I could get a refund - to verify that she actually said that. I was informed that they would call me back if 5 business days. 5 business days came and went without a call. I called them back and they apologized for not returning my call when they promised. I was also informed that they had not yet listened to the tapes.
Additionally, I was now told that my rickets were not only non-refundable - but that I could no longer cancel them either - meaning that I was out the full cost of the ticket. I told them that I had made 2 previous calls to cancel the tickets and that this was unfair. They apologized and I was told that they would call me within 3 business days. I confirmed that they had my correct phone number. It's now 8 business days since they were supposed to call me back. I have heard nothing. I don't know if they ever canceled by ticket. I don't know if I have $350 credit at priceline.com. I don't WANT $500 credit at priceline.com.
Their site is very deceptive as to the nature of the tickets. At no time were people rude to me on the phone - everyone was very nice and/or apologetic. I was never rude to anyone on the phone. However, it seems pretty clear their job is to get you off the phone and hope that you go away. I was promised twice that they would return by calls - but no return call was every made.
The economic damage was ~$350.