Hotwire, Inc Complaint - Hotwire...ouch!
I recently used your site to complete a car rental using a debit card. The verbiage on the site as I started to book the car under the heading "KNOW BEFORE YOU GO" was as follows:
The rental agency will require a credit card or debit card in the primary driver's name. Sufficient credit must be available for a deposit. Funds used for debit/check card deposits cannot be accessed until the car is returned. Amount of available credit required depends on car type, rental period, and optional items. If using a debit card for your deposit, contact the rental agency for its policy.
After receiving the confirmation the verbiage changed to the following:
Christopher S Cole must be present at pick-up with a valid driver's license and a credit card with sufficient credit for a deposit. Amount of available credit required depends on car type, rental period, and optional items. Debit cards may not be accepted. Funds used for debit/check card deposits cannot be accessed until the car is returned. If using a debit card for the deposit, contact the rental agency for its policy. Some drivers presenting a debit card will need to show a roundtrip itinerary.
Now being that I selected that I was using a debit card and thought after reading the initial disclosure I thought I was going to be fine. After printing and reading the confirmation I was concerned. Not only did the wording change, but it was no longer an option for debit cards to be used.
As most travelers, I wanted to call and clarify, so I went to the source of the policy, so I could get a definitive answer. Especially after getting such a mixed sign from Hotwire. Alamo was very clear that there was no way for me to rent with a debit card since I did not have proof of a round trip ticket. Well, after requesting if I could add my father to the rental and use his credit card I was told no they cannot be changed and I would have to contact Hotwire.
That is where the fun began. I contacted the customer service line. I was informed that I would have to go to the airport to be "denied" and Hotwire would have to verify that fact. At that point, I would then be able to work on the refund process. I think they are forgetting something, I need a car and having to travel to the airport to find out that no I can't get a car even after talking directly to Alamo today to find out its not going to happen was not suffice for me to receive a refund. Not sure what sense it makes to have a customer travel there to find out something that we all already know, but that's the policy of Hotwire.
I need a vehicle for a week rental using a debit card and proof of full rental liability insurance through my local car insurance policy, but after several calls to Hotwire I have gotten no where.
I spoke with a Supervisor Jennifer (no last name provided) in Pensacola, FL and was explained that was Hotwire policy. She also indicated that if I bring another driver with a credit card to the counter that I might get it worked out. Not sure how comfortable you would feel handling the might work part, but obviously reading over your verbiage and seeing it change Hotwire is used to providing a service that might work or might not. How they were ranked by JD Powers as the "highest customer satisfaction independent travel web sites" I am just amazed. Given my experience with them in the past I was very pleased, but this is totally out of context and there's nothing that can be done?
Bottom line, my fiance flies in Wed 10/21 early am from Brazil and I need a car for a week. I am seeking assistance with a refund since I cannot use the current reservation provided and do not want to have to travel to TPA to be able to get this done. I have been a loyal customer to Hotwire and in fact you can see that I have about $1300 in travel on Nov 3rd already booked with you.
Can someone provide a solution to this issue?
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