Hilton Hotels Complaint - Advance Purchase--No Refund for Medical Reason!!!
Last fall, I made an Advance Purchase Reservation for our family to visit my elderly parents near Washington, DC, over Thanksgiving. We had stayed at this Hilton a few times before and had no complaints. The Advance Purchase rate was not much better than the regular, but I thought we may as well save a few bucks, and had no idea we might need to cancel.
Then my husband got sick. Bad cough that kept him up all night, went on 2 long rounds of antibiotics over the next two months, & he just kept getting worse. He looked and sounded terrible, was pale & sweaty with that horrible cough and an ongoing low-grade fever. None of us had been able to get either the seasonal flu vaccine or the H1N1 vaccine from our GP or Pediatrician, and when he went to the doctor again for the fifth time, 2 days before our trip, she said it was dangerous for him to travel--she suspected he had H1N1 & needed to rest, and either way, he might be contagious. I thought of going without him, but she said it would be better for me to stay if I could, to keep a close eye on him. But I also thought, what if I get sick too, while traveling w/my 2 daughters, or get my 90-year-old parents sick? Not to mention all the folks in the airport, on the plane, in the hotel, at the restaurants, etc...
So I called Hilton Customer Service the day before we were to leave and said I needed to cancel & did not need a refund, only to change the trip due to illness, to the next holiday when we could travel as a family, which would have been Christmas (and we actually did stay there over that Christmas). They told me that I couldn't change the dates (OK, no problem), but of course I could expect a refund for medical reasons, & that all they needed was a letter from my husband's doctor concerning his condition & inability to travel.
More than three months later, after the doctor faxed the letter twice, rewrote it with more details & faxed twice again, after countless phone calls & emails from me, and after countless empty promises that they'd get back to me with an answer, they finally emailed me to say that because my husband had not been given a blood test confirming H1N1 or been HOSPITALIZED for it, that they couldn't refund me.
I asked them, what is the point of having an Advance Purchase Customer Service Department if they won't give a refund for MEDICAL REASONS? They wasted more money on employees' pay dealing with me, not to mention months of my frustrating time & theirs, just to end up turning me away from Hilton forever. I also asked them repeatedly for a main office or some higher authority I could appeal to, but they refused to give me further information.
I hope somewhere the Hilton managers are paying attention to my & others' complaints about their Advance Reservation Customer Service Department. I was completely ruded out by the process. It's a shame, because I was a Hilton Honors member, I liked that particular hotel & the staff there, & planned to stay in the Amsterdam Hilton this summer. But it sure makes you think twice about staying at a place when customer service doesn't care about spreading contagious diseases, huh?