Hotels.com Complaint - Meaningless Confirmation
I had a bad experience with Hotels.com/Expedia (same company) over the 4th of July weekend.
We were on a spontaneous road trip and hadn't booked any rooms in advance. After visiting Mt. Rushmore on July 3rd, we began looking for a room in town. Of course, all of the local hotels had jacked their rates up to ridiculous amounts, so I called Hotels.com and let them know that we'd be happy to drive as far as Deadwood, SD if they could locate a reasonably priced room there for us. The man on the phone (he said his name was Jay, but if you've dealt with them before you know that anyone who answers a phone is on a different continent and probably makes up an "American sounding" name) said he had found us a room at at the Americinn at Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort in Deadwood. The price was fair, so I asked him to book it and we started driving there.
We arrived at the hotel less than an hour after the call to Hotels.com was made and were told that they had no reservation for us. The woman working behind the front counter that night told me that not only did she not have a reservation for us in the system, but that nobody had even called to confirm a reservation in the last hour and that the place had been sold out for weeks. Apparently the confirmation number that they had emailed me was completely meaningless. They did make it a point to charge my credit card though...
I called Hotels.com to find out what the problem was and after having to wait almost 10 minutes just to speak to a real person, I was placed on hold again so that the customer service agent could call the hotel. I was standing at the front desk of the hotel during all of this because the woman working there was calling around to other hotels in the area to see if she could find a room for us. After being on hold for another five minutes, the phone at the hotel desk finally rang and it was the person from Hotels. She must have taken a break between the time she put me on hold and the time she actually made her call to the hotel. The call lasted only a few seconds and then it was several more minutes before she came back on the line to tell me that the hotel was full and that they could either offer me a refund or try to locate another room in the area and apply the balance that they had already charged me towards it. I asked her to look into the latter which turned out to be a huge mistake because she put me on hold and never came back (I waited almost 30 minutes before hanging up). Fortunately, the woman at the front desk had found us a room at a hotel one town over in Leed, SD and we went on our way. I hadn't budgeted for having to pay for two hotel rooms that night, so I was very relieved when the new charge cleared my credit card. I was very angry that Hotels.com could have just as easily left us stranded and sleeping in my vehicle that night without so much as even an insincere apology.
I contacted Hotels.com a couple days after getting home from our trip to inquire about a refund. After waiting quite a while to speak to a person again, I was asked what the name was of the person working at the front desk that night so that they could speak to her and confirm that we were actually there. Again, I was placed on hold for a ridiculous amount of time while the customer service person contacted the hotel. After that, she came back on the line to inform me that the person I named wasn't there when she called and that they had no record of me checking in. I had to explain to her a second time that we didn't check in because we didn't have a room to check in to and that was why I wanted a refund... She told me that she would need a manager's approval to give me a refund and placed me on hold for another 15 minutes or so. When she came back on the line, she told me that I would be refunded the price of the room within 24 hours and thanked me for doing business with Hotels.com. Still no apology or any sort of offer to make it up to me. Before she could hang up, I asked her to please explain to me what had happened. The first thing she said was that it was my fault because we showed up to the hotel late... I told her that we were there before 10pm and less than an hour after they booked our room there. Then she told me that it was the hotel's fault for not informing them that they had no rooms... I told her that they never even called to confirm my reservation, so the hotel was never given the opportunity to tell them that they had no rooms. Then she said that it was a "combination of those two" events/excuses and at that point I just let it go since it was clear that they weren't going to take any responsibility for what had happened.
How's that for customer service?
I will never do business with Hotels.com/Expedia (same company) again and I hope that anyone who reads this will either find a different company to book their hotel rooms through or at the very least be extremely cautious when dealing with them. They may be able to save you a few dollars, but when it comes to hotel reservations, being confident that you will actually have a room when you show up is worth far more than anything they have to offer.