Priceline.com Complaint - Priceline's Fraudulent Practices - Beware!
I used the "name-your-own-price" service of Priceline.com and named a price for a 4-star hotel in Las Vegas of $69 per night for five nights. I received a confirmation for the Luxor Hotel at $69 per night and was informed that there were "Taxes and Service Fees" of $55.20 per night and I was charged $400.20 for the five-night stay. The confirmation informed me that any other incidental charges, such as room service, parking, telephone, minibar, etc. would have to be paid by me to the hotel at the time of my stay. When I arrived at the hotel, however, I was informed that there was a mandatory "Resort Fee" of $14.50 per night that I would have to pay (in addition to the $55.20 of taxes and service fees for the five-night stay). I was informed that it covered free local phone calls, admission to the health club and a free daily newspaper. I told the hotel that I did not want any of those additions to my hotel room and that I had named a price of $69 per night plus taxes and that was all that I wanted to pay. I was told that I did not have a choice and that I must pay the $14.50 per night. I said that I wanted to cancel my reservation because I was tricked into believing the room would be $69 per night and it was in fact going to cost me $83.50 per night. I was told that the room was not refundable.
When I returned home, I contacted prceline.com's customer service and customer relations (apparently the company's higher level of customer relations) departments. They were completely unhelpful and just kept saying the same thing over and over again - there was a statement in the small print that said that you could be charged by the hotel additional incidental fees. I said that I read that statement to mean optional fees that I choose to incur such as parking, telephone, Internet, movies, minibar, etc. I argued that if its a mandatory fee than its part of the cost of the room and should be part of the price of the room and not HIDDEN from the purchaser. I noted that I was never informed that I would be charged a mandatory $14.50 fee per night until I arrived at the hotel. I was not informed of this charge on-line, nor in my confirmation that I printed out, nor in the email that I received the next day from Priceline.com. The "customer service" personnel just said that there was nothing that they could do because I had been given all of the terms of the deal. I argued that if they did not inform me of a $14.50 per night mandatory charge in addition to the taxes and the $69 price I had "named", than I was not informed of every material item. Like robots, they kept saying that I had been given all of the material terms of the deal.
To me, Priceline.com is a scam in that it deliberately and knowingly uses hidden fees to misrepresent the cost of the price of a hotel room. It deceives you into believing that you are paying one price when in fact you will pay a much higher price. They think that its ok to do this because they warn you in small print that there may be additional fees that you may be charged without stating what those fees are. This is fraudulent activity and Priceline.com should be ashamed of itself.
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