disputing a star rating in advance
Posted 19 February 2005 - 07:52 PM
While $46 is certainly a good price for a Newark Airport 3 star, there seems to be plenty of evidence that this is no 3 star. We all know that Sheraton typically uses the Four Points label for older hotels that "aren't good enough" to be Sheratons, so you're at a weak 3-star to begin with. And this particular hotel gets almost uniformly dreadful on-line reviews. Indeed, I remember staying there myself about 4 years ago and can still recall the surprisingly dilapidated state of the property. I imagine 4 more years have made things even worse.
After writing a note to priceline customer service (which I'm sure will be rejected by the unempowered Indian help desk), I pulled up the sheraton listing for the hotel and found out that the indoor pool is closed for a few months due to rennovations. Without a pool, this seems like further evidence that the property is currently no 3 star. By the way, I saw the hotel itself is offering its own $60 rate (very cheap for No. N.J.), another sure sign that they are not actually offering 3 star quality.
Does anyone know of anyone having success with priceline disputing a hotel's star rating? And who might adjust this for me? I assume I'll have a better shot contacting the "executive offices" on Monday. Most likely, however, I'll have a subpar experience and the property will ultimately be rerated to a maximum 2.5 star level by further complaints.
Any suggestions on how to proceed would be most welcome.
Posted 20 February 2005 - 02:20 AM
I guess this is their business model. They are not going to employ staff to review such complaints and weigh the evidence. "Hmmm, this customer has a point. Those reviews ARE bad, the pool has been closed, it's a marginal 3 star brand to begin with, their rates are suspicious. Let's use our customers as our eyes and ears for feedback. And we'll keep this loyal customer happy by giving him another property while we conduct a review to determine whether this property should be placed in a lower star category."
Nope -- that's not the priceline way. You get good deals most of the time and you have to live with the duds and mistakes. And the "stone wall" customer service department. Keeps costs low, you know. All our customers really care about is price. They'll come back anyway.
And until something better comes along, we probably will.
Posted 20 February 2005 - 03:18 AM
BTW, Priceline doesn't guarantee 3 star hotels to have a pool, but they must definitely have a restaurant.
Posted 22 February 2005 - 12:03 AM
Posted 22 February 2005 - 01:54 AM
So good God, what's in it for priceline to insist that this non-3-star property is a 3 star? I just don't understand why they insist on being so bull-headed about these things. You'd certainly think it would be in their interest to have satisfied customers.
Lonestar, I stayed here about two months ago and complained to Customer Service at PL that this was not a 3* property. I think I talked to the same customer service agent that you did.
Posted 04 March 2005 - 04:17 AM
Posted 04 March 2005 - 04:23 PM
That said, I have seen some dumpy traditional hotels rated only 2.5 stars from Priceline. I've also seen non-dumpy Hiltons "downgraded" by priceline -- apparently on the direction of the hotel chain itself -- where the Hilton had no other competition in the 3-star category.
From a priceline user's perspective, there doesn't seem to be a good solution to this problem. Personally, I think they should stick these marginal Four Points in the 2.5 star category, and leave the 3 stars to Marriotts, Sheratons, Hiltons, etc. I don't really want to see a Hotwire-like 3.5 star group.
FWIW, with the pool closed, the Newark Four Points is really like the nearby Days Inn, and should be currently rated 2 stars.
Posted 13 March 2005 - 02:41 PM
This won't solve your feeling of being ripped off and frustration with non-existant customer service, but I have read this tip on this board. Stay there and take pictures. Send those pictures to PL customer service address that is posted elsewhere on this board (it's TOP SECRET). Demand this hotel be re-rated.
It is rare but PL has been known to downgrade hotels with enough customer complaints. There was a 4* hotel in Toronto downgraded to a 3* last year and a similar downgrading in NYC. Be sure to post your "winning" bid on this clunker in the New Jersey section with a WARNING label. This will help future bidders avoid bidding 3* in this zone. Although the 2.5* upgrade to this hotel is theoretically possible, in your post strongly recommend only bidding 2.5* in this zone to avoid this hotel. If there's a lot of 2.5* hotels in this zone it's unlikely to be "upgraded" to this one.
And thanks for caring enough to try.
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