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Hotwire is Non-Refundable


38 replies to this topic

#1 Lanidar

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 07:22 PM

On February 16, 2006 my wife and I decided to make reservations through Hotwire.com for a vacation to Puerto Rico. This was a much needed vacation because we are the caregivers of my 89 & 90 year old parents, both of whom have Alzheimer's disease.
Caregiving of Alzheimer's patients is extremely stressful.
The vacation was only to be for six days. We did much preparation for this vacation regarding the care and medicating of my parents and our dogs and cats, a few of whom also require medication several times a day. This vacation was paid for with our tax refund.

The day before we were supposed to leave, my dog developed glaucoma in her eye. This is the second time this happened, the first time resulting in the loss of sight in one eye. This was an extreme emergency which needed immediate care at a veterinary emergency facility. The treatment my dog requires now is two different kinds of drops in her eyes, one every six hours and one every twelve hours and oral medication 1 time a day. We are very worried about her eye because we don't want her to lose sight in that eye.
We had to make the decision to POSTPONE our trip to Puerto Rico in order to properly take care of our dog and bring her back to the vet every two days for monitoring of the pressure in her eye. We did not trust this care to anyone but ourselves, since if one small thing went wrong, our dog would become totally blind.

We called Hotwire and explained the situation and advised them we just wanted to postpone our trip and reschedule in a few weeks when we knew our dog was stabilized and out of danger of losing her eyesight. They told us we would be able to use the airfare in the future with an extra charge of $100 and a penalty of $35 each, which we expected.
However, they absolutely refused to give us a refund of $1,000 plus for the hotel reservation. They pointed out that at the top of our printed itinerary there was a statement from them as follows: "Please note that all purchases are final and no exchanges or refunds are allowed." Of course, we never expected we would have an emergency so we didn't even read this statement. This has got to be illegal. They have no right to keep our $1000. As far as we can find out, the hotel is not in on this piracy and gets no part of our money.

My wife has been an administrative assistant for over 20 years and has made thousands of airline and hotel reservations. ALL hotels have a cancellation policy, usually 24 hours prior to arrival or some even give you until 6 PM same day. When the cancellation did not fall within their policy times, they would charge a one night reservation fee and that's it. Airlines always charge an extra charge for changing flights as well as a penalty. As I said, we expected that.

The bottom line is, we need to take this vacation and we need that $1000 to pay for a hotel reservation. We will take this as far as we can by beginning with the Better Business Bureau in order to get our money back or at least credited to the hotel.

The details of our vacation are as follows:

Hotwire Itinerary: 2662131071
Airline confirmation Code: KSWSCO
Hotel Confirmation: 80443769

Flight Information as follows:

Friday, March 10
United A/L Flt No. 1226 depart Newark A/P 8:00 AM
Arrive Charlotte 10:03 AM, depart Charlotte 11:40 AM
Arrive San Juan 4:04 PM

Wednesday, March 165
United A/L Flt No. 968 depart San Juan 3:10 PM
Arrive Charlotte 6:06 PM, depart Charlotte 7:20 PM
Arrive Newark 9:06 PM

Hotel information:
Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach-Golf Resort
Check in Fri, March 10
Check out Wed, March 15

Total cost of trip: $1,656.00

REGISTER HERE to remove this ad.


Hotwire OR Priceline

#2 WillTravel

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 07:39 PM

I sympathize with your situation, having an old, sick dog. But Hotwire is absolutely clear that you do not get refunds or changes, so I don't see how you can blame them for this situation. Travel insurance, if purchased in advance, will cover some situations, but not pet illnesses, so far as I know.

Also, it is possible for the hotel to help you, if they want to - which they might not. They can check you in, even though you're not there, receive their payment from Hotwire, and then give you complimentary days at a later time. Other posters have occasionally gotten hotels to help them out this way.

#3 Lanidar

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 07:48 PM

Thank you Will, for your advice.
We already called the hotel to reschedule and they wanted nothing to do with us and told me to contact Hotwire for Hotwire was the only one that could do anything for us. They were extremely adamant and refused any help.
Regarding Hotwire, I think a little compassion could have gone a long, long way.

#4 WillTravel

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 08:00 PM

I'm not sure Hotwire can change this on their own. They have an agreement with the hotel to pay them for that stay at that particular time. So Hotwire can't change it unilaterally without, perhaps, being out the entire fee.

#5 bbbb

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 09:21 PM

I think your last chance was the hotel. I would try calling back and talking to someone other then the person you already talked to.

There are risks when you book with Priceline and Hotwire. Most people don't have a problem but there is always that one in a million chance that something could go wrong. To save $$ you took a gamble and lost. I don't think Hotwire will give your money back and I don't feel they should.

#6 Lanidar

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 09:52 PM

I have no idea either.
But....what I do know is that some one else is sleeping in the room I booked and that some one is getting paid twice for the use of one room.

There are risks when you book with Priceline and Hotwire. Most people don't have a problem but there is always that one in a million chance that something could go wrong. To save $$ you took a gamble and lost. I don't think Hotwire will give your money back and I don't feel they should.


I didn't realize that I was taking this type of risk when I book with, what is supposed to be a reputible firm.
This was the VERY first time I did this on my own.
I'm a poker player...I play hundreds of hands every single day...and I understand the risk I take when I gamble.
This was NOT considered a gamble.
Hotwire is NOT a gambling site.

#7 runNgun

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 10:12 PM

I believe the agreement with the hotel is, in case of a no show only the first nights room and tax is due to the hotel. If true then Hotwire is keeping the rest. I would find the investor relations link on hotwire and find some executive's name then call the non 800 number and ask for them. You have a much better chance than dealing with the regular customer no-service #.

#8 Lanidar

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 10:53 PM

My wife has been an administrative assistant for over 20 years and has made thousands of airline and hotel reservations. ALL hotels have a cancellation policy, usually 24 hours prior to arrival or some even give you until 6 PM same day. When the cancellation did not fall within their policy times, they would charge a one night reservation fee and that's it.

I believe the agreement with the hotel is, in case of a no show only the first nights room and tax is due to the hotel. If true then Hotwire is keeping the rest. I would find the investor relations link on hotwire and find some executive's name then call the non 800 number and ask for them. You have a much better chance than dealing with the regular customer no-service #.


I will take your advice, runNgun, and as soon as I have an answer, I will make my post.
Thank you. :)

#9 thenewbie

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 11:24 PM

I didn't realize that I was taking this type of risk when I book with, what is supposed to be a reputible firm.
This was the VERY first time I did this on my own.
I'm a poker player...I play hundreds of hands every single day...and I understand the risk I take when I gamble.
This was NOT considered a gamble.
Hotwire is NOT a gambling site.

Unfortunately, Hotwire makes this explicitly clear when you booked your vacation.

I just worked my way through a 'hotel reservation' on their website and this is what they show on the billing screen:

Review booking terms
Hotel Booking Rules and Restrictions

* ALL BOOKINGS ARE FINAL and cannot be cancelled, refunded, changed, exchanged or transferred.
* The hotel name and street location will be shown only after you book.
* The hotel will require a valid credit card at check in; debit/check cards are not typically accepted. The card must be in the name of the primary hotel guest, and must include sufficient available credit for incidental expenses such as phone calls, room service and parking; this credit amount will vary by hotel.
* While Hotwire works to ensure that the amenities shown are available, we cannot guarantee they will all be in service during your stay.
* Some hotels may apply additional charges that are not included in your Hotwire rates - such as parking, convention or resort fees. You will be required to pay any such fees directly to the hotel (usually at check-out time). Once you book such a reservation, we recommend contacting your hotel to ask about any additional charges.

Hotwire does offer trip insurance, which covers certain trip cancellations. However, I doubt that an animal falls into the covered protection: "Illness, injury or death of you, a covered family member or traveling companions."

#10 thereuare

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 11:40 PM

First a formatting issue: please do not bold your entire post.

More directly in regards to your situation above:
I sympathize with you dealing with your dog's health issues, but i'd have to side with Hotwire on this one.

It is very clear on their website that your purchase is non-refundable. It's not hidden in any fineprint, but rather this 'warning' is given more than once and in full view... you can't blame Hotwire for you failing to at least read what they put in front of you.

As a result of your situation you call Hotwire an unreputable company, but wouldn't they be less reputable if they gave some customers refunds and others not? They have a stated policy and they are sticking to it.

If they do indeed have a contract to pay the hotel for your room, who should 'eat' this loss... certainly not Hotwire as they fufilled their end of the agreement (and in reality it is you who is backing out of the agreement). You also state that somebody is sleeping in the room that nite... well maybe it's going to sit empty and the hotel has already turned away a customer who was willing to pay for it, knowing that they had already sold it to you.

While Hotwire could certainly have a heart in this situation and make some sort of compromise, they are under no obligation to do so.
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#11 Lanidar

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 01:08 AM

While Hotwire could certainly have a heart in this situation and make some sort of compromise, they are under no obligation to do so.


I completely agree with you ....
But, as you said, above, they should have a heart and they could.
There are exeptions to the rules.

P.S. thereuare, I'm a Penn State guy....lol

#12 Aprilmay

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 01:19 AM

This has got to be illegal. They have no right to keep our $1000.

Actually, it's not illegal. It is a binding contract into which you entered voluntarily. I understand your situation. Unfortunately, Hotwire's business model is built on the idea of NO CANCELLATIONS. This is preceisely the reason they are able to offer such low rates.

I wish you luck, but unless you just happen to get a one-in-a-million Customer Service agent, I have a feeling that you won't win this one. It's a surprise to me that they even considered allowing you to reschedule the airfare.

#13 Lanidar

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 02:14 AM

Actually, it's not illegal. It is a binding contract into which you entered voluntarily. I understand your situation. Unfortunately, Hotwire's business model is built on the idea of NO CANCELLATIONS. This is preceisely the reason they are able to offer such low rates.


I may have jumped the gun there...but, I was really angry when I made my original post.
The rate they charged was the lowest....but, not by that much.
It WAS a good deal or I wouldn't have accepted it.

As I said before...

"But, as you said, above, they should have a heart and they could.
There are exeptions to the rules."

#14 ufjoe21

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:13 PM

It's sad what happened, but it's not illegal what Hotwire is doing.

Even if you could prove to them all the details of your situation, it wouldn't matter.

Sorry for what happened but looks like you'll have to live with it.

#15 Lanidar

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 11:28 PM

This has now become a matter of principle.
Tomorrow, I'll be phoning Embassy Suites.
I will attempt to reach the highest person of authority and plead my case.
It's a no lose situation.

Also, as I had mentioned in a prior post, all my wife and I wanted to do is reschedule.

So, what we did was book a vacation beginning March 31st, directly with The Royal Decameron Club in Jamaica. We have our own private cottage, right on the beach for the same five day period...all inclusive...for the complete price of $815.00.

We needand want a vacation.
We weren't trying to get out of paying or reneging on the deal we made with Hotwire.

I will let you know how I made out with Embassy.

Thank you ufjoe21 :)

#16 ufjoe21

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 01:37 AM

If anybody can refund your $$$ it's hotwire, not the hotel (Embassy Suites). Even though hotwire will most likely NOT refund your $$$, they are the only ones who could, NOT the hotel.

Hotwire acts as a 3rd party in the hotel reservation, and any problems with the reservation HAVE to be taken up with them.

We're all telling you it's a no win situation, the contract was clear and they didn't deceive you. If they did deceive you, you would go after Hotwire, not the hotel. The hotel probably doesn't even know how much $$$ you paid anyways.

Unfotunately it's something you have to live with, look at it as a loss in the stock market or something.

Again, sorry for all this happening. You'll only cause yourself more grief and aggravation, because nobody at the hotel can help you, and even if you tell them "hotwire won't help me" there's nothing they can do about it unfortunately. You'll only lose money on the international phone call.

Short of some CEO offering you a weeklong vacation out of the kindness of their heart, nothing is going to happen.

#17 Lanidar

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:28 PM

I spoke to Embassy Suites this morning.
They were EXTREMELY helpful, sympathetic and courteous.
Embassy told me that they were getting only ONE nights fee for the cancellation and that Hotwire kept the rest.
A manager from Embassy told me that they spoke to Hotwire and refused to refund my money, which I did NOT want, and they refused to reschedule.
The manager was surprised that Hotwire was so cold and callus.

Again, I understand the "No Cancellation clause" and I also realize that what they did was perfectly legal.
But, due to the situation I was in, in my opinion, they should have shown some sympathy in this particular case.
I will now file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, though I truly believe that it will have no effect....it WILL go on their complaint record.

#18 oldfoagy

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:46 PM

How do you have the gall to file a complaint against them? They have lived up to their end of the CONTRACT. YOU are the one who is trying to renege on the CONTRACT.

While I feel badly for your situation, you alone determined the risk/reward was acceptable to COMMIT to those dates at that location. To report them to the Better Business Bureau about your circumstance is LIBEL.

You spoke earlier of "Now it has become a matter of principle." To report them to the BBB is WITHOUT principle.

Your actions only serve to tarnish the experiences and opportunities of Hotwire for the rest of us.

#19 ufjoe21

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 08:21 PM

when you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, it's because they have not lived up to their end of the bargain/deal/contract

you're filing a complaint because they're not sympathetic to your plight?.....that's a total abuse of the system I'm sorry but that's giving Hotwire a bad name because they won't take pity on you

if they had stolen your $$$ or lied to you or something of that nature then you have every right to file a complaint and warn future customers, but this is nothing but filing a complaint for spite

you're tarnishing an already ugly situation by doing this :)

#20 rapazfreiburg

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 12:58 AM

Sorry, but I think the moderators should put an end to this discussion.
It's just getting ridiculous. This person obviously does *not* want to understand and get the point.

#21 Lanidar

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 04:58 PM

I'm done here.
I did what I wanted to do.
Whether anyone here agrees with me or not I completely irrelevant to me.
I will continue my plight win lose or draw.

I have un subscribed from this topic and deleted the web site.

#22 thereuare

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 07:01 PM

You came here to plead your case and get help (as well as to try to drag Hotwire's name thru the mud).

I think you accomplished all three... you did state your case, did receive help, but when you tried to blame Hotwire others disagreed with your position. If you try to sling mud at somebody you have to be prepared to receive it as well if/when others don't agree with you.

I intentionally left this thread open, even after it was suggested it be closed, in order to give others who might agree with your position a chance to respond. Unfortunately when nobody did you decided to show your gratitude towards the users who contributed their thoughts and tried to help by telling them that their opinions didn't matter to you.

Sometimes in life you need to accept responsibility for your own actions... even when that means things won't ultimately work out the way you wanted it to :)
Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases
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#23 ufjoe21

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 09:16 PM

Luckily, I don't think this one person's complaint will hurt Hotwire in the longrun. Some people know very little about what it means when you agree to a contract with someone, people think they can make their own rules as they go along. This person made a choice between their dogs and a lot of $$$ spent on their trip, they chose the dog so they have to live with the charges. This person wants to have their cake and eat it too, they chose to take care of the dogs and not go on the trip and they want their money back and some kind of free trip in return and want hotwire to admit to fault and want to file a complaint against them. I like how they kept harping on the Alzheimer's patients.......as if they have such an important job that they're entitled to break the rules and do whatever they like!

I don't like hotwire myself, but at least I don't make up lies about them!

#24 MichaelBei

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 02:39 PM

Lanidar, your human and dog families are more important than $$. Rejoice and be glad that they are getting good care, and don't let this stress you out. Maybe Hotwire and Priceline are not good choices for you with all of these family health problems. Both products discussed on this board are non-refundable non-changeable and always have been. That meains customers are going to and regularly do get stuck with the bill when their travel plans say.

#25 powerplantop

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 09:35 PM

I have un subscribed from this topic and deleted the web site.


Hey thereuare,

Did you know that the web site has been deleted? LOL

As for reporting them to the BBB it will just be dropped, I don't see it going on Hotwires record. http://www.bbb.org/a...pprules.asp#2.3

2.2 ELIGIBLE COMPLAINTS
In order to be eligible, a complaint must be filed by an eligible individual and must:

concern advertising or marketing materials that are funded in whole or part by the company, its licensees or its authorized distributors;

concern advertising or other marketing materials that are in current use;

allege that the company has failed to comply with a specifically identified provision of the company's CAP; and state the basis for the consumer's allegation that the company has failed to comply with the identified provision of the company's CAP, and include any relevant documentation.


Lets see Hotwire followed policy that the consumer agreed to. So much for getting the BBB involved....

If the APP staff, in its sole judgment, concludes that the complaint does not meet the APP eligibility guidelines for any reason, it shall advise the consumer that it cannot proceed with investigation of the complaint and it shall discontinue any further action on the complaint. Where appropriate, the APP staff shall provide the consumer with the name and address of any agency or group that may have jurisdiction over the complaint.

I do not see where Hotwire did any thing wrong.

On to "My wife has been an administrative assistant for over 20 years and has made thousands of airline and hotel reservations. ALL hotels have a cancellation policy, usually 24 hours prior to arrival or some even give you until 6 PM same day."

That is unless you book a pre paid rate. Some chains (InterContinental Hotels Group being one) will give a lower price if you book a pre paid non refundable reservation. I would think that someone who has booked thousands of reservations over 20 years would know this.



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