A lesson learned! To all who want a quality vacation, do not book with this company. My husband and I wanted a nice get-away (a first in two and a half years since our second child was born) to South Beach in Miami, Florida. I did a hotel search on the internet and came across HotelsCorp.com. They touted great deals for 4 star hotels and huge super discounts. One in particular caught my interest. It was labeled as a 4 star, and the address of the hotel was perfect, right in the heart of South Beach, across from the ocean at an astounding price, well below (at least a $100 less a night) what it is with other travel companies. Well, if it is too good to be true, it is in fact false!
I went ahead and called the super discount phone number. They were able to discount even further IF we agreed to attend the timeshare presentation and tour for Westgate Resorts. This should have waved the warning flag. We had never done that and have heard about hard selling but thought it would be worth it to save the extra money. Plus, the rep said we could cancel at any time with not fees.
I received my first confirmation via email correctly listing the dates and hotel in South Beach. A couple of days later, I received a final confirmation where they had changed the hotel to a 2 star hotel (I will not mention the name because I have nothing against this chain of hotels) in the middle of nowhere (not even close to South Beach). I will add that they still required us to go to the timeshare tour and still had a charge on my credit card for the 4 star hotel which even at the discounted rate is much more expensive than the 2 star they switched on us. I know this because I researched the 2 star and looked up rates at four different travel sites. It was at least $60 less a night. This is an important fact that I will get to later.
Upon getting my final confirmation, I immediately called and asked why we were switched. The customer service person (I will call her rep #2) replied that there was not any availability for the 4 star hotel. I told her that the person I booked it with said that there was availability (in fact, I waited on the phone with this initial service person while it seemed she was looking up different rooms on a computer). Rep #2 then told me that they make the charge to the card and fax over requests to the hotel within a day and now there is nothing. I asked that this package be cancelled for obvious reasons and I told her that it is bad policy not to call the customer to notify them of the switch. She told me that a manager would call to give me the cancellation within a couple of hours. No one called. I called back again that evening. Rep #3 said that managers do not call, the Travel Solutions department calls within 24-72 hours. I was perplexed by the lack of getting a straight answer. I asked to speak to a supervisor. She told me that she cannot give out those names. I asked who owned the company, she could not give me an answer. I asked to be transfered to the Travel Solutions line, she could not do that. I asked for a direct phone number for them, she could not give that out. Get my point, no one could be reached. This made me very uneasy. I called my credit card company to report a possible fraudulent (bait and switch) act and fortunately most credit card companies are very good at dealing with these sort of problems. To top it off, I get a call at 9:00p.m. that same night from rep #4. I was expecting her to give me some type of cancellation confirmation, instead she asked in a perky voice that she wanted to confirm our vacation package at the 2 star hotel!! I lost my patience and told her I had called twice that day to cancel the package and why is she calling me, wasn't it in the system that I had cancelled it??
I called the next day and rep #5 told me the same thing, it would take up to 72 hours to cancel. I did not trust anything at this point. I said by the time someone calls which I doubt that they would, I would need to leave for my vacation and they would try to charge me for some type of late cancellation charge. I demanded to speak to someone who was of some authority. She must have known I was at my breaking point because rep #5 transfered me to Travel Solutions (hmmm, I thought that they could not do that?) and finally I spoke to a supervisor. She said she would cancel it immediately. I told her that this is a bait and switch. She said no it was not. There is a disclaimer in their fine print that states that HotelCorps reserves the right to substitute lodging, tickets, and/or vouchers with comparable items of equal or greater value. EQUAL or GREATER value. Clearly, they were not substituting that here. They switched to a lesser quality hotel (it was listed as a motor inn on some sites) on some random highway nowhere near where we wanted to stay that costs much much less than the regular cost of the hotel we were promised. They did not meet this disclaimer in anyway!
This is classic bait and switch. This company should not be in business. I am angry at myself for getting sucked in and having to waste my time dealing with them. Please be warned! Deal with reputable travel companies or call the hotels directly after thorough research. The internet is an incredible resource but also a huge opportunity for companies like this to prey on the unsuspecting.
Supposedly they will refund our money. I hope so or they will have a lawsuit on their hands. I have a feeling they have had a lot of complaints, why else would it be so hard to get a hold of the owner or CEO, they are in hiding!
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Westgatee Resorts