• Report: #145649

Complaint Review: Priceline

  • Submitted: Thu, June 09, 2005
  • Updated: Fri, July 08, 2005

  • Reported By:Elk Grove California
Priceline
, California U.S.A.

Priceline ripoff California

*Author of original report: Received a e-mail from the B B B-CT

*Author of original report: priceline.com vs Attorney General's office

*Consumer Comment: I do not see what they could do to make it any more obvious.

*Consumer Suggestion: just read You just can't beat that!

*Author of original report: o: Jason - Simpsonville, South Carolinadon't plan on using it in this lifetime

*Consumer Comment: Internet isn't the problem

*Consumer Suggestion: I can't believe people are still buying trash off the internet! When will they learn?

*Consumer Comment: Just a suggestion

*Author of original report: I have since filed a formal complaint

*Author of original report: priceline.com was booted off the B B B in their home state of Connecticut

*Author of original report: had a bad and expensive experience with that so called name your price service

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To Customer Service Priceline.com,

I will be sending this e-mail to all the major newspapers with travel sections,

On June 3rd of this year, I too had a bad and expensive experience with that so called name your price service, I was trying to purchase 6 tickets to Hawaii for my sister and her family, and I ended up being charged 4507.50. I did not even get a chance to see what I was getting her into before it was tooooo late. Now my sister and I are battling with each other as well as priceline and MBNA.

I will just have to switch to a more customer friendly credit card company in the future. After I got a response from priceline via e-mail, I told them that I would tell my family and friends about there crappy service and deceiving website, my niece told me today, she was going to use priceline to buy 3 tickets to Fl. for Thanksgiving. After I told her what happened to me, she said she was going to use Expedia, I really like them better, what you see is what you get. The point is, once you surrender your credit card number, Priceline has complete control of the transaction. I was trying to tell my sister to use Expedia, since I have booked my last two vacations to Cabo San Lucas and Hawaii.

Jenny
Elk Grove, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/09/2005 09:25 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Priceline/California/Priceline-ripoff-California-145649. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

Received a e-mail from the B B B-CT

AUTHOR: Jenny - (U.S.A.)

The BBB office in CT is giving priceline.com 20 days from July 8, 2005 to respond to me about my complaint against them. So Jason you need to get the facts straight, and priceline.com is going to eat those charges, they can use it as a loss on their bottom line and get the tax credits. Priceline.com does not even have commericals airing in the State of California, it must be in result to those other class action suits that were settled in my home state.
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#2 Author of original report

priceline.com vs Attorney General's office

AUTHOR: Jenny - (U.S.A.)

Today I contacted the Attorney General's office in Connecticut, and they sent priceline.com a letter back on June 30, 2005 and they are giving them until July 13, 2005 to respond, so why would they waste their time if the charges I and alot more people have brought up against them were not true and needed to be looked at more. Once again Jason stop bugging me about this crap, you may have had better luck with them but I did not. For all I know you might be on their payroll are something.

One more thing why would there be 3 class action lawsuits filed against them in 3 different states, and the judge told priceline.com they were not getting off the hook. MORE POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!! The credit card belongs to the HOLDER of the card, not pricelie.com
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#3 Consumer Comment

I do not see what they could do to make it any more obvious.

AUTHOR: Jason - (U.S.A.)

You and the 75 other people are welcome to think what you will, obviously. Booking online through priceline, I do not see what they could do to make it any more obvious.

As for the BBB, Priceline is a member in good standing with a satisfactory rating with the BBB as of 7/7/05. Of course, as this site states, take the BBB with a grain of salt, but you were 100% behind them when you believed they had kicked out Priceline. (They did, but reinstated them 3 months later finding that Priceline had improved their customer service to satisfactory levels)

What more could they have done would be my question? Their business model is name your own price with no refunds. That is because the airline will not refund money to them. So, once the price is accepted by an airline, Priceline is on the hook for the cost. Therefore, you are on the hook for the price. They make it obvious. The ONLY way I can see that they could do anything better is to put a notice up that once you "search for tickets" using name your own price, they say "We've found someone who will accept your price, would you like to purchase now?" - They still don't tell you who accepted or what times your flights will be, but it's an added layer, I s'pose.

So to cancel your tickets and refund your money, the only option is for Priceline to eat the full cost of the tickets. Is that right for them? Would you do it if you were in their shoes? Priceline is stuck by the same rules they stick to you. They are aware of the rules, and they tell you the rules.

Best of luck with Expedia. Of course, you might want to search for their name on here....
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

just read You just can't beat that!

AUTHOR: S. - (U.S.A.)

I have used priceline on several occasions and I have never had a problem. If you throughly read every step of the transaction you will understand how it works and what your responsibilities are and theirs.
The idea works well. The last time I used them I stayed in a hotel that caters to business travelers, but I was there on the weekend. I paid exactly one third of the regular room rate.
You just can't beat that!
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#5 Author of original report

o: Jason - Simpsonville, South Carolinadon't plan on using it in this lifetime

AUTHOR: Jenny - (U.S.A.)

Well maybe you are just sooo good using their service, I had never used it and don't plan on using it in this lifetime or any other, there are over 75 complaints so 75 people can't be wrong, with Expedia you see what you get, and you pick and choose what carrier you wish to travel with. So I am planning to join the class action suit against priceline.com. Besides the Connecticut BBB booted them off of their own home state, now the BBB logo does not even appear on their own website, mistake #1 etc. I have already e-mailed Expedia too see what deal they can work out with the carrier (United) which shafted their own employee pension plan.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Internet isn't the problem

AUTHOR: Jason - (U.S.A.)

Paul, the internet isn't the problem. Look at the reports here, alot are internet based (God help us with the EZLaptops thing) but i'd guess that it is still outweighed 60/40 or so brick and mortar vs internet. In reality, the internet isn't the problem, it's the users.

This complaint looks to be 100% sour grapes. I have used priceline before, but very, very infrequently. The "Name your own price" service is only good for someone with a very open schedule, because you might be flying on any airline, at any time and you have no choice in the matter. That's why I don't use it. Jenny apparently didn't understand that and is now upset that she received exactly what she should have.

Right now I am "booking" a flight on Priceline. I enter my departure and arrival information, and find that I can get a flight for anywhere from $180 to $285. Just on non-stop flights, it's $180 on United. But wait... There's this neat little name your own price thing that is the "Best value" and the first thing I see... "Exact times will be shown after purchase" Whoa.. Eject!

But let's say I missed that... I select my departure and arrival airports again, name my own price... Wait a second... It says

"Your trip will start between 6am and 10pm on your travel dates. Your exact flights and times will be shown to you once your purchase is complete. Although we always look for non-stop flights first, priceline flights may make up to one connection each way. We will issue convenient electronic tickets."

I don't get to see my flight times until after I buy the ticket? WTF? Eject! But let's say I missed it and continue on... Enter my name and press next...

"The airlines will choose your flight times. Your trip will start between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and you will arrive no later than 12:30 a.m. the next day. "

Eject!.. But no, I missed it... I continue on...Don't want rental cars, no attractions...Press Next...Secure page...Right up at top...

"The airlines will choose your flight times. Your trip will start between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and you will arrive no later than 12:30 a.m. the next day."

But maybe I missed that... A little farther down the page...

"Your purchase is non-refundable, non-transferable and non-changeable.
Your tickets will be round-trip, coach class tickets issued on one of Priceline's partner airlines. You must fly on the flights assigned to you. Upgrades and standbys are not available and if any part of the ticket is unused it has no value after ticketed departure time.
If we find an airline that accepts your price, we'll immediately purchase your tickets on the credit card you provide to us."

Next I have to initial that I have read all this... FINALLY I can now enter my credit card info.

Let's do the math here. It tells you a minimum of FIVE TIMES that you WILL NOT choose your airline, your flights, time of departure, NOTHING. And yet the person STILL purchased the tickets and is complaining. That's not right. That's not the fault of the internet, that's the fault of the person who ignored the warnings FIVE TIMES.

These are the people who have to have "Not to be taken internally" on a tube of Preperation H. These are the people who have to have "Do not use in bathtub" on a toaster.

I am sorry for Jenny that she FEELS ripped off by priceline, but she is incorrect in feeling that way. They did NOTHING to hide the way they do business. They told her FIVE TIMES that she didn't get to choose her flights. They told her at least THREE times that she wouldn't see flight information until after purchase. And finally, she had to push this big button after entering her credit card information that says "BUY MY TICKETS NOW". On what planet does "BUY MY TICKETS NOW" mean anything other than "BUY MY TICKETS NOW"?

Jenny, I don't know you, but I will go out on a limb here and guess that you are not stupid. However, go back through the steps of purchasing a ticket and you did a stupid thing. I just believe blaming Priceline for this is like blaming a store for a broken leg because you walked past the FIVE bright yellow, well displayed "Wet Floor" signs and didn't see them. There's only so much the rest of the world can do.
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#7 Consumer Suggestion

I can't believe people are still buying trash off the internet! When will they learn?

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

You never buy anything off the internet. It's only there for pictures and for reading stuff.

That's it.

Oh, and maybe downloading free stuff. But, that's definitely it.

Priceline? Name your own price? Yeah, like that could possibly be true?

Well look at it this way.

As long as people still think they will be getting that deal of a lifetime off the internet, this site will always have tons of complaints to fill up its pages with.

Just read all the trouble this woman has to deal with.

Now, you won't be able to say you didn't know.

Consider this a warning. Stop buying junk off the internet.

Or, you will be next!
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#8 Consumer Comment

Just a suggestion

AUTHOR: Linda - (U.S.A.)

On the recap page when they review your rental under where it says "Important Information" it does state "If your offer is accepted, we will immediately lock in your reservation and charge your credit card." this is the statement I saw BEFORE I even put any credit card information onto the website at priceline.com.
the next statement i saw was the following:
"Priceline rental cars are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-changeable even if the reservation is not used." and then further down on the same page is this yellow box contains this:

Initial Here:
I have read, accept and agree to abide by priceline.com's terms and conditions and privacy policy.
Just thought I would mention it for future use!!
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#9 Author of original report

I have since filed a formal complaint

AUTHOR: Jenny - (U.S.A.)

UPDATES on what can be done about priceline.com aka pricelie.com

I have since filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on 6/13/05 ref #6247177, the Attorney General's office which is pending right now do to overwhelming complaints filed against priceline.com, and the Better Business Bureau complaint ID # 1947302 in the State of Connecticut. They have already been booted off, once before I say it's time once again to learn their lesson.I also filed a report dated 6/9/2005 with www.ripoffreport.com, also with the following internet sites: www.consumersrevenge.com, www.troublereport.com

I have even e-mailed the following bigwigs at priceline.com

bob.mylod@priceline.com
brett.keller@priceline.com
brian.ek@priceline.com
jeff.boyd@priceline.com
lisag@priceline.com
mark.koehler@priceline.com
ron.rose@priceline.com
tom.dangelo@priceline.com

I have also caught priceline.com in a bold face lie: keep going it gets better a couple of lines down.

The complaints about Priceline got the goat of a Priceline customer service rep, who wrote:

I just read the comments about Priceline and was laughing hysterically. I work for Priceline customer service, and thought with all the complaints I get I would read some complaints.

Everyone must realize everything is clearly stated in plain English on the Website. We have people initial a contract page that states that the tickets will be charged to your card automatically if our database finds an acceptable offer.

***This is a lie, there is now place to initial a contract page????

People!!! You're not being shafted, you are just idiots for putting in your credit card number for a couple hundred dollar purchase and not reviewing the terms of Priceline.

So now their customer service reps thinks the general public are idiots???

Well I am sure a lot of others will think differently, their the ones that are idiots for not placing what you are getting into in black and white, or even getting a chance to review the total purchase of the ticket. Before holding your credit card as hostage!!!!

It's amazing how many idiots use Priceline.com. We should put a big heading on the page ... ''If you are an idiot, don't use us! All the idiots that call me cause emotional damage.
This works both ways, what about families that are torn up over what they got each other into?

Then there's Brady, who writes: I actually used to work for Priceline.com, and the company is terrible. You are forced to tell all customers NO. I will admit, sometimes the customer do not read the website before purchasing, but other times, we should be able to do something.

Well it's good to know they had at least one caring, honest person, that once worked for them. Did he and/or she get fired for being to NICE to the Customers??

If you just need the dates changed, call and say you entered the wrong dates...even if you didn't. They will send you an email on how to change you dates. For hotels, just say you entered the wrong CITY...they will cancel and tell you to place another request via the website.

The bottom line here is rather then saying no to the customer you are required to say YES to the customer. The only thing your consistent about is fraudulent representing yourself. There is no place to initial your priceline.com terms, there is no final purchase agreement page, and to review that allows you to accept or decline the purchase.
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#10 Author of original report

priceline.com was booted off the B B B in their home state of Connecticut

AUTHOR: Jenny - (U.S.A.)

The following was dated September 20, 2000:

To all that have been ripped off after that date contact the BBB in Connecticut and file your complaints:

Priceline.com Inc. has been kicked out of its home state's Better Business Bureau after generating about 300 consumer complaints since 1998.

The company, whose pitchman is William Shatner, said it was "shocked" to hear of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau's decision. It has about a month to appeal.

Nearly 80 percent of the complaints came from customers who bought the low-cost airline tickets from Priceline (pcln) and "didn't like one aspect of the itinerary," said Priceline spokesman Brian Eck.

The rest were from customers who either didn't get timely refunds or couldn't get through to customer service representatives, Eck said.

Although Better Business Bureau membership is voluntary, getting booted could have disastrous public relations consequences for any business.
Some companies, including Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., do not belong to the consumer advocacy group.

In fact, Amazon (amzn) doesn't belong to any consumer group. Ebay (ebay) is a member of Truste, which has become the online answer to the business bureau.

Priceline said it first learned of the 300 complaints in June. The company made several changes, such as hiring more customer service representatives and adding new help buttons to its Web site. The company was able to reduce the average time Priceline.com customers spent on hold, according to Eck, who said the three-minute average waiting time had been reduced to 30 seconds.

Priceline also began factoring in airport charges, such as fuel taxes. It has begun to subtract the surcharges from the amount customers want to pay before searching for a ticket. Previously, Priceline bought a ticket for the amount the customer wanted, then tacked on the additional costs.

But apparently the changes were not enough. The organization told Priceline last Thursday that since it had failed to "eliminate underlying causes of complaints" it could no longer display the Better Business Bureau logo on its site.

"We're trying to figure out what prompted this action, because we're at a loss," Eck said.
Paula Hotton, president of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau, had no comment when reached Thursday in Puerto Rico, where she was attending a bureau conference.

Eck said the complaints may have been generated by customers learning the ins and outs of the way Priceline does business.

Priceline customers tell the company when they want to travel and how much they want to pay. Priceline buys a ticket that closely resembles the itinerary. But it's not always a perfect match, Eck said.

"This is a very basic proposition," Eck said. "You have to agree to let the airline pick the times. This is a changing of the business paradigm that is going to take some education."
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#11 Author of original report

had a bad and expensive experience with that so called name your price service

AUTHOR: Jenny - (U.S.A.)

On June 3rd of this year, I too had a bad and expensive experience with that so called name your price service, I was trying to purchase 6 tickets to Hawaii for my sister and her family, and I ended up being charged 4507.50. I did not even get a chance to see what I was getting her into before it was tooooo late. Now my sister and I are battling with each other as well as priceline and MBNA.

I will just have to switch to a more customer friendly credit card company in the future. After I got a response from priceline via e-mail, I told them that I would tell my family and friends about there crappy service and deceiving website, my niece told me today, she was going to use priceline to buy 3 tickets to Fl. for Thanksgiving. After I told her what happened to me, she said she was going to use Expedia, I really like them better, what you see is what you get, no suprises.
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