• Report: #823491

Complaint Review: Priceline.com

  • Submitted: Mon, January 16, 2012
  • Updated: Wed, May 23, 2012

  • Reported By: tprofitt18 — Fort Lauderdale Florida United States of America
800 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk CT 06854 Norwalk, Connecticut United States of America

Priceline.com Dispute over bids placed on "Name Your Own Price" Norwalk, Connecticut

*Consumer Comment: I feel your pain.

*Consumer Comment: It took you a while..

*Author of original report: "Name Your Own Price" Dispute

*Consumer Comment: Please

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I have previously used Priceline.com "Name Your Own Bid" services last year for a trip to NY for my grandmother's funeral. I was able to get a great rate at a hotel near where my family and made 2 successful bids to ensure the
reservation. I was extremely pleased with these results and I wanted to use the "Name Your Own Bid" option this time to make vacation arrangements next month to NY. So, I placed numerous bids, which were all unsuccessful, and
Priceline forces you to change the criteria of the bid (location, star quality, bid amount) each time you are unsuccessful.

Well, I made a change reluctantly and got awarded a hotel that was too far from where I wanted to stay, lower
star quality and didn't have the amenities that I wanted. I contacted Priceline a few days later, once the charge was posted to my credit card, to dispute the charge. I got a pleasant customer service representative who was willing to
issue me a full refund less a $25 change fee as long as I went back to theirsite to place a successful bid and/or purchase. I went back to the site and tried the "Name Your Own Price", this time upping my original bid from $55 to $61 and even adding an additional day.

What did I get? I got a hotel on the same street and area that I didn't want (like the first reservation) and I immediately called Priceline.com to let them know that this is not what I wanted and request a refund. Well, I had to have a three way conversation with my credit card company representative and with a supervisor at Priceline.com, just to find out that they are unwillingly to accomodate me and will not cancel the reservation and issue a refund. So, now I have disputed
this with my credit card company and I am determined to get the results I deserve as a paying customer. Why would you not refund the second reservation if it produced the same results as the first reservation that they cancelled???
Also, they told me that they would cancel the second reservation, but charge me another $25 change fee.....why are you charging me again for the same problem?? That is why I disputed the charge and by this conversation today, even my
credit card representative was puzzled just as much as I was.

 You are not willing to cancel the reservation and allow me to purchase the hotel I wanted, but in the previous conversation with your supervisor, you said that you would, but charge me another $25? You stated that the reservation couldn't be cancelled because it was a "restricted" reservation, however the first reservation was also considered "restricted" and you cancelled that one?? I swear that I will NEVER use this site again and I will make sure
to tell everyone I know about the poor customer service I have received from
their supervisors.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/16/2012 01:39 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Pricelinecom/Norwalk-Connecticut-06854/Pricelinecom-Dispute-over-bids-placed-on-Name-Your-Own-Price-Norwalk-Connecticut-823491. 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 Consumer Comment

I feel your pain.

AUTHOR: Jonathan - (United States of America)

I had a terrible experience with Priceline "Name your own price" as well.  I booked a hotel in Fort lauderdale based upon a map that showed the area I wanted as Oakland Park Blvd and US 1 (I notice you're from Fort Lauderdale, I used to live there also).

The map I was shown at the time of booking had numbers in the areas with a small map and clearly showed the area as coastal and near US1 and the beach.  I was placed in Tamarac, at a La Quinta Inn in the parking lot of a Staples 16 miles from Ft Lauderdale.

I notified priceline within minutes I was cancelling - they sent back a  form response. No refunds, no cancellations. Just because they have a "contract" doesn't mean it is enforceable. 

Priceline claimed I'd saved 36%- I bid $85 a night.  On their own website the same hotel was $94 a night.  ( I found the hotel listed online at $92, so even less of an actual discount)  In addition, when I calculated the tax rate I'd been charged - it was 15.75 %.  The tax rate in Broward county for hotels is 11%.  They added a tip for themselves of 4.75%.  No disclosure, no itemization of tax or fees.  It is fraud to add money to tax rates without disclosure.  Fraud nullifies a contract.  That may work in my favor.

So, to itemize the discount - The actual discount was 9%, but, when they padded the tax rate for 4.75 percent more, bringing the discount down to 4.25%.  Yay, I got a 36% discount, according to Priceline!! (no, I didn't).  The point is actually irrelevant what the discount is - the way this company does business is to intentionally cheat people and misrepresent their "Negotiation", for hotels qand airlines where they have purchased many of these rooms and seats on planes for large discounts and sold them for much more money.  They only give the deals on day of booking (because they're about to lose money).

In CA we have a right of recission on any contract with proper notification. 
What Priceline doesn't tell you is in many instances, they are higher priced than booking with the hotel itself.  Also, in the case of La Quinta - they buy rooms in bulk rates, Priceline pays one amount to the hotel and when they claim they are "negotiating" for your deal - they aren't.  They're trying to get you to pay the highest possible price to maximize their own profit. 

For a company that uses a business model that is based upon deceit and misrepresentation, you're just another sucker (I was too, the name your own price contract is a license to steal)  When I contacted Priceline "customer service" (term used loosely) they had scripted responses and form letters.  They know all about legal documentation and they offer you no way of contacting them where they don't control the message.  Reference something they've done that is against the law?  They just don't respond - if they don't respond, with your intial "contact" letter attached - you have no reference nor proof of what you wrote or documented.

Robert, although rude and tactless, condescending and rather ill-mannered, actually was bluntly honest.  It appears what priceline offered you as a "solution"was an opportunity to make more money without offering you anything in return.  Exasperating?  I know too well.

I've also disputed my charge with My credit card.  I am not optimistic and assume they will try to charge me.  BTW - Booking.com is ALSO priceline.  Hotels.com is known to do the same thing as Priceline.
Expedia just settled a huge class action lawsuit for other questionable business practices. 
These companies  have stacked the deck in their favor and know the laws very well.  Last time I checked there were no lobbyists working on my behalf.

It's not a level playing field. In case you haven't noticed, the Consumer Financial Protection Board has been created, but it has been gutted by Republicans and is being fought by every company because they don't want their business procedures documented. 
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#2 Consumer Comment

It took you a while..

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

Or do you work for them in some capacity?
- Really the last line in your report?  What took you so long to make this statement?  It is Standard around this site that you don't like what is said you accuse them of working for the company.  Well if you actually looked at other reports on this site you would realize how silly a statement like that makes you look.

As for your "update" you pretty much proved exactly what I said.  Under NO circumstances should you use ANY(notice I didn't just say Priceline) "Name your Own Price" function because you think it is great when it works for you.  But when you don't get exactly what you want you go claiming you were somehow ripped off.

Oh and as for my experience.  I am totally aware of their policies and know that when I use them I take the chance that I may not get the Hotel I would really want.  But when I do bid I do get pretty good deals.  I will give you one hint though, when I do bid I select the 4-5 star level hotels because if I am going to stay in any place with a lower rating I would want to check out the hotel BEFORE I make a reservation and don't want to put this up to the "luck" of the draw.
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#3 Author of original report

"Name Your Own Price" Dispute

AUTHOR: tprofitt18 - (United States of America)

In response to the consumer comment, I assure you that this will be the LAST time I ever use Priceline.com again. It's a shame, since I used them in the past for several travel arrangements, especially when I had to attend my grandmother's funeral last year. It was then that I was really impressed with the "Name Your Own Price" option, since it saved me a ton of money when my bid was accepted in an area that I wanted to stay in at a hotel that provided excellent amenities. So, this is the reason why I went back to the site this time to place a bid for the same area to see how much I could save this time. The first bid that was approved gave me a hotel that was less than desirable (lower star quality), in an area that was 20-25 minutes west of where I stayed last time. I strongly felt that I wasn't receiving the quality of products/services/amenities that I paid for, which prompted me to call them. A nice gentleman approved a refund of my purchase less a $25 change fee, as long as I went back to the site and placed another successful bid or direct purchase for the hotel preferences that I wanted. So, as instructed, I went back and this time upped my star-quality and bid to see if I can get the hotel/area that I wanted.....well, that failed miserably. It gave me a hotel that was down the street from the first hotel!! Now, why should I settle for this result when it's still in the same area as the first bid? I called back and voiced my complaint and spoke with a Selene, who offered to refund the purchase less another $25 change fee. Really?? Another change fee for the same result?? That is why I disputed the charge and we conducted the 3-way conversation with my credit card company and Priceline.com. After our long conversation, which pretty much got us nowhere, even my credit card representative was wondering why they weren't being cooperative. Selene told me that she would refund the purchase, and this new supervisor Naomi said that she couldn't...really?? Naomi also said that the refund couldn't be processed because it was a "restricted" purchase....yet, the first purchase I made is being refunded and that too is a "restricted" purchase.....I'm calling BS here on there part! As a consumer, you want to ensure that you get your money's worth and the value you deserve and expect, don't you agree? Priceline has the ability to cancel and refund this purchase, just like they did with the first one I made....they choose to play hardball and I will fight right back. The whole point of my complaint is why I should have to keep paying $25 change fees if all I am trying to do is find the hotel/area that I want for less than the advertised price, which is why they promote the whole "Name Your Own Price" service to begin with. I changed the terms of the second bid and increased the bid, thinking that the hotel/area I wanted to stay at was a bit more expensive then my original bid......was I not supposed to do that? All I wanted was to save a few bucks and get the same hotel/area I wanted just like I did last year, and there should be a cancellation window in place in case the consumer either made a mistake or the hotel/area/amenities offered is not up to par with the consumer. They can show that contract terms all they want, but I'm not the only one complaining about their terms of use and many companies have been sued over their terms of use, charges to credit cards, etc. Priceline hasn't heard the last of me and I have also placed a complaint with the BBB as well. So tell me Einstein, what is your experience with Priceline.com? Or do you work for them in some capacity?

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#4 Consumer Comment


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

Under no circumstances should you use any "Name your own Price" site again.  You seem to want the best of both worlds.  Where on one hand you get to name the price you want to pay, and at the same time name the exact hotel you will be booked at.  Well it doesn't work that way.  So I would suggest that from now on you use more traditional methods to be sure you get what you want.

As for this case.  It seems that Priceline is very accommodating as they seem to be allowing you to change your reservation to another one booked through them for a $25 fee.  

Why would you not refund the second reservation if it produced the same results as the first reservation that they cancelled???

- Why would you attempt the same reservation only increasing your bid by $6.  What if no other Hotels that would accept $61?   If that is the case then answer this Einstein,  if a Hotel would accept $55 a night, why would they not accept $61?

So, now I have disputed this with my credit card company and I am determined to get the results I deserve as a paying customer.

All Priceline needs to do is show the terms that you agreed to..oh yes you did..that the purchases are non-refundable and your CC will deny your dispute.  In fact with that dispute Priceline may become "hard nosed" and say that you get NOTHING.

As for being a paying customer..well I think that comment goes without saying.

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