• Report: #207475

Complaint Review: Priceline.com

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  • Submitted: Wed, August 23, 2006
  • Updated: Wed, October 20, 2010

  • Reported By:mesa Arizona
Priceline.com
800 Connecticut Ave Nowalk, Connecticut U.S.A.

Priceline, Priceline.com, dishonest, bait and swtich, rude, $675.55 FRAUDULENT loss Ripoff Nowalk Connecticut

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Jeff is right!

*UPDATE Employee: Counter offer?

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I decided to try Priceline one day to beat a going rate of $316.28 for an airline ticket. That was the biggest mistake I made.

Here is my email to the company explaining my situation:
"Priceline is in the business of getting people better prices than what an airline is going for on other websites. That is what your company claims. They are not in the business of charging people double of what a flight is going for on another website. On June 28th at about 1:20 I logged onto southwest.com and noticed a flight from SLC to SEA for $316.28 (I have a printed copy of this price and itinerary). At 1:30 pm I logged onto priceline.com with my father and made a bid for $225 to fly out of SLC to SEA on Thur Jun 29th for a best friends wedding. The total with fees was $252. I initialed and clicked BUY TICKETS and then got a page that said "congratulations your bid has been accepted!" I was very excited and scrolled down to see my itinerary and saw that I was charged $675.55! I never agreed upon that price. I immediately called your customer care line and was told the computers were down and to try again in 30 mins. I tried to explain my situation and the lady told me she could not talk to me until the computers were up. It's interesting that I had this "computer problem" where I get charged $675 for a price of $252 I agreed upon when your company had computer failure. I tried again 5 minutes later and got Eddie. Eddie told me the same thing, that their computers were down. I called again right afterward and got Eddie again I said it was very important and asked if he'd just listen. I explained to him what happened and said I needed that money back and would only do it if it was the $252 I had agreed to. He took my information and looked me up and found the information (interesting that a second before he told me he couldn't because computers were down). He put me on hold and then came back and said he could refund me but would have to charge me a $100 service fee. I said, "no, you can charge me $252 that I agreed to, and give me my flight, but not charge me any kind of service fee for something I never agreed to." He said I would have to talk to a travel service specialist to dispute that but that I couldn't right now because computers were down (he had just looked up my info). I tried calling 2x starting again at 3:44 pm mt standard time and kept getting customer service people (Todd and Charles) and being put on hold for up to 15 minutes with no answer.

I finally got a hold of Harold (now my at around 7pm mt standard time and 6th call to your complaint) and told him my entire story. He told me not only can he not give me the money Eddie had already approved for me to get, but that he couldn't give me any of the money back. I explained that they can't charge me for something I never agreed to and he stated that I had agreed to it. I never saw a page for $675.55 and neither did my father (I have his witness report copy). The had to have been some type of computer glitch during your computer failure because that page never came up. It was right during your computer outage. I had just looked on southwest 1 minute before and there was a flight for $370 (with fees and taxes) ($316 base fare). NO one in their right mind would have went from $316 to $252 to $675! It doesn't make sense that I would do that. And it's unreasonable that a company like your who claims to give you 40% OFF what flights are going for, would be now charging me double of what I had foung a flight for and almost triple of what I had offered! I am waiting for a full refund on this airline flight. I have tried and tried to get it back before the flight leaves tonight while talking to Harold (for 40 minutes and 42 seconds) so Delta can resale the ticket (which I just checked and is going for $360 NOT $675 on lastminutetickets.com) but he will not refund my money and said the only way I can is to talk to you guys. I feel it is unethical that the only way I can talk to management is through an email and not by phone. Harold (who refused to give us his last name) would not believe or give me the benefit that I only agreed to the $252. I never saw a page saying that my offer was denied! ONLY an acceptance page for $675 was emailed to me which I never agreed to. For me to be charged something that I never saw or agreed to would be a fraudulent charge to my account. I have already notified my visa and bank and they are aware of the situation and said if you all don't refund me that they will fight to get it back from you. I am willing to fight this until the very end if I have to. This would be not only bad customer service, but unethical and fraudulent for you guys to charge me for something I never agreed to.

Computer glitches and errors happen, and it so happens it happened when your computers were down. From my statistics class and from speaking with an attorney family member they said that for every 1 bad experience a person has they tell 15 people and those people tell that same number and so on. For the hundreds of dollars you spend on advertising to bring costumers to you, I wouldn't think you would want to bring this much negative light to your company for one transaction. Also, once a customer is told by your agent (Eddie after speaking with his supervisor) they they can have a refund and then later told they can not you all need to stick to your word and refund that and not change your minds. That's terrible customer service! Please refund me my money asap. I can not pay for this $675 ticket I never agreed to!"

UPDATE: I received an email from Robin Fugitt of the executive offices refusing a refund. When we called him he still refused a refund stating that I was contractually bound. But a contract is a binding agreement between two or more persons or parties in which the parties willingly and knowingly agree to the conditions of the contract and willingly sign knowing what they are agreeing to. I never willingly and knowingly agreed to and signed for a price of $675.55. I have gotten nowhere with this company. I called the CEO and got his secretary and she would not let me speak to him but sent me to Scott Weaver of the executive offices. He also refused a refund saying I was contractually bound. How can I be bound to a contract I never saw or agreed to! I sent another email to Robin and he stated that it would be his last correspondence with me and again refused a refund. I filed with the BBB and recieved a response saying I was contracutally bound even though I never agreed to this price. They have fraudulently charged me!

Alisha
mesa, Arizona
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/23/2006 08:14 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Pricelinecom/Nowalk-Connecticut-06854/Priceline-Pricelinecom-dishonest-bait-and-swtich-rude-67555-FRAUDULENT-loss-Ripoff-207475. 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 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Jeff is right!

AUTHOR: RF_X-pcln - (United States of America)

Jeff was right about everything he posted!

 Front line agents (tier 1) and "travel services" agents (tier 2) are not allowed to give out their last names. "Executive services" agents (tier 3) are the only agents allowed to provide their last names to customers.

 In order for a customer to submit an offer or "bid" they have to enter all of their information. (passenger names, departure and destinations, and travel dates) The customer is then shown a contract page with the terms and conditions of the purchase, and he/she would have to enter their initials, along with credit card info, phone number, email address, etc. The final step is the "BUY MY TICKETS NOW" button at the bottom of the page. (you wouldn't believe how often customers say they NEVER clicked on that button)

 Once a bid is submitted a unique request number is created, regardless of the bid outcome. Most of the time, if a bid is rejected, a counter offer would be sent to the customer. Some counter offers would ask the customer if they would be willing to leave from or arrive at a different nearby airport, or travel on a different date, but most counter offers would ask the customer to agree to a price that an airline partner would accept. The counter offer page is a new contract page as well, but since the customer already entered their credit card info on the previous contract page, all they would need to do to accept the counter offer is enter their initials again and press the "BUY MY TICKETS NOW" button again.

 Unfortunately, many customers dont seem to take the time to read the page. They seem to simply scroll to the bottom of the page, enter their initials, and click the "BUY MY TICKETS NOW" button again without ever checking what they are agreeing to.

When they call Priceline to say they didn't agree to that purchase the first thing the agent does is look for the contract to see if it was initialed. In the case of a counter offer, the agent (who sees these things every day, all day long) would immediately notice that it was a counter offer that had been initialed by the customer, indicating they agreed to the new terms. An agent can do a search, by email address, phone number, or a name, to see a list of every bid that the customer has submitted, whether the bid was "accepted" or not. The agent can (and frequently does) email a copy of the contract, that the customer initialed, so that the customer can read the contract that they agreed to. An "executive services" agent is REQUIRED to email a copy of the initialed contract to the customer in cases like this one. Alisha would have had the contract sent to her at least 3 times.

 Compaining to Priceline that you shouldn't be held to the counter offer, because you didn't read it, is like telling a cop you shouldn't get a speeding ticket, because you didn't look at the speed limit signs along the side of the road.

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#2 UPDATE Employee

Counter offer?

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

I do not have the details of your case but this sounds like you named your price and a counteroffer was presented to you which was accepted in error. That is obviously just me assuming though.

As for a computer glitch during your reservation and a computer glitch at a call center, I can take a strong stance and say that is not likely. Priceline.com servers have nothing to do with the customer service call center equipment... totally different equipment... totally different data centers.

Harold was simply following company policy by not giving out his last name. Agents that are not part of the executive services department are not permitted to give their last name, and i'm sure he provided you with an agent ID that would link to him directly if needed within the company.

You have been from front line customer care, to research/escalations (travel services), to executive services, to the BBB. There must be more to the story, because if it was truly our fault, someone would have helped you.
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