Priceline.com taking unauthorized money from accounts. Here’s my story: Yesterday feb 16th, 2010 I went to book a Priceline.com vacation for my girlfriend and me on 3/22/2011. I went thru the online booking process, got to the last screen, made payment and it said the package was declined. But MY CARD WOULD NOT BE CHARGED. I called priceline.com after trying it again. We ran thru the booking details. Priceline stated that the hotels they were offering all day on their site weren’t available that’s why the transaction didn’t go thru, and I had to pay for an upgrade. We had been looking at this exact package for two weeks! We went thru the booking process again, made it to the payment screen, Now my Card was declined. The Customer service and the customer service manager were rude! They told me that if I didn’t like it, I should go book elsewhere and that Priceline.com wasn’t about to do anything about my situation. Even after they told me my package wasn’t available, it still showed availability 7 hours after my call to them.
The next day, today Feb 17th, 2011, I called my bank to ask what the problem was. They stated to me that priceline.com had ran my card 23 times for $1310.16 and on the first transaction put $488.87 on hold meaning that it wasn’t available for use. So any further booking, my card was declined. No where on the Priceline.com web site does it say that they put money on hold after they tell you clearly that “Your credit card has NOT been charged”. Priceline uses a third party booking agent called Worldwide Travel Agency. That’s the number that the bank had relating to the $488.87 hold. When I called them, they said it would take 3 to 7 business days to release the funds back to the bank. They claim this is NOT a mistake and it’s ‘common business practice of any travel agent” to hold ANY available funds on the first transaction even if it states that “your card has not been charged”.
When we called Priceline.com, all they said was they understand but thee's nothing they will do. I now know this isn't the company I'd want to book thru since this is all they have to say when a problem arrises.
We’ve missed out on our vacation and the opportunity to book it with other online sites because of this hold and priceline.com charging our card so many times causing a freeze on the account. First off, I feel a bait and switch was used to get us to book a higher priced package. Then held out funds with out telling us anywhere on their site, not allowing us to use the card or book anywhere else. I think people should know what happens when booking on Priceline.com and other booking sites. They misled us and misinformed us about charges on our card. Now we will have to miss the vacation with our friends because those packages are no longer available on any web site.