This is the letter I sent to hotels.com after spending over an hour on their customer service line, being transferred to the wrong person or cut off four times, being called an a*****e by customer service and not given a straight answer as to why none of the prices quoted on their recent "New York on Sale" promotion were actually available:
"This has become completely unacceptable and totally ridiculous. I have been on the phone now with your customer service for over an hour. The first person I spoke with, Angel, was very helpful, but when he tried to connect me to a supervisor to help me further, I was disconnected. I called back to the number he provided and spoke with a second customer service rep who tried to transfer me to a supervisor.
This time I was transferred to an internal help line, where the person who answered it asked for my employee ID number. When I told him I was not an employee, he transferred me back to the main line where I spoke to a THIRD customer service person. I asked again to speak to a supervisor. I was transferred again. I spoke to a woman for several minutes and she was very helpful, but she said she couldn't answer any of my questions because she wasn't a supervisor and wasn't in customer service, she was in the sales department. So she transferred me again to the main number where I got my FOURTH customer service person, I believe her name was Anila.
As she answered the phone, I heard in the background another customer service rep saying, and I quote, "This guy is a real a*****e", followed by a mass of giggling. When I asked Anila if she had heard what I heard, and she replied that certainly no one had said that, I told her I know what I heard and that I wanted to speak with a supervisor. She then tried to make up several stories as to why it was impossible for me to speak to a supervisor, including the fact that I didn't have a booking number. None of the other three customer service reps seemed to have a problem with this or any of the other b.s. reasons she gave me for not transferring me.
Finally, when I would not take no for an answer she put me on hold, and after another wait, a woman named Myra answered and identified herself as a supervisor. She was utterly hopeless. She would not let me explain the problem I was having and continually cut me off. When we finally got to the root of the problem, which I will explain shortly, she could not even navigate their own website properly and could not even locate the hotel in New York that I was calling about. I wound up telling her that it was pointless for me to go through this any further, told her goodbye and hung up. If this is the best you can do, then you obviously need to do something drastic quickly to improve your customer service.
"Now, as for the reason I called in the first place, OVER AN HOUR AGO, I was trying to book a three-night hotel stay in New York City starting on February 13th. When I tried to book my stay, there was a link advertising a special on New York City hotels. I clicked on the link and saw some great rates, in particular one for the Millennium Broadway Hotel.
The quoted rate advertised today, Wednesday, December 31, 2008, was $112 per night for a three-night stay. Right now, the lowest rate that you can actually book a room for at this hotel for the dates I requested is about $197. Not even close. So I tried other hotels listed on the promotions page (http://www.hotels.com/promotion.jsp?id=34159&tab=deals&al=h) and several dates for each hotel. As far as I can tell, none of the rates advertised are actually available for any of the dates advertised. I feel that you should either take down this page completely, update it regularly, or try to make things right if someone like myself tries to book through this promotions page--which you are advertising on several places on your website--and is unable to get the rates advertised. I think that this kind of practice is tantamount to fraud and should not be abided.
This is why I will be forwarding this email, as well as screen shots of the pertinent web pages to as many consumer websites I can (i.e. Consumerist.com, Angie's List) if I do not receive some kind of satisfactory reply. I don't think you want the reputation as being a deceitful business and I don't think you want to lose any customers, especially in these difficult economic times. Please respond to this as soon as possible and let me know what you can do about these situations. Thank you."
That was four days ago and I haven't heard a word from them. I don't really expect to, either. And I won't be doing business with them ever again. I would encourage you to do the same.