Report: #1123378

Complaint Review: Hotwire, Inc

  • Submitted: Thu, February 13, 2014
  • Updated: Thu, February 13, 2014
  • Reported By: J Kaniuka — Portland Maine
  • Hotwire, Inc
    333 Market St, Suite 100
    San Francisco, California
    USA Vacation Ruined by incompetence San Francisco California

*Author of original report: Hotwich- Lack of Consumer Rights

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Deposit

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

I booked a car rental through recently on a trip to California.  I attempted to book the rental online but was unable to complete the booking process.  I called and spoke with a Hotwire booking agent to complete the transaction.  Once I had an agent on the line I specifically asked if there would be a problem picking up my car without the credit card physically on me.   The agent assured me there would be no issue with Thrifty car rental company, the company they had purchased the rental from.

Hours later after traveling I arrive at the airport to pick up the car rental.  Upon speaking with the Thrifty agent I find that they have no reservation with the information given to me by Hotwire.  I immediately called Hotwire back to see what had happened.  The agent told me there had been a systems error and that they would book a car for me with the information previously given with the earlier transaction.  They found a similar car rental deal and proceeded to book it for me.  I then went back to the Thrifty agent and was again shocked to find out that I would not be able to pick up the rental without the credit card on me.  

My workshop and reservation, a three hour drive north, are due to begin in just a few hours now.  I again called Hotwire explaining the previous three problems with completing the car rental booking and pick up.  At this point the agent tells me that all the car rental companies are going to require the physical credit card at the time of pick up unless I have a $350.00 cash deposit.  I explain that I specifically requested this information five to six hours ago and was given the incorrect information from one of their booking agents.  I explain that I am now stranded on the other side of the country without transportation, hours late to the workshop event and accommodations I have paid for all due to someones incompetence.

I then ask what Hotwire is going to do to remedy the situation and immediately get hung up on.  I call back three more times to have the call dropped somehow.  I finally get a booking agent on the phone and he laughs and laughs at the situation telling me that they are not going to do anything and that is just too bad.  I ask to speak with a supervisor and am put on hold for 60 minutes.  Once I have the supervisor on the phone the supervisor tells me that they are not responsible for what happened and they will not be doing anything to remedy the situation.  They even tell me they have no helpful information on how to get to my destination now.

Hours later I find a bus that will take me halfway to my destination.  I have to wait two hours at 9pm to get the next bus.  I then have to take a taxi the other half of the trip as there is no public transportation in the area.  All of this unexpected, unaccounted for and extremely inconvenient additional traveling due to Hotwire's incompetence costs me over $150

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/13/2014 01:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 Author of original report

Hotwich- Lack of Consumer Rights

AUTHOR: J Kaniuka - ()

In rebuttal to Hotwich's comment.  

When did it become common practice to put a hold on someones credit card for a service?  This was not the norm just a short time ago.  A short time ago you paid for the service and that was it.  It only became the norm as customers lost track of what they were paying for and what the service they were receiving actually looked like.  It started with hotel rooms.  And what was this in response to?  The cliched heavy metal band that trashes the hotel room and costs the hotel thousands of dollars?

The easy way to make it seem reasonable to the public was by telling them it was for incidentals.  What if you don't want any food, pay per view, etc?  You have no rights as a consumer.  In order to check in and receive the service you most likely have already paid for, you have to allow them to hold an extra few hundred dollars for the "just in case scenario" or worse the entire fee plus additional for extras. 

From the Better Business Bureau.  Even the credit card processors think this is a bad practice.

 "Credit card processors discourage vendors from doing holds, but they are perfectly legitimate as long as the vendor notifies customers of the practice."

This is also part of a growing concern with the constant and massive financial security breaches going on around the country:

  "One of the nation's largest retailers, Target, revealed on Dec. 18 that up to 40 million credit and debit cards were compromised between Nov. 29 and Dec. 1."

Its funny how quickly and easily we become acclimated to ridiculous demands by a "service provider".   Someone has paid for a rental car:  the entire trips 5 day cost; possibly the extra special gas and mileage price (before it is used of course); and maybe insurance on top of that.  Now they want up to $350.00 in cash in case you what? trash the car?  steal the car?  have a party in the car?  

Don't be absurd.  Collateral.  You use that term so loosely.  If there was that much risk they wouldn't be in business.  When someone pays for the service up front and gives the third party all of their personal information it seems to me all of the bases are covered.  Either that or the third party is not doing anything for the service provider or for the consumer.   I realized after the fact Thrifty does not even have the capability of taking a credit card in any other way then to run it physically through the credit card machine.  After all this talk about the evolution of provider dictated service they must be in the dark ages after all.

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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: Hotwich - ()

Did you really think that the rental car agency would just give you a car without taking your credit card information? "Here, just take this car... please be sure you return it!" Its collateral. Hotwire sends over a prepaid reservation and does not share your payment information. I'm sorry you were misinformed but really? Common sense.

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