Hotwire Not Honoring Rental Agency Guarantee

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Feb 7, 2018
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#1
On December 20, 2017, I booked a rental car through Hotwire's Hot Rate program. I was aware I wouldn't know the name of the agency until the booking was final. However, prior to booking, I poked around on Hotwire.com and saw the following guarantee:

"If you book a Hotwire Hot Rate, you are guaranteed a car rental from one of these leading agencies: Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar (International only), Hertz, National, or Thrifty."
https://www.hotwire.com/helpcenter/cars/searching-and-booking/rental-agencies/work-with-Hotwire.jsp

This was important to me, because I didn't want to get stuck with an agency I had never heard of. However, that's exactly what happened.

Hotwire booked me with a company called Advantage which is plainly not on their guaranteed list. Furthermore, when I researched this company and the location I would be using (Dallas Love Field), I found dozens of negative reviews citing everything from poor customer service to hour-plus wait times to a sketchy location. I also discovered it lacks basic amenities like a dedicated shuttle to and from the airport.

I was not satisfied with this, so I immediately called Hotwire to try and get my reservation changed to an agency on their guaranteed list. They refused. All in all, I called HotWire customer service twice, and spoke to a supervisor, twice, but they kept repeating the same thing over and over again. "Bookings are final. Advantage is a trusted partner." I received the same message from Hotwire's social media team. I brought up the guarantee on the website several times, but the customer service reps kept repeating the same scripted answers over and over. It was like talking to a wall.

I ended up booking another reservation directly with Alamo and did not use the Hotwire reservation with Advantage. What's worse, the second reservation was significantly cheaper. I will never use Hotwire or a blind booking again.

So, because Hotwire did not honor the rental agency guarantee listed on their website, nor change it when I asked, I would like a full refund. The amount is $249.53

Is this reasonable?
 
Dec 7, 2017
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#2
nope. Send an email to the first executive. That's a clear breach of contract.

If they don't respond in a week - send it to the next person - if they don't respond - dispute the charge - send a VERY simple written dispute to your credit card company.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#3
Hotwire lists the following rental companies during the booking process:

Capture.JPG

It doesn't appear as if your link is current within their help center. When I search "Which car rental agencies work with Hotwire?" in their help center search, I get the following page which lists Advantage:

http://helpcenter.hotwire.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/Which-car-rental-agencies-work-with-Hotwire?

Question would be as to when it was updated. It may be an uphill battle, but you may want to use the contacts provided by this website to write the executives of Hotwire to plead your case.

Best of luck!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Crobgrodon make sure you keep a screenshot and evidence of the page which lists the trusted partners.

I also tried to do a test booking on the mobile site which listed advantage. I think there may have been an issue with updating the info, which is why I say take the screenshot or print out the link you have.

And I would still try to obtain a credit/refund although as noted by Realitoes it may be an uphill battle.
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 7, 2018
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#5
nope. Send an email to the first executive. That's a clear breach of contract.

If they don't respond in a week - send it to the next person - if they don't respond - dispute the charge - send a VERY simple written dispute to your credit card company.
I have already disputed the charges, but my bank declined. So I'm on the hook for it.
 
Feb 7, 2018
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#6
Hotwire lists the following rental companies during the booking process:

View attachment 1629

It doesn't appear as if your link is current within their help center. When I search "Which car rental agencies work with Hotwire?" in their help center search, I get the following page which lists Advantage:

http://helpcenter.hotwire.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/Which-car-rental-agencies-work-with-Hotwire?

Question would be as to when it was updated. It may be an uphill battle, but you may want to use the contacts provided by this website to write the executives of Hotwire to plead your case.

Best of luck!
Interesting. I hadn't seen your link before. Thank you. My link above is still live, so there's two out there it seems.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#8
they're going to argue that you actually booked with Hertz
It's worth a few emails to see if you can get the money back but I'm unclear why you let $250 slip away like that.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#9
You can try to protect yourself as much as possible by using this thread:
http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-protect-yourself-when-renting-a-car.1314/

I've heard of Advantage - and honestly almost every car rental company is owned by one of the larger ones. So technically you are under the Hertz umbrella with Advantage. You don't say where you are picking up the rental but if you are pickign it up at an airport location and not a local office it's likely not in a sketchy area.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#10
You can try to protect yourself as much as possible by using this thread:
http://forum.elliott.org/threads/how-to-protect-yourself-when-renting-a-car.1314/

I've heard of Advantage - and honestly almost every car rental company is owned by one of the larger ones. So technically you are under the Hertz umbrella with Advantage. You don't say where you are picking up the rental but if you are pickign it up at an airport location and not a local office it's likely not in a sketchy area.
DAL - Dallas Love Field is not in the best of areas, but not many airports are surrounded by communities of wealth. Wealthy people don't want to live next to an airport.

Unless you saw a review (or several) where the poster said they were attacked in some way on their way to the rental office, you had nothing to worry about.

it's super hard to say "I purchased your non refundable product and then read the reviews and realized there was the possibility of encountering an issue so I allowed myself to refuse the product, understanding that I would be on the hook for full payment." since no one can predict the future, it's just not a sound argument.

That said, I've made car rental reservations, ones that did not require a deposit or financial commitment, and have been a no show and have never had a problem. Next time make a refundable reservation, b/c you never know what might occur.

I'm guessing a better price was found and this is more the reason why the rental was left by the wayside.
 
Feb 7, 2018
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#12
DAL - Dallas Love Field is not in the best of areas, but not many airports are surrounded by communities of wealth. Wealthy people don't want to live next to an airport.

Unless you saw a review (or several) where the poster said they were attacked in some way on their way to the rental office, you had nothing to worry about.

it's super hard to say "I purchased your non refundable product and then read the reviews and realized there was the possibility of encountering an issue so I allowed myself to refuse the product, understanding that I would be on the hook for full payment." since no one can predict the future, it's just not a sound argument.

That said, I've made car rental reservations, ones that did not require a deposit or financial commitment, and have been a no show and have never had a problem. Next time make a refundable reservation, b/c you never know what might occur.

I'm guessing a better price was found and this is more the reason why the rental was left by the wayside.
All fair points. Lesson learned on my end.. I didn't want to risk Advantage because we were flying in on Christmas Eve with two kids, and frankly, didn't want to deal with the hassle. I don't think I'll pursue this further.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#13
For what it's worth, we rented from them once in Seattle and saw concerns expressed in reviews as well. But they were far cheaper and we went with them - no issues.

However, we had to, as the thread to which Neil posted a link says, inspect thoroughly before driving away. Since we had discovered here the steps needed to protect ourselves, we viewed the vehicle at various light angles and discovered a problem with the paint on the hood. Best description is that someone used a buffer with an abrasive pad. There were other small dents-and-dings, but we insisted they document them. And we took pictures.

These type issues are spread across all brands, so renters need to exercise caution regardless of the location.

And your investment could have been protected as well by avoiding pre-paid, non-refundable rates ...
 
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Likes: jsn55 and ADM

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,381
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
Sometimes using these blind booking engines are not worth the few dollars you save vs. booking directly.

The best way to protect yourself is following the info we have in our thread on how to protect yourself when renting. Also make sure you have insurance when you rent- your own car insurance may cover car rentals, contact them to find out. If you don’t have collision on your own car- consider buying the damage waiver the car rental company offers or a third party company might have.

Take pictures at pick up and drop off.
 
Likes: jsn55