Breach of Contract

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Dec 19, 2014
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#22
We were effectively in contract the moment they accepted payment for the reservation, so this was a breach of contract and it was upon them to make it right
Yes, you are in a contract. Yes, there is a "breach of contract." So, what does the contract say when Priceline is in the breach? The contract will clearly spell out what Priceline's obligation is and it usually isn't in your favor. Their obligation is usually limited to refunding your money. No company is going to be liable for incidental damages.

My time is valuable, and as a customer, I shouldn't have to spend 3 hours dealing with and getting aggravated by their screw up when they could have remedied it by redoing the reservation (even if it required seeking additional approvals). Keep in mind that for most OTAs, the actual rental companies do not charge the customer's credit card directly; Priceline charges the customer and then pays them directly on the back end as is standard for most OTAs
Everyone's time is valuable. What exactly do you mean by "redoing" the reservation? Can you prove that they were withholding a 7 seater mini-van?

Clearly, Priceline doesn't seem to understand the concept of compensation. They are not doing me a favor by offering me coupons to spend even more money on their business for a trip I may not need. True compensation would involve something that is of benefit at no cost to the inconvenienced customer
Actually, they do. Its listed in the contract that you agreed to. They worked with you for 3 hours to find an alternative. Unfortunately, it wasn't to your satisfaction. Did they refund your reservation?

At this point, it is now turning into a fight based on principle and I am willing to go to any length to get them to be held accountable. The more they ignore and fail to do the right thing, the more I want them to pay.
So, what do you want them to pay? Frankly, I'm not sure you're going to get anywhere, based on what you are typing. I would bet against you receiving any cash compensation. They should have refunded you. They gave you a goodwill gesture. At best, you may get a credit to use on a future service, but that won't be any good as you vow to never use them again. If you choose to take a legal route, the contract is not on your favor.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#23
Basically, isn't this the same for this site? What authority or legal power does this site have? I'm not knocking this site, it is very helpful and a great resource, but there are limits even here.

For example, I had a problem earlier this year, after asking for Elliot's help I was referred to the forum and company contacts. I tried them all as recommended and was unable to get a response or resolution. I finally tried the BBB and finally received a responded and they ended up refunding me. So sometimes it does work. At least they passed the complaint on and as the company was accredited, the BBB requires the company to respond. I don't know, but maybe it is because the complaints and business responses are made available to the public, there is more incentive for them to provide a positive resolution.

In any case, it only takes a few minutes of your time to file the complaint, so it doesn't hurt. Just one more option for people to use especially if everything else has failed. A lot of people still check out the BBB on companies before doing business with them, so it is also helpful to read the complaints and responses. How a company responds, at least to me, is much more informative than a general complaint.

In my opinion the OP should file with the BBB, it doesn't cost anything but a few minutes and it might do the trick.
Thank you for posting this ... it's the first positive thing I've ever read about BBB. And you're right, why not file with them? In addition to following the self-advocating techniques we describe of course.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#24
" as we couldn't get another vehicle that late on a Friday evening " So not only late, but on a Friday.
Some issues cannot be resolved but can be prevented in the future.
Ok I was interpreting it as the OP got there later than they were supposed to--i.e. not on time, not later as in later in the day.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#25
I think part of the problem- which the OP might have to confirm- is that he had an Express Deal and Priceline might now have been able to find another rental for what he paid. This is the problem with booking some of those deals.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#27
The OP is looking for access to Executives to try and negotiate a remedy. We have given him what he needs- our Company Contacts have exactly what he asked for.

I look forward to the OP posting here on the result of his correspondance with the Executives using the process we detail on how to write on the Contacts page.
 
Sep 27, 2017
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#28
Basically, isn't this the same for this site? What authority or legal power does this site have? I'm not knocking this site, it is very helpful and a great resource, but there are limits even here.
A few differences:

1/ Any business can buy their way into becoming a "Sponsor" of the BBB. Not here.

2/ BBB is a go-between. Elliot has actual advocates that will fight for you or at least show you how to fight for yourself if your issue qualifies. BBB, in my experience, just passes mail back and forth while staying as neutral as possible.

3/ Not that Elliott uses public shaming purposefully, but public shaming is a natural by-product of running a popular website read by an audience of those that are either educated in the subject matter or who has a desire to be educated. Popular site. Targeted audience.
 
Sep 4, 2018
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#29
" as we couldn't get another vehicle that late on a Friday evening " So not only late, but on a Friday.
Some issues cannot be resolved but can be prevented in the future.
As I mentioned before, we should be careful not to blame the victim especially when we choose to interpret incorrectly.

We couldn't get another vehicle late on a Friday because they had wasted 3 hours of our time from approx 4-5pm when we got there. We got to the rental agency at the time we stated in the booking that we were picking up. Is that late? NO.

I had to work earlier in the day and the family visiting from abroad needed rest before the trip, so yes, I knew exactly why we wanted to rent the vehicle on a Friday evening and drive across states when traffic had died down.

I hope this changes your perception and we can stop continuing to assume the victim did something wrong.
 
Sep 4, 2018
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#30
Phil, I'm so sorry you indeed had to learn about an online booking service the hard way. Priceline is the very bottom of the barrel and offers very little customer service. They spend their money on television ads and slick websites. People think they're getting good value, what they're getting is a bare minimum. In a case like yours, going for the cheapest deal is an awful choice. But America's a free country, so we cannot just go shut down these horrible online booking services, it will take years before the travelling public realizes what's really going on. My sympathies.
Appreciate the comments.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#31
IMO you were definitely the victim. You booked a van in good faith and they didn’t have it.

When Priceline was trying to find another rental, were they unable to find another van or were they unable to find anything for what you paid?
 
Likes: Mel65
Sep 4, 2018
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#32
"A late arrival looking for a specialty vehicle is a situation that will lead to the outcome you encountered."

I didn't see where the OP mentioned they had arrived late on the day of the booking? Only that when they arrived, there were no 7 seaters available.

Also, as a general comment, I'm not sure that all of the "why didn't you do this" and "that was a mistake" responses are really answering the OP's request for assistance and advice.. IMHO.

Preach, Mel!! You definitely got my point and I hope that it resonates for the site moderators too for the future. I've noticed victim blaming in other posts on the site (though some may be warranted :) )

In the United States, we generally operate on a "good faith" basis in business, meaning there is a general expectation that you do business as you advertise or at least do as best possible to accommodate the situation within reason. If an American company gave me a confirmation 3 weeks prior that the vehicle I reserved will be available at the scheduled time and I arrived at the scheduled time, but no vehicle... what exactly has the customer done wrong in this case?

While I understand that some customers have ridiculous asks and probably deserve the shaming, I don't believe there is anything I've said in my post that warrants all the blame especially when folks rush to their own conclusions.

The tone is also important as I'm pretty sure it's better to say "Well, they are supposed to do XYZ but sometimes they don't, so here are tips to protect yourself in the future and here's our suggestion to resolve your case. Good luck!" Instead, some respondents are saying "you should have known this" like you're stupid for not knowing. Besides making the poster feel better than everyone else, it certainly doesn't help at all.
 
Sep 4, 2018
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#33
IMO you were definitely the victim. You booked a van in good faith and they didn’t have it.

When Priceline was trying to find another rental, were they unable to find another van or were they unable to find anything for what you paid?
Thanks Neil - Priceline did not even attempt to find another rental even though they were advertising minivans on their sites and app at the exact same time. That was the frustrating part, really. I was very calm when I got there and no van - all I wanted was just for them to rebook it nearby so I could continue my journey. I didn't mind going to the next rental they picked, but they didn't even try. That's the crux of my issue with them.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#34
Preach, Mel!! You definitely got my point and I hope that it resonates for the site moderators too for the future. I've noticed victim blaming in other posts on the site (though some may be warranted :) )
@Phil A we don't always catch that but if you notice, you can report the post (in red at the bottom of the post) and we'll take a look at it.
 
Sep 4, 2018
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#35
Yes, you are in a contract. Yes, there is a "breach of contract." So, what does the contract say when Priceline is in the breach? The contract will clearly spell out what Priceline's obligation is and it usually isn't in your favor. Their obligation is usually limited to refunding your money. No company is going to be liable for incidental damages.



Everyone's time is valuable. What exactly do you mean by "redoing" the reservation? Can you prove that they were withholding a 7 seater mini-van?



Actually, they do. Its listed in the contract that you agreed to. They worked with you for 3 hours to find an alternative. Unfortunately, it wasn't to your satisfaction. Did they refund your reservation?



So, what do you want them to pay? Frankly, I'm not sure you're going to get anywhere, based on what you are typing. I would bet against you receiving any cash compensation. They should have refunded you. They gave you a goodwill gesture. At best, you may get a credit to use on a future service, but that won't be any good as you vow to never use them again. If you choose to take a legal route, the contract is not on your favor.

I'll try to answer all your questions in one go:

1. The contract says to go through arbitration or small claims court.

2. By redoing the reservation, I meant that they could have simply rebooked my trip with another local rental agency especially since they were posting minivans for rent at the said time. The agent's email to me also confirmed that they were available, but he couldn't do it.

3. "They worked with you for 3 hours to find an alternative" - this is incorrect. They kept me on the phone for 3 hours telling me there was nothing they could do, and kept trying to convince me to just cancel the reservation and walk away. I had only one ask when I called - simply rebook for another local agency and no problems.

4. Yes, they refunded the reservation, even without my authorization. As I stated before, they just wanted to get rid of me knowing that the story would be different if "I canceled the reservation." It doesn't account for the fact that it's now the day of travel on a Friday evening and choices are now limited and prices have doubled. Do you see the issue here and why simply canceling is not a good approach?

5. I actually don't care for their cash and I've never stated anywhere that I wanted cash. What I really wanted initially was a simple acknowledgement by authority - this is important because the individual on the phone claimed he couldn't do anything while options were available. Hopefully, such change would help another individual in the future. As it got worse, the demands are now going up and even at that, I've suggested in my other posts that acknowledgment and ordinary vouchers would be just fine, but please don't insult me with 5% or 20% coupons that I'll have to put money in the business' pocket to use. This is in line with your "credit" comment, so it sounds like you get it.

I never said I won't use them again... at least, not yet - I used them for 15+ years without any significant issues, but not making me right on this one as I described above may be a reason not to use them ever again now.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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#36
As I mentioned before, we should be careful not to blame the victim especially when we choose to interpret incorrectly.

We couldn't get another vehicle late on a Friday because they had wasted 3 hours of our time from approx 4-5pm when we got there. We got to the rental agency at the time we stated in the booking that we were picking up. Is that late? NO.

I had to work earlier in the day and the family visiting from abroad needed rest before the trip, so yes, I knew exactly why we wanted to rent the vehicle on a Friday evening and drive across states when traffic had died down.

I hope this changes your perception and we can stop continuing to assume the victim did something wrong.
I did not mean to imply that you were late for your pick-up time, only that it was late in the afternoon on a Friday which impacts access to alternate rental sites. Yes, they should have had what you reserved but they did not and could not provide what you needed. That was the intent of my day and time comment, not that you were late, but business shuts down on Friday afternoons. Thus the need for a backup plan for a critical part of your journey. Not trying to blame, only to help in the future. Priceline will probably hew to the party line that they refunded and have no other responsibility.
 
Likes: Phil A
Jul 27, 2016
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#37
This is clearly annoying, and I totally understand why you were annoyed. You feel, justifiably so, that Priceline let you down. You didn't get good customer service.

By framing this as a "breach of contract" issue, though, you've moved the discussion from "what should Priceline have done to provide good customer service" to "what what Priceline obligated to do." I think that's a mistake, since the answer to the second one is "provide you a refund if the rental place can't deliver the car you reserved," and they did that.
 
Sep 4, 2018
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#38
This is clearly annoying, and I totally understand why you were annoyed. You feel, justifiably so, that Priceline let you down. You didn't get good customer service.

By framing this as a "breach of contract" issue, though, you've moved the discussion from "what should Priceline have done to provide good customer service" to "what what Priceline obligated to do." I think that's a mistake, since the answer to the second one is "provide you a refund if the rental place can't deliver the car you reserved," and they did that.
Yep, you're right but i can't change the header here anymore. I framed it differently in my letter to their Customer Service Exec. Let's see how he responds.

Thanks for the insight.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#39
As I mentioned before, we should be careful not to blame the victim especially when we choose to interpret incorrectly.

We couldn't get another vehicle late on a Friday because they had wasted 3 hours of our time from approx 4-5pm when we got there. We got to the rental agency at the time we stated in the booking that we were picking up. Is that late? NO.

I had to work earlier in the day and the family visiting from abroad needed rest before the trip, so yes, I knew exactly why we wanted to rent the vehicle on a Friday evening and drive across states when traffic had died down.

I hope this changes your perception and we can stop continuing to assume the victim did something wrong.
You wrote that this was a breach of contract and that you wanted to be reimbursed for your time and for missing a family event.

When people point out how vague the contract is and how the contract is really written in favor of the online agent (ie no guarantees of exact vehicle etc all they do is refund money) or that someone is likely not going to get reimbursed for lost time etc that is not victim blaming or being a corporate apologist— it is a reality check. Similar with saying negative things about online booking engines — no one is blaming, the comments can sound impatient because of the repeated problems that are seen here.

We were effectively in contract the moment they accepted payment for the reservation, so this was a breach of contract and it was upon them to make it right”

And all the talk about compensation:

“The more they ignore and fail to do the right thing, the more I want them to pay”

When a statement is given of what a contract really says or an opinion is given of a realistic resolution it is not an endorsement or approval of the policy or situation it is just trying to be realistic. And being realistic sometimes means understanding the limited rights one has as a customer.