Hotwire booked wrong specifications - twice

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Sep 15, 2015
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#1
Hotwire has now twice booked the wrong specifications on me.

I know, I shouldn't have attempted to book with them again -- the wasted time and stress isn't worth the savings (but, I'm not sure how much work is going to reimburse me, so I went for it). Last time, I had 2 Hotwire tabs open. Hotel A in Town B on Nights C-D and Hotel W in Town X on Nights Y-Z. I selected Hotel A. I looked at Hotel A. I typed in my credit card information on the website for Hotel A. I verified that it was booking Nights C-D in Town B. I double-checked. My information was processed...and I was given Hotel W on Nights Y-Z in Town X. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone trying to cancel that reservation and book what I had originally intended. Customer service did not seem to believe me -- I could tell that the rep assumed I had just selected the wrong hotel accidentally. That felt disrespectful, especially given the time I spent verifying all pertinent information. He also told me he had never heard of this before. He eventually canceled the wrong reservation and gave me what I had intended to book.

Well, it happened again. I had done a series of Hotwire searches, and yes, I did a search for 4 people. I did one final search for 1 adult. I selected the hotel I wanted. It was $60/night (4 nights). I verified the total, the dates. I closed all my other tabs, as I have had issues with Hotwire in the past. I checked and double-checked. And then I spent some time thinking about my travel plans before triple-checking. I clicked book and the website spit out a booking for 4 adults for $704.20 -- when my subtotal was supposed to be about $300 (plus resort fees in person) for 1 adult.

I spent 38 minutes on the phone with customer service. No one said that they would help me. No one offered to cancel this reservation and rebook what I wanted. The rep with me kept asking me to stay on the line while he went to talk to other people. Finally, maybe the fifth time he came back on the line, he said to hang on while he checked to make sure he was doing the correct thing with me. He came back and said that there was nothing he could do; all bookings are final. I pleaded with him one last time -- reiterating that this was NOT the booking I made -- and he said he could not do anything so I asked to speak with his supervisor. His supervisor was gruff and rude. He did not listen to my concerns or take what I was saying into consideration. He told me that Hotwire needs to pay the hotels so they cannot refund any customers. I was audibly upset and explained for the nth time that I clicked on a hotel that was $60/night for 1 person - not $142/night for 4 people. My selection was 4.5 stars with an 85% approval rating, what was booked was 5 stars with a 90% approval rating. In short, what was booked was NOT what I chose. The supervisor did not care and told me that he could not help me. He said he could have someone else call me later, but they would do the same thing he did -- read and reread their policy to me. And then he tried to rent me a car.

I called back, thinking I should try my luck with another customer service rep. The one I got was kind and helpful. She refunded the trip I did not want and booked what I had chosen in the first place.

I'm sorry I couldn't explain this in fewer words. I think this is ridiculous, and I am having trouble believing I am the only person this has happened to...yet, I haven't seen anything about it.

I understand that the team here doesn't mediate getting refunds for nonrefundable airline tickets or hotel rooms. Their policy isn't at issue with me (I get why they don't offer refunds in general) -- my concern is with a website that has repeatedly booked something other than what I was looking at when I was entering in my credit card information. This has been resolved, in that I was ultimately able to cancel the room booked in err and have a rep book what I was looking at when I entered my CC information. But, I wanted to get in touch with the team here in an effort to inform people that this can happen (even to the most detail-oriented of us, who check and recheck our booking details several times before hitting "book").
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#2
Why do you think that Elliott doesn't advocate in nonrefundable situations? To the contrary, I have found nearly all situations that necessitate advocacy is due to the nonrefundable nature. Otherwise, there would just be a refund without issue.
 
Aug 10, 2013
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#3
My suggestion to you, if you're going to use hotwire again, is to take screenshots of what you're selecting before you finalize, and definitely before you click to the next screen. Take one at each step. Screenshots are invaluable when dealing with a dispute like this.

I'm glad to hear you were able to call back and get a helpful person the second time. My only other suggestion would be to hang up sooner. If you're getting a script reader, that just repeats over and over what their flowchart says to say, you're not going to get anywhere. To save yourself the irritatation, just hang up right away and try again. Many overseas call center reps are required to stick to a very specific script and are penalized if they don't.
 
Likes: AAGK
Sep 15, 2015
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Thank you for your thoughts. Yeah, I've gotten that suggestion (to take screenshots). To be honest, I really don't think I'll ever book with them again. I'd be concerned that I'd say I had screenshots showing exactly what I intended to book, and they still wouldn't believe me and/or be interested in helping me. Such a hassle over something (booking a room!) that should be so simple.

I only had the script-reader on the phone for a few minutes before I got off the line. The first rep wasn't really sticking to a script - it was more like, ask me a question, ask me to go on hold, come back, ask me a question, ask me to go on hold... In retrospect, I should have realized he wasn't going to treat my issue as a priority and assumed he was as new/green/unsure of what he was doing as he was. I wish I had gotten off that first call right away, then called back in the hopes I'd get someone who could assist me -- but I really didn't expect the first call to be as difficult as it was!
 
Mar 4, 2015
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#5
@TravelChris ,
Thanks for posting this. We've received similar complaints once in a while regarding various sites (not necessarily Hotwire) such as this one through Trivago.

In that case I could readily see that Trivago had an issue where search settings in a new browser tab clobber the search settings in prior tabs. The switch in settings would be visible before a booking in a prior browser tab was completed, but easy to overlook.

When I test Hotwire right now I don't see that particular issue.

If you're motivated, download a free screen recording program and see if you can reproduce the problem with fully refundable reservations.

Then you can write (no more phone calls) to our Email Contacts for Hotwire (best-case with hard evidence in the from of screen video):

http://elliott.org/company-contacts/hotwire/

Make it clear that you are reporting a bug, and that it needs to be routed to their technical team, and that you don't need and aren't seeking any resolution for yourself, but would appreciate a goodwill gesture for bringing the problem to their attention.

Let us know what happens. Especially if you can reproduce the bug, I suspect Mr. Elliott might be interested in writing about it.
 
T

travellerdan

Guest
#6
I don't think most browsers can keep straight what is going on when you try to open two tabs to the same url. Don't most people who try to do this at least open separate browsers such as Firefox/Chrome, etc.?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Mar 4, 2015
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#7
I don't think most browsers can keep straight what is going on when you try to open two tabs to the same url. Don't most people who try to do this at least open separate browsers such as Firefox/Chrome, etc.?
A well-engineered website should not have that problem. But it can be a problem if the application uses cookies or session attributes (for example) in a way that isn't safe across simultaneous tabs or windows in the same browser. In which case opening entirely separate browsers is a workaround.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Mar 25, 2015
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#8
i think the 2nd rep may have been a new hire.
sort of related example-we have a policy at target where if a price was wrong ANY cashier can give you the price you want with a few button clicks. (it's even on a sign by every register) but all of the new hires don't see the logic and continue to ask for a manager, or a price check (which takes way to long and makes the customer angry.)

so i guess the moral of the story is if you are talking to someone in a call center who seems to not know what they are doing- hang up and try again. if you get a different person who ALSO does not know what they are doing- then try for a supervisor.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#9
This probably has to do with cache and cookies.
Our suggestion is to use Hotwire as a resource to check pricing and then going off and book directly with the hotel. You add another layer of administration to deal with when there is a problem.