Priceline Bait and Switch

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Apr 18, 2018
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#1
I made a car reservation recently for a trip this summer on Priceline for a Cadillac XTS or similar. I found out I got Avis and went to Avis' website and updated my flight information and added my email. I thought this accidently switched categories as Avis has a Cadillac XTS or similar option and now I found myself in a Chrysler 300 LTD 3.6L or similar class. I called Avis and they said they can't fix the problem and gave me a number for Priceline. I called Priceline and the agent called the local agency and confirmed that even if a Cadillac XTS was there, it was not a vehicle I could rent with my contract. The Priceline agent escalated the problem and below is the response I got from a Priceline Customer Relations Specialist. I would like Priceline to stop advertising cars they say they offer in a category but in reality, they don't.
A car that can accommodate 5 people and 3 bags is also a full size car and that would have been close to $100 cheaper.


Dear Paul,

We are writing you today regarding your rental reservation with Avis
Rent a Car for Trip Number 14xxxxxxx30.

We understand that Cadillac XTS was presented as an example for a Luxury
Car, however, Avis Rent a Car considers it as a Specialty Car which is a
higher car class. We did not guarantee a specific make or model, what we
guaranteed is a car that can accommodate 5 persons and 3 bags when
booking an Express Deals for a Luxury Car. Your reservation is
non-changeable and non-refundable.

We are sorry we did not provide you the answers you were looking for and
we thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Kristian(Kurtis) L.
Customer Relations Specialist
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#2
This is the issue when you don't book direct. Priceline is an ultra-discount website and not a good choice for a rental car., or anything at all. I wish I had some advice, but you are getting what you paid for. I hope it works out.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Apr 18, 2018
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#4
I do and the confirmation states specifically Cadillac XTS or similar. They are still advertising it now. See the ad I pulled up below.
Car Type:Cadillac XTS or similar
Make / model not guaranteed


Unlimited Mileage
Automatic Transmission
Air Conditioning

1524081748021.png
 
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Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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#5
I do and the confirmation states specifically Cadillac XTS or similar. They are still advertising it now. See the ad I pulled up below.
Car Type:Cadillac XTS or similar
Make / model not guaranteed
Unfortunately, the terms and conditions that you agree to when booking these vehicles specifically state:

"Specific cars, makes and models are not guaranteed and listed car makes and model are for example only."​
Capture.JPG


Our recommendation is to use the company contacts link at the top of the page to appeal your cause to the company executives. Sometimes a polite and concise letter to the right person may get you some consideration.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Each car rental company has different cars in different categories. Sites such as Priceline Hotwire and such are not that accurate because they give a general idea of the class, so Car X may be a luxury for one but a super luxury for another.

One has better leverage when booking directly— because now Avis points to Priceline — and Priceline is the problem
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#10
See ... I disagree. I would agree with everyone else if he showed up and didn't get a Cadillac XTS. The difference is that they are advertising a vehicle that isn't even in the class of car they are selling. There's no chance that he would ever be assigned that vehicle which takes it into the realm of bait and switch.

Would everyone else be ok with them advertising a Ford Expedition or similar for a sub-compact car? It's the exact same.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#11
I'm with @johnbaker here. This isn't a case of "this vehicle isn't similar enough to what I saw." This is a case where the example vehicle used in the Priceline ad is the example vehicle used for an entirely different class at Avis. So, Priceline is saying "a Luxury Car is similar to an XTS," while Avis is saying that "an XTS is NOT a Luxury Car."
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
See ... I disagree. I would agree with everyone else if he showed up and didn't get a Cadillac XTS. The difference is that they are advertising a vehicle that isn't even in the class of car they are selling. There's no chance that he would ever be assigned that vehicle which takes it into the realm of bait and switch.

Would everyone else be ok with them advertising a Ford Expedition or similar for a sub-compact car? It's the exact same.
A Cadillac XTS is a luxury car with Enterprise and Sixt — just not with Avis. With Budget it is Luxury Speciality car — sigh.

So it is possible to get a Cadillac XTS in the luxury category— just not Avis and Budget.

The car rental companies have different categories and this is the problem with the opaque sites.
 
Apr 18, 2018
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#14
This might not be a bait and switch if Priceline didn't know that the Cadillac XTS or similar is in a higher category for Avis and as Christina H pointed out Budget too. I thought I was in the higher category originally when I called Avis but after talking with Priceline I found out I was not in Avis' Cadillac XTS category or similar. Priceline could have avoided this mess matching the car name to the photo and saying Chrysler 300 or similar. This seems to be about a middle of the line luxury car. People are happy to be upgraded but not to be downgraded. Opaque sites like Priceline is like gambling in that you win some and lose some. I worked in the hospitality industry and those that had Priceline reservations were getting a smoking room, king sized bed, unless the reservation was on a weekday, and handicap accessible if the hotel was full. I don't use Priceline for hotels or anything else but when I made this reservation the price was about 40% cheaper than what I could get with Costco Travel for a higher class car. This vacation will be heavy on driving so comfort was important in my reservation decision.
 
Apr 18, 2018
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#15
I did send a note to Todd Provino under the company contacts. We will see what happens.
Hi Todd,
I made a reservation thinking I was getting a Cadillac XTS or similar for trip number 14xxxxxxx30. I ended up with Avis, a company I was happy to get. For Avis a Cadillac XTS or similar is not a luxury car but a higher class vehicle. This also is an issue for Budget from what I am told. The photo you have next to the luxury class is a Chrysler and saying Chrysler 300 or similar would have avoided wasting your time, one of Avis' representatives, two of your representatives and mine. The Priceline representative that emailed me says your company only guaranteed a car that can accommodate five people and three bags. This is the same criteria you seem to guarantee for a full sized vehicle. I would like to be in a Cadillac XTS or similar but unfortunately if Avis does have a Cadillac XTS at the location I am going to, I can't rent it.
Please change your description for luxury cars to Chrysler 300 or similar to avoid this issue until the next new car rolls of the line.

Update: Emails to Todd and later the CEO were bounced back and had "fatal errors" with the reason being "reason: 554 5.4.6 Too many hops"
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#16
pj, use our help button again and tell them that the contact information is wrong and can someone update the info so you can write to them.

Isn't your real issue the charge? I wouldn't be focusing on the car type - I would want to know why the charge was so high and why you weren't advised - and that you need to go to the Avis contacts with.
 
Apr 18, 2018
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#17
pj, use our help button again and tell them that the contact information is wrong and can someone update the info so you can write to them.

Isn't your real issue the charge? I wouldn't be focusing on the car type - I would want to know why the charge was so high and why you weren't advised - and that you need to go to the Avis contacts with.
Neil, You could be thinking of another issue by someone else. This is for an upcoming trip. Priceline seems to guarantee people and bags and nothing else. The car could be Toyota Camry or Mazda 6 and Priceline would say that it was similar to a Cadillac XTS. If that is the case, I could have saved about $100 and just got a full-sized car. I am focusing on the make and model of the Cadillac XTS because Avis has the exact make and model in the Priceline example, Cadillac XTS or similar, and I made a reservation for a Cadillac XTS or similar on Priceline's website. Priceline put me in a luxury car class at Avis but that is not in the Cadillac XTS or similar category but the Chrysler 300 LTD 3.6L or similar category. This was a splurge on a car as my vehicle doesn't have power locks and the windows are the old crank style. Given what I got from Priceline, my vehicle would qualify as a luxury vehicle. My wife has a much better vehicle but I still wouldn't call it luxury with a base model Buick.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,670
12,686
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Neil, You could be thinking of another issue by someone else. This is for an upcoming trip. Priceline seems to guarantee people and bags and nothing else. The car could be Toyota Camry or Mazda 6 and Priceline would say that it was similar to a Cadillac XTS. If that is the case, I could have saved about $100 and just got a full-sized car. I am focusing on the make and model of the Cadillac XTS because Avis has the exact make and model in the Priceline example, Cadillac XTS or similar, and I made a reservation for a Cadillac XTS or similar on Priceline's website. Priceline put me in a luxury car class at Avis but that is not in the Cadillac XTS or similar category but the Chrysler 300 LTD 3.6L or similar category. This was a splurge on a car as my vehicle doesn't have power locks and the windows are the old crank style. Given what I got from Priceline, my vehicle would qualify as a luxury vehicle. My wife has a much better vehicle but I still wouldn't call it luxury with a base model Buick.
I apologize- we do have another Priceline problem and I got you mixed up.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#19
Pjpaul — the way Priceline sees it you made a reservation for a luxury car category. For some companies ie Enterprise and Sixt that may be a Cadillac XTS — for Avis it is not. You did not reserve a Cadillac XTS or equivalent. But by booking blind you have no control over the situation and are at the mercy of the opaque sites. If one wants a Cadillac XTS or equivalent at luxury category then one needs to reserve with Enterprise or Sixt or some company that has it.

This is the problem with the blind/opaque sites — what is luxury to one company may be super luxury to another — the categories are not standardized.

This is why I do not use opaque sites.
 
Likes: Neil Maley