Hotwire.com / deceptive practices
We booked a hotel through Hotwire secret rates on 6/4/2015, but fought the charge as the hotel was misrepresented as follows:
-Hotel was supposed to have a pool and indoor pool - it does not. The description I originally clicked on said last person got the Century Southern Tower hotel. The description fit that one - not the hotel I was given.
-The hotel was supposed to be worth $197 per night - I paid special "hot rate" of $121. Found it all over the internet for $108 (see attached from Tripadvisor for same date). I checked with the hotel to see if I was given a suite or higher priced room, but they said the booking was only for an economy double room. They had the same room on their website for approx. $138/night for those dates.
-Hotel was supposed to be in Shinjuku - is actually in Kabukicho - a red light district! and I am travelling with kids!
-There seemed to be some issue with the Hotwire website that day (June 4, 2015). The original deal with the same hotel description and $197 value was listed as $89 night. I clicked to buy it - went through ordering getting total with tax etc., then website said I had to disable cookies to go further. I did so but then the site would not let me go back or complete the purchase. I called Hotwire customer support but they said they couldn't do anything or find my booking since it did not go through. I went back on the site and found the price had increased to $121. Feeling gypped but thinking I was booking the Century Southern hotel that the last client got or similar, I decided to buy it anyway. Once I completed the purchase it showed me that I had a hotel that did not fit the description given and was not worth the price listed (not the price I paid and certainly not the $197 it said it was worth).
I called Hotwire and spoke to a customer service agent. They told me they could/would not do anything. I asked to speak to a supervisor. I said the hotel did not fit the description and I wanted to book a different one. They would not change or cancel the booking. I called again to ask to speak to an Express supervisor (I was a preferred Express member but apparently the benefits do not apply if you book under a different email.) They also would not change or refund despite fact hotel was misrepresented. I will not book with Hotwire again and believe this was deceptive and falsely represented. The hotel does not have the same rating as they had posted and lack the features that were listed on the hotel description. I have booked many other times with them with no issues - but I feel this was a complete misrepresentation and disputed the charge. Bait and switch methods of advertising are not legal and I am the victim of this practice by Hotwire with respect to both the price and description of the product they offered vs. the grossly inferior product they actually intended to deliver.
I was not able to resolve this issue with Hotwire and felt they did little to assist, despite the considerable travel business I have given them and other providers. We ended up booking and paying for another hotel because we felt unsafe going to this one. They refused to change the booking or refund the $600 - despite the request being 45+ days before arrival.
Do not book hotels with them - you have no options for changes, do not know what you are going to get and may not save money. We could have booked that hotel for $108 - paid more, it did not have a pool, was not in the area requested and did not fit the description. Basically a family vacation ruined by deceptive bait and switch practices.
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