The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Priceline.com — unfair/illegal (?) business practices/trickory/entrapment tactics
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
On 3/25/2011, I started to search for flights from my area Greensboro, NC to the Tampa, Fl. area. After MANY hours of research (8 or so), I went on Priceline.com and started to present a "Name Your Own Price". After a few hours, I raised my price to $190.00, then haggled as to which airport to fly from/into and it was accepted.
It was around 9:00pm and I was exhausted, so I decided to Call it a Day and wait till the next day to 'Name My Own Price' for a rental car and hotel on the next day.
On 3/26/2011, I went on Priceline.com to book a rental car. Unlike other travel brokers, I was unable to book a 'Package' (hotel/car), so I just started w/a car. I clicked on the rental car link and was redirected to a list of cars. I clicked on the absolute lowest, scrolled down and clicked on "Buy this Car". I did anticipate going to a "Summary Page", like I was the night before w/airline bookings, but instead, was directed to a "Your Offer Was Accepted"?!
There was NO link giving me the option of "Name My Own Price" as advertised?!
My heart sunk...
When I contacted a number on the website, a recording informed me that this "Program had Ended."? I went on my email to inform and to ask them that I wanted to Name my own price and to CANCEL the transaction.
A return email was sent, informing me that this transaction could NOT be changed or canceled.
I don't recall if it was an email or if I googled for Priceline, but I ended up calling. I cannot say that these people were unprofessional, but I received the same "Song & Dance" explanation as depicted in the email...NO REFUNDS OR CANCELLATIONS!
I was STUMPED!
I even contacted Avis and was told that I had to deal directly with Priceline. I was FUMING!
I made EVERY attempt of canceling this reservation within MINUTES of the booking. It was based on HUMAN ERROR that I booked this car, based on previous dealing w/airport bookings that I would have the option to "Name My Own Price".
It wasn't like I waited to the last minute to cancel, inconveniencing businesses and/or others that needed to rent a car. I made EVERY attempt in minutes!!!
I reside in North Carolina and if Memory serves me right, I thought there was a 'Clause' which allowed me 3 days to 'Change my Mind'. It's clear that Pricelines' only concern is to profit, regardless. Priceline uses their terms & conditions verbatim and they follow it to the letter.
However, if there are discrepancies, accidental typing, if mitigating circumstances arise, etc., there is NO 'WIGGLE ROOM' allowed. I can completely understand if Priceline established an 'Inconvenience fee' for modifying an 'agreement', BUT not forcing people to remain, despite the reason(s). This way, they can benefit from changes or modifications and penalize those again, regardless of the reason, but not FORCE the public into a Contract!
However, because of Human error AND even though it was MINUTES after my 'Buying of a Car'--which in itself is a 'Questionable' term as opposed to 'Renting' of such--then I should have been (in the least) refunded for a simple mistake.
Priceline was aware of my dilemma, also requesting a hotel. Priceline could have arranged for a "Package Deal" (as Expedia does) and this wouldn't have been a problem. They even refused to negotiate in a "Package"?!
After going through an angry rampage w/customer service and threat of legal recourse, I placed a "Stop Payment" at my bank by the end of the day.
Today, I received an email from my bank stating that they were unable to comply to my request being that I used my Credit Card and that I was advised to contact a Dispute Charge department.
The Bottom Line...
Priceline Lures customers into their site via Banner ads showing that you can rent a car for $13.95 but doesn't disclose where/when, promises via TV ads to give consumers a "Name Your Own Price" deal. Clearly, this isn't the case here. This is Defrauding the public, with deceptive ads.
Understandably contracts are "Legally Binding", yet the consumer is not advised with a clause double checking and asking via an additional page displaying: "IF I WAS SURE OF MY DECISION?" w/a link giving me the option of YES, NO, CANCEL or even "Name Your Own Price".
Instead, it ONLY flips the unsuspecting consumer into "Your Bid Was Accepted" unlike the bookings under the Airline section that gives you an option to Name Your Own Price. Theoretically, ALL pages should be the same format and anything different is 'Trickory', to say the least.
Theoretically, this is not considered a "Legally Binding" contract by any means. Simply entering initials on a website doesn't warrant a legal contract. Anybody can book and type in initials.
This in itself is a questionable practice when a corporation considers this as a 'Contract' when you don't actually sign on a dotted line! Thus, it is NOT legally binding.
Now, I have a hotel booked with Expedia and if this stands, a car that costs me $425.24 for 8 days. I had a car w/Expedia for $177.00 / 8 days (Package deal w/hotel).
This is a travesty. Many consumers are unaware of the trickery used by companies such as Priceline. Law should be amended to further protect consumers including even family members of YOURS when you decide to take a trip.