Hotwire - Charged in the wrong currency
MAJOR BUYER BEWARE!!
I've used Hotwire numerous times over the past few years and like many others, I was drawn to their service for their rates and the ability to blind bid on hotels based on star rating and location.
As a visitor to the site, I'd done my research and despite the caveats and warnings, I chose to risk using the service and give them the benefit of the doubt. This past June, I encountered the perfect example of why I would never use this service again.
I booked a honeymoon trip to Hawaii for my newlywed wife and I for July. We price shopped and did our homework and decided that the blind bid system was worth it. We got a great hotel at a great rate and being Canadian residents I had changed my setting to Canadian currency. Comparing to other sites (Travelocity, Travago, Hotels, Expedia, Priceline, etc.) the rate we got was better but within range of what we felt would be reasonable given that we were buying blind. I received confirmation that the purchase went through and got a trip confirmation number and receipt as proof so we were very happy and excited about our upcoming trip.
A few days before we left, I noticed a credit charge that I had been billed the agreed to bid amount in USD not CAD. I quickly checked my trip confirmation on my account details on the Hotwire site and confirmed that the quoted amount to be charged as in CAD. As a precaution, I took a screenshot and immediately called Hotwire customer service. After 1.5 hours and 5 calls back to the *** (reps kept dropping my call as they advised I needed to speak with a billing agent), I finally got through and spoke with a billing agent who said that it was an error on their end and that they'd correct it in 5 business days. I confirmed the amount that was the discrepancy and got his name as part of the details of the call. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to confirm 5 business days later as a I left on the honeymoon trip.
To my dismay when we got back from our trip, nothing had been adjusted and I called customer service back immediately to inquire about it. I was told to email a note into the customer service contact email and it would be answered to within 5 business days. 3 days I got my response and the answer was that the amount in the confirmation is simply an estimate. I had sent screenshots of the trip confirmation as proof but it doesn't seem like it helped at all. I don't mind if the estimate is off a bit, with the fluctuation in currency I get that it can happen however the issue I have is that my charge was almost $700 dollars off! Therefore, Hotwire’s response doesn’t make any sense to me at all. They’ve basically quoted and confirmed a price in CAD then charged me the same amount in USD and expect me to pay it.
I'm very disappointed as a customer of Hotwire and disgusted with their level of customer service. It's the worst I've ever experienced and having a background in call center management, it was a sobering situation to go through and feel first-hand how bad some organizations are.
I'll be pursuing this further and pushing this as far as I can. It's been emotionally draining and stressful, not all how I wanted to spend the first few weeks of being happily married. I’ll never do business with them again.
A disappointed newlywed
Review about: Hotwire Room Booking.
Reason of review: Pricing issue.
Monetary Loss: $700.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I liked: Convenience of reserving online.
I didn't like: Fraudulent prices, Different product than advertised, Lack of customer service.