Wednesday, 10 December 2003
Priceline.com will now name its price -- sometimes
Priceline.com's US$100M startup blitz of television and other advertising in 1998 was the first time most people in the USA had heard of the discounts available on airline tickets through consolidators . Even five years later, Priceline.com remains the name-recognition (if not customer-service or customer-satisfaction) leader and largest-volume retailer in the USA of consolidator tickets.
So it's no wonder that the general attributes of consolidators (travel agencies that have agreements with airlines to pay less than published prices for tickets, enabling them to mark tickets up for resale and still sell them for less than the prices offered directly by airlines) are often lumped together with the peculiarities of Priceline.com's business model in the public conception of what a consolidator is.
Priceline.com does things differently from most retail consolidators in two ways:
- Priceline.com sells tickets on a so-called "opaque" basis: Priceline.com buys you a ticket on whichever airline and flights it can get most cheaply, so as to maximize its profit (you pay the same amount regardless), and only tells you the airline and a schedule after you have committed to buy.
Some people think all consolidators work this way, but that's not true: in most cases (and in all cases except on automated Web sites), a consolidator's unwillingness to identify the airline until after they've taken your money is a red flag for probable fraud. Most consolidator ticket sellers aren't allowed to advertise names of airlines or list them on their Web sites, but will provide them with your confirmed itinerary before you have to pay.
When Priceline.com started selling tickets, there was only one other legitimate seller of "white label" airline tickets, OneTravel.com , which pioneered the concept a year earlier. Even now, there are only a few legitimate opaque consolidator ticket outlets, the other major one being Hotwire.com -- now owned by the same conglomerate that owns Expedia.com, but offering lower prices that aren't shown on Expedia.com.
(The original logo was an unadorned "Hotwire", to please investors who were turning away from any company called ".com". But recently, putting marketing and brand recognition first, they have changed their logo to "Hotwire.com" and added an airplane icon and a tagline to make clear at a glance what they sell: "Fly. Sleep. Drive. Cheap.")
Opaque sales do result in lower prices, if price is really your only concern. (Keep in mind that you'll be put on whichever airlines and flights are cheapest, which means whichever are least popular -- usually for a reason. So you have to be prepared to be at the airport at 4:00 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight, or arrive at your destination after midnight.) Airlines want to fill seats with "incremental" passengers who wouldn't otherwise fly on their airline at all, but don't want to make it possible for people who would pay high published fares to get away with paying less for the same tickets. So airlines are willing to offer lower prices on an opaque basis than to consolidators who might sell tickets to brand-loyal customers or those willing to pay more for a specific schedule.
- From its start, Priceline.com has required you to "name your own price". Priceline.com determines a minimum offer that they will accept, based on how much their consolidator contracts require them to pay the cheapest airline for your tickets. But Priceline.com doesn't tell you that price. You have to guess, and if you offer more than necessary, Priceline.com keeps the difference as a windfall of pure profit. This is, quite clearly, the system of price "negotiation" most disadvantageous to the consumer.
It's also highly unusual: Priceline.com was the first to try it, and only one other company, Expedia.com, has tried to copy it (briefly and unsuccessfully). Today, every other bona fide "name your own price" airline ticket Web site that I know of is actually a "private label" or "co-brand" portal to the Priceline.com service.
Consolidator tickets are, by nature, cheaper than published fares, and airline have proven willing to offer lower prices to "opaque" than traditional non-opaque consolidators. But the jury is still out on whether forcing buyers of those tickets to "name your own price" is a sustainably profitable business model.
As a consumer advocate, I hope not. Priceline.com claims that "name your own price" gives "greater opacity" that leads airlines to offer even lower prices to Priceline.com than to its principal disclosed-price opaque competitors, Hotwire.com and OneTravel.com. But my research doesn't support that claim, and Priceline.com has been unable to provide me with any evidence to back it up.
From the start, even without careful analysis of pricing and negotiation theory, a lot of people had an (appropriate) gut reaction that they were somehow being taken advantage of by Priceline.com's refusal to name its price.
But as long as Priceline.com was the only source of consolidator tickets they knew about (and, in particular, the only source of opaque consolidator tickets on domestic flights within the USA), many of those people were willing to put up with Priceline.com's hidden pricing as the price of access to consolidator tickets. And Priceline.com advertising has done its best to mislead consumers into equating "name your own price" with "cheap", as though it made prices lower rather than, effectively, higher. (Leaving aside the fallacy that Priceline.com is some sort of "auction", as I debunk in much more detail in The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace.)
As consumers have discovered that they could get consolidator tickets, even opaque ones, at fixed and disclosed prices, they've ditched Priceline.com in droves for Hotwire.com. In doing so, customers have been voting with their feet, computer mice, and dollars against Priceline.com's core "name your own price" concept. Despite a two-year head start and dramatically larger capitalization and advertising spending for Priceline.com, Hotwire.com is catching up fast in sales. And OneTravel.com -- one of the first profitable Internet travel agencies -- continues to attract customers with scarcely any advertising at all.
So what does it mean that last month Priceline.com started disclosing prices, airlines, and flight schedules for some of its consolidator airline tickets, as well as offering to sell tickets at published fares? Priceline.com's marketing director, Brian Ek, says the new fixed-price offerings are an "experiment" and a "supplement", not a replacement, for "name your own price". Ek also says that the disclosed prices are higher than the minimum offers Priceline.com will accept, since Priceline.com still sells its cheaper opaque tickets only on a "name your own price" basis.
The fixed prices are some sort of mix of published fares -- excluding two of the airlines likely to have the cheapest published fares, Southwest and jetBlue -- and Priceline.com consolidator prices under separate agreements from prices Priceline.com has negotiated for opaque, "name your own price" sales.
Whether it's as half-hearted and/or desperate an experiment as it appears, I'm as interested as Ek and the rest of Priceline.com's management in what percentage of Priceline.com customers will choose to guess at "name their own price" when they are offered a fixed-price alternative right below it.
More important for Priceline.com will be whether these fixed-price offerings will slow, much less reverse, the exodus of customers to Hotwire.com and other fixed-price consolidator ticket outlets.
[Addendum, 19 December 2003: The jury is still out on whether "name your own price" will eventually prove to be a sustainably profitable business model. In its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission , Priceline.com reports that, "As of September 30, 2003, we had an accumulated deficit of approximately $1.6 billion" in operating losses, which to date has been borne by investors.]
Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 10 December 2003, 08:36 ( 8:36 AM)
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Priceline is naming its own price now!! I was bidding and it only has one button in bottom middle of screen. You have to keep pressing it and rebidding. This is called a trainer. It becomes intuitive for the user to press the only button the is used for navigation. I was bidding $500 on a ticket and the named a price of $1058.47 I navigated to the next screen using the only button in the bottom middle. Without any confrimation. Congratulations!! You just bought the most expensive NONREFUNDABLE ticket!!
Pricelines stock is dropping. They are losing repeat business. They have lost me, my wife, and 4 other persons at her Insurance business when we conference called the customer service the was harder than heck to get a hold of. The lady fought so hard to tell me her practice was LEGAL. She fought for a $100 dollar mark-up. Me and my wife and her coworkers fly so often Priceline could have made 20X that off us by keeping us as a customer and not LEGALLY DECEIVE us. Great job Priceline. You lost a lot of business that will never come back. Plus hundreds of people call for insurance and quotes and it is a topic that will come up. The word is spreading. Sell Priceline Stock. Don't use the website it is deceptive and will rob you. It will authorize charges on the card you use for Reward and Crap that you don't want to pay for.
Remember it is LEGAL. They have your card. You agreed to the fine print. Call your card company and have them issue you a new card/number. KillaWabbit
Priceline.com is a major rip-off. It's obvious that they mis-lead in an attempt to get your money. We attempted to purchase airline tickets. We thought our bid was rejected. Therefore we tried again, for a flight 1 day earlier. Come to find out, the original bid WAS accepted. Now we have two sets of tickets, leaving one day apart, returning on the same day, FOR THE SAME PERSON!! Of course, priceline will not refund our money, and the tickets are non-transferable. We're lost $540 with no recourse. I encourage everyone to look elsewhere for tickets and never use priceline.com.
It seems that we have joined the ranks of people 'screwed' by Priceline. In the name of convenience and cheap, they are stealing from innocent and poor people.
We submitted the price we would pay and then got charged for a flight that was too expensive for us. In the end we got charged but never went, and the response I get from priceline is a bunch of legaleaze.
How many people are they doing this to?
How much of their revenue is from screwing people over and how much from actual services that they provide? Has anyone researched this matter?
Priceline is a scam - there is no redress if plans change( for instance a parent's death), not even a way to pay a forfeit fee, which I offered to do. I will never use Priceline again and will tell any travelers I come across why I feel this way. Do not allow this group to make money. Khaori/Boise, ID
WHAT THE HELL PRICELINE ?
IS THIS YOUR WAY TO CHEAT PEOPLE'S MONEY ?
DAMN, HERE IS THE STORY, I BOUGHT A TICKET TO HAWAII, AND THEY BOOKED THE TICKET ON THE WRONG DATE FOR ME, SO I CANCELLED THE TICKET, AND IT WAS THEIR MISTAKE, BUT PRICELINE STILL CHARGE ME THE CANCELLATION FEE. HOW COME ??? I MEANT IT'S THEIR MISTAKE, I COULDN'T EVEN CHANGE THE DATE, SO I DECIDED TO CANCEL THE TICKET.
PLEASE PEOPLE, DON'T YOU EVER BUY ANYTHING FROM PRICELINE AGAIN, IT'S A SCAM, TRUST ME, IT'S HAPPENED TO ALOT OF PEOPLE, THEY ARE WORST TRAVEL AGENT I'VE EVER KNOWN. !!!!!!
LOS ANGELES, CA.
I just got screwed myself. Priceline wants $534 to cancel 5 tickets to Hawaii that I accidentally ordered due to a typographical error. I wanted to see what the counter offer would be so I "named" a price of $100, but I accidentally typed $1000 & the bastards grabbed it all. 10 minutes later priceline does me a favor by cancelling due to "extenuating circumstaces" & charging me a total of $534 for the favor to cancel. They claimed it was the airline's charge. Bottomline: STAY AWAY FROM PRICELINE! I swear to God, it scares me to go to their site click that button.
I always use priceline for hotels. I research first how much I would pay at a place like the Super8, then go to name your own price and name the price at the super8 but I click that I will only accept a four star hotel.. about 75% of the time I get the fourstar hotel at the price of the super8. Recently I was able to stay at the Hyatt on Long Island for $50.00 I have always been satisfied with my experiences. Of course I am well aware of what I am doing and I Triple check my selection before submitting. I've never had much luck with airlines though.
PRICELINE SCAM: it's worse than you think. I reserved a car but had to delay my flight by two days because of serious illness in the family. After spending half an hour mired in the phone system I got a supervisor who confirmed that my money was forfeit with no recourse and no car.
I called the auto rental agency and they confirmed that they receive no money from this transaction; Priceline keeps it all. I think this is an extremely unfair business practice and will challenge the credit card charge as invalid because no service or product resulted.
I have used Priceline many times for hotels & rental cars and have had a fantastic experience every time. I bid on at least 2 1/2 stars or higher for hotels. After my bid is accepted, I go back to the hotel sites, expedia, orbitz, etc. and check the lowest price that I could have found for the hotel I ended up with...the price that has been accepted has always been at least 45% off the lowest published price. I've often ended up in Marriott brand hotels or Hiltons. For rental cars, I've ended up with Hertz for more that 50% off the daily rate. Take you time and do your research, then check & doublecheck your dates, price, location, everything, before clicking to submit. I can't stress enough to double and triple check your bid before you submit it! You know you will be charged if you screw up, so your fate is in your own hands!
We were messed over too, royally. I will not ever go to the Priceline website again, even out of curiosity.We were trying to find lower priced tickets from Denver into Dulles. (Family of 4, have to see Grandma)I punched in the 100.00 for the "name your price" option. On that website they give you an estimate price that seems to say "Yep we can." Then you enter your payment info, and they come up with a different price saying, "If you can raise your bid to $_____, then we can help." So I went back several times. They never met the bid. For yucks, I thought I would see how much it would cost to go from Omaha to Dulles. Guess what? They accepted this bid, and of course the tickets were non-refundable. And to boot, the destination flight is in Baltimore! I called Customer Service, but of course they stuck to these ridiculous guns. I'm hoping to contact our bank this morning to see if they might be able to stop payment.
NEVER USE PRICELINE!!!!!!
PRICELINE is a RIP OFF. Plain and simple do not use Priceline name your own price, you will get ripped off and have absolutely no recourse. They should be shut down and kicked off the net !! Booked a hotel in vegas clicked on the mapped area stating the hotel is on the strip. Not only is the hotel NOT on the strip I found it much cheaper on Expedia. I called within the alloted 24 hours as stated on their web-site. They did not even meet the lower price offered by Expedia. In a word......Tough....you clicked the botton and we have the legal ease to argue with you !! Priceline IS A RIP OFF
I booked a hotel on Priceline using the "name your own price" feature. When using this feature, Priceline cannot guarantee the type of room being booked; however, Priceline indicates that any special requests must be made by calling the hotel. What Priceline does not disclose is that HOTELS ARE RUDE and unwilling to even listen to requests KNOWING IT WAS RESERVATION MADE THROUGH PRICELINE.
Bottom line is that although PRICELINE says that special requests are not guaranteed and are based on availavility, the truth is that HOTELS second-rate PRICELINE users.
PRICELINE-NAME THE PRICE YOU WANT TO PAY US FOR NOTHING!
I got ripped off by Priceline.com too! I wrote down all the flight information on my PC screen, cliked the purchase button, and my confirmed itinerary had the wrong flight on it. I contacted them immediately and they said it couldn't be so and offered to refund only the flight with a service charge. That would leave me paying for their mistake and not being able to rebook under the package rate as they would not undo the hotel booking so the whole thing could be redone and corrected. (That tells you right there that this was a quick bait and switch deal) Only snid remarks from customer service in response to e-mails. Only recourse is to take what I got and let others know to beware. I used Expedia last time and wtih never use Priceline.com again. BEWARE!!!
There is a certain expectation to be had when Priceline states that I can name my own price and receive a hotel room for "up to half price". That expectation IS NOT to pay more than the hotel charges or more than I can find in thier regular priced ads. That is what happened to me on May 18, 2007.
I am very disappointed with Priceline's pricing and feel cheated.
After my $70.00 offer was rejected, an offer came up stating that for $22.00 more I could have a room, if I responded right now!
After I purchased the room for $92.00, I then went to Priceline's hotel site, Priceline's REGULAR pricing for $17.00 less than I had just paid. I was ripped off!
Priceline agreed (after much long negotiation) to rebate me the $17.00. Six weeks and several phone calls later, I have still not received my rebate.
Ok guys! Not to spoil the fun of Priceline bashing for the rest of you... but I have always had great luck with Priceline for hotels. I do the research to find out what hotels are going for and then bid ~50% below that price. I've always gotten great hotels at a fantastic price. I've gotten hotels in NYC, Boston, Rome, and Austin, TX with great success. Of course you have to double-check everything and accept that you will have ZERO flexibility if plans change.
Ok, now I don't feel so alone in my experience with Priceline. I misunderstood the whole process. This was my first time using them today, and I thought that by naming my own price, I might get like a choice of hotels or something, and they would confirm that I wanted to go ahead and purchase at that price. That's not what happened at all! I just get this thing that says congratulations. It took me a while to figure out where I had purchased a hotel room at, no choice or anything. I called Priceline, and of course, they will NOT negotiate or anything. No credit toward another room, no NOTHING! I called back 3 different times, and got 3 different people who had a bit of a hard time with the english language. Each read the same script. The last one to begin reading the script got the most ear-full. I had to just tell her quit reading her damn script, I had already heard it from the previous two operators, and to put the manager on the phone. Then I just ran into a brick wall.
There is nothing they can do, thats it, I signed the contract and was bound to it. I asked one girl "So what you're saying is that I'm screwed and have no choice but to live with it." Her response "I do apologize, but yes ma'am"...She said it herself that I was screwed!!! THEY WILL ACTUALLY ADMIT ON THE PHONE THAT THEY ARE SCREWING YOU!!!
The moral of the story is do not DO NOT use priceline. I could have gotten the same price on the website of the motel that I'm now obligated to.
My question is; if in fact you cancel a reservation after having a bid accepted and of course are held to Priceline terms and conditions of paying their fee and the amount you bid. Are you still liable to pay the taxes related to the bid, given that you are not purchasing or utilizing the room, car or tickets?
My question is; if in fact you cancel a reservation after having a bid accepted and of course are held to Priceline terms and conditions of paying their fee and the amount you bid. Are you still legally liable to pay the taxes related to the bid, given that you are not purchasing or utilizing the room, car or tickets?
I always book my hotels through Priceline.com and save at least 50%. LOOK! before you play with the mouse is all I have to say to those people who are whining through the comments tool. Don't you think before you swipe your credit card? Well then think again. Ah, 2 hours hence this is published I will be leaving for Virginia staying at HILTON having paid only 60$ per night including taxes!!
My husband called me on a Friday night from Durango, CO, asking me to book him a room, using Priceline. He told me to bid half whatever they were asking. I used their map feature to locate a hotel within walking distance of Main St. After finding the hotel, a window popped up asking for my credit card info, which I, in good faith, filled in. Then another window popped up saying, CONGRATULATIONS, Your room is booked. My husband did not stay there, as he refused to pay over $300 when we never wanted the room at that price.
I immediately called to cancel, but NO ONE IS HOME. After several frustrating hours of listening to recordings and searching the website IN VAIN for a way to talk to their customer Non-Service, I went to work. (I work nights, and was starting a two-day rotation at the hospital). When I finally got off work and I checked my email and, they had finally responded to my email (THE ONLY WAY TO CONTACT THEM.) They FINALLY provided a number where I could talk to a ?human?
STILL NO SATISFACTION. Some career-challenged puppet kept telling me there are no refunds EVER. Then he transferred me to another idiot who told me the same thing.
I am telling my story to everyone I meet and every blog I can think of. PRICELINE IS THE MOST DISREPUTABLE, SHABBY, INCOMPETENT AND WILLFULLY FRAUDULENT COMPANY IN THE USA, AND THEIR STOCKHOLDERS BETTER CASH OUT NOW!!!
If anyone wants to do a class-action, SIGN ME UP!!! DOWN WITH PRICELINE!!!!! LET'S NOT STOP UNTIL THEY ARE OUT OF BUSINESS!!!!
Priceline ripped us off today. Because we were first time users, we spent a lot of time on their website looking at the hotels in the specific area of Houston that we wanted to stay. There were about 8 hotels listed in that area which were all pretty pricey for our budget. So we bid on $79 for that area figuring if we got no positive responses, nothing would be lost. Our bid was accepted and then we discovered that the hotel that accepted our bid was in a neighboring area, but not the area we had chosen. The price listed on the priceline website for that specific hotel in the neighboring area was $79 and of course, if we knew it was included in that area, we would have bid lower. So, the confirmation sheet actually had a phone number for customer service, with a real person but no real service. Their response was that the hotels shown in that area were only a 'sampling' and that the area actually includes many more hotels. The boundaries of the areas clearly are not what they show on the website. This is FRAUD! If there's a class-action suit, count me in!
I too have joined the ranks of those taken advantage of by Priceline's "Name your own price" scam and would like to pursue a class action against the company. There are many websites with posts like these from at least hundreds of people that have experienced the nightmare that is Priceline.
If you are interested, please send a detailed and clearly written email explaining your situation, with as many dates and names as you can recall. Obviously you have no idea who I am so at this stage it is perfectly fine for you to keep as much information to yourself as you wish, but the more I have, the more likely it will be that a lawyer will be willing to take on this case.
I intend to collate all complaints and summarize them for presentation to a lawyer. Your personal information will not be disclosed to anyone until a lawyer is found who is willing and able to take on a class action lawsuit against Priceline. I only ask that you include the amount that you were erroneously charged, the date of the charge, and the state where you were located at the time of the purchase.
I encourage everyone to pass this message on to friends, family, coworkers, and those on other message boards who would be interested in a class action lawsuit against Priceline.
Priceline has horrible customer service, and lost me as a repeat customer because of it.
You get what you pay for in life. With Priceline, you get crap and headaches. It's not worth it.
Reading some of the comments of happy users I would have agreed until my last experience at Priceline. I have been so happy in the past with my experiences, have have saved a bundle. My last booking for a hotel in Palm Springs, as always, I next look up the web sight to see how much money I saved. I realized I paid their asking price for a room. Upon further reviews of this hotel it looks really bad! I was expecting to get a deal for a room, instead I am booked at a low budget hotel, with no recourse, like everyone else. They say it isn't their problem but that of some middle man somewhere. I am feeling that this company is loosing money (Priceline) and is not the quality in the past. Watch out. I told them I was out to spread the word and warn people about it. People need to know of their policy of not helping out even when it goes against what they "claim" to offer. Buyer beware, priceline just lost another customer and any one who listens to this experience I hope will not take their business there.
I tried to buy my ticket from priceline at their advertised price but they keep coming back that they can not sell it for the amount stated on their web site, but I could try again at a higher price or different departure times.
This is not legal to advertise a price that they cannot meet.
Thank goodness for this chance to rant about Priceline. I never thought to check out the background of this company - thought it was one of the "good guys" like Expedia.
My story: booked a car rental for pick up in ST. Pete/Clearwater Airport with return to Orlando (Sanford) International Airport one week later. Came to learn that there are TWO Orlando International Airports and I had contracted to drop-off the car rental at the one SW of Orlando but my flight is leaving from the other Orlando International Airport 30 miles away! The Indian customer service rep told me she could make a "rare exception" and cancel my car rental for a cancellation fee equalling one day's car rental.
I said no way, they made the mistake in the drop-off location. No help - so I instructed her NOT TO CANCEL my car - I was leaving the next day and didn't know if I could find a rental at a reasonable rate on short notice - and I am getting my local FL friends to drive me to the contracted drop-off location and then over to the airport where I am scheduled to fly home from.
The icing on the cake is that Alamo has a drop-off at "my" airport but they can't make any changes - that needs to be done through Priceline.
What a crock. I used to work in Washington DC for the Federal Trade Commission. Think I'll call them and complain.
I am doing some research before I make my Priceline "name your price" purchase. From what I see here it may be a bad choice if I clicked yes. It seems that priceline isn't soooooo bad with booking hotels, but suck very much at airplane flights. Which is what I need for less than I am finding on any airline webpage. I just need a cheap one-way flight from LAX to Chicago,thats all and I am finding $300-400 prices. I didn't even pay that much for my round-trip ticket last time I went to California. I don't know where to go???
DO NOT UDE PRICELINE FOR ANYTHING!
This is the first time that I have used them and will never use them again! We booked a 3 night stay for a total of $558.18 (plus applicable taxes)on 4/20/08. When we checked out of the hotel,we were given a bill for $417.48 (inclusive of taxes). I contacted Priceline to get the difference of $140 - no way, no how. Apparently, the hotel gave me the pricing that Priceline pays - I explained to their "customer service specialist" that if I knew it would cost me $40 more a night just to use their services, I would have just booked it myself.
PRICELNE CUSTOMER SERVICE RELATIONS
i have recently had quite the experience: i was unable to make my flight which was no big deal because i was dealt with the airline to rebook that portion.... but the rental car was a whole different issue.... Avis refused to have ANYTHING TO DO WITH PRICELINE and PRICELINE INSISTED THAT AVIS was whom i had to deal with. and by the way ....PRICELINE DOES NOT ADVERTISE THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBER OR SHALL I SAY THEY DO NOT ADVERTISE A RELIABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE PHONE NUMBER....
my credit card company had tracked it down for me... chase services stated the phone number was 299-8000 ... with NO AREA CODE. Between Avis, Chase and myself we found an area code .... BOTTOM LINE: I WILL NEVER USE PRICELINE EVER AGAIN... IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A HOLD OF A LIVE PERSON UNLESS YOU CALL
for those of you who choose to deal with priceline in the future you will need this phone number and it is not advertised on their website and the area code is not advertised with the company they book travel plans through, nor the credit card company with which you may pay for your trip.....
i hope to get this issue with my own travel situation resolved soon, and am confident in the stand THAT I WILL NEVER BOOK ON PRICELINE.COM AGAIN.....
it is ridiculous to me that Priceline and Avis continue to go back and forth in regards to whom i talk to in regard to my not being able to use the rental car reservation.... HAD I BOOKED WITH AVIS FIRSTHAND I WOULD NOT BE GOING THROUGH THIS CRAP....
as soon as this gets resolved i will post the customer service agents phone number and her Agent ID, she did not know the number to corporate, nor did she have a point of contact, nor was she able to think outside the parameters of ripping off the customers stupid enough to book through priceline
DO NOT FORGET THE NUMBER FOR PRICE LINE CUSTOMER SERVICE...(TO GET AN ACTUAL LIVE PERSON) IS:
Price line is a scam. I got billed $40 for insurance on A HOTEL ROOM????? After an hour on the phone with 4 of their operators one of whom "a customer service realations specilist" said she had no manager i could speak to, and to email the ceos off the investor site. YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING (plus they had no email contact there) I WILL NEVER USE THEM AGAIN, funny thing is I'm an avid traveller and they would rather lose all my future business. It's not worth saving a few dollars only to get screwed and get NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Typo on the checkout to bad. PRICELINE SUX.
I have also been scammed by priceline, here is the letter I have sent priceline more than a dozen times explaining the situation, however now I am not even getting automated responses anymore. Customer service is bad, ( I honestly think they are reading a script to me) and that's ONLY when you can get through to them. and just so you know this letter was sent May 17th it is June 16th today!!!
My flight (April 10) was cancelled and rescheduled for April 11. When that flight was cancelled I was offered a flight on the 12th of April. Because of the demands of my trip, I could not afford to wait until the 12th with the chance that my flight would again be cancelled so I took the refund that was offered to me by Priceline (or so I thought). It is now the 17th of May and I have yet to receive my refund. I have made four (4!) phone calls to Priceline's customer service. The first two I was promised my refund within 5-10 days. When that did not happen in the promised time, I called back (along with many emails to get a request number so I could even get through) a third time and was told that the refund was processed and should be appearing in my bank account soon and I would receive and email notice within 24 hours. Since that has not happened (it has been 1 1/2 weeks since the third call) I called again today. All the representatives that I talked to made the same promise which is NOT acceptable at this point.
I have given Priceline the benefit of the doubt as I know that with the recent plane inspections and flight cancellations that the refund might take slightly longer than normal. I have not, however, been told by any of your representatives that my refund might take longer. Promises have been made to me over and over again that have not been kept. Since contacting customer service only results in these same promises I do not feel that my concerns are being heard anymore. As customer service is the only option given to me to try to resolve these issues I have no where else to turn.
A refund, at this point, is the minimum that I expect. It should not be up to me to constantly initiate contact with Priceline to assure that my money be returned to me. I would like to receive a call or a reply to this email (NOT your standard "we are working on it" response) early next week informing me of the current status of my refund and an explanation as to why it has become the customers responsibility to initiate this kind of dialog.
Request #: 528-463- -
Cancellation #: 14064544
WARNING- DO NOT USE PRICELINE- I was screwed by priceline....I bought a ticket for the wrong area. The right area was typed into my bid,but on the map shown to me, I couldn't tell because the entire Hawaiian Island was shaded. I called and asked to refund literally 5 minutes after it went through,no help, no customer service, they said I would hav eto pay a cancellation fee equal to one nights stay! They did nothing for me. I got a crappy hotel in the wrong place, and to add insult to injury, when I checked out the hotel site, I even paid more than what the going rate was.
I have a horrible experience with priceline. They are liars. I am going to visit my mom in LA but my mother in law died and I have to change my itinerary. They won't let me change it but the customer representative told me I can cancel it for a fee of $100+ and fax a death certificate. I was able to get the death certificate and I called them the next day and they told me that they cannot cancel my flight. The customer service representative said that there's really nothing they can do for my problem. Isn't this the most incompassionate thing to say? First they tell you and to do this and when you comply with their request they change their minds. PLEASE BEWARE, DON'T DO ANY BUSINESS WITH PRICELINE AGAIN. You paid them in good faith and they just won't deal with you honestly. STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY. Please count me in for the class action lawsuit you are planning. It is time to take action and punish the dishonest practices of Priceline.
Any advice most welcome. I bought a friend of mine in the States a ticket to travel from San Francisco via Las Vegas to Manchester in the UK. Unfortunately my friend has had an accident and is not able to travel. I understand the ticket I foolishly bought from Priceline.com is non-refunable, but has anybody managed to recover the tax paid. I have read elsewhere that this is usually possible but having read the unscrupulous practices of Priceline.com I don't hold out much hope. you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow, wish we had seen this earlier. Just got news that boyfriend dad passed away. So my boyfriend purchased a ticket from Portland, OR not knowing where the flight would travel but was ending up in Massachusetts. Well as soon as he clicked purchase a warning popped up saying that travelers landing in Atlanta, Georgia should be aware of THE F-ING HURRICANE that will be at it's peek strength the same time as the 4 hour layover in Atlanta. Well his flight takes him to HURRICANE butt f-ing Georgia and if it actually lands he risks the chance of being stuck there. No be deal though, he would only miss his dads funeral and if he decided to cancel he's only out $600 plus the cost of another ticket from some other company that doesn't suck ass on their spare time. I can't even believe there are companies out there like these butthole surfers.
I bought a ticket on Priceline and was not told after the fact that it was paper ticket. They mailed it to me Fed Ex which cost $25. I was sent a notice that my reservation was changed and they changed me to an unacceptable time. I checked on-line and found another carrier had a flight at nearly the same time and called Priceline to have them change it to that flight. They said they could not change carriers. So I asked for a refund and they said that because they had changed the times I could get a refund for all but the $25 shipping cost. They even admitted that they usually issue paperless tickets, but for some reason on this one they couldn't. They refused to refund the $25 and when I asked to speak to the manager, they said they would return my call in 20minutes because he was in a meeting. I never received a call and when I called back they had blocked my number so that I could not get to a live person. To get a refund I must spend $25 to send the ticket back and when they get it they will refund the $1600 for the tickets but not the $25. So it cost me $50 for my first and last experience with Priceline. Also when I was on the phone they tried the "I was being unprofessional" line because I implied that she seemed to be working for United Airlines. Apparently that was her cue to try to make me feel bad with the "unprofessional" label.
I would never use Priceline again. When the going gets tough the customer services are not helpful at all. We had booked into Red Lion Inn Astoria. When we got there the receptionist refused to check us in because there was a power outage and he did not know when it would be restored. We explained that our room had been prepaid via Priceline. He suggested we called Priceline and cancel the resrvation. We did so and checked into another hotel; but then at a later date Priceline refused to issue a refund. So the company is dishonest. Today my credit card company has credited me with the cost but it is not over yet as Priceline have 90 days to get back to the credit card company.
Priceline-cheaper? no way. I booked a flight and when I discovered that I had to change my flight while willing to pay the fee...priceline refused. Told me to talk to airline. The airline said it was Priceline. what did I save over booking directly with the airline. $8.00
With travel being down to Europe, you would think that Priceline and the carriers would be willing to work with you. There was no trememdous savings for them to justify the unwillingness to work with the consumer. NEVER AGAIN. NEGOTIATOR....RIGHT!
Priceline...half price hotel rooms? What a frigging RIPOFF! Ok, I needed a hotel room in Las Vegas for an upcoming convention so thought I'd try "negotiating" on Priceline. What a joke...I wanted a "four star" hotel on the Strip and wound up at the Luxor for 180.00 a night. First of all, the Luxor is no more a "four star" hotel than Holiday Inn is...guess I didn't realize that lowering my standards was part of the deal. Worse than that, when I went to the Luxor's website to see how much I "saved", it would have been almost 100.00 LESS to book it directly...and I have the right to cancel! When I contacted their so called "customer service" department (that's right...somewhere in India) they graciously gave me a credit for the difference. So, let's see how this website works...I wind up at a hotel that I don't want to stay at, pay the full rate, and save absolutely NOTHING. They refused to offer me a better price than the full hotel rats, and absolutely refused to off me a refund. Yep, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is..learned that the hard way again. If you're booking online, go through legit site like Hotels, Expedia or Orbitz...STAY AWAY FROM PRICELINE!
I too just got a bad deal from priceline.com They sold me a room for more than I could have gotten it from the Hotel! I put in a bid for $135 per night & got a room that was on special for $88 per night. There were many more expensive rooms @ the hotel available but Priceline wanted to make max $ so put me in a cheap one. I will never use priceline.com again!
number to customer service it works!!!!1-800-657-9180
I used the "name your own price" to book a trip from MSP to Nashville, less than a week later the price for a direct flight at both AA and NWA is $50 less than Priceline flying me all over the country. I called and said I would still take the one stop flights but wanted to lower my price since the airlines are lower now. I even brought up that Orbitz has the low price gaurentee, no help from Priceline and I'm out $50.
Well, Priceline got me too. Tried to cancel immediately after I made a hotel resv. Their site is designed TO IMMEDIATELY BOOK THE ROOM without even seeing the hotel. And there is no way to cancel on line.
WOW!! I am so glad I read all of these comments. I was about to put in my credit card # for a 4 star hotel in San Antonio with Priceline.com "name your own price", but I wanted to get more information on this company. I am so glad I found this website. Thank you all for the warnings but at the same time I am sorry for all of you that lost so much money. I urge new users to read their "terms and conditions" listed at the bottom of their website first (it pretty much states: "we're going to screw you of your money and there is nothing you can do about it!").
Oh and yeah, "out sourcing!!" You can call your insurance company, electric company, etc., and they pretty much all out source now! And most of the time you cant even understand them!! God bless America, or should we say India now?!
PRICE LINE IS THE MOST DISHONEST COMPANY. THEY will steal your money and their foreign sounding customer service people are incompetent thugs. Stay away from Priceline and save your money from these scammers! LIARS work at Priceline
Name your own price could be expensive for you! I reserved today two rooms in Sydney Australia by naming my price through Priceline. To make a long story short I was confirmed for the two rooms at a higher price than the regular rate offered by the hotel to the public. I required three nights for one room and only two nights for the second room, but I was charged the full three nights for both rooms and customer service told me that Priceline did not offer an option for a different number of nights for each room. The consumer agrees to restrict terms and conditions flexibility in an attempt to save money, but what happens when that is not the case and you end up with an extra room that you do not need? with no refunds, no changes, no cancellations! I spent over an hour on the phone (several calls to customer service)disscusing that I fell into this trap expecting a discount price that turned out to be just the opposite! the last person I spoke with offered to match the hotel rate and maybe a 10% discount if approved. Priceline may be a good option in your travel needs,just be aware that "Name Your Own Price" is a legal trap.
Priceline.com is a rip off! I purchased a flight for this morning but when I arrived at the airport, they had sold my seat and offered me a later flight but would not refund my current but sold seat. I will now have no choice but to work through VISA to investigate and refund. Takes months to get your money back! Buy tickets anywhere but at priceline.com
Like one previous post said before, look before you click on anything. Take this as a learning experience. I'm out 200 bucks on priceline cuz I didn't pay attention to what I was reading while shopping around for tickets mainly on name your price. Once your credit info is entered and they accepted the bid the ticket is bought.F'ed up on my part but still there should be something they can work out with the customers.
I to have been ripped off to! I bid in Chicago for a 4 star hotel I looked at all the 4 star rates and bid 50 % less...only to find out later I saved a wopping .82 cents and not really a 4 start hotel wow what a deal If I knew then what I know now I would of just booked the hotel I really wanted and paid the $50 dollars more.
I did read the small print after my $8. and $9. /per day car rental in Orlando Fl was rejected. Priceline suggested a 12 dollar bid would be more successful.
This site is a total waste of time. I am changing my credit card number (since it is still on file even though I did not buy into it).
I used Priceline.com to book my flight from LA home to Kansas for Christmas. When I arrived at the airport, I was not allowed on my flight because I did not have the paper ticket that was supposedly UPS'd to me. I got no notice that the ticket had tried to be delivered. I spent an hour on the phone with their customer service only to be put on hold 5 times speaking to 5 different people. They said I could not refund my ticket and their was nothing they could do. I lost out on my $550 and had to frantically go from airline to airline to try and book a flight home that night. I will NEVER use priceline again - horrible customer service!
Agree with all of the above. Isnt there any legal action we can take? Class action suit?
They double charged me on the taxes and will not respond nor redeem me on the difference.
I will never use them again. I urge all of you to blog about this and use social media to make a difference
I have used Priceline only for hotels; never for air travel. The "name your own price" feature has worked very well for my hotel bookings in Seattle, Toronto, Barcelona, Vancouver. All were at least 25% off the best price at expedia, hotwire, etc. The Toronto hotel was 40% off the best price on other sites.
Thanks for the many cautions regarding air travel with Priceline.
Thank you everyone for your comments. I was about to use Priceline. No chance now.
I too would like to thank every-one for their comments and I am really glad that I visited here before purchasing anything through these people.
I just booked a hotel with PRICELINE'S "Name Your own Price" as I always do and I did not get confirmation. In fact I went for lunch, came back and tried booking the regular way (not "Name Your Own Price"). After I completed the booking, I was distraught to see I had two email confirmations with bookings for the same evening in the same city at two different hotels. I phoned and explained the situation and asked to have one of the rooms canceled. I was still paying for one room anyway...
They said that I legally should have waited 24 hours for a response from PRICELINE'S "Name Your Own Price" before booking agian.
They said that "I will have to find someone to travel to the same city and stay in the other hotel to get use out of it, because they can not and will not cancel."
I have never had to wait 24 hours for a response from "Name Your Own Price", I usually rebook right away again?
I am out $120, and even tried to become a PRICELINE salesperson on Kajiji to sell this room off to make back at least $50... I know, PRICELINE has turned me into a pathetic human...LOL.
As it turns out, it's only usable under my name anyway! I understand reading fine print and no refund policies...but I want to do business with a company that understands me as a consumer and I just don't think PRICELINE gets it.
SCAM ALERT, Paid for a travel package with rental car included. Got to my destinantion rental car company would not release the car. They told me to call Priceline and take it up with them, surprise surprise Priceline was closed, no customer service available. Priceline still hasn't refunded my rental car costs. DON"T GET SCAMMED LIKE I DID!
PRLN is clearly going downhill. Their service reps are uninformed, inaccurate, and rude. It's the last stock on earth I'd buy. Good luck to those of you who do purchase it!
I bid $50 on a hotel in Oakland and won. They put us at the Marriott, but we had to pay $20 to park - with no in and out. I tried to cancel but was told "no refunds". We didn't stay there and I disputed the charge with Chase. They credited my account for the charge, but now it was just rebilled and I'm stuck paying. NEVER USE PRICELINE - WE WON'T!!!!
My experience with Priceline has been terrible! I searched for a room for 2 adults and 2 children and then used the name your own price option. I got stuck in a room with 2 double beds for 4 people. And to make it worse, there's no hotel option for rollaways or anything else. The reps told me I should have read the "fine print" in the contract before submitting a bid. I'm done with Priceline. They don't care about their customers at all.
Most of the websites offering online fares are robotic. If you call them, your call will be transferred to a call center in Malaysia or Thailand. People servicing clients are not professionals and don't know much about travel business. These days, the best way to get cheaper airfares or hotel rates is to surf the internet get a price and then call your travel agent.
I have just been scammed for $305.00 ! I was looking for a hotel for 5 nights, they quoted a great price of $53.00 per night but they said they would add between $12.50 to $25.00 per night for service fees. I wanted to know how much they would really charge me extra, was it $12.00 per night?, $20.00?, $25.00?. Unfortunately to find out I, first, had to put in my credit card number.Then I clicked to the next screen to find out the price I would have to pay and instead it did the transaction. I right away called their phone number, I talked to a machine and the next day I talked to a representant who gave me my cancellation number........but no money!!!! I reported them to the better business bureau in Connecticut. Also they have this "reverse phrasing" if you click on "cancel" it will do the reservation. I cannot believe their dishonesty. They had the nerve to say "you put in your credit card number , it proves you wanted to do the purchase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you can't get to the next screen if you don't put in your number! Big lesson learn. I will spread the word and I am in for a class action lawsuit .
These online merchandisers need to add real customer service people than can handle problems. My son purchased tickets for a concert and ended up with tickets for a boxing match. There was no way to reverse the transaction.
I purchased ground transportation and flight from Priceline. Ground transportation never showed up at airport and left me stranded until midnight. It cost me a lot to find transportation. I have tried to break thru PRICELINE's corpate vail with no success. Try and find a contact person or department to speak with...not happen. They have my money and all I got from them was a whole lot of trouble. DO NOT EVEN THINK THEY CARE...JUST STAY AWAY FROM PRICELINE
I WILL NEVER USE PRICELINE AGAIN.. I ASKED FOR THE COLLISION INSURANCE PORTION OF MY RESERVATION TO BE CANCELED AND WAS TOLD IT WOULD BE... BUT AFTER LOOKING AT MY BANK STATEMENT THEY STILL CHARGED ME.. SO I ASKED FOR THEM TO REFUND THE MONEY FOR SOMETHING THAT I ASKED TO BE CANCELED ANY AND WAS TOLD NO BECAUSE THE CAR WAS STILL USED.. THAT'S SOME BULLSHIT... IF I ASK FOR SOMETHING TO BE CANCELED BEFORE I USE IT THEN WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU STILL CHARGE ME... THE HELL WITH PRICELINE OR PRICK LINE...
My nightmares are with Hotwire.com They are taking your money and then the hotel they have contracted overbooked and you get bumped. We were told that they would find us a better room at the same price but it's 25 minutes away from where we want to be and they wouldn't refund the insurance we paid for. Unbelievable. this has happened twice now.
they are a bunch of false advertising crooks. they tell you a car is available now, at a city, for a price which they quote. just try to rent it for that price. won't happen. the price suddenly is not available. and they try to tell you "oh , that just a sample price" or similar bullshit! they are dishonest, false advertising crooks!
I will never book through Priceline again. Priceline has now lost what was a loyal customer. I use Priceline so much it was in my best interest to get rewards credit card, which I will be closing as soon as I am finished voicing my displeasure with this company. I booked a flight with Priceline, since booking the flight I found out that my wife is pregnant. When going to her Dr. she was told that she could not fly. I called the Priceline customer care line and was pretty much told sorry (I didn't get the customer rep name or number). I asked to speak with a manager or supervisor, I then spoke with Joe id # 5260265 after voicing my issues with him I was told pretty much the same thing. I then said to him "So what you are saying is that Priceline cares so little for their customers that they are willing to take a stand on the side of sorry we can’t help you when a loyal customer has a medical issue that prevents them from flying. I explained that I didn’t want a refund just the ability to change the date and use the money that I have already applied to this flight to another flight at a later date when my wife was able to fly.” He then in an unconcerned, sarcastic voice said “sorry there’s nothing that we can do for you thanks for calling have a nice day.” Since I can’t go on vacation and can’t use the time off at another date I plan to devote my time to letting everybody that I can know exactly how Priceline feels about their customers. It’s amazing how everybody else that we had reservations with concerning this vacation were willing to work with us. The resort has a one day policy (which was acceptable) but offered to give a full refund due to the circumstances when I only asked for a credit. The rental car company (which I had pre-paid) gave a full refund after I provided them with the information of her doctor. Priceline is the only company that would not work with us. I will never use them again, and advise you to book with someone that values their customers as well.
Low price="you get what you pay for"=negative5 star trip.
Every flight was delayed from mechanical problems to a worker accident.
Missed connections= 2 nights of 6 hour layovers IN THE airports.
No compensation was offered for hotel vouchers or food.
I arrived @ 1:45 A.M. at HEATHROW nothing was open... not even a passport transfer.
As a single woman traveling alone I felt unsafe. International flight included 2 screaming children. When requested a different seat OR assistance for the children there was no response.
A simple request for earplugs was also denied. The male flight attendant on the international flight from London to Chicago is in need if training in POLITE service, boarding at HEATHROW was done by a bus to tarmac.
There was no airway, passengers were required to carry hand held items up many stair steps to enter the aircraft. Because of missed international connections I tried calling the international help number to request another day in my stay because I had lost a day, on hold for over 40 minutes which racked up over $150 in roaming charges, luggage was lost... Expensive dress clothing never to be seen again...
PRICELINE-NEVER AGAIN. Will report to proper business evaluators including false advertising.
The only compensation that could fix this problem would be a FREE international or domestic airline ticket with open dating + remuneration for lost expensive designer clothing, $500. Trip insurance covered NOTHING... Again false advertising... FAREWELL PRICELINE... Starting blog today plus Facebook bashing .