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Hotwire difficulties

Glossop, United...
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5 posts
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Hotwire difficulties

I have used Hotwire for more than 30 hotel bookings over the past year with generally good results.

However I am irritated by my latest encounter. I booked a hotel in Chicago for three adults. When I arrived, the Hotel had no available rooms at all. I eventually got shipped to a different hotel (1:30am by this stage) which was not only lousy, but had none of the advertised amenities for which I had paid (no bedding, only one bed for three people, no internet, no pool, no fitness center etc).

I want my money back. Hotwire have failed to respond (at all) to any of three messages sent to them via their website. They also don't answer their phones.

I am aware of folk having problems with Hotwire more generally (although as I say, I have not until now). However if this is the level of service when things go wrong I will definitely avoid in future. I don't mind taking risks within rules I understand, but I don't much like being robbed. Any sharing of thoughts appreciated.

PS: I'll edit accordingly if they ever respond

Edited: 20 August 2014, 20:47
Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Hotwire difficulties

>>>When I arrived, the Hotel had no available rooms at all<<<

No room or no reservation? Two very different things, as the former is the hotel's fault.

Glossop, United...
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2. Re: Hotwire difficulties

No rooms -- no problem with reservation. However they say refunds can only be processed "via the original booking method" (I guess this is a general principle in consumer law -- retailer not manufacturer is responsible to the customer).

I can see how this can get bounced around with no-one taking responsibility. However I think Hotwire is the responsible party -- whether they want to take this up in turn with the Hotel is their business.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Hotwire difficulties

No, the hotel is giving you the run around.

The hotel is retaining the payment from Hotwire, because the hotel paid for your 'bump'. The payment has been processed, and Hotwire has facilitated your reservation, so they've honoured their part.

Your gripe is now with the hotel, who should have offered you an alternate of equal or higher standard. They overbooked, they bumped you to a lemon.

Edited: 20 August 2014, 21:43
Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Hotwire difficulties

PS. Think about this real carefully.

You've used Hotwire successfully on 30 odd occasions without issue. Now you have a situation where you know Hotwire passed on the reservation, but the hotel overbooked and bumped you.

You honestly feel Hotwire has done something wrong by you?

Glossop, United...
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5 posts
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5. Re: Hotwire difficulties

That's helpful (not totally convinced as to the locus of responsibility though - I paid Hotwire for something I did not receive, I had no contract with anyone else). I will try again via both routes.

However, regardless, there is still the issue of Hotwire Customer Service. Why would I continue to use (so extensively) a company that does not respond. And in any event if they want to delight customers they should help facilitate a refund, and show interest in a customer who has not received what THEY sold.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Hotwire difficulties

Ah, nothing I've stated remotely refers to customer service. From my interpretation, it is secondary, and only supplementary to your primary concern - which is that you did not receive what was advertised by the hotel. (the *hotel* is selling the room through Hotwire)

It is only after the fact that you've become unhappy with Hotwire's customer service, as if that was the issue previously, you wouldn't have returned to use them 30 odd times.

As for whether you are convinced as to who is responsible, that's entirely your interpretation. It makes very little difference to myself, as I don't benefit whatsoever by replying here. All I'm trying to do, is to minimize any further wasted time and frustration.

Although a long shot, but you could try disputing it with your cc company - IF (and only if) there's a significant and quantifiable facilities difference, between your original and alternate hotels. You may just get lucky and avoid dealing with amateurs.

Hope you get it resolved.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Hotwire difficulties

One final add.

Hotwire didn't put you in a bad hotel, they put you in the hotel you chose - then THEY moved you. So again, how is Hotwire responsible for the end result?

Glossop, United...
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8. Re: Hotwire difficulties

I suppose an analogy would be

I look on Amazon and buy a toaster of brand X.

My contract is with Amazon, not with the toaster maker. There is absolutely no other legal contract operating here.

Amazon delivers a toaster of brand Y.

It is totally irrelevant to me as a consumer whether Amazon has a contract with firm Z to deliver the item I bought, and whether that third part mis-delivered the item.

As a further analogy -- if the item was not delivered at all (lost in the post), my claim would be against Amazon, not the postman.

That is how consumer law generally works in any developed civilisation. The claim is against the party with whom one has the contract. Hotwire is not facilitating contracts between parties (as would a Realtor in the sale of a house). They are the other contracting party (as the only party with whom I communicate, and the party immediately accepting my funds).

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Hotwire difficulties

>>>Hotwire is not facilitating contracts between parties<<<

Not how I've understood it.

Limitation of Liability

"Hotwire is acting solely as an intermediary facilitating the booking of travel products and services provided by airlines, hotels or other travel service providers (collectively, "Travel Suppliers") in providing travel services, or in accepting reservations or bookings for such services to be provided to you"

Hotwire passed your order to brand X, brand X accepted, and on delivery, you've found brand X offered you brand Y.

Edited: 20 August 2014, 23:30
Singapore, Singapore
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10. Re: Hotwire difficulties

In many case law or common law "product liability" is also impose on the middleman, but what I think the OP could have done was not to accept the alternative offered by the hotel if it was not the same as what was contracted through hotwire. I do understand that it is difficult not to accept the alternative at that late hours but you would probably have a stronger case in claiming refund from hotwire if you have refused the offer.

As a middleman Hotwire cannot disclaim liability who has been granted the power to act by its principal (the hotel) to enter into a contract with the end customer. Consider this scenario if the principal is out of business the middleman is still legally liable to its customers from whom it has accepted the money. The privity of contract applies between Hotwire and the Hotel in this case, as well as between Hotwire and the Consumer.

The moral of the story is skip the middleman, as we all always says in booking hotels or air tickets to avoid unpleasant incident like this. Yes it is always good to be able to save some money but all you need is one bad ones to wipe out whatever good ones you may have been lucky in getting away with!

Edited: 21 August 2014, 04:14
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