I love telling this story of when Priceline charged me MORE for a hotel room than the rate for anybody who called in or walked in off the street.
Back in 2005 I was looking for a four star hotel room in DC in a certain area close to the White House. I was offering $99.00 and getting no acceptance. The site then suggested I either increase my offer price or open up the areas I would accept. I changed the area to include hotels near National Airport. The site them immediately booked me at a Hilton near the airport for the proposed $99.00 a night.
When I called the hotel directly out of curiosity and asked how much a room for that night was going for if I was to book it with them over the phone, I was told $95.00 a night. So Priceline charged me $4.00 over the walk- in rate. Such a discount!
When I tried to complain to Priceline about this they rolled back the price to the walk-in rate but would not discount it further or cancel the reservation even though this clearly not a “discount”. An even more annoying situation occurred when I tried go over the bottom line customer service level. It was impossible to reach any kind of supervisor by phone or email and I was completely stonewalled by everyone I spoke with. A reasonable response of “I am sorry… I will delete that for you and let try again” was not anything anyone in customer service was trained to say or prepared to do.
Another story later will be about how the hotel room (yes, I stayed there) had fleas and other issues, and the reaction of the desk clerk (and later her regional manager) when I informed them of this at checkout.
The William Shatner TV ads are adorable. Priceline customer service is not.