I was searching for a good rate and I had heard great things about hotels.com and their anti-hotel loyalty loyalty program. I had thought I found a potential for getting a good rate that I could always cancel without hassle because of their “no Hotels.com cancellation fees”. I could not have been more wrong because my US Airways MasterCard was about to be hijacked.
Agents Like to Read Scripts
Requesting to hold the reservation was simple and relatively quick.
But trying to cancel it got me yelled at by call center agents and ended with me getting my US Airways MasterCard hijacked by the online hotel booking service.
I decided to call back the hotels.com 24/7 hotline to request my reservation be canceled. After several minutes on hold, then being transferred to the proper department the agent told me I had cancelled my reservation. Before leaving the call the agent asked me if I would like to reserve a different hotel for those dates, to which I declined before disconnecting.
Several minutes later I received an email thanking me for making a booking with hotels.com into a completely different hotel then the one I had just canceled. It was for the same dates and city as the hotel I had canceled just minutes ago but I had not ever told an agent to book this hotel. Had the previous agent really booked me into another hotel, even after I told him “No Thanks”?
I know mistakes can happen to anybody so I decided to cancel the new reservation online and to call customer support just to make sure it was cancelled.
US Airways MasterCard is Hijacked
I called the hotels.com support center another 4 times, between 12:56AM and 1:05AM on 10/08, and was given the reassurance that all of my reservations with hotels.com were cancelled.
The night before my trip I realized that my original reservation with hotels.com was never actually cancelled by the agent who told me they had cancelled it.
I was trying to figure out why I had been asked to make a second booking for the same trip if my original reservation was never cancelled and why the booked me in the second hotel without my permission.
Unfortunately the agents I spoke to were not much help. Two agents read the hotels.com cancellation policy over and over again without actually listening to what I was saying. The agents would also continually apologize to me about their inability to help, “Sorry sir but we can’t help” or it was “out of their hands” and “[I'd] have to call the hotel [myself]“.
When I began to press the call center agents about why my reservation was never cancelled when I asked them to do so on 10/08, he said hotels.com had no records of me calling October 8th and that October 8th was the last day to cancel for a full refund. I now would have to call the hotel and beg them for a refund when it is not their fault hotels.com hijacked my US Airways MasterCard.
After asking for some type of refund assistance I was promptly sent off into a dizzying set of transfers. Hopping from hotels.com to Expedia to Venere.com where I was ultimately asked to send Venere an email requesting a refund.
At this point it became obvious that Hotels.com was putting me through the ringer, hoping I’d give up and just let them hijack my best airline credit card for a reservation I never gave consent to keep.
Can’t We Work Together?
After sending the email on a 10/8 and still not having a response by the evening of Tuesday, October 15th I decided to take time away from my vacation to call hotels.com.
By 10/15 I had made 5 unsuccessful phone calls to Hotels.com’s Philippines based call center and all of those calls were pointless.
I kept hearing the same line about how they do not have records of my calls on October 8th. That they had no “notes” on my calls about requesting a cancellation before their cancellation window and that they could not help me.
Even after I told them I had the phone call history to prove I called hotels.com on October 8th and I had already attached a photo of it to my venere email. They were not understanding. “Let’s assume you did call” or “You Think you Called” were standard responses to my desperate attempts at connecting with the human being on the other end.
I kept sinking deeper into the rabbits hole as I called six different times and spoke to six different agents over 10/16 and 10/17. One agent, with the call center name “Michael”, offered a refreshing take on costumer service when he started to yell at me before angrily hanging up on me.
The last two calls I requested to speak to the supervisor, something I should have been doing from the jump, but the supervisor was never available. Both times the supervisor was already on a call and would have to call me back in “about an hour”.
I waited, and both times I spent over an hour waiting for a phone call that would never come. I woke up the morning after to zero voice-mails in my inbox and zero missed calls waiting for me which confirmed my belief that the supervisors never intended on calling me back.
Today this issue is still not resolved and it is amazing how hotels.com can treat their customers as liabilities instead of assets.
Instead of greeting me with open arms to help resolve the dispute they are pushing me over a cliff and hiding my body behind the bushes.
Thanks for everything hotels.com, I enjoyed my vacation in spite of you and your black hole of a call center.
On October 19th I received an email asking me to tell them what I thought of my stay at the fraudulent booking they stuck on my US Airways MasterCard, they can consider this my response.