posted: Feb. 28, 2012 @ 11:26a
I wanted to thank this forum in general for helping us with this issue (from reading archived threads), so I thought I'd share my learning experience.
I'd reserved a hotel room for 5 days for myself and my sister-in-law & her daughter through Priceline's "name your own price" feature in CA (helping her move to new location while brother was out of town working). I chose a hotel room for "2 adults". When they informed me which hotel it was there were several photos of the hotel and information about it. Pictures showed only rooms with 2 double beds, which is what we wanted since I don't normally sleep with my sister-in-law.
I should add here that Priceline DID slip in their $25 insurance charge when I initially got the online reservation, so when I saw that I immediately called them and they agreed to refund that charge.
However, when we arrived, they informed us we had a reservation for a room with one king bed. They said we could upgrade to 2 double beds for I think about $20 more per night, but even that option wasn't available the first night. They didn't have roll-away beds either. I explained to them that these 2 adults do not sleep together and that their website showed only pictures of 2 beds in the rooms. We wanted to cancel and just go to another hotel so as not to have to sleep on the floor (and besides the price would be about the same as theirs at that point with the $20 upgrade), but new this was nearly impossible with a Priceline bid hotel.
I took a few minutes with my smartphone to look for advice and found some threads on this topic at the fatwallet forum...now mostly archived. Some had mentioned disputing the charge on the credit card if Priceline would not work with you (especially folks seemed to recommend AMEX). Fortunately, I'd used an AMEX to make the reservation, although I'm not sure whether that mattered for us. Repeatedly it was recommended NOT to stay in the hotel for even one night if you're going to try to cancel (which makes sense I guess).
So we went to another hotel that night.
We returned the next day and I asked to speak to the hotel manager (wasn't available). Oddly enough, they could not find my reservation in the hotel computer system (even though it WAS there the night before). I have no idea why this would be, but it seems to have worked to our advantage under the circumstances.
So I then called Priceline. I explained my issue but was transferred twice I believe. Finally spoke with someone who sounded like they may have some authority but we didn't get far into the discussion before the call was disconnected. I was on my cell but had 4 bars and plenty of battery, so not sure how I got disconnected. I saw that the call was already more than 30 minutes before the disconnection and I just didn't have the energy to start over at the time -- figured I just try to dispute it later and take my chances. I also called AMEX to see if they recommended I try anything else before resorting to disputing the charge, but the rep said they thought I'd done enough.
Well, a few days later I went to start the dispute process and noticed on my credit card that the entire Priceline charge had been credited back already! I imagine this was done by the Priceline rep (I guess he got enough info before we got disconnected?) and/or the hotel manager heard about the problem and advised Priceline to refund. Not sure, but just wanted to let people know that Priceline "name your own price" hotel reservation cancellations/refunds are possible and do exist!
Would recommend (as many others have) to just try to make due with the room you get even if it's not perfect because you're taking a risk trying to cancel here, but it can work out.
Just got an email about the refund from Priceline:
Thank you for your patience while we researched your issue with the (Hotel X in CA).
We contacted the hotel and verified that they were not able to locate your reservation when you tried to check-in for Request Number XXXXXXXXXXX.
We have issued a full refund back to your credit card in the amount of $XXX. Your refund will be processed by our system within 1 business day. It may take up to 5 business days for your bank to post the refund to your account. For your reference, your cancellation confirmation number is XXX.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to assist you!
Customer Relations Specialist
I also got this email:
A refund in the amount of $XXX will be placed on the credit card you provided to us upon submitting your request. If your reservation included travel insurance, then this refund does not include the travel insurance premium.
Your refund will be processed by our system within 1 business day. Please note, however, that your bank may withhold the refund from your account for up to 5 to 10 business days. If the refund has not posted to your account within 10 business days, we would suggest contacting your bank for further assistance.
We would like to remind you that this cancellation has been granted based on the extenuating circumstances related to your reservation. Under normal circumstances, reservations cannot be changed or cancelled.
Priceline.com Customer Service