Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hotels.com shall hear my wrath

I feel a little bad being so negative but, as a consumer, I care about other people's experiences with services and, therefore, feel like I have to share my experience with Hotels.com.
In the Spring of 2009, I used their services to book a single night in the DC area. We went to visit some friends who were house sitting for family there and stayed with them for a few days. The final night, we needed a hotel so we could be closer to the airport and catch our flight. Long story short, when we got to the hotel, they didn't have our reservation. After a long day of train rides and frustration to get there, the last thing I was in the mood for was 2 hours in a hotel lobby. I had to spend a long time on the phone with multiple customer service reps to get things cleared up. They offered me a measly peace offering but it was just not enough to balance the trouble they had caused. I was able to talk them up to something that felt like a better reimbursement.
They sent me out a voucher for "hotel bucks" for a future stay. I didn't realize it had an expiration date but, luckily, I found it before it expired. I called customer service and asked if they could extend it or apply it toward a hotel I was booking the following month. At that time, I received some excellent customer service by a woman named Fatima. If she is out there or if anyone else linked with Hotels.com reads this and somehow in the very large company knows this employee, I want her/them to know that she is exceptional, in the true sense of the word; she is an exception to the rest of the experience I have had with the company. She made the phone call and the process easy and a pleasant experience.
The new voucher was set to arrive within 4-5 weeks. Fast forward 3 months and my patience has run out. So I called to see what the hold up was all about. The first woman I spoke to was at least capable. She understood my dilemma and was communicating with the appropriate department on my behalf. She put me on hold and I waited. And waited. And then, after 15 minutes or so invested in this process, the phone disconnected me! They had my number, as I had just reiterated it to them, so they could have called me back but they didn't. I called them back and got a new customer service rep. Thank goodness I don't know her name or I would publicly rally for her to never be employed working with people again. She could not grasp what I was explaining AT ALL. She kept referring to my reservation number, even though I kept telling her it wasn't about a reservation and that I had a "case id number" instead. She referenced my most recent hotel booking with them even though I made it clear this had zero to do with that. Finally, at my wit's end, I asked if I could just speak with a manager so I could get this resolved once and for all. She was not very pleased about that but grudgingly put me on hold. For 23 minutes of silence. Literally 23 minutes. Who knows how much longer it might have gone on because after 23 minutes, I had another commitment I had to attend to. The whole process took nearly an hour and I still have no resolution. Actually, I have to call again today!
It's extremely unjust and poor service if the olive branch they extended I fought for to make up for mistake #1 turns into mistake #2 and when I call to remedy that, results in mistakes #3 and #4! No one should have to spend this kind of time fixing someone else's problem (and I fix problems for a living!).
Oh, and in the midst of all this it became clear that the hotel bucks, should they ever be figured out, actually won't cover the hotel stay I booked through them explicitly to use them up. There's some distinction about prepaid rooms. Point being, I am going to have to use them again to redeem the reimbursement they owe me.
This is ludicrous in my book. I have had positive experiences with Travelocity and will keep my business there and, while I don't recommend any particular travel assistance site for you, I do caution you that if you have a problem with Hotels.com, it will be a headache to get it resolved. Good luck and good day.


  1. I just called back. They said "I need to put you on hold for less than two minutes". I waited 9 and then THEY HUNG UP ON ME AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. That is soooo frustrating and wrong! Poor customer service like that is inexcusable. I will never use hotels.com after hearing about this!