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Old 02-14-2013, 01:27 PM   #1
shawy1269's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Boynton Beach, FL
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Beware of Hotwire Hotrate Emails!!!

I just had a very disappointing experience with a hotwire car rental booking that I must share. Not Disney related, but important nonetheless.

I looked at for a car for my upcoming (tomorrow) trip to Philadelphia to visit my parents. I didn't book anything at the time, but received an email from hotwire a few days later stating that there was a "Hotrate" for the dates I had searched on their site. The rate was around $12 a day for a midsize. Sounded like a good deal to me so I went ahead and booked. I went through the process, put i my card #, and received my confirmation from Alamo. I thought I was all good to go.

So today, I went online to do early check-in with Alamo, to save myself some time when I get to the Alamo rental desk in Philly. They asked for my confirmation # and my last name. I plug in the info, and nothing came up. So I called Alamo. The woman I spoke with informed me that my reservation is showing a NO SHOW for January 25th pickup. I booked the rental on January 24th, how could the rental be for the next day? A NO SHOW??? How could this be? The email sent by hotwire was advertising a rate for the exact dates that I had searched on their site. This was email marketing at its finest, right???

Well it seems that the email offer I was sent was not an offer at all. It was simply a link back to the site to search for a car rental on any day of the year.

Hotwire "hotrates" are of course, nonrefundable. I've called Alamo and Hotwire and there is nothing anyone at either company is willing to do to make this right. I've been charged $45 for a car rental that I didn't use.

I do admit I should have read the confirmation more carefully. I should have paid closer attention to the booking dates because clearly I missed something somewhere along the way. However, if Hotwire is going to send an email advertisement and specifically say that the rates they are quoting are for the dates I am traveling, do I have to be looking at the dates on every page of the booking process?

Buyer beware. I've learned my lesson. Hotwire wont get my business again in the future.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting. Shows why it is important to take a few and read everything prior to hitting the confirm button when purchasing things. Sometimes we all get so excited at a good deal we don't read the fine print.
I bought plane tickets the other day and took so much time double checking our name spelling (so it matched our ID's --having to text kids to get exact names off their licenses took time) that I had to re-input everything!

Sorry for the problem---bright thing is at least it was only $45...could have been a lot worse!
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by zoo2tycoon View Post

Sorry for the problem---bright thing is at least it was only $45...could have been a lot worse!
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:54 PM   #4
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Yes, it is always important to double check the dates. I have found that out with Hotwire that the email says for your dates, but the dates they put in when you click are for the day after the current day........

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Old 03-05-2013, 09:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting because I thought I was the only crazy one who misunderstood their stance on dates.

I unfortunately am going to loose almost $400.00 from Hotwire because of similar situation with flights. I had out in specific dates and specific times. I then received a hot deal that said times were in the specified time frames. My misunderstanding was that it was in their specified time frames, not the ones I had out in for search.

I think they are like predatory lenders and actually make their site and marketing verbiage ambiguous to make money off mistakes or misunderstandings. I am sure they get many complaints and fail to understand how these complaints point to a lack of clarity in their site and marketing materials.

Worse is that their customer service could be done by trained monkeys because the human aspect of their customer. The service reps and supervisors (lacking emotional intelligence) who simply read directly from script over and over again simply antagonize an already displeased customer.

I asked the supervisor if Shewfelt their policy was worth losing a customer and bad press, to which she responded, " if you feel that is what you need to do...."

As a business leader I would have fired her on the spot.

$400.00 costly learning and a decision to never use them again and continue to tell others in my social circle to stay clear.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:41 AM   #6
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These are the reasons I never book travel with third parties. You just end up with 2 companies to fight with rather than 1.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by rwdavis2 View Post
These are the reasons I never book travel with third parties. You just end up with 2 companies to fight with rather than 1.
Yea I just booked some nights in DC and I first went to one of the third party sites to book and then went to the hotels page and saw the same rate so I booked it there.

Last trip back from Disney we pulled into our "on the way back" hotel and they didn't have our res. I showed her the info from whatever site I used and she then went to a binder where all of these reservations are stored. Its seems they get them faxed or emailed to them, they print them out and then enter them. All worked out since pretty empty hotel. Also got a rate around $20 cheaper.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
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The absolute best corse of action is a report to the BETTER BUSINESS BUREU. Even a threat of a report gets attention but a report is on file and there is information if it was handled satisfactorily how many reports how long it took to fix. they are your best advocate.
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