How do I get a refund from Priceline for hotel booked in the wrong zone?
December 8, 2014 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Priceline accepted my bid for a hotel, but it's not in one of the geographic zones I specified when I made my bid. This will not work for me. How do I cancel the booking and get a refund?

It's pretty clear to me that on Priceline's map of their bidding zones for this particular city, the hotel in question is outside any of the zones that I selected. I have screen caps of said map.

Because of Reasons, the geographic area this hotel is in will not work for me. This point is not up for negotiation as far as I'm concerned and I consider this situation to be a bait and switch. I need to cancel the booking and get my money back.

Priceline is very upfront about not giving refunds once a bid has been accepted, however. What should I say or do when dealing with them or my credit card company?
posted by theory to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This happened to us once before. We bid on a hotel in a "downtown" zone and ended up getting a hotel that was listed in a different zone.

After at least an hour on the phone we were refunded. I basically had to get the rep on the phone to recreate the search for the hotel so that he could see that it was categorized incorrectly. If you are persistent and have the evidence to show them, you should be able to get refunded.

Good luck.
posted by activitystory at 5:11 PM on December 8, 2014

Response by poster: I suppose I should add that the hotel is in an undefined area *near* one of the zones I selected and I could imagine a Priceline rep arguing that it's "close enough".
posted by theory at 5:35 PM on December 8, 2014

I mean, just call and start asking. There's no magic bullet here. Be firm, say "I'm sorry, but it's outside of the border you promised and that doesn't work for me." Be polite but insistent. Escalate (ask for a supervisor) if you're getting stonewalled. The longer you wait the harder it will be, so call now.
posted by brainmouse at 5:40 PM on December 8, 2014 [10 favorites]

Ugh, had a similar experience to Activitystory and had to go through pretty much the same thing. They were stupid like they were paid to be, which is likely pretty apt since they don't want to refund money. After that, I stopped using Priceline because the lack of information means that I always have to assume that I might get stuck for a couple hours on the phone with some poor phone schlub with his manager staring over his shoulder trying to figure out ways to not refund ~$100, plus then have to make other arrangements on top of it.

Sorry, man, if there's a better way I'd love to learn it, but this is the only thing that's worked for me.
posted by klangklangston at 5:46 PM on December 8, 2014

Best answer: Put a request for a refund in writing. Screen cap it. Wait 24 hrs for a response.

In 24 hours call your Credit Card company and file a dispute. Explicitly tell them the hotel Priceline booked you is outside of the zones you bid on, and tell them you have documented screen caps of this.

Your credit card company will immediately credit you the money.

If Priceline disputes your charge back (hint: they won't) then provide your credit card company your documentation.

I would not sit hours on the phone for this. It is fraud. File a claim with your credit card company.
posted by jbenben at 6:40 PM on December 8, 2014 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: For anyone who might have a similar experience in the future:

I didn't get anywhere with Priceline over the phone. After escalating to a supervisor they just continued to stonewall and maintain the no refunds policy, saying there was nothing they could do. This was even after admitting that the map on their website could be "misleading". They referred me to the email contact page, which I dutifully filled out. After over a full day with no response to that, I contacted my credit card company and they were able to reverse the charges. Apparently Priceline has a few weeks to dispute the charge back, but I have the screen caps to back up my case.
posted by theory at 11:03 AM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

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