On their website, @hotelsdotcom represents the property we booked for a two night stay in Sydney, Australia as a “Hotel”. “Book this hotel and collect nights”…”11 other people are looking at this hotel…” The email from @hotelsdotcom says, ”Hotel Details…” So we thought we were booking a *HOTEL*. Turns out, it’s some AirBnB-type place.
I hate AirBnB-type places. We wanted to book a HOTEL. It’s why I went to HOTELS .com and not AirBnB.com. I wanted the boys, Jasper and Rory, to have the “fun” of staying in a HOTEL.
So the property charged us the full room rate (a little unusual for a hotel but not a problem) but then came an *additional* $620 for various “fees” (“Security deposit” and “Cleaning fee”) ahead of time. When I email the property to tell them that was unacceptable (we’re OK with paying the fees but not OK with being charged for them two weeks in advance), I was told (short version) that I was shit out of luck and can’t cancel *ANY OF THE CHARGES*, including the booking itself.
I reached out to @hotelsdotcom via Twitter. They tried for 7 hours to get in touch with this property with no luck (that itself seems suspicious to me). I called @hotelsdotcom support and was told they also couldn’t get in touch with the property. After explaining the situation, including the misleading description on the website, I was told nothing could be done. After having to be forceful with the first telephone rep (she didn’t want to transfer me to her “manager”), I got a second rep and explained everything all over again.
(BTW, at NO TIME did I ever raise my voice or use inappropriate language. I understand the telephone reps are just the frontline people and I would never treat them badly).
The 2nd rep (I don’t believe he was a manager) basically said the same thing with one additional detail: “I could “transfer the name of the booking to someone else.” “Who!?” I asked. he was suggesting I literally just ask complete strangers to take the booking over and then “they could pay me directly”. WTAF?
I asked to speak to yet another supervisor and then things got STUPID. This second rep claimed that there was no one “higher than him” that I could speak to. “Oh. I didn’t realize I was speaking to the CEO of Hotels.com. Nice to meet you sir.” When I called him on that, he said I couldn’t speak directly to his manager and that, if I wanted to contact him, I could write a letter – yes, a physical, actual letter. He even offered to give me the postal address – because his manager “doesn’t have a phone”.
OK. Now I’m pissed off. I get he’s trying to deflect but being stupid and lying to me is NOT the way to do it.
He reiterated the idiotic idea that I could ask someone else to take over the booking (!) and continued to refuse to allow me to escalate the issue any further.
So now *I’M* escalating it.
Our next step will be to dispute the charges with our credit card company. Followed by the pretty obvious reviews I’ll leave here, on Yelp, on TripAdvisor, etc about the utter ridiculousness of this situation.
I honestly don’t understand how, in this day and age, a customer’s satisfaction is not a company’s highest priority. It’s no skin off of anyone’s nose if the Barangaroo City View Hotel were to simply refund the money *AND CHARGE IT BACK TO US WHEN WE GO THERE*. Instead, they’ve been uncommunicative and uncooperative.
I don’t understand how Hotels.com can’t see that the way they represent this property is at the very least misleading if not downright deceptive. The fact they won’t stand behind their own statement – “Hotels.com is a leading provider of hotel accommodation worldwide” but we didn’t book a *HOTEL* – is ridiculous.
So bravo to Hotels.com and the Barangaroo City View. You’ve pissed off a customer for no readily apparent reason. We’ll still stay at a hotel in Sydney. It might even be the Barangaroo City View “hotel”. But, rest assured, both the hotel and Hotels.com will lose money over the issue. And it’s simply because they didn’t want to satisfy a customer.