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Old Jul 9, 07, 8:38 pm   #1
 
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Disputing Hotel Star Ratings on Priceline

A recent one of my bids for a 3* hotel was accepted by Priceline. My family stayed at this property recently, and absolutely hated the hotel.

We have done many PL bids in the past, and this was the biggest disappointment. This hotel room was quite disgusting. Among the problems, bedbugs, dirty carpet, worn furniture, small room, peeling/cracked paint, dirty floor moldings, mold on the bathroom tiles, musty room smell. Reviews on PL and on tripadvisor indicate some of these similar comments.

It is definitely not up to par to the 3 star hotel examples listed on the priceline website (Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Embassy Suites, Sheraton, Holiday Inn). However, it does offer the services listed with the PL website (remote controlled TV with premium channels, phone, voicemail, radio alarm clock, iron + ironing board, hairdrhyer, business services, 24 hr front desk, restaurant, room service). The only in-room dining offered was breakfast. Can I contest this point?

I definitely would not consider our room a "high quality room" as stated on the Priceline website. Our first night, we contacted Priceline and inquired about relocation to a different 3* hotel or getting a refund but the representative mentioned that there was nothing she could do.

Orbitz, Expedia rate this a 3*, AAA rates it a 2*. Is there anything I can do to get a refund of my money? We stayed the entire period spanning multiple days, but I feel that we did not get the service we paid for. I'm looking for tips on the best way to dispute this transaction, either through PL, or through the credit card company.

Edited to add: The property in question is the Copley Square Hotel in Boston, MA

Last edited by cornellalum; Jul 10, 07 at 10:44 am..
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Old Jul 9, 07, 9:05 pm   #2
 
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Was the hotel outside North America? If so, the definition of 3* is a bit different than within North America. If within NA, then the restaurant lack is a definite reason this isn't 3*. Or are you saying there was a restaurant, but no room service after breakfast?

If I were you, I'd put my primary focus on the threats to safety, like bedbugs, and the precise, objective reasons the hotel fell short of its 3* status, like the lack of a restaurant. Then in a paragraph below that, you can mention the hotel's other shortcomings.

Many people have gotten full refunds for unsatisfactory hotels at this level, so with proper documentation and effort you might succeed also.
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Old Jul 9, 07, 9:13 pm   #3
 
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To clarify, the hotel is in a major city in N. America. There are restaurants on the premises. The only in-room dining they offer is breakfast. Lunch and dinner are served at the hotel's restaurant. It seems as if this hotel did just the minimal to hit the priceline 3* rating, while not maintaining clean or comfortable accomodations.

I've done some initial searches for priceline disputes on the internet but haven't seen many successful outcomes. Maybe I'm not using the right terms in the search engines.

The Priceline customer relations representative mentioned that I could submit feedback to their executive management via their webpage. I am thinking about forgoing that step and directly contesting it with the credit card company. I have some pictures to substantiate my claim as well.

Is it better to contact Priceline exec mgt or contest via my credit card company?
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Old Jul 9, 07, 9:37 pm   #4
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What is preventing you from identifying the hotel and city?
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Old Jul 9, 07, 10:47 pm   #5
 
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What is preventing you from identifying the hotel and city?
Yeah, we might be able to help more if we knew. You seem to be very secretive...
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Old Jul 9, 07, 11:40 pm   #6
 
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As I am concerned someone from Priceline may be able to find this thread in a simple search, I would prefer not to publicly name the hotel until this matter has been resolved. To those who want more details, I have PMed you the name and location of the hotel. You can refer to the hotel and make comments with that additional information, but I would prefer that you keep the name and location out of this thread. Thanks!
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Old Jul 9, 07, 11:53 pm   #7
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Originally Posted by cornellalum View Post
As I am concerned someone from Priceline may be able to find this thread in a simple search, I would prefer not to publicly name the hotel until this matter has been resolved.
If you wanted to keep this matter private until Priceline had provided you with a final resolution, then you shouldn't have opened up a thread in a public forum before then.

As it is, I have no idea what you have to fear from a hypothetical Priceline lurker reading this thread.

Personally, I think your chances of getting a refund from Priceline are virtually nil. However, I wish you good luck.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 12:33 am   #8
 
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Priceline has been known to refund people for this on rare occasions. Other times they send a $10 bonus money link. Most commonly they just arbitrarily say they're right and your rational arguments are irrelevant (like Bush). Their email CS is outsourced to Timbuktu, I think. If you can get to an American, you may have more luck. Also, all initial emails are sent automated responses. If you write that you were raped by the desk clerk and are suing Priceline, you'll get the same email response as if you complained about noise in the hotel. If you reply again, you may get a more personal response.

It IS important to complain, however, because we know of MANY incidences where PL has downgraded hotels after complaints.

Priceline does not give a CRAP if you mention this specific hotel here. You seem to be under the impression that they care. Experienced Priceliners know that this is not the case. They will respond to persistence, bad publicity, and overwhelming opinion.

I myself have used quite rational arguments regarding Priceline's own descriptions of their rating requirements and the hotel's lack thereof and was basically greeted with a shrug of the shoulders.

The room service thing has been known to work in some past cases, if you can get far enough up the ladder.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 1:15 am   #9
 
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"Along with all of the amenities of a moderate-plus hotel, 3-star hotels offer a higher level of guest service, a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and in-room dining. A fitness center may also be available." Note that the hours are not mentioned. I think you have a possible case with this room service issue nonetheless, and definitely one with the bedbugs.

Have you also considered disputing the charge on your credit card? If you were given unsafe accommodations (i.e. bedbug-infested), then you have a good reason for a chargeback, I would say.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 5:45 am   #10
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I have had no problem with getting refunds (twice in the past 3 years) from Priceline. Heck, one was for a 1 star hotel in Miami.... it did not deserve that star!

I find if you are concise and clear in your request and what the desired remedy is, I have found Priceline to be reasonable.

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Old Jul 10, 07, 6:45 am   #11
 
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I have complained to Priceline on two occasions about room/hotel quality issues. In each case my stay was refunded by Priceline. If I were you, I would follow the links on the Priceline website and submit your complaint that way vs calling their 800 number. That's been my method and it has served me well.

In my first case, the room was much as you described ... dirty carpets, paint/wallpaper pealing off walls and ceilings, filty bathtub, etc. I was refunded without question.

You are right in that Priceline determines star levels by amenities offered vs actual "condition" of their rooms. So I would take the angle of an unacceptable room as you described vs arguing with Priceline the quality level you feel the hotel deserves. Even if the hotel were rated 1*, there would be no excuse for a room in the condition you described. 1* doesn't mean a dirty room, it means the property has the most limited of amentities available.

Good luck, and please post follow-ups to your situation.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 9:39 am   #12
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The OP has PM'd me with the name and location of the hotel in question. It is a large, older, "classic" property in a major urban area; I've been there myself, though not for years, and while I believe the OP's complaint could concievably have some merit, it's possible the property's shortcomings are baked into its 3* rating. (A generation or two ago it would have ranked as 4* or 5*.) I'll leave it up to the OP whether he cares to identify the hotel in this thread, but I second hotturnip's view that Priceline won't care.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 10:40 am   #13
 
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Thanks for all the responses. The hotel I'm talking about is the Copley Square Hotel in Boston, MA. The room pictures on the hotel's website are nowhere near the room we received. We were put in a room with two twins on the 2nd floor.

I've initiated a dispute with my credit card company. I'll contact Priceline to inquire about a refund while the paperwork arrives, and if they haven't agreed to a reasonable refund, I'll continue the dispute with my credit card company.

Upon checkin, we were provided with a room that was already occupied. It was listed in the reservation as a vacant room, but someone had extended their stay without notifying the hotel. Thus when we got to our initial room and opened the door (at around 8pm), we surprised some lady who was already in there. Is this something that I should mention in my comments to Priceline as well? I could see it happening at other hotels, but it does say something about the security at the hotel.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 11:35 am   #14
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The already-occupied-room thing could have happened at any hotel, unfortunately. I would leave it out of your Priceline complaint in the name of focus and brevity. Otherwise the complaint might acquire that "... and ANOTHER thing!..." quality.
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Old Jul 10, 07, 12:43 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEAV View Post
I have complained to Priceline on two occasions about room/hotel quality issues. In each case my stay was refunded by Priceline. If I were you, I would follow the links on the Priceline website and submit your complaint that way vs calling their 800 number. That's been my method and it has served me well.

In my first case, the room was much as you described ... dirty carpets, paint/wallpaper pealing off walls and ceilings, filty bathtub, etc. I was refunded without question.

You are right in that Priceline determines star levels by amenities offered vs actual "condition" of their rooms. So I would take the angle of an unacceptable room as you described vs arguing with Priceline the quality level you feel the hotel deserves. Even if the hotel were rated 1*, there would be no excuse for a room in the condition you described. 1* doesn't mean a dirty room, it means the property has the most limited of amentities available.

Good luck, and please post follow-ups to your situation.
BEAV:

I agree. The conditions described by cornellalum

"....This hotel room was quite disgusting. Among the problems, bedbugs, dirty carpet, worn furniture, small room, peeling/cracked paint, dirty floor moldings, mold on the bathroom tiles, musty room smell...."

are *NOT* acceptable, not even for a 1* hotel.

Next, the agent acted wrong - "....Our first night, we contacted Priceline and inquired about relocation to a different 3* hotel or getting a refund but the representative mentioned that there was nothing she could do....."

BTW, I would not have stayed at this room with "...bedbugs, dirty carpet, dirty floor moldings, mold on the bathroom tiles, musty room smell..."

I would have ask the hotel for another room ... there must be better, cleaner ones at this hotel...

I guess cornellalum will get a refund. Generally I have had very good experiences with Priceline. In one occasion I complained, PL contacted the hotel, and I got a full refund ... actually, that was more than I expected.
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