Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dear Priceline

Dear Priceline and hotels who use your service,
Thank you for providing a valuable service for all of us cheapskates of the world. Pleasantries aside; have a bone to pick with you.
Why do you treat your customers like second-class citizens when we actually use your services? When we come to check in, why do you look down your nose then spit the words, "Oh, you used a voucher."
I can cope with a few pleasantries at the desk so I can have a place to stay. And this has never made me think twice when I've needed to travel. This past weekend may make me change my mind.
It's Spring Break, and we decided kind of spur-of-the-moment to drive to Idaho and Utah. Fourteen hours to Twin Falls, Idaho. Usually we take that drive all in one chunk, but Brad couldn't come till Monday, so I had to drive alone with four kids and needed a break halfway. We got a hotel, through Priceline, Thursday night, and all was good.
So I thought.
Friday night, 9 pm, we pull until the parking lot, still in pretty good spirits but ready to be done for the night. Unfortunately, Priceline had overbooked the hotel (and still taken my $). "We're sorry, Ma'am. Our sister property has your room. They're only three miles away."
I went out to the Suburban slightly bugged, but ready to put on a happy face for the five tired kiddos.Why didn't someone try to contact me? Is that even legal?  I know it isn't right.
We got to the new hotel, where they had no record of our registration.  Seriously.  She called a manager, figured out the situation, and got us their next-to-last room, with a free upgrade to a jacuzzi.  Thanks!
I went back out to the Suburban, grabbed the playpen, the diaper bag and the one bag I had packed everyone's stuff into, oh and the five kids.  We tramped up the stairs, entered the room, and saw . . . the beautiful jacuzzi tub . . . and one queen-sized bed.  That simply would not do.
I headed back to the front desk, exhaustedly explained the dilemma, and she told me they had one room left in the entire hotel--a kids' suite with two twin beds and a queen.  Now that was music to my ears.  I headed back upstairs, shepherded the kids to the second floor with all our baggage and a wandering baby, tried the key, with no luck. The door would not open.  Sigh.
Back to the front desk.  Margret herself came up to the door, kindly unlocked it with her master key, asked if there was anything else we needed, then let us shuffle in the best we could.
Even though Ben had to sleep with Tinkerbell sheets, and even though Evie can't sleep with others in the room, and even though Hyrum couldn't fall asleep because he'd slept too much in the car, and even though there was a freight train running outside our window all night long, it was fine.

Moral of the story:  Don't use Priceline, and in a pinch, find Margret.  She can fix anything.

Priceline, I may never be back.  The lure of your cheapness may seduce me, but it will be under duress. 

Jenny Denton,
ticked off mother of seven


  1. I am glad it turned out well.
    Unfortunately service is just not what it used to be...anywhere.
    Getting a good deal is nice but you really do get what you pay for - with the exception of Margret who sounds like she deserves a raise!

  2. that sucks.

    would it make you feel any better to know that one time when my family had been driving to colorado for christmas, we had to drive like three extra hours on the first leg of our trip because we couldn't find a room right away? we ended up in one -- three adults and two teenagers -- that had two beds and cockroaches everywhere. it was gross.

    and on that happy note, picky's hosting a ten-book giveaway. get to the near-bottom of this post: http://bit.ly/dUNq2l

  3. Oooh I feel your frustration. I've never used them and never will. I just don't get the concept of giving someone my money with out knowing what my product actually is. Ilbeit rental cars, hotels or airlines. Have a great time! But I hear that you may really be enjoying the end of the week even more!

  4. Customer Service is a lost art. Employees have little pride in wherever they work these days. It doesn't matter if it's a retail store, restaurant, theme park or school. When I find a place that has great customer service, I remember it and use it whenever I have the choice. Management doesn't get it anymore--Customer Service still brings in the money.
    Glad u got some rest!

  5. Yeah, that is indeed irratating to a high level. Glad it all worked out in the end, but SHEESH!

  6. I have a hotel to book for volleyball today. You know I have it selected on Priceline. Ill be checking out Expedia and Orbitz next. We have used Orbitz in the past and been fine.
    Your review worked in this case!

  7. I have played the Priceline game for hotel rooms in the past. Definitely feel like a second class citizen when checking in. But luckily, haven't run into any hiccups like this.

    Trying to get the hotel you want at the price you want can be kind of fun, though. It's like a giant logic puzzle.

  8. Todd had a similar experience with hotels.com when he went to interview for Irvine. I'm less of a believer now, too.


  9. Ooh- the bait and switch just ticks me off! Glad you had a Margaret to make it a little better

  10. Oooooh that would make me mad. I've never used them but I probably never will. Thank goodness for Margret!

  11. ohhhh man it wouldn't be a trip w/o the chaos huh? i'd be grinding my teeth in ticked off anger...sounds like you held ur ground really well! i'll take pointers

  12. I can't believe they didn't contact you about the change.

  13. OH JENNY! YES! I hear you!!!!!!!! GRRRRRR! Hot wire, priceline ... all of them , the same! I am so happy you got settled in and it turned out ok!
    have a pretty day!

  14. I've never heard of Priceline - but there's no way I'd use it after reading your post. Thanks for the heads-up.

  15. when it rains, it freaking POURS!!!! the worst part about a night like that is just when you think it's going to end, the going gets going more, lol. made a great story though!!! :)

  16. the phrase "ticked off mother of seven" should cause your letter to usurp some authority.