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Hotels.com censors negative reviews

[UPDATE July 29 2010: I have closed this thread and the other hotels.com thread to comments. I appreciate all the feedback, but this blog was never intended to be the why hotels.com sucks support group. Also, I'm tired of people searching on google for "hotels.com customer support", finding my blog and posting comments or sending me messages as if *I* am somehow an employee of hotels.com.]

my post the other day about trying to submit a negative review of the terrible hotel I stayed in needs a follow-up. (see my initial post about hotels.com censorship).

I have insisted that hotels.com tell me why they have censored my review. I keep getting horribly formatted huge form letter emails in reply.

My review has been submitted 3 times now, and with no feedback or comment has been rejected/censored.

Today I got another in the series of frustrating emails. In the message it contains the entire policy statement, listing all the reasons a review can be censored. My review violated none of those reasons.

The email continues to basically say: yes one part of our company is censoring your review, but the other part of the company does not know why and won't take the time to find out. So much for that second part of the company being called Customer Care. ha!

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. We have attempted to explain that there is no specific problems with your review, but for whatever reason, it may not be posted.

That's the last word from hotels.com on why they censored me. There is no problem with my review, but they still won't print it or tell me why.

Saying "for whatever reason it may not be posted" is just not acceptable as a response from customer service. Their system is database driven and surely tracks actions for later audit and manager review. If they wanted to, they could tell me why my review has been rejected.

I can only assume that hotels.com has something to gain by limiting negative reviews.

My experience has seems to indicate that hotels.com censors negative reviews. Hopefully at some point this will come to the attention of someone in that company that can do more than say "i don't know, go figure it out yourself"

I think I have more googleclout(tm) than you

I tried to link to you, but if you search for the magic phrase (that would be "hotels.com censors negative reviews") my post comes up pretty high and I don't see you on there at all. Is this a perk of feeding the hive mind?

thanks for the link

maybe it is a perk of feeding the hive mind, maybe it is something else. I have noticed that posts on my site take a few days to end up in google where posts used to show up faster. Maybe it's how I've reorganized my site, maybe the theme I'm using is not as search engine friendly as the one I used to use. maybe google hates me!

I recently used Hotels.com

I recently used Hotels.com for the first time to book a hotel for a business trip to Chicago. Upon completing my reservation I was utterly shocked to see the exorbitant extra fees charged by your website - the so-called "Tax Recovery Charges & Service Fees" - which amounted to over $200 or $40 per night. Of course, I also saw that my reservation could not be changed or canceled in any way. I am tempted to call my credit card company to tell them that the charges are fraudulent and unauthorized. I will never again use their service and will warn everyone I know to stay far away from Hotels.com.

Service Fees are ridiculous & not clearly defined

We, too, made a reservation online with Hotels.com for our recent trip to Hawaii. Since they don't break down what exactly is "Tax Recovery Charges & Service Fees" you might be under the impression that this includes any "Resort Service Fee" charged by the hotel. But, no, we stayed at the Honua Kai Resort & Spa in Maui, Hawaii. At the end of our stay, we were astounded to find that we had an outstanding balance due to the hotel at the end of our stay; the "Resort Service Fee" and "General Excise Tax". No where on the site when we were putting in our credit card information did it state that there might be more charges, despite what the phone representative stated about some hyperlink that tells us this. The vague terminology of saying "Tax Recovery Charges and Service Fees" gives you the idea that everything is prepaid and taken care of before arriving at the hotel. Basically, they charged us $25.06 for each day (5 total) we stayed at that hotel for their own Administration Fee!! Really!? Does it really cost them even anywhere close to $125.30 for our ONE reservation?! In the end, booking through Hotels.com only saved us $43 total from booking with the Hotel directly and not dealing with all the hassle. The experience of thinking everything is paid for ahead of time, them not being clear on their charges breakdown, getting extra charges at the end of an already expensive trip, and having to call customer service and deal with all the frustration of this inconvenience was worth $43 to us!!! I probably will never use them again, even though the representative is sending us a $20 voucher towards our next booking with them (which you have to send in after you've already booked; get reimbursed after the fact, like a rebate). We'll see if I even ever end up getting that voucher... according to another person on here, they never even got theirs. Don't bother with Hotels.com!

Hidden Costs

We also booked with hotels.com (first and last time) for five nights. When we checked out, the hotel gave us a receipt. The cost of the room with taxes was $282.48, a whole $112.48 cheaper than the rate hotels.com told us. So, upon out return, I attempted to get the credit for the $112.48 since they have a guarantee on this, so I thought. I was told by the customer care representative that the hotel should have never given us that receipt because it was hotels.com corporate rate and there were other fees and taxes not included in the hotels bill. So, hotels.com charged me $395.10, the hotel we stayed at charged hotels.com $282.48, and I just paid hotels.com an extra $112.48 in taxes and fees...WOW!

We had the exact same

We had the exact same experience at Mackinac Island. Hotel.com charged us $294.49 for the room. The hotel gave me a receipt for $222.30 for the room for one night. We paid $72.19 more for this room going through Hotel.com. What a rip off!!!!!!!!!!!!! Customer Service told me they have to make money somehow. It was the hotels mistake in giving me the receipt. I would never use this company again. Sorry to hear you had the same experience!

hotels.com vouchers ... bah

What a joke, those "vouchers" or "hotel bucks" they are a seriously BS. They are only good for future bookings, which you have to pay for, then send in a copy of your receipt with the "bucks" then they credit you back 6-8 weeks.

Seriously I have over $200 in those worthless pieces of paper. They keep screwing me, I keep using them, not anymore though. Since now I have the power to use any methode of booking my own rooms for business travel.

I have been on the phone now for over 55 minutes just to cancel a reservation well within the cancelation period.

This is not the longest though, about 6 months ago I was on the line for over 2 and a half hours. Where can we aire our greviences???? There is no penalty for them to keeping people on the line.

I kept saying "please let me speak to a supervisor" they kept telling me that they are busy assisting other customers. I told them I'll wait. They would pop on the line every once in a while to see if I was still holding on. I asked the guy on the phone to tell me that for the last 2.5 hours there wasn't a single free supervisor that could talk to me, his reply was 1 moment & I will see. He came back on the line and told me no.


I experienced the same

I experienced the same frustration with Hotels.com. I currently have $200 of their vouchers that I'm trying to unload on someone else. I tried to get a refund from them and have them charge another credit card (which could have made money for them). But the reps kept insisting that I wasn't able to speak with a supervisor and they gave me these things for more than I paid for the hotel.

We made a reservation over

We made a reservation over the phone after 6 pm, got to the room and found out it did not have a jacuzzi as promised and it was nonsmoking and we wanted a smoking room. Turns out hotels.com don't think they should give us our money back because we canceled as soon as we noticed the room did not have the features as promised. Hotels.com thinks they should keep our money because we canceled after 6 pm, but we didn't even make the reservation until after their stupid "cancellation policy." They are such assholes!!! Don't ever ever ever use hotels.com!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last time I will use Hotels.com

Not only do they have extra fees, but I just booked a room with them and they totally screwed up the reservation. I asked for a room for 3 adults, my husband, myself and my daughter. They said the King room had a pull out couch. I booked it and when I received my confirmation, it said 2 adults and no room designation. I called the hotel directly and they said their King rooms do not have sofa beds. When I called Hotels.com back they said they couldn't guarantee a King room anyway. They missed the whole point that you "can't not guarantee something you don't have". Never again.

Hotels.com; bogus claims and poor customer service

I booked a room in October 2007- it was expensive and though the Hotels.com reservationist assured me it was on La Rambla (a street in Barcelona, Spain), it was over a mile away! A huge disappointment as we could have stayed on La Rambla for the $200/night we were charged. I made sure I did everything correctly (as told to me by their reservationist) so I could get frequent flier miles posted to my Continental OnePass account from making this reservation. Before we took the trip I checked again with Hotels.com to verify that they had the information needed and I would not get a "oh, too bad, you didn't supply one of the numbers that we need." All was okay. Well, I waited 3 months and the miles never posted to my OnePass account. I called Hotels.com in January 2008. They told me to call Continental. I did. I was given another number to call. I did. An agent fixed everything and assured me "the miles will post to your OnePass account within 24 hours." I waited. I called Hotels.com after many weeks passed. I was passed around to various agents (who spoke an unintelligible English) in Hotels.com. After an hour and a half - 90 percent of which was on hold so the agent could "get the answer" - I was told that the original reservationist did not go through the proper steps and I would not get any miles posted to my OnePass account.
Is it my fault that their reservationist messed up? I supplied the booking number, dates, etc. everything they asked for each time I called. Why was I told that the points would post the second time I called? And the third time? Their rewards for booking is bogus.
Beware! I am convinced, by the way I was treated, that the consumer will not get any of the promised perks by when booking through hotels.com.

First and Last Time Ever Using Hotels.com: Buyer be Ware

I booked a non-refundable stay for 3 rooms, 2 nights. The son of one of the travellers was put in the ICU of the hospital with a serious medical condition. When I called to cancel the reservation, I was told I could either get a note from the doctor to cancel the rooms or I could modify the date, but not cancel or else I would still have to pay. We opted to modify the date. I tried to no avail online. I began calling yesterday (Monday) because the current reservations are for Friday. I have been getting the runaround for 2 days. I called 8 times today, and have spent the last 2 1/2 hours on the phone. I was either told by hotels.com to call back (after 30 minutes of being put on hold so they can get it approved by the hotel mgr) or someone dialed two numbers so I would get a message stating they could not continue processing my call (3 times). I called the hotel, and they said I had to go through hotels.com....bottom line: I have $900+ on a credit card that I may not get back. Hotel is not sympathetic because it is their rules. HOtels.com has no compassion. Poor customer service....was told by one rep that basically it was my own fault and that I agreed to the rules. I agree only with that part. It was my fault for dealing with hotels.com....NEVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN! BUYERS PLEASE BEWARE OF A SERIOUS RIP OFF. They must stay in business by taking your money.


Do not use this firm. Their customer service is unsatisfactory. They do everything possible to prevent the
customer from getting a refund if only one night of a 2 night reservation is used. The customer is put on HOLD
for up to an hour, "transferred" to someone who can help - but then the line goes dead, told to call back
tomorrow, etc.

my review has been censored too

I have booked a room with 2 queen beds through hotels.com, for a number of nights. Upon arrival, we were told that the hotel was full and we could only get a room with a king bed. The situation was pretty awkward as we were 2 unrelated people. The hotel clerk told us, nearly in these words, that we could stuff ourselves. When I called hotels.com for help, they told us, after conferring with the hotel, that we could cancel our reservation without paying a penalty on the cancellation, implying that we were free to go out for the night into the street. In my review I mentioned the assistance hotels.com provided. Well, weeks have passed and later reviews than mine for the hotel got posted, but not mine. Hotels.com also promised a discount coupon for our hardship but I have yet to see it. Needless to say, I won't be a customer of hotels.com anymore. In the process, I have learned that hotels.com and Expedia were the same company.

thanks for the note

especially about the relationship between expedia and hotels.com, it's good to know what other companies to avoid. I think the best way to travel these days is to do some research on travel related blogs and reserve directly with the hotel, either via the web or phone.

lousy customer service

I had a review cencored too ... and it wasent that bad at all, just honorest about a couple of poor incidents
I guess the hotel complained, because suddenly it was gone.

They claim to have a gift certificate too, but when I tried to order I was redirected to a page that said it dident excist and it was a 3rd party´s problem. I wrote them and they claimed it was Hotels.com´s problem and they dident offer that service through hotels.com any more (I can understand why now).
I wrote Hotels.com´s support about this and what I should do ...... one week ago ... still no answer.

Hotels.com SUCKS !

Hotels.com phooey!

We (two colleagues) also used Hotels.com to book a room the night before a marathon in NYC. We specifically looked for and were told we had a room with twin beds. When we arrived, they tried to put us in a dirty (unmade bed, etc.) room with a double (not EVEN a queen) bed. It was even too small to put a cot, and they didn't have any anyway. When we called Hotels.com, we were told too bad, they couldn't guarantee what we had requested, and they could not help us find another hotel. All they would do is give us a refund.
Thank goodness the clerk was kind and found us a hotel which was workable, although it cost us another $15 in cab fare to get there.
I will never use Hotels.com again. That was my first and last time.

something to try,,,

I tried to post a negative comment on a ste and they had some kind of baysian filtering to detect negative comment. I used spam-like techniques and this enabled by comment to be accepted. So if they do not use human filters that would work. Try: e rror, mis take, li ed or even suck3d and see if it works.

cute, i'll give it a try

I just tried to post my review again, but it seems that their system won't let me do so anymore.

I enter the reservation code and name of guest, and it tells me that it can't find a match in the system, that I should go back to the 'my reservations' page and get the correct info. Well, the info it can't find a match on is the info from their site.

Shrug. Maybe it's just been too long between my stay at the hotel and my attempt to post the review again and their programmers were too lazy to code user-informative error messages.

This entire experience has taken something that could have been viewed as a minor annoyance -- one that I could forgive as a customer and would not have effected my continued use of hotels.com -- and made it so insulting that I have been motivated to actively publicize how terrible they are as a company.

I'll never use them again and have done what I can to make sure my family and friends are also informed enough to avoid using hotels.com. If I ever meet someone that has hotels.com (or parent company expedia.com) stock, I tell them to get out now... before it becomes clear to all the level of fraud, deception and lack of respect that exists there and the company is pushed into bankruptcy.

Hotels.com ignored my negative review

I had a miserable experience at the Sahara hotel in Las Vegas booked through hotels.com and submitted a suitably negative review. It was never posted on hotels.com, if you look on there now there are only positive reviews and I find that hard to believe having stayed in the Sahara.

I asked them why they didn't post it and they replied like a politician by ignoring my question and assuring me "the matter has been fully investigated", whatever that is supposed to mean.

good luck!

thanks for posting. let me know if you have any luck trying to get a reasonable response from them about why they refused to print your negative review.

I'm still waiting for a reply to my last email to them. It seems that their policy is to simply ignore customers if they can't confuse them into shutting up.

hotels.com is simply based on fraudulent ideas put forth by their advertisements. there is no ability to trust the reviews, there is no team of experts double checking the validity of information about a hotel, they don't provide any value and they have less than no concern for you as a customer.

We had a bad experience with

We had a bad experience with hotel.com we have been charged by hotel.com as well as the hotel when we checked out and we are not getting our money back. We have been charged twice.

Problem getting refunds

Me too have a big problem with getting my refunds...it was double charged by the hotel and hotel.com...30 days back when I called customer support they told I will get my money back in 3 days...I called them again after 30 days after I got my credit card statement...the same story repeated (I need to narrate whole circumstances again, they verified with hotel, they dont keep record of which agent spoke to me and any confirmation information), customer service told I will get it in 3 days..I will get the refund confirmation email in 15 mins to 24 Hrs...even after 7 days I didnt get any email...this is happened twice with customer call....at all cost avoid them...any suggestions for complains, how to get my money back is welcome...


ALSO, we were double charged for a hotels.com room, and of course, it's nobody's fault. The hotel says deal with Hotels.com, and H.C won't talk to me. Either way, it sucks. Deal directly with the hotel, and discourage all your friends, neighbors and enemies alike from dealing with hotels.com. What a joke. How can these places stay in business?? You've got to love the USA.


Booked a hotel with hotels.com. When arrived at hotel, we were told that our booking was cancelled. Called hotels.com 3 times and were told that they would cancel the charge to our credit card, and would send an email confirming same. Needless to say I am still waiting for the email. I have sent them 2 emails and called them again. Still nothing. I will never ever use them again. And will keep telling everyone I meet about this scam of a company

we had a bad experience with

"We had a bad experience with hotel.com we have been charged by hotel.com as well as the hotel when we checked out and we are not getting our money back. We have been charged twice." duuuuh!

That is because of a marked lack of intelligence... is it to hard for you to call the hotel and ask for a refund.


Recently my wife and I desperately needed a hotel for a two night stay in Los Angeles. Hotels.com put us in a DUMP that they claimed was rated 4.2 -- it should've been a 0.2!! It was in a WAR zone!! Urine smells everywhere. Bars on the windows.

When we got the heck out of there (out of fear for our safety), Hotels.com refused to give us our first night's money back. We were only there for ten minutes! When we tried to call to complain, hotels.com put us on hold for HOURS and STILL refused to give us our money back. They are freakin' CROOKS!

Worst Customer Service

Will not use hotels.com again. Got double-charged, I called hotels.com and asked to speak with a supervisor. The 1st rep. said all the supervisors were busy. I asked to hold for one. She said none were available. I asked to please be put on hold again. Then she changed her story and said that I just couldn't talk to one. When I repeated to ask why, she hung up on me. Called back and the second rep. said I could not speak to a supervisor, even about being hung up on. Then he said he could put me on hold for a supervisor, that the hold may be 45 minutes and that a supervisor likely WOULD NOT TAKE MY CALL. What does that even mean, I asked? He said after 45 minutes or so, a supervisor would get to my call and then make a decision whether or not to take it. When I said that was rude and I had never heard of that type of service before, he said they have a high volume of calls and supervisors cannot take every call. What a joke for customer service.

Be very careful before booking your hotel calling hotels.com

We called to reserve a hotel using hotels.com. Upon arriving at the hotel, we found out they booked us on the wrong dates. The only thing that the customer service did is to say that they were sorry.

Guess who had to pay for their mistakes? Yes, we had to.

We had to pay extra fees for changing the dates. After all, the rates had changed and we were responsible for it. The only thing that hotels.com customer service does is to give you a lip service...

Be very careful, before paying them. Check, and re check the information. After paying your money, you are on your own. You might have wished that you paid the extra fee and booked directly from the hotel.

i hate

i hate hotels.com , 'cos doesnt works!


Thank GOD I saw this blog. Much thanks to the original poster. I was about to use hotels.com this month for my birthday. Thank you everyone for the warning, I had no idea! It was pretty weird that the hotels on hotels.com didn't have any negative reviews. Once again, thank you!


Hello everyone,

I recently went to Austin and booked a hotel on Hotels.com. When I booked my hotel I specifically stated to have a 4 to 5 star hotel. While driving into the hotel, the hotel had all windows open and people sitting outside etc....to describe everything in a nut shell, it was rundown hotel. They booked me at a cheap hotel but with the price of a 4 star. I called hotels.com and the customer service agent was unprofessional. I told them that I would not check in and that I was missed lead by the company and the customer service agent. They responded by charging me 189.00 for the room without checking in and when a sign outside of the hotel said 39.95. While trying to dispute the claim with my credit card holder, I was told that they will win because they will not refund any monies. NEVER AGAIN WILL I USE OR RECOMMEND HOTELS.COM (RIP OFF COMPANY). READERS BEWARE SHARE THIS WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS.

Contact the Better Business Bureau

I had a very similar experience in August 2008, and their Customer "Care" Center was nothing but an exercise in frustration, so I finally did a chargeback through my credit card. Their Disputes Department was quick enough to deny the chargeback, and then Customer Service told me it was no longer in their hands. I started emailing them anyway, so I would have everything in writing. I told them that I was not going to give up and that got little more than a template response. After chasing them through email for a while, they lied and said my credit card company had already issued the refund. After 6 months, that was the last straw. I contacted the Better Business Bureau, and my refund was issued in about a week. I would strongly encourage everyone to at least log your complaint with the BBB. I never talked with anyone at the BBB. I just went on their site and it prompts you through. They gave me several locations for Hotels.com; I chose the one in Texas (Dallas?), which I think is where their headquarters is. Hotels.com mis-represented their product and then continued to operate without integrity. They shouldn't be in business.


Thank you for adding your comment. I had no idea my reservations had a no-refund policy. Not until I received the cancellation email. I tried to immediately reinstate the reservation; instead of, requesting an refund. They couldn't and weren't willing to fix this. So I've contacted the BBB to alert them of their bad business practices. I don't think its fair to cheat people out of their hard earn money.


This company Hotel.com, part of Expedia is definately a scam of some kind.

I just found an entry on my credit card statement for hotels com... except that I don't know anything about it! When I tried to ring them I stayed on hold for what must have been 20 minutes on 2 occasions. Another time I called the sales desk to try to speak to anyone.. was then transfered to "customer service" where I went on hold for 10 minutes before being hung up on!

Since then I've been forced to fill out dispute forms with both my bank and VISA.

Scam (update)

I thought I'd update anyone interested on my saga. I since found out that Hotels.com has a parent company, Expedia. I rang up Expedia and spoke to a very helpful person called Summer, who rang up Hotels.com and put me directly in touch with someone. On follow up comversations with Hotels.com (when I could get through via Expedia) the reps were - I can only say "sulky".

Hotels.com is a very bad choice of company and I strongly recommend you avoid them at all cost. Expedia on the other hand, whilst it gets some flack on refund policies has been pretty decent. I recently found an incredibly good hotel rate through Expedia that I couldn't get anywhere else.. and I've used Expedia on two occasions since without issue. But like I said, Hotels.com... avoid, avoid, avoid.


We decided to take a trip to london for winter vacations, and we were looking into hotels.com so we were checking packages that seemed to be good, so we decided to call and ask for a good hotel on a turist zone and they recommended us some hotel, which sounded good and they told us it was a really good hotel and stuff..
so we trusted them and booked flight and hotel with them, after that we started checking the reviews of the hotel they gave us, and reviews titled "BEWARE", "SOS", "BUGS IN HERE", and other creepy titles were in the review, NOT EVEN ONE GOOD REVIEW WAS THERE, so we started freaking out and we find out the hotel was IN THE BUSINESS ZONE, 6 MILES AWAY FROM LONDON, i mean, hotels.com is supposed to give you a good hotel and if you're asking for a good location we didnt expect something like this!, we call and after being an hour on the phone waiting for someone to answer we could finally expose our case and they tell us we CANT change the hotel because "WE DIDNT PAY A 69 DOLLAR INSURANCE" when we DID ASK FOR IT, and THEY DIDNT INCLUDE IT IN OUR PACKAGE, so because of 69 dollars, we couldnt change the hotel, being our FIRST TIME IN LONDON we were gonna be IN THE BUSINESS ZONE, FAR AWAY FROM EVERYTHING.

after regrets and stuff, we DECIDED to LOOSE 1200 DOLLARS spent in a hotel, because we are NOT going to have a bad experience in london, so we LOST 1200 dollars of hotel.

now we want to change the flights and NO ONE IS ANSWERING, HALF AN HOUR ON THE PHONE and NO ONE ASNWERS when youre pressing the button which is supposed to send you to PACKAGE CHANGES, and we even BET that if we would press the button to send you to NEW PACKAGE somebody would answer, and IMMEDIATLY THEY ANSWERED.


Try the Better Business Bureau

If Hotels.com says that you never bought the insurance package (which should be besides the point - really, you need to buy insurance just in case they lie to you about the condition of the hotel??!!), you can challenge them to pull the recordings of your calls. Also, start emailing. They were slow to respond and then they were mostly templated replies, but at least everything is documented and the trail would definitely show how awful their service was. See my posting above titled "Contact the Better Business Bureau." Tell the BBB that Hotels.com grossly mis-represented their product.

Don't book here

I had a bad experience with hotels.com too. I booked my hotel for the max days because I was using it as a transition to move. I was told that I could cancel at any time. When I canceled it took me two phone calls and almost 15 days to get reimbursed for the remaining days. I called twice to get a revised receipt and they said they emailed it (checked the email address twice and checked my spam filter) but they never sent it. I had to find it on their website to print it out. They told me on the phone it could take up to 30 days to get my money back. Avoid booking here, I never will again.

Also, there is a "special" that says if you sign up you can get one night free for every 10 or something like that. I signed up to it only to find out afterward that my current stay did not count toward the total nights. It was for any trip booked after the fact even though I signed up to it before booking the hotel.

Hotels.com incentives

As a Border's Rewards Perk customer, if you go through their web site to book with Hotels.com, you are supposed to receive a 10% discount which will show up after you book. It never showed up, of course. I emailed their "Customer Care" and they emailed back that it would be forthcoming. It never came and after several more emails and months, they offered a $50 "hotel bucks" to be used on the next reservation. But that would take 4-6 weeks (after 2 months already) Another 6 weeks goes by, but no "bucks". In the meantime, I book another hotel through them with the incentive of a $50 gas card, which did show up on my reservation receipt. In the meantime, I did receive the $50 hotel bucks, which I still have. But the same thing started with the $50 gas card. emails back and forth stating that it is forthcoming, but due to heavy demand it will take a while longer. They finally offered me another $50 hotel bucks, which I turned down. Told them I wanted the $50 gas card or $50 check from them. They answered stating that the $50 gas card promotion was "over" and that was it! How can it be "over" when they haven't sent it in the past 4 months?! Isn't this called FRAUD? Will never book with them again. Not worth the aggravation.

Hotels.com is horrible company and it sucks

I made a reservation for 2 nights at a Days Inn. I arrived to the hotel an hour after the reservation was made. And they haven't faxed the confirmation. I got on the phone with their sales for over a period of 1.5 hours and still, they weren't able to send a fax. Then their sales people started to put me on hold for 20 minutes 3 times and didn't get back to me. Hotels.com is one nasty, awful company. Finally some sales decided to think of the giving me the customer care number. Customer care finally were able to send a fax. So here is the question. How many cheap labor in a customer service center in India it takes to send a fax. Hotels.com is a complete failure!

Indeed Hotels.com sucks

I had the same experience except a fax never came. I arrived in the evening after 20 h in planes to a hotel and a receptionist couldn't find my reservation. I called their "hotline" few times and I was told to be patient, because the fax was on its way. After 3h some Indian "expert" said that they couldn't send it and they will refund money. I had to pay by myself. Surprisingly, it was much cheaper at the front desk. Anyway, I will never use their service again. If I wanted to speak with some Indians, I would choose one of my colleagues at work.

I've been accused lying by Hotel.com

I made my reservation through hotels.com. After my stay, I got back home and check my bank account. I see two charges on my online statement. One from hotels.com and another one from the hotel i stayed in. The numbers were identical, so clearly I was double charged. I called the hotels.com and explained customer rep the situation. Without even asking any proof or copy of my statement etc she called the hotel and five minutes later she told me that "Hotel is telling me that they didn't charge you therefore we don't think you are double billed." Again I told her that I can see the charges on my online account, and she told me that "There is no way I can proof this, and I don't think I can take your word for this". To me this is clearly calling me a lair. It's been three days I've been still trying to solve this issue. No luck so far, I am planning to dispute the one of the charges. BTW, I can't even get in touch with anybody from the hotel's accounting.

Forget Hotel.com, call your credit card company

Hey anonymous,

I wouldn't even bother trying to resolve this with the Hotel. Call your credit card company and tell them you were double charged and that only one is legit. Your credit card company will reverse the charge and send you paperwork to fill out.


Avoid doing business with hotels.com / hotels.co.uk at all cost

I wish I found this site earlier, would have saved me a week of sorting there inability to do something that is asked of them.

An the 18th of April I booked on there website 3 rooms, this was ment to be for 2x twin room and 1x double room.

After completing the details on the website in question, I get to the last page that says 'thank you this page is confirmation of your booking' with the details of the booking (as expected above). I printed this page off and even had the website send me a SMS confirming my booking (that I recived). The money for the above was taken from my account and I thought nothing more of it. In my mind, this had been confirmed and paid for so there was nothing more to worry about.

Roll on to the 28th April, I phoned to hotel to confirm they had a booking in my name. They had no record of my booking. So I phoned the less-then helpfull hotels.com customer support line (at 10p a min) who said they had a record of my booking and will chase up the hotel to see why I dont have my rooms. The person 'who did not have english as his first language' said he would phone me back after he sorted it out.

29th: No phone call back or message left on the answer machine so I phoned up hotels.co.uk customer support and found out that my bookings had been made, great I thought - not as bad as it could be. Wrong! - turns out in the time lapse from my initial confirmation (18th) and the 28th April - all the twin rooms were taken by other guests. So hotels.com made a reservation for 3x double rooms.

This is not what I had had ordered. I promptly told hotels.co.uk that this is not what was confirmed and that I would like the twin rooms please. They said the best they could offer is twin rooms for one night and a double for the second. I told them this was unacceptable and that I would require at least single rooms for my guests (5 males). Hotels told me they could do that, however I would be required to pay an upgrade fee!.

Asked to talk to a supervisor who turns out to be just as useless as the customer service team he manages. Told him about the cock up they have made and that I expect Hotels.com/.co.uk to absorb the cost of there error. Was told they they would not and that If I needed the rooms that I required then I would have to pay the upgrade fee.

If the reservation was not for the 8th of May I would have cancelled everything with Hotels and got a full refund, but as it stands I was running out of time and needed those rooms sorted, so paid the upgrade fee. As part of this process I asked that the two of the double rooms be cancelled as I no longer require them. In the end I should have 1x double room and 4x single room.

Paying the upgrade fee was made worse by the fact that Hotels.com could not take the difference between two payements, but instead had to refund part of the original and take a full payment for the single rooms.

As of this time I am now keeping a very close eye on my statement and will be waiting for this refund.

So to sum up:
1. When you phone you talk to some call centre in the middle of nowhere who have tno intrest in solving your problems
2. Supervisors dont and wont help you either
3. When you finish your booking and see the screen that says booking confirmation and recive a sms text message saying so - you are not seeing a confirmation of your booking - its a lie
4. They are not part of any group from what I can see (iata for example) but are a part of Expidia inc

Web bookings for hotels

Phew! I just got off the phone to hotels.com for a stay in New Zealand. Good thing I Googled and found this information. But is there anyone you can trust online?

Hotels.com should be renamed BadNews.com

Hotels.com is showing up on MyPoints Frogpond site right now and MyPoints members can earn 25 points for submitting a 50-word review of Hotels.com. So all these people who have NEVER used Hotels.com are posting positive (mostly) reviews just to earn a quick 25 points. Grrrr!!!

My boyfriend has used the Hotels.com site in the past and was very unhappy with the experience. Customer support is almost nonexistent. And good luck on getting any money refunded even when the problem is Hotels.com's fault!!!

Hotels.com rate a poor review

Unresponsive to an unbelievable level...

After waiting 20 minutes, I got ahold of someone to help only to have them "disconnect" me.

Tried to call back waited ONE HOUR on hold - no answer.

Asked for help by email - no response after 48 hours... meanwhile - it cost me several hours worth of time to resolve the problem directly with the hotel.

This company is run by losers.

hotels.com sucks!

my reviews too haven't been posted on hotels.com. they choose what to post and they only post the good reviews.
I will never book with them again and I tell everyone I know about my bad experience with hotels.com. I will never recommend them.
Their customer service sucks. I was requesting a refund for the first night because the hotel san juan marriott and stelaris resort casino in san juan, puerto rico, canceled our reservation because we showed up late (no one told us that you need to check in by midnight). The help desk at marriott too sucked and was of no help so I complained at marriott.com and I got a reply back from telling me to tell hotels.com to call them and request the refund. Once the refund has been issue to hotels.com, hotels.com should refund me for the first night. The customer reps at hotels.com apparently have no email address so you can not email them, they said you need to fax to this number so I did. I said ok will you call me, she said no, you have to call us in 72 hours. So I call in 72 hours and they say they didnt get the fax although I got a fax report that said the fax went through. So this rep gives me another number, I fax it over, get an ok from fax report, he hungs up on me, I call again and i have to explain everything again because the new rep now knows nothing and she says each center has a different fax number and she cant check for the old faxes i sent. so i ask her to give me the fax she has and to stay on line with me. she does. i tell her ok the report said it went through, she tells wait a sec while i go check and puts me on hold but suddenly i am redirected to someone else who has no clue what is going on. she keeps asking me for my booking number. i say please redirect me to mary or the service center that has the last fax number i used. she said she doesnt know any mary and cant find centers by fax number!!!! this is crazy!!!! worst customer service experience to date. i do not understand how they are still in business.

Prices vary with hotel.com

We stayed at a hotel to be close to a racetrack for an Indy race. We thought the price was within range for a race weekend. Come to find out, the people in the exact rooms as we had, paid alot less. When this was reported to hotel.com. They said it was to late to cancel the reservation. That was not even the issue. We had no plans of canceling, as we were already there. We would have preferred a refund of the difference or a voucher toward a stay somewhere at another time. We will NOT use hotel.com again. You don't exist once they have your money!!!! BAD customer service.

Hotels.com LIED to get my business

After narrowing down my search for a Montreal hotel online, I called Hotels.com to make sure that there would be NO FEE for parking. I was told by the cust srvc rep that "only for HOtels.com customers did the Hotel Le Cantlie NOT charge parking" so I hung up the phone and reviewed that with my husband. We decided to go with this establishment, and then I noticed that I got an email from Hotels.com saying "Thank you for your conversation - here are the hotels we discussed" and once clicked, I saw that the rep sent me the hotel's name and info that we'd discussed. I went ahead then, and completed the reservation online. I had to call the hotel for another matter (to check and see the closed streets for the Int'l Jazz Festival going on week of July 5) and happened to ask in passing about the parking. The rep emphatically stated that WAS NOT correct - they ALWAYS charge for parking and that Hotels.com and other establishments like them claim that they can get free parking, but that is NOT the case. I called Hotels.com back, spoke with another rep who mentioned he had no idea why the first rep said they had free parking (which I brought to his attention that the first guy probably just wanted my business), then spoke with a sup AFTER being put on hold for 45 mins. The sup, Jackie, said that in her system, she saw that I called AFTER the transation online took place already. Is she CRAZY? I had the email that I received from hotels.com that was PRE-TIMED (came before) the confirmation email! I told her I'd forward this to her and she said there was no need; her system revealed that I called AFTER. Logically, I explained, WHY would I do that? That DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. She must've had no logic after all as until the end of the conversation, she said I was pretty much lying. First off, Hotels.com SUCKS with customer service. Secondly, how in the WORLD is the SUPERVISOR going to come on the phone and tell me that I LIED when I offered to forward BOTH EMAILS?! This establishment, Hotels.com, is HORRENDOUS and the fact that they kept an IRATE and LIVID consumer on HOLD for 45 mins was ASTOUNDING. NEVER, EVER using them again. That sup, Jackie, mentioned that she would cancel my reservation. Well guess what? I called back an hour later after I'd cooled down to make sure it was indeed cancelled, and found - that it was NEVER CANCELLED! If I didn't make that final call I would've been slapped with a $350 bill tomorrow. They are HORRIBLE.

very bad service

Try different sites this one will not work if hotels change you room or ANY OTHER PROBLEMS hotels.com don't care they just give you the money back. BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM BY YOUR SELF

Never Use Hotels.com

I booked 4 separate hotel stays for a single vacation which I had to cancel months in advance. Two of my reservations were refundable, two were not although the reservations appeared the same on the computer and in the confirmation email. Don't bother trying to get your money back through your credit card company. They side with hotels.com.

Curiously, the domain f***hotels.com is owned by and forwards to hotels.com. Obviously, they've had so much trouble with disgruntled customers, they either secured that domain or took it away from a legitimate owner.

Poor Customer Service from Hotels.com

I have learned to never use this service again. My reservation notice says I could cancel with a penalty of 1 night's stay. When I called to cancel, I was told they couldn't process without talking to the manager of the hotel and that I would have to call back when the manager is in. When I call the hotel, they refer me to hotels.com. when I call hotels.com (and wait 30 minutes to speak to an agent) they say I have to talk to the manager. It's a total run around. My advice is never make a reservation through hotels.com.

Rating for hotels.com - AWFUL!

If you never need to make a change to a reservation, hotels.com is a convenient way to shop for available hotels. However, my advice is to shop for hotels through their web site and then book directly through the hotel. Hotels are a service business and are generally very accomodating to those who book directly in terms of making changes in your reservations. However, if you make the reservation through hotels.com, the hotel cannot make a change without going through hotels.com which gets you into the legal fine print of hotels.com contract with the hotel. In order to secure low rates and earn their fee, hotels.com makes it very expensive and difficult to make a change. Thus, I have concluded that whatever savings you might get by booking through hotels.com is not worth the aggravation and cost if you ever need to make a change.

remember !!!!!!!!!!never use hotel.com

Forget about what deal with hotels.com.
Just remember if you see this message,do not use hotels.com.
'Cause they only want collect money from you,they do not care you at all.
If you want loose money ,use it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NEVER use hotels.com

I just don't know how to start since I am still so upset about the way they handled my reservations. To try and make this short so I can continue my vacation...the hotel was not what was described and they (THE HOTEL) was VERY willing to give me a FULL refund. When she pulled up my reservation she told me to call Hotels.com direct and then call her and she would make sure everything was canceled. The hotel was pleasant. THEN I called hotels.com to tell them that the hotel would refund me but that I had to call them first. He asked about the problem and I explained just as I did to the hotel manager. He put me on hold for awhile, came back and asked more questions and asked if he could book something else and I said no (I had already been traveling for 6 hours with kids we were tired and hungry, not to mention checking in and then checking out which was a major problem in itself)...so he put me on hold again and came back to tell me that he would not give me that nights money back that it was the hotels policy I said NO the hotel was willing to refund me COMPLETELY. He said that no one else had complained so since NO ONE else said anything I GET PUNISHED. The guy quickly changed his attitude to a JERK. Of course he was nice at first and wanted to help in any way he could until I told him I was not staying anywhere just wanted my money back. I realize now that if I had asked him to book me something else he would have gladly provided a refund and booked me somewhere else. I honestly think that. Heck maybe he kept my money? Such a lesson learned. I know that I could call and be on hold for hours and talk to 50 people with 50 excuses but it will only piss me off more than I am right now. I just want to be able to warn everyone NOT to use hotels.com, that is my RIGHT by LAW to voice my opinion! HOTELS.COM SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS.....how can people be such uncaring A**holes! People amaze me. Well I am at another hotel that is so far so good. Please if anyone is even thinking about using this service please it is not worth saving just a few dollars! Call the hotel direct most of them will offer matching pricing....try it before you get GOT by them! Thanks for reading and I hope I help someone not get their vacation RUINED...

Hotels.com overcharging

Beware of overcharging by Hotels.com. I recently stayed at a hotel that I booked on hotels.com thinking I was finding the "best rate" without the headache of calling around. Apparently the hotels are not to give you a receipt when you check out because then you will see that you have been overcharged by hotels.com. I can understand that they are trying to make a profit, but in my case it was over $40! I could have looked up hotels in the area I was planning on staying myself (even using hotels.com for references), but then calling the hotel myself and saving myself several dollars. If you are considering using it I suggest you call one of the hotels you are looking at before you book to see what their rate is. You may find that it is cheaper to do it yourself. Plus, remember there is no refund or way to cancel your room through hotels.com. When I called customer service the representative that I spoke with was rather rude and said that they work with the hotels to bring us the best rate but wasn't willing to admit that they were scamming people with this kind of billing. Looks like it's a win/win situation for both hotels.com and the hotels, but consumers lose their bargaining power. After reading the other reviews on this site I can guarantee I will NEVER use hotels.com again and will let everyone I know what a scam it is.

Taxes and Service Charges

I wish I read this blog before I booked on Hotels.com. They charged me an additional $30 for 'taxes and service fees.' I canceled the reservation even though I now have to wait for it to clear my bank. In the end I have a better deal by going directly to the hotel. Yuk! What a pain. I won't use hotels.com again.


I used Hotels.com twice to book. There were no problems I could see with fees, but both times there were problems with the room. The first time, the shower didn't drain. The second time (yesterday) the air conditioner didn't work and we had to have a hotel maintenance worker in at 10 PM to perform what appeared to be routine maintenance. I suspect that the discounted rooms assigned to Hotels.com are any that happen to be substandard.

rip off by Hotel.com

1. I got ripped off ---higher prices than other companies and higher than even when you call the hotel directly

2. Watch you back even there price are not a special deal all DEALS ALL NOT REFUNDABLE

3. the use only non-US workers in there call stations in the Philippines and El Salvador

4. We need job and Hotel.com sends all the jobs to other countries

hotels.com negative comment

Ok... i took the time to read all the comments here... to be honest i'm a customer just like you. I've used hotels.com service and had a bad experience once
and i can understand the frustration of some situations and also the part of poor customer service.... But to be fair Hotels.com is a good company... i think they
have areas to improve just like any other company. Having a bad experience doesn't mean it's all wrong!! Is like saying that a human being is not worthy just
cause he or she made a mistake before...

I have had bad experiences before and that does not mean this is the "ABSOLUTE TRUTH".... Another thing is i see a lot of racist ideas
in some comments... i'm an open minded person and to be honest i'm surprise to see some comments from people who live in a "democracy"
there are people who work hard and some other who is just not interested in that... but saying this people in central america or in the middle of nowhere is
just a waste! Men, that is a very very silly way of thinking...wich to be honest is not gonna help at all. No you might think i was not in your place, i did not had a
very bad expericence but you are wrong! i'm a human being just like you. i have felt anger, frustration and all of those negatives feelings you might have felt too.

Sum up:

1. if you pay for something (anything) from a t shirt, a facial cream, a hotel room read the conditions, be aware of the risk involve... read the small letters so you
don't have to go through a bad experience

2. be aware that people in customer service working under proceedures for the company... don't take it personal. It's a job like every other job... there is no need
to be racist or mean with this people

3. educate yourself as a customer... hotels.com is not the only company. search for other options. At the end you the rule is that you need to what is that you are paying for
if you make a resv on line with any company or with a hotel you know what is the best for you

Hotels.com Money In No Money Out LOL

Ok, To whom it may concern. 8-24-2009
Sun .23.2009, I've spoken to reps Keith, Chad, Supervisor Julie, rep Iam, Vanessa, Supervisor Sari, and the 2 booking reps that gave me incorrect information about the hotel in the booking process. Mon 8.24.2009 reps Nathaniel and Boris., supervisor Eve. Phone has hung on on me 5 times during this process and it is virtually impossible to get a supervisor or any competent agent to handle the matter at hand.

Matter at hand - I booked a hotel where I was told the room was a special suite with a fireplace. When I arrived it was a king basic room. Upon calling down to the front desk, the clerk alerted me that no room in the entire hotel had a fireplace. I decided to leave, called back the same line it was so easy to get through to take my money, and this is where the nightmare began.
Above is a condensed version of the hell.

As a long standing customer, I am sending this note to put you on notice,
that the "delights" of this experience will be going out to the masses in blog,form, and I hope no one ever has to deal with the type of treatment I went through.

Hotels.com horrible waste of money

Just booked with hotels.com and unfortunatley we found a cheaper rate. Their "guaranteed lowest rate" is wrong and misleading!!! They do not stand behind this guarantee and as any "small print" company, they provided deceptive information. Hopefully, they will know that more people who get this mesaage will not use them and they will go out of business.

Hotels.com is a terrible

Hotels.com is a terrible company. Do not use them. If you call for customer service be prepared to be transferred around at least 3 times before none of your problems get solved. Their employees barely speak English. One lady I spoke to asked if I wanted to make changes to a trip I had already come back from in August. Mind you, it was already September. Yes, I would like to add a snorkeling package to my trip that I've already come back from. If you are using the welcome rewards program, this is valid for hotel reservations only. NO packages! I'm telling you this because they won't. They have no idea about the promotions their company is advertising.This is the worst customer service I have ever had. All the people who work there are in lala land. Their promotions are just scams and the savings (if any) are not worth the headache you end up with in the end.

Horrible service at Hotels.com

We recently made a hotel reservation through hotels.com and found the experience to be extremely frustrating. We were traveling and called the hotels.com number to reserve a room. It was after 5:00 pm so they did say we would be charged even if we did not show up. We went to the hotel, but there was not a reservation from hotels.com or they couldn't recognize the confirmation number. The hotel desk manager assigned a new number and gave me a rate and then charged my credit card the next morning. This rate was considerably better than the hotel.com rate. Anyway, I specifically said that I was worried I might be charged twice and was assured that could not happen. On my last credit card bill, there are two charges for the room. I called both the hotel and hotels.com. The hotel is refunding the lower rate because hotels.com will not let them do anything else. I will NEVER use hotels.com again. Please be careful if you book through this place!!!

hotels.COM SUCKS!!! The worst customer service ever!!!

I booked a hotel with hotels.com and the same day called back to change hotels, anyway i got charged for both!! All hotel.com did was give me the run around, then after spending a good hour on the phone i was told i would have to call back later because they could not reach accounting to help with my refund!!! I have to call back!!! A bunch of bull i tell you never book with hotels.com!!!!!!!

hotels.com fraud

On 2 reservations this year, hotels.com said the hotel permits pets. Only after I had indelibly paid for the reservation did hotels.com say that the hotel would collect a pet fee during registration. Even then, hotels.com didn't disclose the fee amount. That's fraud. If you say "X is permitted", that means it's free, unless you say it has a cost and specify what the cost is. Since it's not possible to contact hotels.com with a complaint or request for an adjustment, I simply didn't say anything to the hotel about having a pet and thereby protected myself against the fraudulent charge. hotels.com deserves a class-action lawsuit.

Terrible Customer Service

I work for a large construction company and, for the last several months, have used this hotels.com as a means to earn travel rewards, make arrangements, etc. for the crews we regularly deploy. I have learned my lesson. I would NOT recommend using hotels.com as it provides very little flexibility to make changes once booked. And, as mentioned above by other users, hotels.com does seem to find ways to sneak in extra fees unknowingly. Even worse, try calling customer service - between being put on hold endlessly, you'll also have to strain very hard to understand the customer service representative through the extremely thick foreign accent. It's an equation built for disaster. Save yourself the headache, wasted time, and extra fees and contact your desired hotel directly.

I would like to suggest that

I would like to suggest that be sure that all reviews are from different individuals and do not represent a coordinated attack on his reputation.Make sure that your site has a disclaimer stating that reviews are the personal opinions of the reviewers and do not represent your views.

it just gets more confusing

Customer service that's so bad it really is comical. Here's the most recent insanity from the "customer care" staff at hotels.com in regards to censorship of negative reviews:

I apologize for your continued frustration in regards to this issue.

Unfortunately, we do not have any control over which reviews get posted on the website. I can advise that since the process was redesigned there are several kinks still being worked out. I thank you for your patience during this process.

I apologize, but we do not have control over the review posting process. We would not be able to advise on why the review was not selected to be posted.

Once again I'm left scratching my head.

At the moment, hotels.com is running TV commercials that focus on the existence of user reviews on their site. The ads imply that hotels.com customers get great treatment from hotels because the hotels want to make sure you write a good review. The ads also imply that one of the most important benefits of using hotels.com is that you get to see other traveler's honest reviews.

It comes as no shock, but this seems to be a serious distortion of reality. Customer care says that that hotels.com itself does not have any control over the reviews on the hotels.com site?

So, I am left with questions: Who does control what reviews get posted? What percentage of reviews that are posted don't make it? How many rejected reviews are positive and how many are negative?

This experience has taught me a few lessons, the latest is this: the times have changed and the internet has grown and evolved. When I first used hotels.com, not many hotels had their own websites. It was an easy way to find smaller and less expensive places to stay. Now, with all the travel review sites, blogs and other information that is out there -- combined with the fact that most small hotels and hostels now have their own web presence -- services like hotels.com become less and less needed and useful.

Once you take out the validity of/ability to trust the overall rating of hotels; once it becomes clear that they don't have a staff that checks, or cares about, the accuracy of data (like how many blocks to a certain location), hotels.com no longer has any value to offer the public. It's all just a waste of 0s and 1s (i wonder what the carbon footprint of all their servers adds up to).


That is impressively circular. What if you just try reposting it now? Seems like they switched up their system and since they "do not have any control over which reviews get posted on the website" it ought to show up, right?

Alternatively, you could contact the BBB in Bellevue (where their parent company is based: http://press.expedia.com/) or Dallas (where whois suggests they are hosted) and object to the fact that Hotels.com advertises "un-biased customer reviews from people just like you who have stayed at the property" but then refuses to post reviews that are negative, which amounts to posting only reviews with a positive bias.

If you're really feeling hostile, you could start contacting places like Ripoff Report or Consumerist that are sure to draw more attention to the issue.

good links, thanks

If I can trust anything that the hotels.com customer care folks have said, the new system was in place before my second and third attempts to post my review. I just don't believe that their system would not have some method to allow managers to audit how the staff is moderating of customer reviews. I find it hard to believe that they have no control over content on their own site.

I might post something on ripoff report or comsumerist, thanks for the links. I might also try to follow up with the BBB if I have some time to kill.

sadly, I don't think there is anything illegal about the level of fraud in the hotels.com commercials. there is no team of experts double checking hotels, there is no unbiased and fair gathering of ratings from past hotel guests, hotel staff (from what I read on the net) tends to give people that reserve via hotels.com (and sites similar to it) crappier rooms and worse treatment. It's all just smoke and mirrors, probably aimed just as much at the stock holders of the company as it is at the buying public.


Nice post...Thanks for sharing with us, we would be aware of such things hereafter...

Great Post.... Thanks for

Great Post.... Thanks for sharing..... Want to more here after...

I think this is because

I think this is because anyone can post review. they need some staff to monitor these reviews.


no that's not accurate. You can only post a review on hotels.com if you have made a reservation via their site at that hotel within the past 6 or 9 months. I'm all for them having staff to monitor and moderate the reviews, but if they are going to refuse to print a review they should have and be willing to communicate a valid reason for rejecting it.

Hotels.com fraud

I called them today to ask for a price adjustment on a reservation I have since their own price is now lower trhan the one I was charged. After 3 attempts (they keep putting me on hold and then hang up) they came up with the excuse that non refundable reservations are not subject to price guarantee (what a scam, it should be the other way around, refndable not and non refundable yes). They told me it says so on their web site. However their newly redesigned web site does not say that and the eamil I have from them says exactly htat while the reservation cannot be cancelled, it is subject to their price guarantee. Disgusting!


I just have to comment on using Hotels.com. I booked a room with them and when I arrived at the hotel I wanted to change to a room with 2 double beds, ( I had booked for one bed). I fully realize I may have to pay more, I have no issue with that. When I asked the desk clerk he told me he could not do it, I had to call Hotels.com. So I did. what a nightmare! All I wanted was to change to a room with 2 beds!! It took me about 1/2 hour on the phone with Hotels.com customer service rep to get her to understand what I wanted. Once she finally got it, (not a rocket scientist) she told me she could not do it and transferred me to another hotels.com agent, (sorry if I;m not being PC here, but it was someone in India who could barely speak English). After about 15 minutes on the phone with the "expert" I fully agreed to pay an additional $ 16 for the "upgrade".. and even after specifically reviewing the transaction with the agent & asking him to confirm that I would only be charged the additional $16 I hung up, kind of satisfied.. That is until a little birdie in my ear told me to call my credit card company & verify.
Sure enough they charged me the full price for the "new" room $89!! And they put it under a new reservation number, IN THE WRONG HOTEL IN ANOTHER CITY!!.
I quickly called them back, and spent another 45 minutes on the phone with another 2 agents, (again the last one, the expert in India) and finally got my credit card credited. What a bunch of idiots!!
I will never use hotels.com again.

another big lie: obscurity == security

I was doing some research today, keeping up on new developments in HIPAA compliant software. (HIPAA is U.S. law which regulates the portability, privacy and security of healthcare information)

On the site of a software company that is selling a "secure email system" that they claim is HIPAA compliant, I found the following completely ignorant statement about the relationship between security and free/open source software

"Why does SafetySend use Proprietary Code and Technology?
Because any code or technology that can be purchased is vulnerable. Generic security codes and technology is is considered 'at risk' because of its shared accessibility. SafetySend code and technology is exclusive and not sold or shared. If you can buy security technology, it can be compromised."

This is completely false and misleading.

Before I continue to rant, let me explain that there are two ways of looking at digital security: Security by obscurity or Security by design.

SafetySend believes that there product is secure because the code is kept secret (security by obscurity). There could be very serious holes, but they think that by keeping prying eyes away from the code that no one could ever figure out where the holes are. History has shown that keeping something secret rarely works to keep it secure.

The security by design camp believes that by releasing code for frequent and open auditing, code can truly be made secure. It is not a failure when a security hole is found via such an audit, it is part of the process, it is a good thing as it allows for that hole to be patched.

Technologists have to assume that the entire design of a security system is known -- at least to those that want to compromise your system. The only piece of data that must remain private is the cryptographic key, which also should be easy to regenerate from time to time (and not be a hard-coded part of the application).

Releasing code does not automatically mean it is vulnerable -- any code is vulnerable. The issue is how you handle that reality.

Think of it as the difference between hiding under your bed because you are afraid someone might pick your lock and learning how to pick locks (or hiring a locksmith that knows how to pick locks) to test and make sure your locks are secure.

When security related code is released in Free/Open Source Software, the developers explicitly deny the ideas of security through obscurity, we must design secure code. It has been argued that this publication of source code can actually improve security because the code can be peer-reviewed by anyone.

The end result is that bugs are found and fixed, instead of hidden. Many security holes that are ignored, for example, in proprietary operating systems have been found, published and patched in Linux. This is not despite the open nature, but due to the open nature of the code that it becomes more secure.

PGP is a publicly published codebase for encryption. The fact that it is public has not changed its status as a military grade encryption tool. The argument put forth by the folks at SafetySend to sell their product is completely false.

Keeping insecure code private does nothing to make it more secure or less vulnerable.


Every once in a while I find myself talking with a vendor who thinks they'll get anywhere by pulling that particular batch of wool over my eyes and it really pisses me off.

Too many organizations are overwhelmed by anxiety about security and don't really understand the difference between obscurity and real security. In my experience, many organizations also get stuck on the difference between open source software and publishing data for the world to see. I usually go back to the same lock analogy: security by obscurity means that you're relying on the lock-maker to be telling the truth (this lock is secure. trust me.) where as a free and open source lock, by necessity, is available for scrutiny. I can look over the lock design, take the lock apart and study its inner workings: if I do the leg work, I can *know* that this is a well designed lock. I'm not leaving it to trust.