Hotels.com – now looking for alternatives

I have used hotels.com frequently and they used to provide excellent service.

As few years ago we had a serious medical emergency they came through and were able to cancel our hotels and reimburse us in full, as I called them from the hospital and explained the situation which caused us to miss the whole vacation. Based on their standard rules they could have kept atleast part of the fee. That was cool and I applauded them, and told people a lot how I had got good service.

But now I am looking for alternatives to use. Reason for ditching Hotels.com is the way Hotels.com has behaved in handling a reclamation and how many times I have had to chase up to them to get any feedback on issue. It is clearly something where their processes fail miserably.

I have had great experiences with finnish operators who try their best on the phone, but unfortunately their hands are tied and they have no visibility to actual reclamation process handling — hence I have been in the dark for weeks and months, not even knowing whether they have received the additional information they requested by email.

Automated or semi automated emails are signed by ”Anne Mühlstädt”, but I assume that it is a character name rather than a person. Or if it is a person, it is funny to see how finnish language is produced with Google translate and sent to customers, who then need to parse the language and try to understand what the heck was the original message. As I discussed the situation with finnish operator on the phone he sighed that they have requested numerous times that people would stop using those template translations.

As I called again today, I requested again an update and said that I shall contact local consumer protection agency about the issue. Some time after the contact I got another email from ”Anna” apologizing that resolving the issue has taken a long time and that they will try to solve it ASAP. As I responded and asked additional information, I naturally did not hear anything back. The joy of outsourced process!

I shall give chance to other service providers – and return to Hotels.com later on if they fail more or if other services will prove to be more expensive.

It is a shame that Hotels.com is willing to lose a customer for few hundred euros for mistakes they have had in description of the products they have sold. The original problem – which I did the reclamation for – was wrong information on hotel stays. First issue was that there was no information on the pages that breakfast was not included in the price. These days they have explicitly information that breakfast is not included – but when I made the purchase it was not mentioned at all. Second issue was internet connection, which was promised explicitly to be ’free wifi’ – but was not, and caused additional expenses.

Free internet-connection was explicitly stated in confirmation letter and there was no mentioning of exclusion of breakfast in the confirmation. Hotels.com naturally says that the issue is the responsibility of the hotel – as they write the texts and update the information on their own, but they do sell the product.

I made the first contact to Hotels.com on 26th of July — already during the trip via their get in contact page. As I did not hear anything back, I contacted them again by phone on September 12 th and learned that the email was in a limbo — and was not processed. With apologies it was transferred to the right queque and was said that the issue should be resolved in 28 days. On October 1st I got request for additional information in broken finnish and replied immediately. Then additional silence and no replies to my emails and requests for confirmation that they have received the data, until I contacted them again and got the apologetic email without any additional information.

I feel that I have not been that unreasonable in giving Hotels.com time to resolve the issue and have been proactive in contacting them again and again for progress on the issue, where as I have got little or no information back from them. All the people I have spoken with have been very helpful, but their hands are unfortunately tied – and visibility to the process has been zero.

Bad customer experience. Lost customer – and future subject for additional blog postings.

Looking forward resolving the issue eventually and getting reimbursed for my additional payments and lost time. Not cool Hotels.com.

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