Is this enough compensation? I got a refund and they blacklisted the property, but …

It wasn’t Margaret Peary’s first hotel booking on Priceline. But it may have been her last.

She’d been quoted a rate of $77 a night, which didn’t include hotel taxes for a condo in Kihei, Maui. Great rate, right?

But when she got her credit card bill, the fun started.

Wow! I was charged a whopping $207. I called the condo rental agency and said “There must be some mistake.”

I was told “Oh no, the charges are correct. In addition to the $77 room price, we charge a $35 “booking fee” (even though I booked through Priceline) and an $85 cleaning fee plus the tax.”


I did a little digging, and found that yes, some properties on Priceline do in fact charge booking fees — and more.

Here’s a resort in Kirkwood, Calif., that charges a $20 “booking fee” and a $7 per night “recreation fee.” Here’s another resort with a 5 percent booking fee.

But you’d expect all this to be disclosed up front, and preferably included in the room rate, especially if the fees are required.

Peary fought the charge.

I contacted Bank of America Visa and after speaking to a young man who gave very glib answers I asked to speak to a supervisor. She did a three-way call with Priceline, who claimed I chose a “pay as you go” reservation and who supposedly had the itinerary which detailed all of those hidden charges of which I supposedly received an email copy after making the reservation.

All of it was bogus! When I asked him to please email me what he was looking at, he agreed to do so. No email was ever received.

B of A agreed to eat the $120 in excessive fees and credited my Visa for that amount … kudos to them!

The Visa supervisor made a very astute statement when she asked Priceline, “When did Mrs. Peary authorize Priceline to allow a third party vendor to have access to her credit card?”

When indeed? Priceline did not bill me … the vendor billed my Visa.

This is a scam of epic proportions, Chris, and no one wants to assume responsibility for the consumer fraud that is being foisted upon the public.

The condo folks said “We get lots of calls from people who booked through Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, etc. who are unaware of our additional fees.”

Of course they’re unaware because the fees are not posted anywhere!

That didn’t sound right, so I contacted Priceline.

“Not the customer experience we’re looking for,” a representative admitted.

Priceline apologized to Peary and said it would stop making reservations with the property “until this gets squared away.”

I asked Priceline if it had disclosed the fees. Yes, the representative said, but she apparently didn’t see them. It’s working on improving its disclosure.

I think it’s great that Priceline blacklisted the property for taking money from one its customers without permission. Nice of it to mention its fees more prominently, too. But is that enough?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Carver

    I couldn’t vote because of the way the question is written.  Did the Op receive adequate compensation, yes. She ultimately paid the $77 that she contracted for.  But she was made whole my BofA, not Priceline

    B of A agreed to eat the $120 in excessive fees and credited my Visa for that amount … kudos to them!

    It seems to me that Priceline needs to  either include everything in its price, or explicitly state a maximum that the customer is liable, e.g. additionally resorts may charge up to $x.xx per day, cleaning fees of $y.yy may apply.

  • Tony A.

    This should be in BOLD LETTERS –
    The Visa supervisor made a very astute statement when she asked
    Priceline, “When did Mrs. Peary authorize Priceline to allow a third
    party vendor to have access to her credit card?”

    I suggest that Elliott publish a guide on how consumers can effectively dispute ALL CHARGES THEY NEVER AUTHORIZED. As far as I know, merchants dread the word CHARGEBACK. And, the only way they can be protect from a chargeback is to be able to show that the cardholder authorized the transaction. For many CARD NOT PRESENT transactions (in the absence of an electronic SWIPE of the card, or a signed UCCCF [Universal Credit Card Charge Form]) that is much harder to do.

    If the vendor cannot prove that the cardholder authorized the charges, then sorry vendor!

  • sirwired

    I thought I would point out that having the eventual travel provider actually do the billing is pretty standard in the travel industry. 

    In fact, if you ever book a cruise, it’s considered a HUGE red flag if you see a charge from the travel agent for the cruise fare instead of the cruise line.  (As in, you should be strongly suspicious that the agency is pocketing your money.  This has been the pattern in several travel agency bankruptcies which have left cruise travelers with no money and no trip.)

    Whenever I book a flight with my corporate travel agent, the charge always comes from the airline, never the agency.  They probably do this because they don’t want to be paying the credit card billing charges.  A few months ago, USAir tried to change this structure and backed down after a travel agent revolt.

    So I suspect that passing on your billing information to the travel provider is how things are supposed to work… is this actually how things are supposed to function under Visa/MC/Travel Agent contracts?  I don’t know, but this is the way things have been done as long as I can remember.

    All that said, yes, these fees should have been prominently disclosed prior to booking.

  • Sam Varshavchik

    Wait one second! With Priceline, aren’t you offering to pay $X for booking Y?

    So, if you’ve put in a bid for $X, and you won the bid, that’s what you’re reasonably expected to pay: $X.

    And since you don’t know which airline, hotel, or whatnot, you’re getting until you win the bid, it makes no logical sense to claim that wherever you end up going, they can pile on arbitrary ancillary charges, whatever they want, on top of what you bid for your booking.

    That kind of defeats the purpose of Priceline, to me.

    I can accept the argument that mandatory government taxes wouldn’t be a part of the bid, but that’s as far as it would go. If I were to use an opaque booking agent, like Priceline, and if I were to bid $X to say at geographical location Y, and I get the booking, then I would expect to pay $X, not $X+Z, where Z is any arbitrary, ancillary, crammed charges that are entirely up to whichever hotel my booking goes to, with no way for me to know what the charges are, in advance.

    Oh, and I just love the “It’s working on improving its disclosure” bit at the end. Since I never used Priceline, let me guess: they do have a disclaimer stashed away somewhere that says that ancillary fees are not included, are up to the vendor, and can be anything? Haaaaa-ha-ha. I don’t think they can “improve” this “disclosure” that much, it seems. They can’t really “improve” this “disclosure”, because that kind of defeats their business model! :-)

  • Eric S.

    Not neccesarily.  Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but Priceline now lets you choose flights, properties, etc.  Or you can go their original name-your-price route.  The first option is more like Expedia and costs you more.  It’s not clear which option she used from the story, but if she used “name your own price” then maybe fees would not be divulged because a fee structure unique to a given property could identify that property. 

    That being said, some notification of the extra fees involved should be made before the credit card is billed.  Maybe a 24 hour cancellation window should be put in place to give a customer a chance to cancel a reservation they maybe can no longer afford due to hidden fees.

  • DavidS

    It’s early and I’m still on my first cup of coffee. So many questions!

    What is the name of the condo? She was charged $77 by Priceline and the rest by the condo? She was successful in disputing the additional charges. What does she want from Priceline? Is she not traveling and looking to cancel? Has she traveled already and looking for more?

    When you book a hotel online, your cedit card info is sent to the hotel. This is so they can hold your room and charge you if you don’t show up. I agree that a hotel/condo should not charge you for anything over and above what is agreed to.

    BTW…hotel “resort” fees have been around longer than airline fees. At least with an airline you have the choice to not check a bag or sit in a middle seat or not buy their snack on board. A “mandatory” fee should just be included in the rate.

  • DavidS

    “When did Mrs. Peary authorize Priceline to allow a third party vendor to have access to her credit card?”

    Maybe in section IV?

  • ChrisY

    I may not have had my coffee either, but did Mrs. Peary provide the email confirmation from Priceline?  It sounds like she was only hit with this (outrageous) charge when her credit card statement came.  But what was the price on the screen, and more importantly (because it can be proven) the price in the confirmation e-mail?


  • Jim

    By the way, while BofA reversed the charge, they did not actually “eat” the fee. Any merchant who wants to accept credit cards has to agree to charge reversals when the bank determines the charges weren’t authorized.  Since it appears that these extra fees were processed by the hotel itself, this reversal would have gone against their merchant account.  They would be the ones losing the money.  

    That being said, I totally agree with the reversal. 

  • Rosered7033

    To my way of thinking, Priceline didn’t offer ANY compensation.  They only ate the excess because BOA did a chargeback.  If this is indeed the way Priceline handles it’s “resort” charges, I predict there will be a  lot of pressure on hotels, resorts, condos, etc. to roll mandatory resort fees into the upfront charge, and not pretend they are non-existent UNTIL the booking is near or at the consummation point.  I’m not sure why this is becoming de riguer to bill this way, except that it makes the charges appear lower than they actually are.  Is there some tax advantage to it?

  • LePin

    It is past time for Priceline and Hotwire to revise their policies before they lose all credibility. The price should be the price. Resort fees, booking fees and any other fees that are NOT OPTIONAL should be included. Otherwise when I bid $100 for a room, I don’t know whether I will pay $100 or, say, $175. I have stopped using these services to book lodging until they wake up.

  • Mark K

    BofA may have eaten the fee.  Depending on the customer, a credit card issuer may give that customer the credit they are requesting and then pursue the merchant later.  Yes, the issuer has the ability to take the money from the merchant account, but the merchant can appeal and in many cases win.  The cardholder will probably never see this unless the amount is very large or they have a marginal relationship with the card issuer.  This situation is what the high fees the merchants pay (and congress tried to reduce) covers.

  • DavidS

    Priceline is a travel agent and or supplier. In booking lodging, an agent reserves the property and passes on the credit card information to the hotel for processing. A supplier resells a room at a markup.

    In this case, the condo charged the fees and were the target of the chargeback. I’m not sure Priceline did anything wrong. It sounds like the condo went rogue and starting charging fees without Priceline’s knowledge and then were removed from their system. Thanks to PL for that!

    If these extra fees were not disclosed up front, they should not have been billed by the condo. It sounds like Priceline billed what they were supposed to and should not be penalized.
    If the fee is mandatory, I think it should be included in the room rate and/or disclosed prominently early in the booking process.

  • Mark K

    I’m sure somewhere at the condo resort the OP signed something when checking in that stated her credit card would be charged for the taxes and other “incidental” fees.  I have never checked into any hotel, prepaid or not, where I was not asked to sign this type of form.  Was the total of the taxes and other fees disclosed to the OP? According to her, no.  But I have never stayed at a hotel and not been presented with a bill at departure time detailing all of this.  Unfortunately departure time is not the time to learn of these additional charges if you were not aware previously.

    Having said this, it seems to me that this is a ploy by the condo management company to trap customers into paying more than double what they expect.  It is great for the condo, not so much for the customers.  List the condo at an unbelievably low price and then charge a “cleaning” fee that is more than the rate.  Even if the fee was for the entire stay and not per night (it is not stated) it is still too much unless the OP left the condo so filthy and trashed that extra cleaning had to be done (but I doubt that).  I would hope that the hotel industry is not going to go the route of airlines and start charging al la carte.  What next? Water fee so you can shower?  Electricity fee so you can use the lights? 

    Good to hear that BofA came to the rescue here by refunding the fee and that Priceline says they will not offer this property any more.  But I cannot answer the question because Priceline offered NOTHING to the OP.  It was BofA who helped her.

  • Bill

    There needs to be full disclosure of all fees before the purchase committment is made.  Furthermore, since priceline sells the rooms that credit card number had best not be sent to the property. 

  • Chicky

    The OP received a refund on her fees. IMHO, it doesn’t really matter who paid the fees. I can assure you BOA will get their pound of flesh from Priceline at some point.
    This is exactly why I do not book through these opaque sites, with the exception of car rentals — occasionally. I use these sites to get a range of available prices, and then I almost always book directly with the hotel, airline, etc. Since most of my trips have not been of the “package” variety, it would do me no good to book one of the package deals through these sites. If I’m just renting a hotel room and driving my own car, there’s no percentage in dealing with an opaque site.
    The condo owners are running a tidy little scam. No question.

  • SoBeSparky

    If priceline were my travel agent, I would fire them immediately and report them to ASTA and whomever/whatever else are its professional association references.  I agree.  It was all a scam, with priceline a complicit partner in it all.

    Just what was going on telling the vendor the customer’s credit card info, presumably also the “security code,” when the bill was allegedly paid in full?  Federal credit agencies are interested in those sorts of things which lead to identity theft. 

  • DavidS

    BOA went after the condo. Priceline did not charge the additional fees.

    This was not booked as opaque, Priceline has the option to allow you to either book knowing the property up front or bid.

  • DavidS

    CC info is routinely passed along to hotels, it has been going on for years. How do you think the hotel bills you if you were a “no show”? The difference is when you use an internet travel vending machine, that bit of info is buried in the T&C’s. When you are face to face with a live, competent agent…they will advise you that the hotel requires a credit card to hold the room.

    In this case, Priceline acted as a travel “supplier”, charged the money for the room and paid the hotel a portion of that as opposed to waiting for their commission. The additional booking fees and cleaning fees were charged by the hotel/condo and not by Priceline. I am presumimg Priceline was not aware this was being done and removed them from their site when made aware.

  • Bill

    Money is collected in advance, no such thing as charging for no show..

  • Rosered7033

    I stand corrected.  The condo is indeed the entity that charged the OP’s card the additional “fees”.  My other point was not negative to PL, just that, if the practice of separating mandatory fees from the upfront cost continues, I believe PL should put pressure on the industry to roll these together in the interest of the consumer.  It is not in PL’s favor to have these fees separated if they are mandatory.

  • SoBeSparky

    Section IV does not provide for disclosure of credit card information to others.  It primarily covers third-party information (of other travelers) and an assurance it uses secure technology. 

    Section VI covers this if it were “pay when you stay.”  This is disputed.

  • DavidS

    In this case the money was indeed collected in advance.

    But the SOP for a true travel agent is to reserve the room and pass the traveler’s credit card info to the hotel. If these fees are not disclosed to the agent, we had no way to disclose them to the client.

    When I was a travel agent I would usually phrase it as “the hotel requires your credit card to hold the room” and then mention what the cancel policy is. Since I was a travel agent and not a travel supplier, we never charged the card directly for anything and waited for our commission payment from the hotel. (Interesting side note, when someone would no-show, the hotel would charge the client for the night but not pass our commision to us as no-show fees are non-commisionable.)

  • DavidS

    I believe credit card info is considered “Personal Data” by the T&C’s as noted in another section. The do indicate they will provide “Peronal Data” to the suppliers.

    The problem as I see it is not that PL passed the CC Info on so much as what the condo did with it. Perhaps that’s why they were taken off the site.

    I wish Chris would have mentioned their name and called them out on it.

  • Anthony Mohr

    People generally tend to forget in assessing what is “fair compensation” that the customer’s time has been required to resolve a problem caused by (in this case) a vendor’s lack of transparency, errors, a scam, or just the failure to do THEIR job correctly in the first place. Hence, anyone who argues ‘well you got your money back so be happy’ is missing the point, and probably sorely undervalues their own time too. 

    Hence, if I have to waste 2 hrs correcting some one else’s errors, I expect that to be compensated for my time as well, at least in some way. Even just the recognition of their mistake and a gift of their stock-in-trade is sometimes enough to make me feel that the vendor values my business and time enough to remain their customer (i.e. Continental compensates their member flyers with miles for long delays, discount vouchers, etc).

    How much are the hours of your life worth to you?

  • Brooklyn

    I think some of you are missing the point. When I use a site like Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline or any of the sites where you can pay with PayPal, it’s not always to save money.  It’s to make sure that my credit card information isn’t provided to the seller, thereby providing some protection against identity theft (unless, of course, the opaque site is hacked, which does happen) and to make sure that no extra charges can be tacked on.  This has worked in the past – with a car rental, where the rental company tried to add extra fees and found it couldn’t because my reservation was clearly marked “all expenses paid” and with a hotel, where they claimed to have lost my reservation and wanted to charge extra, but I had the reservation confirmation for a far lower price in hand and they had to take it. Priceline should not have given the hotel the client’s credit card information and someone needs to look into the situation.  Is there a regulatory body, either for online providers in general or for online travel agents in particular?  If not, we need one.

  • Tony A.

    Aha I found it! After gobbles of pages to look through, Priceline makes this disclosure near the point where you enter your credit card:

    Important Information-
           The reservation holder must present a valid photo ID and credit card at check-in. The credit card is required for any additional hotel specific service fees or incidental charges or fees that may be charged by the hotel to the customer at checkout. These charges may be mandatory (e.g., resort fees) or optional (parking, phone calls or minibar charges) and are not included in the room rate.

    Now if I understand this correctly, the customer must present his/her credit card to the hotel AND PAY for MANDATORY FEES which he/she does NOT KNOW HOW MUCH at the time he/she books with Priceline. What a joke!

  • Susan Porter

    And in many cases (I know as this happened last week) if the site is hacked (my web host this time) and you are a paypal customer all the hacker gets is your email addy associated with your paypal account. I often us paypal, it is a very good option for all the reasons you have outlined.

  • DavidS

    I agree…but let’s not rake only PL over the coals for this. (BTW…I do agree that mandatory fees should be included in the room rate.) PL has no control if a hotel decided to charge a fee.

    I believe, in this case, PL was not happy with the unnamed condo for charging the hidden fees and took them off their site. The way I read it, it sounds as if the condo decided to charge the fees prior to travel.

    As Chris pointed out there are other hotels that DO disclose an additional fee on PL giving the consumer the option to not book it.

  • Steve R

    For once, I have to come to the defense of Priceline. IMHO, they responded appropriately by blacklisting the condo agency.

    Even *if* the extra fees were disclosed by Priceline, they’re completely ridiculous. A $15 or $20 resort fee is one thing; a $120 fee on top of a $77 rate is highly deceptive. (I wish the name of the condo agency was highlighted here; it’s kind of unfair that Priceline is featured so prominently when they are only tangentially involved. A 156% fee on top of the base rate is deceptive and unethical even if it’s disclosed to the consumer – it makes the base rate totally irrelevant.

  • Carver

    How is that unique to pricline and hotwire.  That is a problem the pervades the the entire travel industry

  • DavidS

    I think LePin is under the assumption that this was a bid, rather than an upfront booking.

    LePin is correct that when you bid a property on one of these sites you may have to pay a MANDATORY resort fee at check in that is not covered with your bid.

    While this is a hotel industry-wide aggravation, it is especially more aggravating when your non-refundable bid is accepted and charged to your card, only to find out about the “resort” and or “booking” fee. You have no option to decline your accepted booking.

    At least if you are booking knowing the hotel upfront you can choose to NOT book it if the fee is a dealbreaker.

    (Again…in this case it appears that it was an upfront booking and the fee was not disclosed to PL by the hotel…I see it more as a hotel problem rather than Priceline.)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Chris, it’s not like you to keep secret the name of the offending travel provider!  What’s the name of the condo that tried to scam this customer out of more than double the quoted price?  Your faithful readers would like to know.  Many of us make a point of paying attention to which travel providers are guilty of unscrupulous practices, and should be avoided.

    Publicizing their bad behavior is one of the only ways to motivate these companies to do the right thing.

  • y_p_w

    We once booked a bed & breakfast for four through some third-party website.  Upon arrival, the owner told us that the website couldn’t charge more than a standard rate for two people, and there was an additional charge for two more people for additional food, towels, etc. that they would collect in person.  It was only $20, so we didn’t make a scene about it and paid in cash.  We did get a larger room, which was about $20 more.  I didn’t feel like we got fleeced, but then again it wasn’t disclosed.

    [Additional edit] Just to clarify, we didn’t get charged for the upgraded room, but supposedly the $20 went for more supplies for the two additional guests. They didn’t actually serve breakfast, but had food available in the room’s kitchenette. It wasn’t anything fancy – Quaker instant oatmeal, some apples/bananas, and more yogurt in the fridge. They did stack a lot of towels, but the toiletries were simply Suave shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

  • Giget

    Priceline did nothing including not addressing why they gave the condo her credit card number. Bank of America did.

  • DavidS

    They also didn’t charge her more than agreed upon.

    The credit card info is part of “Personal Data” passed on to the travel provider per the T&C’s.

    Priceline appears to have stopped including the mystery condo in their website as well.

  • Sam Varshavchik

    The most certainly do have full control over the hotel’s mandatory fees. Priceline must simply require that the rate that the hotel publishes to Priceline for opaque bidding must be all-inclusive. All mandatory fees must be included in the price bid on and booked through Priceline.

    Otherwise, what in blazes are you bidding on? You’re bidding on a pig in a poke. Who’s to say that an extra $5 per day in resort fees is reasonable? What about $10/day, $20/day…? Where do we draw a line, here?

    Now, of course, Priceline can do whatever they want to do, but as long as you don’t really know what you’ll be paying until after you win your “bid”, I’ll have to classify this as a scam. You might very well end up getting booked at a hotel that’s supposedly $5/day cheaper than their competitor across the street, but which charges $10/day in resort fees, that the competitor doesn’t.

  • DavidS

    Actually, if you read my posts, you will see that am in favor of mandatory fees being included in the room cost. I am also no fan of 3rd party online booking websites…aka Travel Vending Machines.
    This case was not a bid situation, but I agree and would like to see PL and HW include resort fees in the price you bid.
    In this case, I am inclined to believe that Priceline was not aware of the fees being added and in response yanked the mystery condo from their website.
    Chris mentions in the case that there ARE hotels on Priceline that you can book (not bid) and still pay additional fees at checkin. He gave two examples, so PL DOES advise when they are aware of additional fees at checkin.
    This is not isolated to a Priceline problem as others have pointed out, but an industry problem. I just looked at a website for a hotel group in Las Vegas who disclose that their own property carries a $24.99 resort fee on top of the $85 room rate. This disclosure is difficult to find.
    Until the industry agrees to include mandatory fees in the room rate I don’t see how you can blame Priceline in this case.

  • Tony A.

    Hey DavidS, Note that the 3-way call was between VISA- the cardholder – and Priceline. So Priceline is NOT innocent in this case. VISA suspected something was definitely wrong.

    If the hotel swiped the cardholder’s credit card and she signed it, there will be NO DISPUTE with priceline since the merchant on record would have been the hotel. Correct?

    So I assume that priceline gave the hotel/condo her creditcard and the condo charged it WITHOUT ANY AUTHORIZATION from the cardholder. In other words, the condo did not swipe her card or make her sign a UCCCF. [OR WORSE, Priceline charged the UNDISCLOSED FEES for the hotel and it became the merchant on record.] That’s my interpretation of this whole mess.

  • Rebecca

    In this case, they aren’t going to eat the fee. The card wasn’t present. The merchant would have to prove that the OP agreed to the charges, which they obviously can’t. Unless a confirmation email WAS actually sent clearly displaying these charges. We are taking her word for it that it wasn’t (and I believe her, actually). If it was sent, though, B of A won’t eat the loss, they will charge it right back to her.

    One other thing, we don’t know if she actually stayed there. If she did and signed something while staying there spelling out the extra charges, again, they will deny her dispute and place the charge back on her card.

  • Livermorebrianc

    Sorry, I hate to say it but yet ANOTHER reason to NEVER use Priceline or Expedia again. The hastle and risk is so great for the marginal (or in this case imaginary) savings you receive.

    The fact that Priceline passed their customer’s credit card information onto a third party vendor is outrageous, completely illegal and a violation of privacy.

    I hope for everyone’s sake that BofA didn’t eat the charges, I’m assuming they were charged back to the property owner as unauthorized.

    Thanks for exposing this Chris!

  • DavidS

    I am assuming the customer has not yet travelled and saw the charges on her statement.

    Since it was done over the ‘net, she agreed to PL’s T&C’s which appear to disclose that “Personal Data” (inc. CC data) be forwarded to the travel provider.

    They were on a 3 way call, the BOA/Visa person asked about who gave authorization for the CC info to be passed onto the condo, I am curious as to PL’s response to that question in this case.

    If she has not yet travelled, will the condo try to nail her with the fees at check in…of which they (The condo) may counter she is now fully aware and unpaid…or did she cancel altogether?

    Still wondering what PL is responsible for compensating for, other than a refund of an unused booking.

    It still sounds like the condo trying to get more fees. They freely admit that they get this “all the time” from 3rd party websites. Since there are examples from Chris of PL properties that DO disclose a fee upfront, I suspect they did not disclose this fee to PL…or anyone else… for inclusion in their website.

    The OP claims she never got an email. When I log into my PL account I can pull up a reservation. Wondering what the confirmation in her PL account says about these fees as well…..more questions than answers!

  • y_p_w

    Not sure what happened – I was adding to my previous comment, but it ended up attached to a different message. I just edited out the comment.

  • emanon256

    A few years ago my mother got a hotel on price line, got a great deal at $80 a night by naming her own price.  It ended up being a small boutique hotel.  Upon checking they asked for her credit card and made her sign a blank credit slip stating it was for incidentals.  Upon checkout she was billed a $35 nightly fee for hotel service, as well as $22 and change per night in tax.  When she argued, they told her that Priceline did not collect any tax, and that the $35 housekeeping fee is standard and included in their normal rate had she booked through the hotel.  She could not dispute is as she signed the blank credit slip.
    I have also had a few hotels require me to sign a blank credit slip for incidentals.  I tried to refuse once and was then told that I could not stay if I didn’t.  Fortunately I didn’t get any charges.

  • Andre K.

    Under any circumstance “Personal Data” does not and should not ever constitute the transference of secured credit card information. Legally it should only include data required for the actual processing of the reservation, such as name, address, contact info, and other such data which constitutes personally identifiable information. Credit card information does not fall under the category of personally identifiable information

    As for the question “Did Priceline offer Margaret Peary enough compensation?” the answer is clearly no. They did nothing to reimburse their guest for this experience and it is clear that they perpetrated a breach of contract by passing on credit card information without authorization for use of fraudulent means.

  • DavidS

    Excerpts from Priceline’s website:

    Information We Collect
    We collect personally identifiable information (“Personal Data”) about you that you provide to us while using the Site. Personal Data includes information that can identify you as a specific individual, such as your name, address, phone number, credit card number or e-mail address.

    Certain Services: In order to provide you with certain services, we may share your Personal Data with our subsidiaries or third party partners, or require that you transact directly with a third party partner.

  • Rosered7033

    That’s some important info to be put in the fine print.  Remind me not to use Priceline because of this (and I’ll be looking at other sites’ fine print more carefully too).

  • YesIdoKnow

    Priceline = Drop your pants and roll the dice.

    Why are people shocked when they’re screwed by Priceline???  Really, are they that stupid?

  • BruceW

    We have an idiot “Consumer Advocate” that reveals scams in our are in weekly local news segment but they always obscure the scammers names!  They say they are afraid of getting sued.  How the hell is the segment helpful if we don’t know who to avoid!  They are totally useless.

  • Guest

    Anyone you transact with gets your paypal email.  So what.  You don’t have a good password??

  • Christopher Elliott

    Sorry. The company name is Hawaii Condo Rentals, according to Peary.

  • MikeZ

    Exactly! Show maximum amounts so the customer knows what they may be responsible for. Also, $85 for cleaning? For one night? Cleaning people make like $10 an hour. So they take an entire day to clean each room that someone has been in for a night!?!?

    And $35 for a booking fee? Thats crazy. You don’t book through the resort, Priceline does. The resort made the blocks of rooms available through Priceline and any booking fees should be up front, and included in the price.

  • DavidS

    Actually, any travel agency you or in person will do this. The question I am beginning to have with this is that why the need to send credit card info if the reservation was paid in advance via a transaction direct with Priceline?

    If I call my travel agent and ask to hold a room in Minnepaolis tonight, they will pass the credit card info to the hotel. If I no show, the hotel will charge my card a no show fee.

  • Gubby

    What was the point of that useless rant?

  • xpatinasia

    The consumer was wronged, and was made whole.  Unfortunately, as many consumers do, she felt as if she should have won the lottery.  “I want MORE!”

  • Petes

    Why anyone books with sites like Priceline is beyond me.  If anything goes wrong, you are screwed.
    Is that worth the few dollars supposedly saved?

  • DavidS

    Where would you book a room? The same can be said for ANY booking method.

  • Traveling man

    A good online agency shoud eat the fees and offer at least 1 night’s compensation for the aggrivation put on the client.

  • DavidS

    Step #1: Find a good online agency.

    But even then, in this case the hotel made the extra charges, not the agency.

  • Dfjkh

    Priceline plays games with taxes and fees.  Once naming your own price, we have to allow for an extra 20% taxes/fees. These are disclosed at the final “yellow” page, as the total of your reservation. Ex: $100/night + $15 taxes + $5 booking fee * 2 nights = $240 total to be charged. If any fees are not disclosed at this page, a hotel can’t charge anything extra. Priceline indeed collects all taxes and I hope all fees.  I’d dispute any resort or cleaning charges if not disclosed to me up-front.

  • DavidS

    This is not a “name your own price booking”, but rather a conventional pre-paid booking.

    Regarding priceline’s name your own price bookings, they do have a blanket statement that a hotel “may” charge a resort fee, but I agree with you, if a fee is not optional it should be part of the room rate.