Is this enough compensation? Priceline refunds me $1 for overpriced hotel

Sometimes a best-price guarantee just isn’t worth the trouble. That’s what Lynne Fukumoto thought after trying to make a claim on a Priceline “Name Your Own Price” hotel room recently.

“I ended up with a room at the Ala Moana Hotel for $120 a night,” she says.

That’s the Ala Moana Hotel – Honolulu, a nice little property in Waikiki, and part of the terrific Outrigger Hotel chain, for your reference.

“I had never heard of this hotel and went to its website where rooms were advertised for $119 per night,” she says.
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Case dismissed: Charged $183 for four hours on my rental car

Phillip Barszczowski’s Hertz car, which he booked through Priceline, cost $122. Not bad for a four-day rental in Wyoming, considering what rates have been doing lately.

But when Barszczowski told the agent he’d have the car back by noon on the fourth day, she had some bad news: His reservation lasted only until 8 a.m., and the four extra hours would more than double the price of his car, to $305.

Priceline’s reservation said he had until 1:30 p.m. The Hertz agent didn’t care. “She told me Priceline does this all the time and they get you a great deal and then make up for it later,” he says.
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Hotel reservation agent: “I feel very guilty about lying”

Mary is an in-house reservation agent for an upscale, full-service hotel in a major American city. I’m not using her last name for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.

Mary has a lot on her mind. People who call her hotel to reserve a room are getting ripped off, and she wants to come clean about it. Here’s our interview, which was conducted by phone this morning.

Tell me about what you do.

I work in the in-house reservations department of [a hotel]. When people call the hotel to book a room, they’re put through to me.

What do they say when they’re connected to your department?

Normally, they ask for the best room rate.

And what do you tell them?

I give them what we call the “bar” rate — it stands for “best available rate.”

Is it?

No.
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Is Celebrity’s last-minute price switch legitimate?

Kathi McGaffigan and Bruce Nordqusit’s upcoming Italy cruise on the Celebrity Constellation came with an unpleasant surprise just a few days before they set sail. The company discovered a pricing error and reset their rate from $999 per person to $1,549, and although it apologized for the mistake, it insisted on charging the couple the difference.

These pricing errors — often called “fat finger” fares — are not uncommon in travel. I’ve written about them several times, and I generally believe a company has the right to fix a legitimate price mistake.

But this didn’t fit the traditional definition of a “fat finger” rate, and Celebrity had no business changing their price at the last minute.
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