The travel troubleshooter

Still waiting for promised refund

 

elliottc@gmail.com

Q. We recently stayed at a Best Western hotel in Seaside, Ore. We made the reservation through Priceline and took advantage of a promotion run by the Hotel Card. The card promises we will receive $50 back as a refund from our stay. It’s been four months since our stay, and we still haven’t received a refund.

Numerous attempts at emails and phone calls to the number on the website have been to no avail. Calls to the number listed on their website have not been returned, and you can never get a live person. Can you help?

Bev Eberly

Portland, Ore.

If the Hotel Card offers a $50 refund, then you should have received one shortly after your stay. But a review of the card’s terms online suggests that’s not exactly how it works.

The Hotel Card, which was a Priceline partner at the time of your stay, is a discount card that allows you to “save” $50 off the price of a hotel. Once you enter your Hotel Card number in the designated place during the booking process, $50 will be subtracted from the lowest price. That $50, it promises, will show up as an “instant” credit.

I’m not a big fan of discount programs like this, precisely because so much can go wrong. Running a promotion through any coupon or card automatically reduces the redemption rates, which means that customers like you end up holding worthless scrip.

Now, to be clear, I’m not calling the Hotel Card worthless, but you have to jump through a few hoops to collect the discount, and that hassle means some customers will fail to take advantage of their cards. In fact, after four months of waiting, it looks like you might be ready to give up. (I’m usually the last person someone contacts before throwing in the towel.)

The Hotel Card should have credited you right away, as it promised. But if it didn’t, you still had two other avenues of appeal: Priceline and Best Western. Failing that, you could have disputed part of your credit card bill, which would have been a lengthy process that may or may not have worked.

By the way, you can reach a Priceline executive through my website. Here are a few names: http://elliott.org/contacts/priceline/

A brief, polite email to a Priceline executive might have convinced the company to pressure Hotel Card to review your case. It’s possible that, because of heavy demand, the Hotel Card was overwhelmed by requests from consumers. Rest assured, it’s unlikely the Hotel Card would have also ignored questions from Priceline.

I contacted Priceline on your behalf. It got in touch with The Hotel Card (unlike you and me, it has a working number for the card) and someone from the card contacted you in person and offered either a credit or a check.

You asked for – and received – a check.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
This mural is a collaboration between New Zealand artist Tanja Jade and Australia artist Dabs Myla, on the wall and alleyway of a car dealership in Kakaako, in Honolulu.

    Hawaii

    Street art is the draw in Honolulu’s Kakaako

    Honolulu is famous for gold-sand beaches and big waves. But the city’s warehouse district, called Kakaako, is famous for a different sort of attraction. You won’t find kitschy Hawaiian souvenir shops or hordes of tourists here, but you will find a thriving urban arts scene, with colorful street murals so big they stretch across walls and sometimes entire sides of buildings.

  •  
A scene from Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain.

    Seville

    Lessons learned abroad: studying in Seville

    Things don’t start to feel real until you drag your two empty suitcases into your bedroom and start to pack for your semester abroad. That’s when you realize your life for the next six months will have to weigh less than you do.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    What happened to the repair records for my damaged rental car?

    Q: I recently rented a car from Europcar in Brussels. I declined the collision damage waiver (CDW) provided by Europcar in favor of the CDW on my Capital One World MasterCard.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category