Last month, I took a trip to Oxnard, CA for a weekend getaway. I was about to book a room at the Hampton Inn (owned by Hilton) overlooking the harbor when I saw a promotion on their page, get the 3rd night free. Well, we were only going to go for 2 nights, but how can we not extend our trip if it’s absolutely free?
I clicked on the link, entered our trip details, and took the cheapest available option, which came out to about $130 including taxes for each night. The price included the 3rd night, so I called the hotel for clarification, and they said that upon checkout, they would credit back to my account.
The weekend was absolutely fantastic: we spent a day at the beach, went bike riding, and listened to a concert in the park from our balcony.
Sunday rolled around, and as we set out on our way for a wine tasting and lunch on the way back, I checked out of the hotel and requested my extra $130 back.
The only problem was that they didn’t see the promotion on my account. I spoke to the manager, and she wouldn’t adjust it for me since I booked it online and she said she didn’t have the power. I would have to speak with Hilton to try and get my money back.
Frustrated, I left, hoping that this wouldn’t ruin my weekend. As soon as I got home, I called Hilton and explained the situation. They told that even after clicking on the promotion, I should have selected the normal, higher rate in order to get the promotion added to my account.
Well, that sucks. I paid more for the 3 night stay than I would have had I selected a higher rate and gotten the 3rd night free. No fair! Obviously I wanted them to credit me the $118 difference.
I believe that the website was a little deceptive and didn’t give clear instructions about how to book the 3rd night free promotion. I specifically asked for clarification before booking, so I wanted Hilton to acknowledge that their employee had made a mistake in talking to me on the phone and that they should be responsible for her actions.
Calling didn’t work, so I tried two different avenues: I complained publicly via twitter and I filed a report with the Better Business Bureau. I meant business, I had been misled, and I should not have been charged as much as I had been.
Nobody voluntarily pays more for the same product. I wanted to get the rate people who didn’t make a “mistake” on their website would have gotten.
With all my complaining, getting the full $118 seemed like a lost cause, so I focused my efforts on getting back the extra money that I paid over the lowest available rate, which was about $85.
I got a fairly quick response to my twitter complaint and after a few back and forth responses, I got an email saying that they were indeed going to credit me back my $85, the extra portion that I probably shouldn’t have paid.
While I did get a response after filing the BBB report, it came about a week later, and I once again I asked for the full $118 credited back. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my wish and ultimately they decided that the $85 was enough and my hassle shouldn’t be compensated.
Rarely will one avenue work for every problem you have, which is why I tried 4 different options. I spoke to the manager, I called, I tweeted, and I filed a report.
By reaching out in all sorts of directions, I put my eggs in different baskets, hoping that one would work out positively. Because sometimes just one friendly response is all it takes to save $85.