We are traveling to Florida the end of March. We booked the travel in November because it is Spring Break and traveling during the Break is always risky. At the same time we booked a car. This past week my grandmother called to offer us her car. No reason to spend the money on a rental, she said. We were grateful.
I called this morning to cancel the car and was told I rented the car under a no change, no refund policy. I couldn’t believe it. I’m calling more than three weeks before the travel and Hotwire is telling me I have no recourse. They said this was part of the agreement, which of course is only provided as a click through link when signing up, and then is buried in a multi-page agreement. I don’t remember the site ever once saying, clearly, booking this car means no changes and no refunds.
So I called Hertz. Here’s a company that supposedly takes care of their customers. No dice there either. They basically said I should have booked with us instead. Great. I have a $400 rental car in Florida that I don’t need. I love pissing money down the toilet.
It bothers me that Hotwire trusts their services so much that they bury important information like no refunds or changes. (Delta changed our flight and we arrive 7 hours earlier. Hotwire wouldn’t change our arrival time either — no changes — so who knows if we will have a car when we get there.) This makes Hotwire look shifty and underhanded.
I’m just as disappointed in Hertz, though. Here’s a company that supposedly takes care of their customers and they are basically telling me to pound sand. Why, if you want a good relationship with your customers, would you even rent cars through assholes like Hotwire? Could you imagine buying an iPhone at an AT&T Store and then Apple telling you they won’t support your iPhone because you didn’t buy it from them?
It’s not like I’m an amateur here. I’ve sold products to customers for 17 years. We have always tried to accommodate them even when they didn’t buy through us. This is particularly challenging in the App Store world, where we are given no recourse for our customers. I’ve given away tons of promo codes to customers who felt they bought the wrong product even though we have no means to prove a purchase was made.
I will definitely never book anything through Hotwire again. And as for you, Hertz, we’ll see if I get over this one. At the moment I wish a plague on both your houses.