Help! My Hotwire hotel is in a dangerous neighborhood

Ashley Norris’ hotel reservation on Hotwire is a surprise — and not a good one. The hotel is in a neighborhood that’s not exactly known for its safety. Can she get a refund?
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Attention, bargain-hunters! “Opaque” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheapest”

One of the most frequently-repeated pieces of advice for bargain-hunters is that you’ll always find a deal on one of the so-called “opaque” travel websites, like Hotwire or Priceline.

The companies routinely offer discounts of up to 50 percent off the published fare or rate, but there’s a tradeoff: You don’t find out the name of the airline, car rental company or hotel until after the purchase. And the transaction is completely non-refundable.

So when Raymond Rios went looking for a rental car on Hotwire, he was surprised when the price fell far short of his expectations.

Rios started his search on Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity, to get an idea of what a rental would cost in West Palm Beach. Then he went to Hotwire and found what he believed to be the best price — $87 through Budget. He paid for it.
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