Why can’t this Priceline booking be canceled?

Vickie Collett thought she was getting a quote for a hotel stay from Priceline, but instead books a room. A non-refundable room. Now she’s being charged. Is there a way out?

Question: My husband and I were recently enroute to Galveston, Texas, and I was looking for accommodations. I had used Priceline a few times in the past.

I was using my iPhone and got on their website to check rates of hotels. I thought I was going to “Name Your Own Price” and enter an amount for a four-star hotel. The page came up to enter my contact and credit card information, which I did. Then I initialed the disclosure page and clicked the Go button. Instantly I received confirmation that my trip was booked for three nights at The Tremont House in Galveston, for a charge of $887 to my American Express card.

I realized that instead of “Naming Your Price” that the reservation was made. We didn’t intend to book the room for the rate and days. I immediately contacted Priceline.com and told them that I had made a mistake and wanted to cancel. I was told that there was no way it could be canceled or changed.

Then I contacted American Express to explain and was told that I would have to wait for the charge to go on my account and then I could contest it. Finally I contacted the hotel directly and spoke to Christian and explained that I had just made the mistake and to cancel the reservations, which he agreed to do.

Priceline.com charged my American Express for the total amount. I have disputed the charge with American Express, but it sided with Priceline. The reason that American Express will not give me the credit is that they say Priceline and I had a contract and that I initialed the disclosure page and they could not do anything.

I have contacted Priceline as well and had the dispute reopened. I have told them that I had contacted The Tremont House and spoken with a hotel executive who informed me that she never charged Priceline for my reservation since it was canceled immediately.

I have spent many hours contacting Priceline and American Express explaining that Priceline was never charged and have given multiple people the Tremont House executive’s name and phone number, so they can call her directly to verify.

I would appreciate it if you can help me in any way with this matter or advise of any other options.–Vickie Collett, Dallas

Answer: When you book or research travel online, you are acting as your own travel agent. You need to double- and triple-check the fine print before you click the GO button. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a reservation you did not intend to make.

I know. I’ve done it too. I made a reservation for a flight at 7 p.m. thinking I made it for 7 am.

This can be a costly mistake — especially because with Priceline’s opaque system, its reservations are nonrefundable. Our website even states, “Most Priceline complaints involve its restrictive “Name Your Own Price” bookings.”

You called Priceline right away, but they told you that the reservation was nonrefundable. You were very lucky that the hotel agreed to cancel the reservation.

You appealed your case to Priceline’s executive contacts, but were unable to persuade them to refund your money.

American Express sided with Priceline as well and you turned to our advocates.

Little known fact: If you make an honest mistake on Priceline and call the company right away, it will usually issue a full refund. But you have to act quickly, and there’s no guarantee, of course.

We contacted Priceline and they investigated your case. Priceline confirmed it was never charged by the hotel for the reservation. You received a full refund.

Is Priceline's hardline stance on hotel cancellations fair?

View Results

 Loading ...
Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook
About the Author
Teri Bergin is a Physician Assistant with an oncology and hematology practice in Central Florida. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her daughter, two disobedient dogs and a Bengal Cat.
Posted in The Travel Troubleshooter Tagged , ,

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.