Hotwire Communications, Ltd.

Hotwire Communications, Ltd.

We are writing this to document our experience with Hotwire in regards to a family holiday we booked with this company for Spring Break. | We booked our holiday on 18 November 2015, after much research to find the best price options for our family of 2 adults and 2 children, ages 12 and 15. We were happy to find an all inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen from 17-23 March 2016 that met our budget; however we did not know which resort it was until we booked it as Hotwire keeps the name of the resorts hidden. (Supposedly because the prices they offer are lower than everybody else) The Hotwire quoted price was $2407.33. The resort turned out to be the Hacienda Tres Rios Resort. During the booking process, Hotwire only every asked how many children ages 2-17 there were, they never gave us the opportunity to say the exact ages of our children. (Please see the attached screen shots of Hotwire’s web page) Of note, Hotwire does not say on any official receipt the individual guests or ages, only the name of the primary guest. | When we arrived at the hotel in Mexico, we provided our passports and ages of our children. The day after we arrived we received a call from the front desk informing us that we would have to pay an additional amount of 600USD for the 15 year old, as hotel policy for children was 12 and under. We told them that we had booked and paid for the resort fully through Hotwire and they needed to take it up with them. The hotel then informed us that the kids were both declared as being 11 years old. This was not identified by them as a resort fee or an amenities fee, but an actual charge associated with an extra person. | We were very surprised by this and we thought that Hotwire would have been aware of this policy and asked the ages of the children to determine the actual price. Through our discussion with the hotel manager, we were able to obtain a document from the Hotwire booking agency to the hotel booking agency where Hotwire states that the booking is for 2 adults and 2 children ages 11 and 11. We most certainly did not tell Hotwire these ages, but it became apparent that they deliberately told the hotel the children are younger than the hotel policy, to be able to sell the holiday package at the reduced rate. Most certainly, if we knew that our hotel was going to cost an additional 808.69CAD, we would have done more research and selected a different type of holiday! | We first called Hotwire on Friday 18 March and after waiting on hold for approximately 30 minutes, we finally got through to a representative at the call center in the Philippines. The told us that the resort policy they had from the hotel was children were considered under the age of 18 and they would call the hotel directly to sort it out. The representative placed us on hold again and when they returned they told us they got through to the hotel and that we could hang up and they would inform us of the outcome. | The next day we returned to the front desk to ask if it had been sorted by Hotwire and they had no record of receiving any calls from Hotwire at all. We immediately emailed Hotwire to explain the situation again and received a prompt reply, apologizing for our problems and asking us to phone their regular number to discuss their policies. We thought this was odd, as we had already phoned and spent significant time explaining exactly what was happening but it became apparent they did not keep records of previous calls. We tried several times to call the number Hotwire gave us for Customer Care but were now unable to call outside of Mexico from our cell phone and we even had the hotel try but they were not able to get through to Hotwire either. We emailed back with this information and received the exact same email back again with one sentence reworded for our specific issue. It was a clearly a form letter response, where no one really seemed to care about the issue at hand. | We responded again, asking for a direct number for a representative so that we would not have to spend significant time on our holiday on hold again. We also stated that if we were required to pay extra to the hotel, we would be seeking a refund plus informing the Better Business Bureau and local media outlets of the “help” we received from Hotwire. Once we informed them of these things, we got no response at all. We sent the email multiple times, and every time it was ignored. When we tried to call the number provided in the form email from Customer Care, the number was not valid. | We then found the email addresses of the President of Hotwire and the Vice President of Customer Service for Expedia (Expedia owns Hotwire) and forwarded our email to them. Again, no response or acknowledgment. | We were finally forced to have the hotel call through the to American office of Hotwire on 22 March 2016. This call went through at 0930 hrs, and we waited on hold until 1015 hrs. When the call was finally answered, we explained the situation again and asked to speak to a supervisor. We were then put on hold again from 1017 hrs to 1053 hrs. Finally, Cecilia from the Escalation Management Team answered. She first said we declared the ages of both kids to be 11, to which we responded to her saying that was ludicrous and that we would never do that, as their ages are on the passports and as well there is no where on the Hotwire website to specify their ages. After going back and forth with her, she then agreed there was nowhere for us to state the kids ages and it must have been the other agency that takes the booking from them. | She then tried to say that this is an extra charge, like a resort or amenities fee from the hotel and that they state right in the Hotwire policies that they are not responsible for charges like this. (please see a screen shot of their policy.) Their policy states as the guest we are responsible for additional charges: energy fees, convention fees, parking fees and resort fees but nowhere does it say anything about children being charged as adults. When we asked for her email address so that we could follow up with her directly, as we would be seeking legal action, she informed us that she had no email address at all. We ended the call by saying if hotwire did not fix this with the hotel by the time we left the next morning at 4:30 am we would be filing this with the better business bureau as will as taking our story to the media and possibly seeking legal action against hotwire for fraud. | Hotwire never did contact the hotel to correct the situation they created so we are now forced to follow through with what we have said to them numerous times. We have included all the screen shots of Hotwire’s booking site showing nowhere do they ask the specific ages of the children, also screen shots of their booking policies. As well we have included scans of the hotwire confirmations as well as the receipts from the hotel showing the extra charges we had to pay for the 15 year old as well as the email to the hotel from the booking agency stating the kids were 11. | The above is a summery of our experience with Hotwire but we also have more detailed information of our call with Cecilia from hotwire including her agent number.

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