Hotels.com Screws Me Out Of Price-Matching Guarantee Because They're Too Busy

Last week, Consumerist reader Kenny needed to book a hotel for a few nights and decided to use Hotels.com, in part because of the site’s Price Match Guarantee. But when Kenny found a lower rate and attempted to take advantage of the guarantee, Hotels.com was just too busy to get around to his request.

Here’s how he tells the story:

I booked a hotel stay with Hotels.com on 8/3. Later that night I found a lower rate on HotelClub.com and decided to take advantage of the price guarantee offered by Hotels.com

I received an email on 8/4 saying they were backlogged with requests and would get back to me “shortly.” I checked into the hotel on 8/6, checked out on 8/8, and today, 8/9, they sent me the below email saying they won’t honor it because they can’t find the similar reservation — of course they can’t find it, the travel dates were in the past!

Here is the Hotels.com e-mail he references, typos and all:

Dear Kenny,
Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Due to constant changes in our discounted rates and availability. Unfortunately we are unable to match the lower rate you have quoted. We are unable to verify that the rate is currently available at the source you have provided.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this may have caused you and for the delay of our response.

According to the rules on Hotels.com’s Price Matching page, the conditions for claiming the guarantee are:
* You must have already booked a prepaid reservation.
* This reservation cannot be for one of our non-discounted properties.
* The lower rate must be available for booking with identical specifications of the original request (ex: same hotel, same date and same room type).

Obviously, Kenny fulfilled the first requirement and there’s no mention in the Hotels.com e-mail of his booked room being in a “non-discounted property.” So the only requirement at issue is the last one. But, as Kenny points out, it would be awfully difficult to check on a room rate that no longer exists.

So what do you think? Should Hotels.com honor the guarantee?

For anyone hoping to take advantage of a price match guarantee in the future, we recommend taking a screen grab or printing out the lower room rate so that you have photographic/physical proof of the rate.