I’ve explained in previous posts that I am one to rant, and this is my soapbox from which I stand. I feel like I’m a magnet for poor customer service, and all the headaches that come with it. It doesn’t matter if I’m using a travel agent, a moving company, filing an insurance claim, I am certain to run into some fine print or broken promises that are about to cause my blood pressure hit record highs. Call me old fashioned, but I expect to get what I pay for, and that often does not happen. Last year my wife and I joined six other friends of ours for a vacation in Cancun, Mexico. We figured that since we all had the week between Christmas and New Years off, and that it’s 10 degrees here in Michigan during December, that a tropical vacation would be nice and relaxing. I work a ton of hours at my day job, and then I come home and work a ton more keeping up with all of my blogs. After 12 months of non-stop work a stress free vacation was very much needed. While I love traveling, I also love finding a good deal! I will spend the extra time reading reviews, searching out all the price comparison sites for the best package deals, and I will even play around with the flexibility of the dates to see if I can save some money by shifting a day or two. Well on that fateful day of my booking Travelocity was the deal of the day…unfortunately for me.
Now to be fair, it wasn’t like Travelocity was the problem to start with. Booking through the site was effortless, but considering the number of easy to use travel sites out there that isn’t saying much. No, the issue began the moment my wife and I walked into our hotel in Mexico. We had paid extra for an oceanfront room with a balcony, and we were anxious to get checked in and start enjoying the view. Well I was a little surprised that when I checked in to the hotel they informed me they didn’t have any oceanfront rooms left. After 15 minutes of arguing with them, two of my friends made their way through the line and checked into their own oceanfront rooms. Not understanding how they could be out of oceanfront rooms, and then find one for my friends whom checked in after me, I began to get a little angry. I spent the first two hours of my vacation arguing with hotel staff that were unwilling to do anything for me to compensate for this inconvenience. We spent the first night in a room looking at a concrete wall with a toilet that wouldn’t flush. The next day they assured us they would move us to the correct room first thing in the morning. Well the morning, afternoon, and early evening came and went. After another hour long argument at the front desk they finally agreed to get my room together. We packed up all of our stuff and went up 10 floors to our new room. Our new room was perfect, and it made me forget about our first wasted night. I figured everything was all set at this point, that is until we went to dinner and came back to our room. When we got back to our room the floor was flooded, literally an inch of water across the entire room, our things were soaked. Their cooling system was faulty and leaking through the ceiling, and it took them a long time to come to our room and figure out the issue. This was our second wasted night. They finally led us to our third and final room, which was a nice view and didn’t have any leaks. But I was upset that we spent our first two nights switching to three different rooms, packing and unpacking our stuff, staying in rooms that were less in value than we had paid for, and my stress levels skyrocketing on what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. Over the remainder of the week we found that hotel staff was unresponsive, and worse, unfriendly when they weren’t properly tipped for each and every task they performed. This was an all-inclusive resort with a multitude of restaurants, however, most of the restaurants were never open on time and they often closed early. There were hours of time throughout the day when there was no food options available because they simply did not open their restaurants on time, and they never had a reason or explanation.
I tried calling Travelocity while on our vacation but the hotel actually had expensive charges for phone calls, even to toll-free numbers if you can believe that! I attempted to call them the first night to straighten the issue out but sat on hold for 20 minutes and didn’t want to rack up more charges for something I should’ve been entitled to anyways. The hotel refused to compensate because we booked through Travelocity, so we were left with no other choice but to go through them. When I got back I filed a claim through their website, to which they contacted the hotel and after about 6 weeks of following up with them demanding a resolution, they FINALLY came up with one. The hotel offered me two free nights if I came back and booked another week. YEAH…Like I’m going to spend another $3,000 for another sh*tty stressful vacation in order to receive two free nights at the hotel from hell. I told Travelocity how ridiculous this solution was, and after 6 weeks of waiting for them to properly address it was I more than disappointed. So after another couple weeks of complaints and escalations, they came up with the idea of simply giving me a $75 credit voucher for my next booking. Reluctantly I accepted since I was pretty sure I would have a heart attack if I fought with them anymore. Truthfully, they should have refunded my credit card for two nights of the trip, that would’ve slightly made up for the crap I had to deal with on my vacation.
Well that credit voucher was issued to me about 10 months ago, and I finally saw an opportunity to use it! My wife and I are sending my parents on a vacation this year for Christmas, their first one since their honeymoon nearly 30 years ago…I would say it’s about time for a vacation. So I sought out the cheapest airfare I could find on Travelocity so that I could use my credit. I found a great rate, made my way through the checkout process, and then searched the final payment page for where to input the credit…and I couldn’t find it. I then proceeded to back out entirely and start over from the beginning in case I had missed the section that you need to input the credit. Once I found the same flight I was shocked to discover that within a few minutes the airfare was now an additional $80! So because I was unable to find the area to input the claim code I now had to use my $75 credit to get a rate that was $5 more than I could have initially booked to begin with. Well guess what….I still couldn’t find it. Rather than pay another increased fee I decided to just checkout at that price and then call their customer service line so they couldn’t retroactively apply the credit.
This was my last and final time dealing with Travelocity, and I will NEVER do business with them again. I called their customer service line, and received someone that was nearly inaudible and hard to understand. I’m not picking on anyone, but if I can’t understand what they are saying it makes it difficult to come to any sort of resolution. They spent the first 20 minutes on the call telling me they couldn’t find my credit on my account, then once they found that they spent another 20 minutes researching reasons why I couldn’t use it. Apparently, you can ONLY use a travel credit if it’s toward a hotel stay or a total travel package. The thing is, the credit was emailed to me by their customer service department earlier this year with all the stipulations below it. Not one stipulation says I have to use it on a hotel or package, I explained this to them and requested they pull up the exact same email I was looking at. It didn’t matter, they just continued to repeat the same broken record message that I could not use it. I was pretty pissed at this point considering I had written proof that their supposed stipulation was never provided to me, and they acted like it was my own tough luck and they had no intentions of fixing my issue. I asked the customer service rep for her manager and she actually avoided getting me one for awhile, just talking over me instead. Eventually she reluctantly agreed to transfer me over. After an additional 20 minutes, and what must have been an hour and a half total, I was transferred to her manager who was even less helpful if that’s possible.
The moral of the story, use a more reputable site like Expedia, Trip Advisor, or Orbitz if you want peace of mind booking with solid customer service. Even if Travelocity posts a fare that is a few dollars cheaper, the amount of potential stress you will endure is not worth the money. Learn from my mistakes! When it finally came time to book my parents hotel portion of the trip I went straight to Hilton’s website and booked it directly through them….forget about the best rate, I’m shopping for peace of mind from now on!