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Priceline cancellation process… smart, or sneakily stupid?

Priceline Change reservation Page

Can you find the cancellation link on this page?

I booked a hotel through Priceline’s Booking.com subsidiary where you don’t have to pay up front but do have to give them a credit card with advance notice required if you cancel. Then I did need to cancel and found it surprisingly difficult.

The email confirmation made no mention of a cancellation procedure. I went back to the confirmation page on Priceline and there was nothing there about cancellation either. I poked around with searches for “cancel” on the Priceline website without success. I emailed the hotel at the address in my confirmation email and got no response. Finally, I called the hotel and they had no record of the reservation. They said since it was made through booking.com I’d have to go back through them.

So I did go on the booking.com website and entered the reservation number and PIN I’d been given and it took me to the page shown here. Notice there’s no cancellation option, just the choice to “change” my booking. I chose that and was then able to cancel without further difficulty.

I’m wondering if Priceline has run the numbers on the effects of this process, which is definitely more sneaky than what I’ve encountered on hotel sites and also on other aggregators like Expedia. On the one hand, there are probably people who, faced with the difficulty to cancel, just say screw it, I’ll stay there after all. But how often does that happen? Don’t you generally have a good specific reason when you cancel a reservation?

And the net effect on me is that, similar to CarRentals.com with its deceptive pricing policy, I’m much less likely to use booking.com in the future. How is that a good thing for them?

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Otis Maxwell on 04.25.13 at 8:22 am

Update: made a more recent reservation through booking.com and the cancellation process is much more transparent now. Good job of listening to customer input.

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