Lastminute.com's and Hilton hotels poor customer service

This is an unfortunate tale of lastminute.com's and Hilton hotels poor customer service I have experienced in the past 24 hours. Yesterday (Wednesday) I booked a room at the Hilton Wembley as a special treat for my best friend and I. We are going out in London on Saturday night for the first time in two years and I thought it would be a good Christmas present from each other. Unfortunately I experienced some difficulties when booking the room. My browser timed out during the booking and it appears that at this point, a glitch in the site set the date to the current date, yesterday's date. At the point of clicking confirm, there was nothing which stated which date I was booking, so I was incredibly surprised when the confirmation page said that a booking had been made for that evening (yesterday evening). 

I instantly called lasminute.com only to discover their call centre was shut. Below is the order of actions which followed. I did everything that I possibly could to cancel the booking, but no-one was able to help me. I was advised to call the next day, which I did.

21.13 - Email from lastminute.com to say my order was being processed.
21.14 - Call to Lastminute.com to find their call centre was shut
21.20 - Call to Hilton Wembley to tell them of the problem. They gave me another number for lastminute.com
21.21 - Call to new number for lastminute.com but they were shut.
21.23 - Call to bank to see if their was anything they could do. Advised no as the payment had already left my account.
21.24 - Email from lastminute.com to say order was confirmed.
21.29 - Email to lastminute.com to explain the glitch in the system
21.30 - Tweet to lastminute.com informing them of situation
21.32 - Call to Hilton Wembley. Put through to reservations who advised me the team who would be able to help me wouldn't be in until the morning so to call back then and they should be able to change the booking for the correct date.
23.00 Email received from lastminute.com to say "Thank you for your email at 09:29 PM regarding your hotel which was booked for wrong dates. I've contacted the hotel and as the reservations was closed so he was not able to do anything in this case so advised to callback tomorrow. I have forward this case to our hotel supplier and will get back to you within 24 hours. I appreciate your understanding in this matter."

The Hilton Wembley was contacted on three different occasions by myself and lastminute.com to inform them that the booking had been made in error. They claim to have no record of any of these calls. The second person I spoke to advised that they would be able to change the booking the next morning.

The following is what happened today:

09.21 - Call to lastminute.com (after school run and childminder drop off) and was advised they were dealing with it and trying to get a refund for me.

10.58 - Email sent by me to social team at lastminute.com explaining the situation

12.34 email received from lastminute.com stating there was nothing they could do and that the Hilton will not refund the room because the date has passed.

15.41 Email received from lastminute.com stating "We have received a revert from the hotel unfortunately as per them there is no possibility of a refund in this case as it has all been processed through the system and is now too late. I regret that my response could not be more favourable."

So today emails have gone back and forth, but there is still no movement on getting a refund. I have spoken to the Hilton Wembley on two different occasions and they state that it is lastminute.com's fault. Obviously lastminute.com are blaming the Hilton Wembley. I am absolutely gutted, upset and frustrated at the whole situation. The Hilton Wembley are refusing to refund lastminute.com,  who are in turn refusing to refund me because they are classing me as a no show, even though they were informed on three different occasions that the booking was made in error.

All I want is for my booking to be changed to the Saturday night. I have been offered a discounted rate for Saturday night but no refund. I cannot afford to pay again for the hotel, so it looks as though I will have to cancel my trip to London. I am kicking myself for using lastminute.com rather than the Hilton's own site, I only did so because it was marginally cheaper. In the meantime, the price of a hotel room is rising and it is becoming harder for me to afford a room even if I do get a refund.

 Fundamentally what remains is that I am being penalised for two things, neither of which are my fault, firstly that there was a glitch in the system which booked the wrong date, and secondly that the call centre was shut. Apparently if it had been open everything would have been sorted. I will definitely never book with lastminute.com out of office hours again and I question whether or not I would use them at all. I would advise anyone thinking of booking through lastminute.com to do so with caution, and only within office hours.

Update - 29.11.13 - This afternoon lastminute.com offered me a goodwill gesture of a room booking for tomorrow night, which I have accepted. This is at no extra cost to me (other than what I have already paid). I stress that this is a goodwill gesture and Hilton Hotels are still refusing to consider to offer a refund to lasminute.com, which I think is incredibly poor form from them.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me support messages or who have retweeted my tweets. I have been utterly overwhelmed by the support. You are all amazing!

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