Prior booking failed to disclose mandatory fee; agent read the fine print to justify. Howe filed a complaint with FTC and was refunded. Did Priceline remedy?
CAPITOL HILL , WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, August 30, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — SubscriberWise, the nation’s largest issuing CRA for the communications industry and the leading protector of children victimized by identity fraud, announced today the apparent — and highly satisfactory — resolution of a predatory scheme that resulted in unfair and deceptive pricing that may have profoundly harmed consumers through ‘fine print’ terms that concealed the ‘total price’ until check-out.
“What a difference a few weeks makes,” stated David Howe, SubscriberWise founder, USA Credit Czar, and America’s identity guardian for babies for girls and for boys. “Yesterday, Credit Czar arrived in Washington, D.C. to advocate for innocent babies and children who are exploited hundreds of times each day by identity theft because Congress has failed to implement the ‘SubscriberWise Child Identity Protection Act’ as a desperately needed common-sense child safety initiative.
The urgent child-protection effort was proposed by the self-affirmed USA Credit Czar almost 4 years ago to the day, September 11, 2014, and focuses on technology and education – not punishment and retribution so venerated by the current and prior administrations (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140911006497/en/SubscriberWise-Proposes-Child-Identity-Theft-Protection-Legislation ).
“Upon arrival, and as usual for Credit Czar, I booked a hotel on the fly for the expected one-night stay in DC,” continued Howe. “For many years now – 15 years to be exact – I’ve had an account with Priceline (https://www.priceline.com) where I maintain a profile including stored credit cards for fast and efficient booking. I also use the organization’s ‘app’ because I’m often traveling by plane, train, and ride-share — while trying desperately to avoid the unregulated car rental industry — and then on foot when I arrive in the destination city. And that’s another way of saying that yesterday I was searching for a hotel very near the train terminal since I was walking with a roller bag in toe and a back pack on my shoulders with laptop and more.
“So, as is customary for my incredibly hectic and demanding travel schedule, I followed my typical protocol and located a hotel within a half-mile of Union Station,” confirmed Howe. “I obtained a Priceline deal that was offered during the initial search which looked extremely competitive for the Hill – but I knew from prior lobbying experience that what I saw wasn’t what I’d get. In other words, I knew there’d be a remarkably misleading price since hotels have begun – for years now, frankly — deceiving consumers with ‘resort’, ‘facilities’, and other clever names to 'pick the pockets' of unsuspecting consumers — far higher than the displayed price they expected to pay without the deception.
“And why wouldn’t these hotels dramatically increase the true cost of an overnight stay,” Howe added. “Lawmakers have enabled the legal pick-pocketing through unconscionable adhesion contracts while failing to enforce 'UDAAPs' (https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/compliance/manual/7/vii-1.1.pdf). Moreover, since there’s no local accountability with organizations that engage in these predatory pricing tactics, consumer complaints are having less impact and the cost-benefit from the few consumers who do complain simply doesn’t override the greed coefficient that makes it so lucrative to the organization’s bottom line.
Related: US Credit Czar David Howe Reports Priceline and Hotel Pennsylvania to Federal Government — https://www.einpresswire.com/article/458063154/us-credit-czar-david-howe-reports-priceline-and-hotel-pennsylvania-to-federal-government
“Nevertheless, when I did continue the booking process and selected the otherwise misleading price, I was taken to another screen and the REQUIRED ‘facilities’ fee was now displayed. In other words, the true price was no longer concealed through a ‘fine print’ disclosure, hiding an extra fee that I simply could not avoid paying (i.e. minibar purchases are fully discretionary and consumers understand these types of purchases are extra and not disclosed while mandatory ‘facilities’ fee can’t be avoided and should always be conspicuously disclosed during booking). However, now I was able to make an informed decision knowing the actual price up front. Now I could choose to continue to the payment screen without the ‘sticker shock’ that I experienced weeks earlier at check-out because Priceline had failed to itemize as they correctly did yesterday.
“Yes, what a difference a few weeks makes. What a difference 'truth in advertising' makes.
“For the record, with fees and taxes added, the Priceline advertised price instantly jumped a whopping 54 percent!” Howe emphasized.
“But again, at least I knew what the total cost would be,” Howe reiterated. “And that makes a meaningful difference, particularly for families and individuals – young and old and everywhere in between – who may be traveling on a tight budget and can’t afford these expensive hidden fees that can easily catapult the total price of a hotel hundreds of dollars over an extended stay.
“Yes, I’m grateful that Priceline is now displaying the true cost prior to purchase. I’m also feeling empowered and content by my decision to file a formal complaint previously with the Federal Trade Commission when my 'pocket was picked' weeks earlier. Of course, the refund that I ultimately received was appreciated. It was a shock and a surprise that an organization would do the right thing without additional demand from the victim.
Related: New York City’s Historic Hotel Pennsylvania Refunds ‘Facilities’ Fee and Stuns Credit Czar David Howe — https://www.einpresswire.com/article/459951523/new-york-city-s-historic-hotel-pennsylvania-refunds-facilities-fee-and-stuns-credit-czar-david-howe
“It’s simple,” concluded the Credit Czar. “After respectfully admiring and observing the myriad civil and human rights landmarks in DC, for example the ‘Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial’, the ‘National Museum of African American History and Culture’, and stopping over the ‘Children’s Defense Fund’ headquarters this morning, fighting against every injustice – no matter how insignificant it may be perceived – felt like a cause worth pursuing with vigor and enthusiasm — just like the giants before us including the women and men of our Armed Services who sacrificed for the right,” the Credit Czar concluded.
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Source: EIN Presswire