I recently finished a 9,000 mile/three week/20 city tour of the U.S. I drove criss-cross-country in a mini-van with friends–Langhorne Slim, a wonderful New York troubadour (sorry if that word doesn’t mean musician, but means doctor or something) and my friend Sarah, who tour-managed, plus various comedians who joined me for different legs. Sometimes we’d stay with friends, and sometimes in hotels. And we’d either just walk into a hotel or book online through Hotwire (great), Priceline (booked a room 45 minutes from where we needed to be), or Cheaptickets (bad news). I fear booking online because of the uncertainty of where you’ll end up.
And sometimes my fear was realized–in Minneapolis Cheaptickets screwed us. Through them we stayed at The Baymont Inn, “A very crappy hotel.” (That’s not their motto, but they can use it if they like.) I may have mistaken how many stars this hotel had, but instead of a star-based rating system, Cheaptickets should have used a graphic of a robot hitting on customers in their sleep. This hotel would then get two sex-robots (in my made-up rating system, if a hotel has five robots, it’s awful and it means a robot actually sexually assaults you. So two isn’t the worst.)
At this point in the tour we were joined by Leo Allen, a comedian who is one half of New York’s acclaimed cabaret duo Slovin and Allen (best known for their sketch Dozens!) Aside from the hotel being filthy . . .
. . . the service was terrible and malicious. We overheard the counter guy say to someone, “The hotel is sold out.” When the customer walked away the guy giddily said, “I love saying that.” The hotel was run by people who hated their jobs and enjoyed upsetting travelers.
The other problem was specific. I booked an extra bed online and asked for it when I arrived. They never brought it. We called again a few hours later and they said they were out, so two of us slept on the floor.
Cheaptickets seemed to not care about my complaints. And though the actual employees were very polite, Cheaptickets as a company has a policy of “Sorry, sucker.” When you call Cheaptickets, instead of the recording saying, “Please hold, your call is important to us, someone will be with you shortly,” it should say, “Don’t bother, we only pretend to care. Also, you’re fat. Bye.”
Though it’s hard to get money back from a large company that screwed you, you can still try. Some companies care, and you never know until you call. Here are two calls I made trying to get a refund of some kind. I got no money, but I got two calls.