Friday, March 26, 2010

eCommerce Semi-Sleaziness

I do understand that companies are in business to make money. I really do. I support that. I work for a for-profit company. Always have. But there are fair and ethical ways to make money, then there is sleaze and foolishness. I made a reservation with Budget Rental a week ago, for a rental in 2 days from the present. Got a very nice rate, 21.99 per day (before taxes of course). I just went to change the reservation, to push it out by one day, and the rate was up to $99.99 per day!

I do understand that, like airline tickets and hotel rooms, car rental rates fluctuate based on demand. I get that. But within one week, going up by 5X?! I didn't believe that was a simple reflection of "market conditions". So, instead of changing my existing reservation, I went to make a new one (no penalty for canceling). Sure enough, my original rate was still available.

So what I assume was happening is that they have some algorithm that says people changing at this late date are in a hurry, and you can fleece them. As a consumer, I just really, really resent it when companies try to pull this stuff. Do they really think consumers are that stupid?! Maybe it works, but I find it really irritating. If they weren't so greedy, it might actually have worked. If the rate had gone up by $10, I probably wouldn't have blinked.

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