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Singer v. Priceline Group, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 22, 2016

ADAM SINGER, individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
THE PRICELINE GROUP, INC., et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Adam Singer, has brought suit against Defendant, The Priceline Group, Inc. (“Priceline”), alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment claims, following the additional costs incurred on his vacation.[1]Priceline moved to dismiss the Class Action Complaint [Doc. No. 30], and Singer subsequently moved for leave to file an Amended Class Action Complaint [Doc. No. 54]. The Court addresses these motions in turn and, for the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the motion for leave to amend is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[2]

         Priceline is a company that facilitates online travel reservations. Customers access www.priceline.com and can choose from an array of travel reservation services such as hotel, airline, and rental car reservations. In 2011, Priceline offered both a traditional price-disclosed model, in which the customer would select a reservation from a listing of available reservations, and the Name Your Own Price® (“NYOP”) service, which would allow a customer to bid a certain dollar amount for a hotel reservation on a given date in a certain geographic area and at a certain “star level” or class of service.

         Under the NYOP service, Priceline promised to “match” the customer’s bid with a hotel. The name of the hotel is not disclosed to the customer in advance of a bid, only after the bid has been accepted. Once the bid has been accepted, the customer’s credit card is immediately charged and the customer’s reservation cannot be cancelled, changed, or transferred and refunds are not allowed.

         Adam Singer alleges that he used Priceline’s NYOP service to secure a hotel room reservation on February 24, 2011. Singer sought to pay $107.00 per room per night for two rooms from Saturday February 26, 2011 until Monday February 28, 2011. Relying on the information provided by Singer but before he confirmed his bid, Priceline presented him with a final webpage screen displaying the following information:

Offer Price Per Room Per Night:

$107.00

Subtotal:

$428.00

Taxes and Service Fees:

$60.68

Total Charges*:

$488.68

*Prices are in U.S. Dollars

Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 1 [Doc. No. 30-2].

         This webpage also included the following information under the heading “Important Information”:

● If priceline accepts your price, priceline will book your reservation in a property with an equal or higher star level than you requested. The hotel that is selected may or may not be one that you have seen during a hotel search on priceline. Any sorting or filtering options previously used will not apply to this Name Your Own Price request. Priceline will immediately charge your credit card the total cost of your stay. Rooms purchased through priceline cannot be cancelled, changed or transferred and refunds are not allowed. If your offer is not accepted, your credit card will not be charged.
● The reservation holder must present a valid photo ID and credit card at check-in. The credit card is required for any additional hotel specific service fees or incidental charges or fees that may be charged by the hotel to the customer at checkout. These charges may be mandatory (e.g., resort fees) or optional (parking, phone calls or minibar charges) and are not included in your offer price.

Id. Below the “Important Information” section, Singer had to initial a box adjacent to the following statement: “I have read, accept and agree to abide by priceline.com’s terms and conditions and privacy policy.” Id.

         A hyperlink on this webpage, when clicked, would take a user of the website to another webpage containing the “Priceline.com Incorporated Web Site Terms & Conditions” (“Terms & Conditions”). The subheading of this separate document was, “Agreement between User and priceline.com Incorporated”. The Terms & Conditions contained dozens of sections, and included the following language relevant to this case:

The captions in this Agreement are only for convenience, and do not, in any way, limit or otherwise define the terms and provisions of this Agreement.
This Agreement, and the related parts of this Agreement relating to each service represent the entire agreement between you and each Covered Party regarding your use of this Site and supersede any prior statements, representations, or prior versions of these Terms and Conditions relating to the use of the Site that were displayed on this Site before. We reserve the right to modify, revise or update this Agreement from time to time by updating this posting. Your continued use of this Site will be subject to the terms of this Agreement in effect at the time of your use. Certain provisions of this Agreement may be superseded by expressly designated legal notices or terms located elsewhere on this Site, which will be adequately brought to your attention. In the event that any provision of this Agreement is determined to be unenforceable or invalid, such provision shall nonetheless be enforced to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, and such determination shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any other remaining provisions. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the internal laws of the State of Connecticut shall govern the performance of this Agreement and you consent and submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, in all questions and controversies arising out of your use of this Site and this Agreement. To the extent permitted by applicable law, any claim or cause of action arising from or relating to your use of this Site and/or this Agreement must be brought within two (2) years from the date on which such claim or action arose or accrued.

         Terms & Conditions [Doc. No. 30-3] § I.S. “Miscellaneous”;

1. All hotel reservations are non-cancelable, non-refundable, non-changeable and non-transferable by you. Once you purchase a reservation, your method of payment will be charged for the amount shown - regardless of whether or not the reservation is used. Credit will not be given for any unused reservations and cannot be used toward any future purchases;
2. Once a priceline.com Request is submitted, it cannot be modified by you; and
3. Upon check-in, guests must present a valid ID and credit card . . . in their name that is consistent with the transactional details provided to priceline.com (the amount of available credit required will vary by hotel). . . .
You agree that if a hotel accepts your offer, priceline.com will confirm the reservation and charge the entire amount of the stay, including applicable Taxes and Fees (as described below) disclosed to you before submitting an offer, to your method of payment. The price you name is per night and does ...

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