To 3aw7: I know why you are aggravated with Hotwire. They were great to begin with but lately the service has really been uneven. My experience in the last year was like yours. I would book a particular star hotel only to be given the next step down in category. (And it was a specific brand that they themselves advertised at a certain star level on their website).
The height of this is when I booked a 3 star hotel only to be given a 2-1/2 star and when they asked me for my feedback after my stay they then rated it 2-1/2 stars on their questionnaire.
Usually if you talk to customer service enough they will give you a refund or a new booking. It depends on how much you will work at it. But, of course, you shouldn't have to go to this much trouble. They should certainly live up to their ratings.
Also, in case you don't know, Hotwire and TripAdvisor are owned by the same company. The post above yours was mine that was removed because they didn't want anything negative posted about Hotwire. I guess that makes me angry, too. As I was posting it I got a message from one of their (presumably) employees who tried to tell me that every story had "two sides" and I guess I was supposed to be more sympathetic to the tactics of major corporations. Then they deleted my post.
Do I still use Hotwire? Yes, but very warily. I wouldn't book anything that was 2 stars because then you might end up with something that was really intolerable. Despite the fact that they claim that all their bookings are in clean places that has not been the case. Some of the places they book have gotten really bad reviews for cleanliness and safety even on TripAdvisor.