TravelBuzz - Hotel charges you after you've checked out: what are their rights?
Nov 26, 02, 11:56 am
I am in the middle of a battle with a Marriott.
I booked one night, stayed one night. On the morning of my departure, I picked up the folio under the door, which showed that my CC had been billed one night, dropped by the front desk and was told everything was OK.
When I get my CC statement, I find out that I am billed for three nights, for about $550.
I called the hotel accountant who claimed that I stayed three nights. She's asking me to prove I didn't.
She wants me to fax a plane ticket showing I left the area the day I claim I did. I told her to shove it. I consider this request totally ridiculous. Plus why should I help them solve their own problems. In addition, Marriott has no businees knowing what I did or did not do after I left their facility.
She stopped short of accusing me of defrauding the hotel, claiming that "lots of people are able to get folios". "I get calls like that every day", she said.
What would you do?
I am minutes away from disputing the charges for the 2 additional nights with Visa if the GM of the hotel does not call back. But I also want some kind of compensation for the aggravation. I almost feel like asking VISA to dispute the entire bill, which I doubt they'll do.
[This message has been edited by Droneklax (edited 11-26-2002).]
Nov 26, 02, 12:09 pm
I would go ahead and just dispute the charge. As much as you'd like some compensation, it sounds like they're digging their heels in. The credit card company probably has the most traction against them in this situation. We're having a similar battle with a Hilton that we booked on Priceline. We checked out, everything was fine, and now we're getting all kinds of random charges popping up. Every time we call, they do remove the charges, but a day later, new charges appear. It's quite frustrating to have to spend the time (not to mention the money on a toll call) to be charged correctly.
Nov 26, 02, 2:45 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Droneklax:
I am minutes away from disputing the charges for the 2 additional nights with Visa if the GM of the hotel does not call back. But I also want some kind of compensation for the aggravation. I almost feel like asking VISA to dispute the entire bill, which I doubt they'll do.</font>
I would wait a day or so, may be the GM calls.
If you don't have a response very soon, I would dispute the 2 additional days with Visa; not the entire bill.
I know how you you feel, but I would not go any further regarding this...
Good Luck and Happy Thanksgiving.
I am so glad I read this post! It reminded me to check my credit card activity to make sure I wasn't charged Sunday night for a room I left at the Hilton O'Hare. They had given me the room behind the elevator and I just couldn't sleep so I left and took the shuttle to the Doubletree which is where I should have gone in the first place since I had a distressed rate from the airlines! (I don't think clearly when I am cold and tired)
Anyway, sure enough, they had charged me at the Hilton. Luckily, I was able to get a credit for the charge. Perhaps, because they checked the Doubletree and found I had indeed stayed there.
Nov 26, 02, 5:04 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by USAFAN:
but I would not go any further regarding this...</font>
Why not? The hotel is wasting his valuable time and creating a big hassle. I would dispute the entire bill and then, if the hotel ever decides to, let them charge you for the one night that you actually stayed there. Maybe then they'll decide to get their billing practices in order.
Nov 26, 02, 6:42 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Droneklax:
She wants me to fax a plane ticket showing I left the area the day I claim I did.</font>
Wouldn't this be the simplest fix, to prove you were somewhere else?
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">I told her to shove it.</font>
You'll find that approach works really well when you want help with fixing a problem.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Plus why should I help them solve their own problems.</font>
Aren't you trying to solve your problem, being an "incorrect" charge on your c/c?
Nov 26, 02, 6:52 pm
Your folio clearly shows your check out date on it and one nights of charges. Assuming you were only reserved for one night and not three leaving after the first one, then I can't possibly see how they can be making a deal out of this.
You have a folio with a number on it, and that is that.
Put it in dispute with your credit card company immediately if you don't hear from them, it's not up to you to prove to them that you were not there if you were not there.
I'd also ask them why they issued a folio on the first day of a three day stay if they insist on continuing this silly argument. Lots of people don't get folios, they are put under your door on the last day of your stay. I have never gotten one in the middle of a stay.
You don't owe them any explaination if everything you have said is accurate, the accounting drons screwed up and it's as simple as that.
Nov 26, 02, 7:30 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Wouldn't this be the simplest fix, to prove you were somewhere else?</font>
They have no right to that information. If they can't keep track of who checks in or out, it is indeed their problem.
Since when do I have to prove that I am innocent? I consider the burden of proof to be on them.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">
You'll find that approach works really well when you want help with fixing a problem. </font>
I obviously did not put it in those terms, give me some credit here. My exact words to her were:
"I refuse, as a matter of principle, to fax you that information. Whether I picked my nose for three days outside your hotel, or took a plane two days later, or rode out on a bicycle into the sunset is none of Marriott's business". In other words: "shove it".
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"> Aren't you trying to solve your problem, being an "incorrect" charge on your c/c? </font>
Ther is nothing "incorrect" about the charge. The charge is incorrect, no quotation marks. My problem could easily be solved by calling VISA and letting them handle the situation. I have no problem faxing VISA whatever they need. My resposibility to VISA is to make sure that I have taken reasonable steps to resolve the issue. Faxing a plane ticket is not a reasonable request. It would prove nothing, The hotel clearly has a problem keeping track of their customers, and I don't see why it's my job to help them resolve that problem by telling them what I have been up to after I checked out.
Their own **** issue.
[This message has been edited by Droneklax (edited 11-26-2002).]
Nov 26, 02, 7:47 pm
Cheers mate, and best wishes.
Nov 26, 02, 8:23 pm
Its ironic you posted this b/c I was wondering myself although my problem is no where near as bad as yours. I agree with the poster who said call your credit card company and contest the entire folio; make them prove any of the charges are legit; switch the burden of proof to them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with turning the tide on the hotel.
I always get a receipt from the front desk zeroing out my account. At first many years ago this was a requiremnt to be reimbursed by my employer. I've always done it since to ensure that there was closure on my account when I left.
My last Marriott (what a coincidence) stay no less had me check out at the front desk with Room and tax only which is all I should have been billed for no problem. Well I go online to my Diners account and see the folio value for my checkout as well as a $4.50 charge which I have no idea what it is for (I find out later it was for the bottle of water) well I never took nor did I ever drink the water; they won't take it off and I called the credit card company to dispute not only the $4.50 but the entire one night stay as well; why? to make them work for it? they were being a pain in my a$$ so I intend to make them spend a lot of money (i.e. more than the $4.50 they are trying to rip me off) chasing my $4.50 down than its worth to them. I'll end up paying for the room rate; but I feel that if I don't dispute the entire bill; they won't respond. I want them to respond b/c I won't put up for hotels trying to charge extra just to add more to their bottom line and seeing if people don't notice when the cc bill arrives.
Edited to add: I contacted the hotel and was directed to a central Marriott number who looked up the $4.50 charge; they asked me if I used the minibar(I didn't even take the key) or water (NOPE) and said it will be credited back in 3 - 5 business days.
[This message has been edited by TrojanHorse (edited 11-27-2002).]
fly free or fly cheap
Nov 26, 02, 8:40 pm
We had an additional $5.00 appear on our credit card statement for a stay at Marriott Desert Springs last March. I regret being lazy and not pursuing the overcharge on general principles.
By all means dispute the charge. If it costs them more in labor to answer disputes, they may be less likely to add bogus charges in the future.
Nov 27, 02, 6:43 am
I agree. Dispute the charges with Visa. I had cancelled a flight after 9/11 with the agreement that it would be refunded and then called Visa with the details to prevent having to pay the airfare charge while USAirways got their refund act together. No hassle at all removing the charge for the 6-8 week period it took for US to issue the refund.
Nov 27, 02, 8:00 am
Maybe the $550 was a minibar charge, plus the minibar restocking fee, plus the fee to replace the minibar refrigerator?
Please prove you didn't take the minibar with you, Droneklax.
Not sure why you are asking for advice on this .. I think you know what to do.
PS: I always get a bill copy showing zero balance at check-out. If I'm traveling on business, the company requires that for reimbursement. If it's personal, it's just a good idea anyway. I hate delayed charges, and I always dispute them with the property, and usually they are credited back to the credit card without question once I find out what the item was for and explain that it wasn't mine. I always make sure any incidentals including minibar charges, etc, are included in the final zero-ed out bill.
[This message has been edited by LIH Prem (edited 11-27-2002).]
Nov 28, 02, 11:49 am
Don't contest the entire bill, as you know that you legitimatly owe them for one night. Then it becomes a legal issue, as you know you owe them for something.
Nov 28, 02, 1:21 pm
Always get a final folio (Invoice) when you check out.
That is your starting point if there are charges added.
Nov 28, 02, 1:24 pm
I disagree; Dispute the entire bill even though you are not trying to get out of paying what you really do owe them.
You will get a much faster response as they will fight to get what is due them (one night) and that will force them to prove that you were there nights two and three. The objective here is to get a timely response and start some sort of dialogue with the hotel.
At the point where the hotel challenges your dispute then all you are doing is contesting the disputed nights and will eventually pay off the first night.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by cordelli:
Don't contest the entire bill, as you know that you legitimatly owe them for one night. Then it becomes a legal issue, as you know you owe them for something.</font>
Nov 28, 02, 10:36 pm
I suppose the best way to avoid extra hotel charges in general is to do a manual check out at the desk and request a walk through of the room. Who knows, what if you check out and when the maid goes in to clean the room, everything is found to be very much trashed.
In this specific case about extra nights charged, the case should resolve itself in the guest's favor, assuming that the hotel touts automatic checkout with sliding the final folio under the door in the morning. The paper the hotel slid under the door should govern when the number of nights is questioned.
When disputing things on your credit card, be sure to do it in writing and save a copy of all papers.
I would probably not call the hotel long distance, but might call if they had an 800 number. It is OK to write the hotel, handwriting is OK if you find that quicker than word processing. If you don;t get a timely reply, dispute it with the credit card company anyway within the time limit described on the credit card bill.
Many many years ago, before they tore down my favorite beach amusement park and built a condominium in its place, I was coming back from the beach and stopped at a gas station. I got a credit card billing for a much larger amount. I wrote to the credit card company only to dispute it, saying that "although I patronize that station a lot, my car does not hold that much gas." The entire wrong charge disappeared from my bill and the correct charge never appeared in its place. Seems like one of the pump jockeys decided to pull a fast one just before quitting for the summer to go back to college.
[This message has been edited by AllanJ (edited 11-28-2002).]
Dec 1, 02, 6:12 pm
I had this problem once, and now always check out personally at the front desk with a receipt showing the check-out and a $00 balance.
Also, I have quit staying at Hiltons since I had a different problem at three separate US hotels with alleged mini-bar, movie rentals, and parking charges added afterwards. I finally got an honest general manager at the Los Angeles location tell me that they have so much fraud with maids that this problem is rampant. I only got it fixed through my own credit card bank, however.
Dec 1, 02, 8:32 pm
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AllanJ:
I suppose the best way to avoid extra hotel charges in general is to do a manual check out at the desk and request a walk through of the room. </font>
I suupose that this would be ideal - but who really has the time to request a walk through of the room (and which hotel has the staff who would do this). But the manual checkout idea to get a zeroed out folio is a good one like many people have posted - I always do this also.
Anyword back yet?
[This message has been edited by 007 (edited 12-02-2002).]
Dec 2, 02, 7:56 pm
I also have refused to even take the mini-bar key when I check into the hotel. That has stopped the improper mini-bar charges.
Dec 3, 02, 10:34 am
If this happened to me, I would call the hotel and ask to talk to the manager. The minute I got any flak or got put on significant hold, I'd hang up and call Marriott's 800 number and ask to talk to a manager there. The minute they gave me any flak, put me on lengthy hold, or told me to call the hotel directly, I'd hang up and call Visa to dispute. Your TIME is worth too much. Be upfront, be honest, but demand efficiency.
Only time I've ever had to dispute a charge, the hotel fought back hard. It was a non-chain, small hotel in rural England. We were flying in that day and driving about halfway up from London to Chester. When I booked the room, they asked when I would arrive. I said "about 3PM" (I distinctly remember that this was my decision to estimate a 3PM arrival!). I arrived at about 4PM to find the hotel completely shut and locked up. After knocking on all the doors and even walking around back to try and peek into the kitchen, I gave up and stayed in the little hotel next door. (It was a strip of about eight small hotels and B&B's.)
I get back to the US to find that my CC has been charged for the night by the original hotel. When I contested the charge, they fought back saying that I was a no-show because I didn't arrive precisely at 3PM. I was the only guest that night, so they shut down the hotel at about 3:15. Fortunately, I had used the same CC for the next-door hotel stay, so the bank knew I actually made it to town. Finally, after about three months, I got a note from the bank saying that they had ruled in my favor and that the decision was final. The hotel apparently had fought it all the way, but fortunately my bank didn't agree with their arrival policy.