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Old Apr 14, 10, 4:16 am   #1
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Phantom Minibar Charges

I know this has been spoken to many times, but here is almost concrete evidence that properties will add random minibar charges to guests' final bills to see if they notice. I recently held a reservation for one night at the Harbor Beach Marriott (yes, coming back to Marriott, though not as a primary chain, slowly but surely after a two year leave of absence) but was unable to honor the reservation even though it was past the cancellation deadline. I just received an email receipt from my "stay" (which did not post to my Marriott Rewards account) and sure enough there was a minibar charge on there. Certainly amazing how I can consume an item from the minibar when I am multiple States away, but alas, automated minibars/housekeeping always knows best right?
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Old Apr 14, 10, 2:41 pm   #2
 
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And I'd call that fraud on their part.....
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Old Apr 14, 10, 4:38 pm   #3
 
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And I'd call that fraud on their part.....
+1
Do not let this pass. Call the manager
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Old Apr 14, 10, 5:10 pm   #4
 
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I am frequently a victim of the phantom minibar but cant really complain as I do tend to move the contents around sometimes to fit in a pint of milk - I hate UHT, but can't start the day, or function during it without my mug of tea and regular refills, I am such an addict I bring my own mug... So I suppose I deserve my phantom minibar, luckily its always taken off at the end of the day when I share my happy addiction with the FD...

I can't comment whether this is a frequent problem therefore because I may well be the cause due to my own activities, although these days some hotels leave an unused area of the minibar for personal use, thereby ensuring I don't need to move around the contents. Even so I still usually face the phantom minibar.

You should certainly take this up with management though, it smacks of fraud to me, I cant see how it could possibly be a mistake in an unoccupied room, that they know full well went untouched...
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Old Apr 14, 10, 5:21 pm   #5
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I dont believe there's a willfull effort behind adding these charges as I too have been hit with these throughout the years (yes even while on MI Company business I had them appear once or twice...yes it does leave a bad taste in your mouth doesn't it)
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Old Apr 14, 10, 6:40 pm   #6
 
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I am frequently a victim of the phantom minibar but cant really complain as I do tend to move the contents around sometimes to fit in a pint of milk - I hate UHT, but can't start the day, or function during it without my mug of tea and regular refills, I am such an addict I bring my own mug... So I suppose I deserve my phantom minibar, luckily its always taken off at the end of the day when I share my happy addiction with the FD...

I can't comment whether this is a frequent problem therefore because I may well be the cause due to my own activities, although these days some hotels leave an unused area of the minibar for personal use, thereby ensuring I don't need to move around the contents. Even so I still usually face the phantom minibar.

You should certainly take this up with management though, it smacks of fraud to me, I cant see how it could possibly be a mistake in an unoccupied room, that they know full well went untouched...
You can send a message to management by requesting a refrigerator in your room every stay. And tell 'em why.... it's because of the phantom minibar charges that come from moving minibar contents around.
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Old Apr 15, 10, 5:54 pm   #7
 
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We recently stayed at the JW Washington and the inroom safe was in a drawer underneath the minibar non-perishables that were on the cabinet. Everytime I pulled out the heavy drawer, the cabinet shook a bit and charged something almost each time! They credited them back, but how annoying.
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Old Apr 15, 10, 8:10 pm   #8
 
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Just have the mini-bar emptyed on arrival
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Old Apr 15, 10, 8:30 pm   #9
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Just have the mini-bar emptyed on arrival
I was somewhere recently (I dont think it was a MI flagged hotel) but they CHARGED like $50 to empty the mini-bar....I just sighed
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Old Apr 15, 10, 9:07 pm   #10
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I dont believe there's a willfull effort behind adding these charges
I can't say I have the same faith but tend to view hotels with much the same jaundiced eye as Blockbuster which was caught adding late fees to most rentals knowing only a certain percentage of customers would argue to have them removed. A few dollars is only a few dollars but multiplied hundreds or thousands of transactions over a year and it quickly adds up to mega money.

I find Marriott overall no different than other hotel chains and only rarely see these charges appear on my bill but it does still happen and I am not so quick tto dismiss their appearance as some random error.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 5:40 am   #11
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I can't say I have the same faith but tend to view hotels with much the same jaundiced eye as Blockbuster which was caught adding late fees to most rentals knowing only a certain percentage of customers would argue to have them removed. A few dollars is only a few dollars but multiplied hundreds or thousands of transactions over a year and it quickly adds up to mega money.

I find Marriott overall no different than other hotel chains and only rarely see these charges appear on my bill but it does still happen and I am not so quick tto dismiss their appearance as some random error.
but in my case what purpose would it serve...the hotel which did it to me was MI Managed & Developed (it was before I retired)...so the money was going from the left pocket to the right pocket (plus knowing many of the GM's still out there does help with my beliefs)
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Old Apr 16, 10, 5:12 pm   #12
 
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Other issues to be aware of.. housekeeping may charge based on what is in your trash can without even checking the fridge. Once I bought a coke from the vending machine outside, and they charged me for it when I never opened the fridge.

The other time I got charged was when I was not a Platinum member but my colleague who was offered me a soft drink he got complimentary from the lounge, and just because I had it in my room (I didn't even open it because I ran out of time), they charged me for it. I let it slide for that situation because I realized that fine, I wasn't entitled to that drink for free anyway, but it just made me surprised that it even happened because it could have been a valid own personal purchase drink from outside.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 6:55 pm   #13
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wow...that's a new one on me, would absolutely cause all kinds of issues
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Old Apr 16, 10, 8:46 pm   #14
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Other issues to be aware of.. housekeeping may charge based on what is in your trash can without even checking the fridge. Once I bought a coke from the vending machine outside, and they charged me for it when I never opened the fridge.

The other time I got charged was when I was not a Platinum member but my colleague who was offered me a soft drink he got complimentary from the lounge, and just because I had it in my room (I didn't even open it because I ran out of time), they charged me for it. I let it slide for that situation because I realized that fine, I wasn't entitled to that drink for free anyway, but it just made me surprised that it even happened because it could have been a valid own personal purchase drink from outside.
Yes, I've had that happen also and so now I either try and purchase a very different size than whatever is in the mini-bar or take the empty with me to throw away off-site so there isn't any mistaking my imported refreshments for mini-bar items.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 10:07 pm   #15
 
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I am frequently a victim of the phantom minibar but cant really complain as I do tend to move the contents around sometimes to fit in a pint of milk
Many hotels will "fine" you for using the minibar for personal items. A common fee is $25 per day of personal storage in the fridge.
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