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Marriott branded property promised a refund, but pretended it never happened

Marriott branded property promised a refund, but pretended it never happened

Old Oct 20, 22, 1:21 am
  #1  
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Marriott branded property promised a refund, but pretended it never happened

Hey flyertalk,

I am a 7+ year Marriott/SPG platinum and now lifetime silver. This year I am likely titanium. I recently encountered an outrageous experience with Marriott. Hoping to hear your thoughts on what the best next step is:

1. I had a catastrophic stay in a (expensive) hotel under Marriott management in Argentina on July 4. I initially filed a complaint on the Marriott website just looking for some appropriate apology on July 12, but received no reply from the hotel after a whopping 31 days. On day 31, I called Marriott customer service hotline (the 301 number) and someone rang the hotel. The hotel almost immediately sent me a BS email, saying they were happy to inform me that *I do not have to give a refund to them*.

2. This letter triggered me, so after requesting a supervisor from the 301 hotline on August 12, a gentleman coordinated with the property to offer me a refund for the stay. I received a written confirmation email from the property on the same day that they will refund me, and asking me for my bank details. I provided the information to them.

3. So I carried on with my business and almost forgot about this sh*tshow. In early September, I was going through my bank accounts and found out to my surprise that there was no refund anywhere. I wrote to the property but received no reply. I called the 301 number on September 9 (give or take) again, informed them of my case, and was told that the case would be transferred to the gentlemen who originally coordinated the hotel refund in August. I was given a new case number.

4. In the September call with Marriott, I made clear that my demand is to receive the refund as the hotel promised. I am not interested in points. A very rude old lady named Vivian very condescendingly demanded me to close the case with 35000 points. I refused.

5. Yesterday I called Marriott again, only to be told that my case was closed without me knowing anything! An "apology letter" was sent, only that the letter was found nowhere! Not in my email, not in my actual mail! This completely outrages me. The receptionist on the hotline was like all old ladies on their hotline, dismissive of all things claiming Marriott has no responsibility to its customers in such cases. (this also truly baffles me, why would marriott have a bunch of entitled idiots who clearly enjoy bullying people take high value customers' complaints? )

Now I'd like to hear from you. What do you think the next steps will be?
Thanks,
JC

Last edited by jerrychuang; Oct 20, 22 at 1:40 pm
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Old Oct 20, 22, 1:49 am
  #2  
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I'm sure you will find no shortage of Argentine lawyers willing to bill you in US dollars for pursuing a case in an Argentine court that will go nowhere. You are less likely to find an American lawyer willing to sue in US courts because an email from a hotel employee in Argentina is NOT binding on Marriott corporate in the US. (it's probably not a binding contract or "promise" anywhere in the world)

I suggest that you calm down and take all of your hotel business elsewhere if you don't like how Marriott customer service operates.

And next time, be more open to the concept of points as compensation. It works better for all involved. The only question is the number of points you deem to be equivalent to your financial "loss".
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Old Oct 20, 22, 2:32 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by jerrychuang
Hey flyertalk,

I am a 7+ year Marriott/SPG platinum and now lifetime silver. This year I am likely titanium. I recently encountered an outrageous experience with Marriott. Hoping to hear your thoughts on what the best next step is:

1. I had a catastrophic stay in a (expensive) hotel under Marriott management in Argentina on July 4. I initially filed a complaint on the Marriott website just looking for some appropriate apology on July 12, but received no reply from the hotel after a whopping 31 days. On day 31, I called Marriott customer service hotline (the 301 number) and someone rang the hotel. The hotel almost immediately sent me a BS email, saying they were happy to inform me that *I do not have to give a refund to them*.

2. This letter triggered me, so after requesting a supervisor from the 301 hotline on August 12, a gentleman coordinated with the property to offer me a refund for the stay. I received a written confirmation email from the property on the same day that they will refund me, and asking me for my bank details. I provided the information to them.

3. So I carried on with my business and almost forgot about this sh*tshow. In early September, I was going through my bank accounts and found out to my surprise that there was no refund anywhere. I wrote to the property but received no reply. I called the 301 number on September 9 (give or take) again, informed them of my case, and was told that the case would be transferred to the gentlemen who originally coordinated the hotel refund in August. I was given a new case number.

4. In the September call with Marriott, I made clear that my demand is to receive the refund as the hotel promised. I am not interested in points. A very rude old lady named Vivian very condescendingly demanded me to close the case with 35000 points. I refused.

5. Yesterday I called Marriott again, only to be told that my case was closed without me knowing anything! An "apology letter" was sent, only that the letter was found nowhere! Not in my email, not in my actual mail! This completely outrages me. The receptionist on the hotline was like all old ladies on their hotline, dismissive of all things claiming Marriott has no responsibility to its customers in such cases. (this also truly baffles me, why would marriott have a bunch of entitled idiots who clearly enjoy bullying people take high value customers' complaints? )

Now I'd like to hear from you. What do you think the next steps will be? This really is not a money issue to me anymore (probably wasn't the case in the first place). I feel repeatedly insulted and would like to take legal action regardless of the fees, at least against the hotel since they have a written document giving me a contractual promise. Regarding Marriott, I am starting to write because I am fed up with their attitudes, but would appreciate some guidance from experienced people.

Thanks,
JC
Dear jerrychuang,

We would like to help look into this issue if you may provide below information to us via private mail here or by email below.
Marriott Bonvoy account number
Email address registered in account
Stay details (hotel name and stay date)

Please include your Flyertalk username if you choose to send the information via email.

Best Regards,

Christina Z
Specialist, Social Media
Marriott International

[email protected]
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Old Oct 20, 22, 3:20 am
  #4  
 
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It might be worth attempting to initiate a chargeback with your credit card. You maybe outside of the window but it couldn't hurt to try. If nothing else, I understand that they are a pain to deal with.
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Old Oct 20, 22, 3:49 am
  #5  
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I think you are implying this is exactly how Marriott frequent traveler program is supposed to operate and indeed, how paying customers should be treated in the hotel industry at the present time. Sure, Marriott of course has nothing to do with what individual property does, but I am not sure that Marriott has zero oversight whatsoever. I respectfully think that be grateful the bone big corporates offer you and go away is nonsense. I pay to have a vacation, not for all these.

Let me provide a little context to a potential assumption that I am just whining over some attitude issues and unwilling to take the points and go away: The electricity, water and heat supply went off more than three times in a place where the weather is subzero. The bathroom taps and other stuffs spontaneously fell off. Any consumer would opt for a refund. If I am taking my business elsewhere, why would I want any useless Marriott points? And other than the once I was offered 35000 points, I was offered 3000 points to make the case go away for at least ten times.

Originally Posted by craigthemif
I'm sure you will find no shortage of Argentine lawyers willing to bill you in US dollars for pursuing a case in an Argentine court that will go nowhere. You are less likely to find an American lawyer willing to sue in US courts because an email from a hotel employee in Argentina is NOT binding on Marriott corporate in the US. (it's probably not a binding contract or "promise" anywhere in the world)

I suggest that you calm down and take all of your hotel business elsewhere if you don't like how Marriott customer service operates.

And next time, be more open to the concept of points as compensation. It works better for all involved. The only question is the number of points you deem to be equivalent to your financial "loss".

Last edited by jerrychuang; Oct 20, 22 at 4:10 am
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Old Oct 20, 22, 4:16 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by jerrychuang
I think you are implying this is exactly how Marriott frequent traveler program is supposed to operate and indeed, how paying customers should be treated in the hotel industry at the present time.

Let me provide a little context to a potential assumption that I am just whining over some attitude issues and unwilling to take the points: The electricity, water and heat supply went off more than three times in a place where the weather is subzero. The bathroom taps and other stuffs spontaneously fell off. Any consumer would opt for a refund. If I am taking my business elsewhere, why would I want any useless Marriott points?
Your problem is with the hotel and its management. Your mistake is assuming that Marriott corporate cares much about what individual hotels do - or that they will take your side in any dispute. You should have maintained communication with the hotel throughout.

Perhaps you need to adjust your understanding about how the hotel industry operates these days. Guests, even those with elite status, are simply a product fed to hotel owners in exchange for franchise fees. Marriott will not force any hotel to give you your money back. They can, however, give you points as compensation.

Power outages are a sad fact of life in a country such as Argentina. Access to US dollars is also heavily restricted. I can't see how an individual hotel can be responsible for solving both country-wide problems to your satisfaction.

But as somebody else mentioned, perhaps your credit card company will be more sympathetic.
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Old Oct 20, 22, 5:27 am
  #7  
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My problem is that the property is non-responsive whatsoever. I have made this clear in the post. The only times they are responsive is when they receive a call from Marriott directly. Does this speak volume against contacting marriott is simply a waste of time? I am happy to listen to your suggestion on whom the consumer should seek help from when rights are infringed in such cases. You think Marriott is definitely not a party involved? I have also made clear, that Marriott has generally shown no willingness for compensation when I contact Marriott.

The property is not located in a slum. In contrast it sits in probably one of the most affluent communities in Latin America. You assume I am demanding the country to be fixed to my satisfaction. I would point to the fact that the community itself had no electricity issues and if a hotel cannot maintain heat supply in a subzero place, it probably should not accept and charge guests for $300 a night and carry a Marriott luxury branding.

Overall, thanks for the lecture. I found it to lack novelty.




Originally Posted by craigthemif
Your problem is with the hotel and its management. Your mistake is assuming that Marriott corporate cares much about what individual hotels do - or that they will take your side in any dispute. You should have maintained communication with the hotel throughout.

Perhaps you need to adjust your understanding about how the hotel industry operates these days. Guests, even those with elite status, are simply a product fed to hotel owners in exchange for franchise fees. Marriott will not force any hotel to give you your money back. They can, however, give you points as compensation.

Power outages are a sad fact of life in a country such as Argentina. Access to US dollars is also heavily restricted. I can't see how an individual hotel can be responsible for solving both country-wide problems to your satisfaction.

But as somebody else mentioned, perhaps your credit card company will be more sympathetic.
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Last edited by jerrychuang; Oct 20, 22 at 5:36 am
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Old Oct 20, 22, 8:39 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by jerrychuang
I feel repeatedly insulted and would like to take legal action regardless of the fees
Well that's a recipe for an unhappy outcome.
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Old Oct 20, 22, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by clarkef
It might be worth attempting to initiate a chargeback with your credit card. You maybe outside of the window but it couldn't hurt to try. If nothing else, I understand that they are a pain to deal with.
If the OP has proof that a refund was forthcoming "I received a written confirmation email from the property on the same day that they will refund me" AND a credit card was the form of payment then a chargeback would be the quickest and best avenue for the OP to take.
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Old Oct 20, 22, 9:53 am
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Very dramatic words dont generally give good outcomes.
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Old Oct 20, 22, 9:56 am
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I think you should avoid interactions with women of a certain age. Your responses to them are not becoming
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Old Oct 20, 22, 7:00 pm
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Did I miss it where OP named the property, so that fellow FTers might consider avoiding?

-David
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Old Oct 20, 22, 7:16 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by LIH Prem
Did I miss it where OP named the property, so that fellow FTers might consider avoiding?
Nope and we have no idea what qualifies as a "catastrophic stay."
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Old Oct 20, 22, 7:18 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Nope and we have no idea what qualifies as a "catastrophic stay."
It sounds like a power outage, maybe citywide, during stay. Power outages often cause loss of heat and water as well. Not unusual in Argentina or some other developing countries.
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Old Oct 20, 22, 7:44 pm
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Single night stay or multiple night stays? Other than the power outage which is probably municipal issues, did you try to change rooms?

for kicks, if the hotel never responded with a refund, what were you going to do then? At this point Marriott appears in trying to take some responsibility with the offer of 30k (although after some other low ball offers per your accounts). I would just take it and call it a day.

as you are a 7 year platinum, I can guarantee you wont be leaving Marriott anytime soon . Just write this specific property off (and maybe even identify the property so others can avoid).
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