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Cancellation penalty for early departure at St. Ermin's

Cancellation penalty for early departure at St. Ermin's

 
Old Mar 3, 17, 9:21 am
  #1  
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Cancellation penalty for early departure at St. Ermin's

I had to check out two days before my scheduled departure from the St. Ermins in London and was informed that I needed to give 24 hour notice of my early departure.

The hotel manager was undeterred by my assertion that I had received no prior notice of that policy and that no Marriott I had ever stayed at had charged me for un-slept nights when departing early.

I'm curious whether anyone else had run into this issue at the St. Ermin's or elsewhere. It was a first for me.

Last edited by nobodyherebutme; Mar 3, 17 at 9:30 am
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Old Mar 3, 17, 9:49 am
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While technically correct, I have never seen it enforced. Two scenarios that could impact a guest.

1) (Likely yours) They are holding you to the cancellation rules of your reservation. You probably had 24 hours to cancel before arrival. They are extending that to leaving early too. Not entirely illogical as they have little chance to sell the room without notice. I have heard this policy before-but again not enforced.

2) I have heard of people using weekend nights to get better rates that included weekdays. For example, if one adds Friday, thursday reprices to a better rate. Then they plan to leave early. The property can change the rate on you based on just staying Thursday night.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 11:05 am
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Usually in the reservation confirmation there's verbiage about changing dates can incur a change in rates.

Not sure that applies to early check-out after you've checked in, but there are some properties of different chains that do charge an early check-out penalty. I stayed at a popular Hyatt that had you initial something at check-in saying that you understood that if you checked out early you still had to pay for the entire stay.

Also (not saying the OP is doing this), as MrVker mentions, some try to game the system by booking for multiple nights to get the less expensive rate & then check-out early.

I don't know that it's the norm for properties to charge an early check-out penalty, but I have seen it happen at some properties & more than one chain.

Cheers.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 12:23 pm
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I would also wager a fair sum that buried in your confirmation/reservation is

Please note that a change in the length or dates of your reservation may result in a rate change.
I'm pretty sure of that because I mocked a reservation at that property and copied it from the Rate Details.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 12:46 pm
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I know that I have been asked to sign some kind of acknowledgement of an "early departure fee" at a couple different hotels in the past but I can't remember if St.Ermins was one or not.

If they are claiming you signed an acknowledgement of the fee when you checked in and you can't recall doing that, I would ask them to produce a signed copy. Even if you signed something at check-in that acknowledged the fee it should be clearly stated and obvious, especially if your reservation confirmation did not contain notice of the fee.

Assuming you paid with a credit card on file and did not sign a statement of charges including the fee at checkout, I would dispute the charge now and stop payment. Explain the situation to your credit card company and let them work it out. If there is a difference between the reservation confirmation and the check-in form, I would also call/email Marriott and tell that they failed to disclose this fee and you want the fee refunded.

Also if you paid on credit card, make sure to check the FX on the transaction. They may have forced a "pay in your own currency" charge at a much higher FX rate without your consent (this has happened to me at other London Marriotts). If they have, I would hold that over their head and threaten to report them to Marriott and the UK Fraud authorities. That should be more than enough to get them to remove the charge.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 12:55 pm
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There's a big difference between a penalty and just paying for the room when you didn't cancel by the deadline.

This sounds like the latter.

That said, you should be liable for only one night's cost, not two, as they implied a 24 hour cancellation deadline.

Safe Travels!
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Old Mar 3, 17, 2:22 pm
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Thanks for the responses. The manager did refer to the "change in the length or dates of your reservation may result in a rate change" language when I asked how I had been notified that I would be charged for additional nights if I cut my stay short. However, charging for an extra one or two nights doesn't seem to fit the definition of "rate change".

I should add that the reason I found it necessary to leave the hotel was because I had finally realized that the badly sagging mattress in my room was causing my restless sleep (I asked my wife to switch sides with me last night and she too woke up with a backache this morning). When I inquired about moving to a room with a newer mattress in the morning, I was informed that all the mattresses had been replaced a year earlier and that I should expect the same type of support from the mattresses in the other rooms.

Interestingly enough, the London Marriott Hotel County Hotel where I checked in after leaving the Erwins does not charge in cases of early departures. So this is not a regional thing as I first thought. Not that I plan to leave early, the bed is heavenly and I look forward to making up for the bad sleep from the past several nights

edit: added missing "not"

Last edited by nobodyherebutme; Mar 4, 17 at 4:18 am
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Old Mar 3, 17, 3:06 pm
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Ah.....

So often so much is missing from the original posts....

Still, they should have let you switch rooms.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 4:40 pm
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Sounds like you are happy now, which is great, but for what it is worth, unless you either A) prepaid for the stay B) signed something that explicitly said you would be charged a departure fee, I would fight this departure fee.

Saying that "change in the length or dates of your reservation may result in a rate change" enables them to charge you a fee for cutting your stay short is ridiculous.

You are not staying at the Hotel California, you can check out any time you like and they can not charge you for nights you didn't stay there. Perhaps, they would have grounds to retroactively change the rates for the nights you did stay, especially if your rate was explicitly linked to the length of stay, however I would dispute the charge and complain to Marriott corporate as well.

Let them point to something you signed that said they could charge you for nights you didn't stay there or a fee if you cut your stay short. Sounds like they can't and will ultimately be forced to refund your fee as the credit card company will ask for proof and they can't provide it.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 5:15 pm
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Do you have status with Marriott? I've self-walked from hotels a lot of times over the years with zero penalties.

If they did insist that you pay for at least one night, I would go grab a homeless guy off the street and let him stay in the room.
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Old Mar 3, 17, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by BillBurn View Post
Saying that "change in the length or dates of your reservation may result in a rate change" enables them to charge you a fee for cutting your stay short is ridiculous.

You are not staying at the Hotel California, you can check out any time you like and they can not charge you for nights you didn't stay there.
So agreeing that they can charge you if I leave early makes it ridiculous that they want to charge you if you leave early?

I'm guessing you're not a lawyer. Nor someone who believes that when I click on "I accept these terms" that I really am required to abide by those terms. Any logic behind these claims?

Originally Posted by BillBurn View Post
Let them point to something you signed that said they could charge you for nights you didn't stay there or a fee if you cut your stay short. Sounds like they can't and will ultimately be forced to refund your fee as the credit card company will ask for proof and they can't provide it.
You really believe that a "wet signature" argument, which I haven't even seen mentioned in a decade, will hold any weight in this era of electronic commerce? Good luck with that one. Some research on UK/EU clickl-wrap agreement case law might help.

Last edited by CPRich; Mar 3, 17 at 7:16 pm
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Old Mar 3, 17, 7:26 pm
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Originally Posted by nobodyherebutme View Post

I should add that the reason I found it necessary to leave the hotel was because I had finally realized that the badly sagging mattress in my room was causing my restless sleep (I asked my wife to switch sides with me last night and she too woke up with a backache this morning). When I inquired about moving to a room with a newer mattress in the morning, I was informed that all the mattresses had been replaced a year earlier and that I should expect the same type of support from the mattresses in the other rooms.

Interestingly enough, the London Marriott Hotel County Hotel where I checked in after leaving the Erwins does not charge in cases of early departures. So this is a regional thing as I first thought.
Ok, I'll be the bad guy here.

Just because you didn't like the mattress doesn't mean others wouldn't like the mattress. And you don't know that every single mattress would have had the same sagging problem in the exact same spot you were in, so you could have potentially tried another room/mattress before checking out.

So on that one, if there is a change in departure date policy, I get the hotel saying, well we don't let folk change their dates due to they didn't like the mattress firmness/softness (or just using that as an excuse, which I am not saying you did).

Having said that, if they did use the you had to give us 24 hours notice, then you should only be charged for 1 night, not two.

I'm assuming it's a typo re: CH & StE being in different regions & different early departure penalties, given they're only about a mile or so apart

Cheers.
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Old Mar 4, 17, 4:49 am
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I only mentioned the reason I found it necessary to leave to clarify that this was not an attempt to "game the system" and to focus the question on whether a Marriott property is allowed to impose unusual terms without notifying guests.

In the decades I have been staying at Marriotts around the world, I have had a need to shorten my stay many times for a variety of reasons (cancelled meeting, reservation at wrong hotel, reservation for wrong end date, flight change, emergency at home, and, yes, uncomfortable room or noisy location). None of those changes ever resulted in charges for un-slept nights though a few resulted in the rate for previous nights being adjusted.

Nothing on the hotel site or in the reservation record indicated that this property's billing practices deviated from those of other Marriott hotels. Perhaps consumer laws are different in the UK. But in the US, this would lead to an expectation on the part of hotel guests that charges would be "usual and customary" (or whatever the correct term is in this context).

ps: I edited my earlier statement to include the all-important "not" regarding regional practices.
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Old Mar 4, 17, 8:52 am
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I would have at least switched rooms before moving. They might have put in 100 new mattresses at the same time, but they were not 100 identical mattresses. Some were firmer than most, some a little less. I find it rare that Marriotts have mattresses that aren't firm enough, usually its the other way around. Regardless, if your beef was with mattress in the room and nothing else, then a room change or least a quick test drive of another, available room's bed would have been the way forward.
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