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Hotel Billing Issues

Hotel Billing Issues

Old Sep 15, 16, 11:16 am
  #1  
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Hotel Billing Issues

The topic came up at work recently, I was curious how many of you frequent travelers have experienced hotel billing issues (ie duplicate charges, charges months late, wrong changes) and at what frequency.

Just curious
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Old Sep 15, 16, 12:09 pm
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Rarely have been doubled billed. More often I've had items on my bill that weren't authorized or additional fees that I shouldn't have been charged for. Mostly this is internet when as an elite it's a benefit or direct booking With hotels. In South America & Africa I've been billed deposits when none were mentioned nor are the policy of the hotel. Managers took it upon themselves to do this.
Mostly I've had a rather good experience in the end. Getting the refunds can range from no additional action to a few chargebacks.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 12:40 pm
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It's fairly rare and for anyone using a US CC, it's easy. I send an email to the listed CS address, politely but firmly explaining the erroneous charge(s), asking that the property issue a credit to the CC used by a specific date (I generally choose 5 business days), and I then initiate a CC chargeback dispute on the 6th day if I have not received either an acknowledgement that a credit is being issued or an actual credit. If I have an acknowledgement, I give it 3-4 more days and then initiate the chargeback.

I feel no compunction to waste time over others' mistakes. The last thing I do is spend time on the phone arguing about $15 Internet charges and the like.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Yoshi212 View Post
Rarely have been doubled billed. More often I've had items on my bill that weren't authorized or additional fees that I shouldn't have been charged for.
Same experience here. I don't travel that often (maybe twice a year for leisure, and 2-3 times a year for work). But even in that 4-5 trips a year for the last few years ... I can't remember ever having to dispute anything on a hotel bill at check out.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 8:24 pm
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My biggest beef is when I see things like a $3.50 charge listed in the invoice as "DMF". What is DMF? I ask. "Destination marketing fee. It's a government tax we have to charge."

On further investigation I find that the local government spends money promoting tourism in their region, charges a fee (or tax) to the beneficiaries of their efforts, i.e. the hotels, who then charge it back to the customers the fee has attracted to their hotel.

This lies somewhere between perverse and contemptuous.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Sopwith View Post
My biggest beef is when I see things like a $3.50 charge listed in the invoice as "DMF". What is DMF? I ask. "Destination marketing fee. It's a government tax we have to charge."

On further investigation I find that the local government spends money promoting tourism in their region, charges a fee (or tax) to the beneficiaries of their efforts, i.e. the hotels, who then charge it back to the customers the fee has attracted to their hotel.

This lies somewhere between perverse and contemptuous.
You sometimes discover later that these taxes are in fact optional for the visitor.

Personally I very much mind when the hotel adds a charitable donation to the charity of their choice to my bill without asking. I choose the charities to which I contribute and I normally do say in a way that's tax deductible for me, so that I can contribute more and share the cost with my government.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 10:31 pm
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I stayed at a Hampton inn & Suites for a few days and it was cancer awareness month. The hotel offered up a bunch of packages that could be purchased with money going to local charities & hospitals.
Was a creative way to to be charitable. Sadly it closed down 2 months later and became a boutique hotel with hippy dippy themes.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 10:59 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
You sometimes discover later that these taxes are in fact optional for the visitor.
Yes. That's my point. In most cases the tax is charged to the hotel, and they stick it to the customer and blame it on the local government.

I put this in the same category as car rental companies that stiff you for an "Airport Concession Fee", which is actually what they are paying to rent space. An odious, underhanded and deceitful practice, but somehow they manage to get away with it.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 11:04 pm
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The Darling Hotel at The Star Casino in Sydney had a problem with my 3 day hotel booking that I had booked through a 3rd party website. On day two the hotel rang me at 12 noon and asked why I hadn't checked out. I said I was booked for 3 days and reception had even written my departure date on the envelope. She apologised and said I'd still need to come down and sort it out.

I went downstairs and was told that the 3rd party website had cancelled my booking AFTER I had checked in for some reason. She said they couldn't get payment from them for the room so I would need to pay again through the hotel directly. She said I only needed to pay for 2 nights but I would need to chase up the other organisation for the money. Reception had no idea why my booking was cancelled.

It was a nightmare to collect the money from the other organisation however it did pay off in the end. The next time we stayed at the Casino they upgraded us to the Stellar Suite which was the second highest room which they said was AUD2500 a night. Only the Penthouses with in room gaming tables were higher.

The Darling is my all time favourite hotel in Sydney.
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Old Sep 15, 16, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
You sometimes discover later that these taxes are in fact optional for the visitor.

Personally I very much mind when the hotel adds a charitable donation to the charity of their choice to my bill without asking. I choose the charities to which I contribute and I normally do say in a way that's tax deductible for me, so that I can contribute more and share the cost with my government.
I hate that too. Then they promote themselves as saying "Hotel X is great, we donated $100,000 to X Charity". No they didn't. The paying customers donated the money.
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Old Sep 16, 16, 12:12 am
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Originally Posted by newaarondavidson View Post
The topic came up at work recently, I was curious how many of you frequent travelers have experienced hotel billing issues (ie duplicate charges, charges months late, wrong changes) and at what frequency.

Just curious
It used to happen more back when I used Hotwire for my hotels. These days I am booked through a corporate travel service..which is worse. Anyhow, the main issue I ran into was the fact that with Hotwire you prepay. More than a few desk clerks have charged me for my stay, even though I had pre-paid. This taught me to avoid using express checkouts..I had to check out in person to ensure there were no charges.

I have also had few incidents of holds not being released from my card for weeks, lost reservations, and more than a few charges for things I did not take or consume. I was once billed 20 dollars for two bottles of water at the SNA Hilton, and I didn't touch them. It took strong words with the manager to finally wipe them, and I still think she did not believe me.
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Old Sep 16, 16, 1:33 am
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It's been pretty rare in my own travel experience (maybe 1-2% of total stays?), but when it happens it has always been a random minibar or wifi charge. A quick call to the front desk has resolved the issue every time.

I still often check out at the front desk in person just get my folio and double-check the charges.
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Old Sep 16, 16, 2:20 am
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Almost never happens to me, but I hope I haven't jinxed it now.

I do my utmost to avoid chain hotels, where I suspect that the practice (ie the tricks) is much more widespread.
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Old Sep 16, 16, 7:16 am
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Charges in error happen more than I would like.

This is one reason I check the bill and make all corrections before leaving the hotel with a printed receipt in hand. The last "error" was in Vancouver where we had complimentary full American Breakfast. On checkout we were charged for the breakfast, we were told that we were only entitled to a Continental Breakfast. We had our confirmation that proved otherwise and the Hotel stated they would make the correction and mail us the corrected invoice. Trust me this doesn't happen. They were insistent that we move along and they would take care of it later. We stated we were not leaving without a printed receipt that we were paid in full, they reluctantly did it. We have been burned in the past for invalid charges and it takes a lot of work to unravel it after leaving. I have found that getting it straightened out before leaving is the easiest "fix" in the long run.
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Old Sep 17, 16, 9:50 pm
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My experience is roughly 1 out in every 20 hotel stays at one of the kinds of properties that want to generously offer you the convenience of bottled water in the room will result in an extraneous charge. I find that checking out manually and getting a printed statement doesn't help because the bottled water (and similar charges like minibar) charges would only get processed hours after I've already left. Leaving a voice mail for the hotel's finance folks, firmly describing I am certain I didn't consume the water and I am absolutely planning to dispute the additional charge with my credit card, if not reimbursed within one calendar week, generally does the trick.

I much prefer the hotels that have a 24/7 pantry with reasonably priced goods where this kind of mis-billing can't occur.

I just had a delayed billing occur for a different kind of charge that wasn't an error. The upscale business hotel had a lovely schedule of charges for its mailroom accepting packages delivered for guests and for accepting packages to be picked up by FedEx/UPS. Given that I dropped off boxes for UPS pickup the very morning I checked out, I cannot fault the hotel for not having routed those charges to my room folio in time to have included them on my checkout statement.
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