Here’s a case I’ve been mulling for a few days. It involves a highly-rated bed and breakfast, a loyal customer and an unwelcome change.
Should I get involved? I’m asking for your advice, as I do every Monday on this site.
Julie Barton has been a loyal guest at the Chanric Inn in California’s wine country for several years. She knew the proprietors well, so when it came time to select a place to stay after her wedding ceremony, she wanted to be with Ric and Channing, the Chanric’s innkeepers.
“The primary reason I chose the Chanric was so that we could stay with the same innkeepers, as I knew them already, and I knew that we would have a pleasant experience for our small wedding weekend,” she says. “I went ahead and made the reservations online for myself and our friend who would be our attendant, and paid a deposit of $601 for both rooms in May.”
But that wasn’t meant to be. Before her July 21st wedding, Barton saw an announcement on Ric’s personal page that the inn had been sold and that he and Channing were moving on.
“I was surprised, but I sent him a congratulations and inquired about if we would be able to cancel our reservations, since they would no longer be the innkeepers,” says Barton. “Ric told me that I would have to speak with the new owners, but he thought we would be able to cancel our reservations subject to a $30 cancellation fee.”
Barton contacted the new owners and made her case. Had she known the inn would be under new ownership, she wouldn’t have made the reservation, she says.
“The only reason we were choosing to return to the Chanric was because of how awesome Ric and Channing were when I stayed there previously,” she says.
The new innkeepers concurred — she could cancel, but it would cost her. Here’s the email she received from them:
For your information the agreement for the sale of the Inn is end of January 2012, before your reservation.
Our policy regarding refund for cancelation more than 14 days before checking-in is a $30.00 fee. Please send us your exact address and we will send you a check.
If you want to change your reservation dates, it’s possible without penalty.
OK, so the Chanric isn’t keeping her entire deposit. But a $30 cancellation — for a total of $60 — is still a significant amount of money.
Barton is unhappy. She says there was no notice of the pending sale on the Chanric’s website or Facebook page.
“I had no way of knowing about the sale when I booked the rooms, which I did online,” she says. “I did not learn of the sale until Ric announced it on his personal Facebook page. To say that the agreement was signed in January as if I should know that is ludicrous.”
Barton has requested a refund, minus the fee. She also wrote back to the new owners, saying “you have lost us and our friends as guests permanently” and reminding them that she is “active” on TripAdvisor.