My hotel was infested by bedbugs — can I get a refund?

Jareynolds/Shutterstock
Jareynolds/Shutterstock
Sarah Gaines wants a refund for her short-lived hotel stay at the Windsor Hotel on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The reason? She claims the property was infested with bedbugs.

The site through which she booked the hotel, Hotels.com, refuses to refund the $750 she paid, even though she checked out after staying in her room for just a few hours. Appeals to her credit card company have been unsuccessful, and now she wants me to get involved.
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Can this trip be saved? Bedbugs in my hotel room (and bad service — really bad service)

I am writing to describe the most horrible hotel stay I have ever endured in any hotel in my life,” the note began.

Well, that’s one way to get your attention.

The email, sent to the Comfort Inn Conference Center in Richmond, Va., detailed an unpleasant stay from start to finish. But let’s not bury the lede, as they say in journalism: The worst part, says Cricket Moore, was the discovery of a bedbug between her sheets.

She scooped up the insect, took a picture and brought it to the front desk.

“I was dumbfounded to discover that the hotel either had no procedures or had not trained its personnel how to handle a situation like this,” she says.
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Best Western offers free night after bedbug attack, but is it enough?

Patricia Lenhart’s husband woke up one recent morning covered in bug bites. Bedbug bites. He and his wife were guests at the Best Western Beach Dunes Inn in Marina, Calif., and when they mentioned the probable infestation, a woman at the front desk said the hotel “hadn’t had a problem” with bedbugs before.

Then they checked out TripAdvisor, and discovered that wasn’t true.

“I found two recent reviews complaining of bedbugs,” she says. “Both people state that they notified the front desk. One of them was over a month ago! Unfortunately, they were both posted after I made my reservation. I don’t have any faith that the hotel will follow through on their promise to fix this.”

I contacted Best Western on her behalf, and as you’ll see in a minute, it reacted quickly. Question is, did it do enough?
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Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the … ouch! What was that?

Bedbugs.

Just the mention of these tiny, bloodsucking insects is enough to send a veteran road warrior packing. But what does a hotel owe you if you’ve been ravaged by a swarm of Cimex lectularius during your stay?

No, that’s not an academic question.

I wish it was. So does Hilton. So does Diane Lapin, who claims she had visitors during her recent two-night stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Burlingame, Calif. Hers was room 323, but for hundreds of bedbugs, it was more like a dining room, she says.
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