If you have a gripe with a company — and let’s face it, at some point, everyone
has a gripe with a company — here’s a cautionary tale about complaining.
It comes to us by way of Tracey Phillips. She had a problem with a hotel’s change policy. Specifically, every time she changed the date of her stay, the hotel insisted on charging her a fee, which is an increasingly common problem.
Instead of the grassroots approach to problem-solving, which I always recommend — in other words, starting with a real-time resolution at the lowest level, and working your way up — Tracey went straight to the top. She wrote an impassioned letter to the CEO, asking for a one-time exception to the hotel’s rules.
And, no surprise, she hasn’t received a response yet.
Here are three ways you could get broadsided with unexpected fees on your next hotel visit. Know them before you go.
Even though the Doubletree San Juan isn’t really a resort, it still charged Cheryl Nygaard an 18% per night resort fee on her recent visit to Puerto Rico.
Worse, the $15-a-night “service” charge, which covered her Internet connection, beach chairs and towels, an in-room DVD player, and water and pool amenities, was added to her bill at the end of her stay.
“I didn’t know about the fees until I checked out,” she says. Nygaard, a corporate trainer from Dallas, who had booked the room through her travel agent, asked if the charge could be waived. She was in San Juan on business and didn’t use the pool, beach chairs or DVD player.
“I was told ‘no,’” she says.
Sometimes, your hotel visit gets cut short by unexpected circumstances. Here’s when you should consider calling it a day.
If you’re staying at a hotel, your rights are spelled out in your state’s lodging laws and in the property’s terms and conditions. But don’t lean on those for better customer service. I explain what to do.