Please cancel my nonrefundable hotel room, Priceline

Tami Alloway needs to cancel her hotel stay because of “extenuating” personal circumstances. Just one problem: the reservations are non-refundable.

Question: I recently reserved a hotel room at the Hawthorn Suites in Charleston, SC, through Priceline for a family trip with my mother. A few days later, my sister’s children were removed from their home and taken into state custody. I was awarded foster care for all three of them and they have been with me since then.

The older children, prior to removal, were homeschooled, so the dates of the trip were not an issue. With them being in my care, they are now in public schooling. The children range in age from 22 months through 9 years of age.

When we realized that the time frame would mean I would still have the children with me in March (and not during spring break, so they would miss a week of school), I called to cancel the reservation and was told there is no refund, even in extreme situations.
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They didn’t have the accessible room I reserved — what am I owed?

Some hotel amenities aren’t that important. Some are.

Having an accessible room, which is required under some state and federal laws, is a biggie. So when John and Carolyn Falabella asked me to look into their hotel’s failure to offer them the room they reserved, I knew it could be serious.

But a closer look at their case one shows just how frustrating it can be to fix a major problem like this, particularly with a chain hotel. I’m not sure if I can make this right, but read on and let me know if you think I should get involved in mediating this dispute.

Falabella had reservations at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Va. He says he’d made a booking for an accessible room through Comfort Inn’s 800-number, and that he received a confirmation.
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Can I get a refund for my stay at the No-Tell Motel?

Wave Media/Shutterstock
Wave Media/Shutterstock

Gladys Martin’s hotel room is uninhabitable, but the property wants to charge her for it, anyway. Is there any way to undo this mistake?

Question: While traveling through Pennsylvania on a college tour with our daughter, my husband and I made a reservation for two nights at a Super 8 through When we arrived at the hotel late in the evening, we were dismayed to find a hotel with questionable clientele (there was a couple behind us looking for a couple of hours’ stay at the hotel) and a hotel attendant behind a double-panel glass window.

I asked to see the room before signing any paperwork and the attendant declined. He simply gave me a form to fill out with my name and address. Due to the late hour and not having any other viable option for a night’s stay, we agreed to spend the night at the hotel but to check out the following morning as soon as possible.

Although the room had been recently renovated, the carpet was filthy. Our shoes stuck to the carpet. The air conditioner was set at 45 degrees, and it took more than three hours for the room to heat up to 74 degrees. The walls were thin enough that we could hear every move of our neighbor upstairs and of our neighbors around us.
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Smoked out of the Days Inn

no smokingQuestion: I have a concern that I tried addressing with a specific Days Inn and with Wyndham, which owns Days Inn, but have not received a response. I recently stayed at the Days Inn in Fernandina Beach, Fla. I made a reservation for a non-smoking room and was given a smoking room when I checked it.

I spoke with a manager, who told me he was sorry he couldn’t offer me a non-smoking room. The only rooms the hotel had left to sell were smoking rooms.

So, my question to Wyndham is: Is it their policy to accept a reservation for a non-smoking room when no such room exists? I wrote to Wyndham, but after several emails, it stopped answering.
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No oceanview room – and no refund

Jeff Kinsey/Shutterstock
Jeff Kinsey/Shutterstock
Question: I recently booked a hotel room for a three-night stay at the DoubleTree Beach Resort by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay – North Redington Beach through Expedia. I opted to pay the higher rate of $239 a night to guarantee a beachfront room. The lower rate of $199 was refundable but would not guarantee the oceanview room.

My husband and I decided it was worth the risk of losing our $800 so that we can have the oceanview. This was risky since we have four small children and anything could have happened to force us to cancel our reservation.

When we arrived at the hotel on Friday, March 2nd, they gave me a landview room and told me that Expedia booked me a landview room. I thought once I called Expedia, the issue would be resolved but after an hour on the phone with a supervisor who was extremely rude, I had no such luck.
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Am I being scammed by Celebrity Cruises?

Did the Summit just scam this passenger? / Photo by mag 3737 - FlickrDarryl and Carolyn Sigel believe they were scammed by their cruise line. After you read about what happened to them on the Celebrity Summit, you might agree with them.

Even Celebrity, it seems, sides with them, to a point: It’s offered $200 vouchers for what happened to them. Is that enough?
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What are we owed for two “horrible, stinky nights” in a hotel?

Erika Spott is a card-carrying member of Choice Hotels’ loyalty program, and she gives the hotel chain her business because she can always count on getting clean, reasonably-priced room.

Until she visited Avon, Ind., for a family event recently.

“We booked two non-smoking rooms at the Comfort Inn,” she says. “When we returned from spending the day with our family around 10:30 p.m., our room reeked of cigarette smoke — enough to gag a smoker.”
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Star confusion on my Hotwire hotel room

Question: I just booked a hotel room in New Orleans through Hotwire. It seemed like a great deal. The listing was for a 4.5 star hotel. I started looking around their website, trying to determine what the possibilities were and by looking at the “hotel plus car” section I was able to see that there seemed to be three nice choices of 4.5 star hotels in the area the listing was in.
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Right hotel rate, wrong city

Question: I was recently looking for a hotel for three nights in Rosemont, Ill. Hotwire soon started sending me emails about “lower hotel rates” in Rosemont. So I found one I liked and booked it.

When I received the hotel conformation it was in Elk Grove, Ill., not Rosemont. I immediately emailed Hotwire.

“After reviewing your reservation, I confirmed that the hotel that is booked is not within the area map provided during your search,” a representative named Brandy G. replied. “For your convenience, I have sent this reservation up for review to our research department. They will contact you back within 7 to 10 business days in regards to changing this reservation.”

Great, right? That’s what I thought. I asked if they could just change my reservation to a hotel in Rosemont for the dates I reserved or credit my account for a future booking. This was all done several weeks before the booked dates.

However, when they contacted me back they said that all sales are final and refused my request. I was unable to use the hotel so I am now out $142. I contacted Discover Card, the credit card I used for the reservation, and they replied that Hotwire says all sales are final. Thanks for any ideas you can give me. — Loretta Krahn, Mountain Lake, Minn.

Answer: Hotwire should have sold you a hotel in Rosemont — not Elk Grove. It can take 20 minutes to drive between the cities (they’re on opposite sides of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport).

If you’d booked your hotel room by visiting Hotwire, you’d probably be out of luck. The site, which allows you to select a neighborhood but doesn’t reveal the hotel until you’ve paid for it, is reasonably clear when it comes to the areas where you might be assigned a hotel room.
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Is this enough compensation? “I paid $94 to sleep in my own ant-infested bed”

Kate Farrelly has a little ant problem in her apartment, so she decided to book a hotel room while her landlord fumigated her building. She paid $181 for two nights in a “pet friendly” room at the Vagabond Inn Glendale through a Priceline-affiliate site. Problem is, the Vagabond Inn didn’t actually have any pet-friendly rooms. They sent Farrelly packing — back to her ant-infested apartment — and they charged her for one night after she canceled her reservation. Is one night’s refund enough? Continue reading…

Smoked out of my hotel room

Question: My wife and I checked into the Marriott Grand Flora in Rome on a reward stay. (I’m a Platinum Elite member of Marriott’s rewards program, which means I’ve stayed in its hotels more than 75 nights a year.)

One of the benefits is that my room type is guaranteed. My wife and I are both affected by cigarette smoke, and the ability to guarantee non-smoking rooms is welcome.

When we checked in, the front desk clerk waxed on about how we had received an upgraded room, but was in retrospect unclear about whether it was a non-smoking room.

The next day, we both felt sick; although there was no obvious smell of smoke, we looked around and finally noticed an ashtray tucked away on a table.

I immediately requested a room transfer. At first we were told the hotel was full. Eventually, after speaking with a manager, we were given a different room, but were told that we had to vacate our room as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I did not pack everything.

After discovering the problem, I asked the hotel staff to let us back into our previous room. This request was refused, and repeated requests to the housekeeping staff to search the old room did not find anything left behind.

Several items of clothing (including a good portion of my socks and underwear) were left behind. Because we had been assigned to a smoking room in error, I asked the hotel to make good on the Room Benefits Guarantee for elite Marriott members. I was planning to use the money from the guarantee to purchase clothing so I wouldn’t have to do laundry in the bathroom sink on my vacation.

Marriott has refused to honor the guarantee, even though I escalated the complaint to the hotel manager and Marriott customer care back in the States. Is there anything you can do? — Matthew Gast, San Francisco

Answer: I feel for you. I just spent two days in a “non-smoking” room that happened to be next to a room occupied by a chain smoker. I smell like the Marlboro Man.

If Marriott guarantees a particular room type, and backs up that promise in its contract, I don’t understand why it’s stonewalling you. This is no way to treat a guest, let alone a frequent guest.
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Hotel calls mandatory room safe fee a tax, requires you to opt out when checking in

Next time you check into the Fairfield Inn in Sandusky, Ohio, mind the safe in your room. They’ll add a $1.07 fee to your confirmed rate for having one — whether you want it or not.

But you probably won’t even know they charged you for a safe, because they list this surprise surcharge as a tax on your final bill.

Want to have the fee removed? Good luck with that, too.

Maybe it’s a dollar a day, but for Tom Slikas, it was the principle.
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