When Michelle Palenschat books a room through Hotwire, she ends up in a smoking room. Can the company do that? And is it possible to get a refund?
Landra Osmus doesn’t smoke. So when she checked out of the Comfort Suites at Sabino Canyon in Tucson, Ariz., recently, she almost choked on her bill, which included a surprise $150 cleaning fee.
Seth Elsen receives a mysterious $250 charge on his credit card after staying at a La Quinta hotel. Now the property’s general manager is hiding from him, he says. Can he get a refund?
Question: I recently stayed at a La Quinta Inn and Suites in Walla Walla, Wash., with two guests. We were there one night, and everything went fine.
Two nights after I checked out, I noticed a $250 charge on my credit card, in addition to the $100 fee for the room. I called, talked with an assistant manager, and was told that it was a smoking charge, and that I needed to talk to the general manager about it.
I asked when she’d be in, and was told the next morning. I didn’t get a call back. I called again during the weekend, talking to other front desk people, trying to find out when the manager would be in.
Question: 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.
Answer: Ace shouldn’t have charged a smoking fee unless you smoked in your room. If you’re a nonsmoker and are allergic to cigarette smoke, it’s unlikely you’re responsible for fumigating your quarters.
Editor’s note: I’ve changed my Wednesday feature, “That’s ridiculous!” to make it more interactive. Now you can vote on whether a new fee or practice is — or isn’t — ridiculous. By the way, if you’ve seen something outrageous that you’d like to nominate, please send me an email.
When Teri Salmons clicked on the MGM Grand’s website to reserve a room recently, she found an “unbelievable” new fee.
Next to options for early check-in ($20) and late check-out ($20) she saw a $20 per day fee for “guaranteeing” a non-smoking room.
That’s right. You have to pay extra if you want to stay away from the smoke.
“Most hotels are either all non-smoking these days, or at least the majority of their rooms are non-smoking,” says Salmons, a Baltimore-based consultant. “What will they think of next — pay toilets?”