Can I get a refund for my stay at the No-Tell Motel?

By | July 26th, 2013

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 Hotels.com. 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.

The room was supposed to be smoke free, yet the bedspread on one bed had cigarette burns and the room smelled like cigarette smoke. We did not have enough towels for three people and the bathroom had not been cleaned, as evidenced the next morning by our find of a handful of long red hairs stuck to the wall of the shower.

Related story:   Can't get Beaches resort deposit refunded or transferred

The next morning, a hotel attendant informed me that Super 8 had nothing to do with our transaction, and that if I ever were to be issued a refund, I’d have to go through Hotels.com. I have called Hotels.com and asked for a refund, but so far, I’ve gotten nowhere. Can you help? — Gladys Martin, Berea, Ohio

Answer: Are you sure you were booked at a Super 8? It sounds like you tried to check in at the No-Tell Motel, instead.

Hotels.com shouldn’t have sold you a room like that. But even a cursory online search would have revealed that this Super 8 was horrible. Sure, the Super 8 chain is a budget brand, but this one was — and I quote the recent write-ups — “just gross.” One reviewer advised everyone to “stay away” and the hotel received an aggregate rating that would embarrass anyone associated with the Super 8 brand. In other words, you had ample warning.

Under the terms of your reservation, your room was completely nonrefundable by the time you checked in, so technically Super 8 was right for refusing your refund — both to you and to Hotels.com. But who cares about technicalities? Super 8’s promise to be the “best in quality” means you should have expected more from your lodging experience.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few tips. When the air conditioner is turned down to 45 degrees, open a window. It will take only a few minutes to warm things up. If the rug is sticky and the shower is dirty and the bedspreads smell like smoke, ask for another room. And most of all, when dealing with a refund request, put everything in writing. Calling Super 8 was just an exercise in futility.

Related story:   I've fallen and I can't get a refund for my cruise

I contacted Hotels.com, which sold you the room, and it helped you secure a $150 refund from Super 8. Hotels.com also sent you a $20 voucher as an apology.

Should Super 8 have refunded Gladys Martin's room?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.