“You are running a scam”

Karen Roach/Shutterstock
Karen Roach/Shutterstock

Maybe I should have said “no” to the case.

All the warning signs were there. The complaint involved an experienced hotel guest who checked his luggage at the front desk of a chain property in Irving, Texas. One of the bags had gone missing, and the traveler filed a claim for thousands of dollars above the property’s legal limit of liability — one clearly disclosed on his receipt and written into Texas lodging law.

Worse, the emails between the hotel and the guest showed that the customer quickly turned hostile, threatening to sue if he didn’t get more.

But the brightest flashing red light was the first sentence of his email, which boldly declared: “I am a Platinum member.”

Playing that card right up front is usually a sign you’re dealing with a dreaded “entitled” elite.

And yet I’m glad I tried to mediate his complaint. Because even though it led to a heated email exchange on a recent Saturday afternoon, I think it made me a better consumer advocate. And you’ll want to read the details, because they offer a riveting case study for how to not complain to a company, or to anyone else, for that matter.

“Let me check with my attorneys”

But first things first. Although I have written permission to name the hotel and the guest, I’m not going to. I don’t think the property deserves the bad publicity, because it handled this complaint by the book. And I suspect the guest will at some point realize how bizarre and irrational his behavior was, and will regret what he said.

(Let me note that apparently, English isn’t this customer’s first language. I will try to represent what he said in a respectful way.)

Last October, the guest had checked the bags during his stay.

“When I was leaving my luggage at your hotel, front desk didn’t indicate that I am leaving my luggage totally at my own risk and hotel won’t be liable in any case of theft,” he wrote in an email to the property after his belongings went missing. “Had they would have told me I would have made arrangements to secure my belongings at some other place.”

After several exchanges, the hotel’s general manager apologized, issued 50,000 hotel loyalty points, referred the matter to the hotel’s insurance company and offered to help the guest pay his insurance deductible.

But with each subsequent message, the customer appeared to become more aggressive. Finally, the exasperated guest fumed: “I thought your side will be baseless. Let me check with my attorneys what can be done and will get back to you.”

Normally, when someone threatens to litigate, the case gets forwarded to a company’s legal department and it’s more or less outside my ability to mediate. But the guest seemed to back off, instead contacting me for help.

Our first several exchanges were polite. He said he’d seen my website and my offer to help, and wondered if I could push for more compensation. I promised to review his case and asked if I could write something about his complaint.

He readily agreed.

Two weeks later, he asked about the status of his case. And that was my first mistake. I always try to reply to an email promptly, but I didn’t know what to tell this reader. A cursory review suggested he didn’t really have a case. Texas state laws and the hotel’s own agreement with the guest were not on his side.

I write a feature every week called Is This Enough Compensation, in which I ask readers to tell me if the compensation from a company was adequate, and was considering it for one of those posts.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

A few weeks later, I received an indignant email from the guest.

“Looks like you don’t intend to reply any further and really doubt if you could be of any help,” he sniffed.

He added that my offer to “help” consumers was bogus.

“I think you are interested in stories to be listed on your website for which you collect some basis from the individuals and mainly you are helping yourself,” he said.

“Well,” he added. “Good luck!”

On the case

I didn’t take his email personally. Sometimes, customers transfer their anger toward a company on me, even though I’m trying to help. But in retrospect, I probably should have let this one go. That was mistake number two.

“I’m still working on this,” I emailed him. “I have a backlog of thousands of cases. I apologize for the delay.”

I thought maybe I’d missed something in the correspondence that would favor the guest. I decided to share the emails with my hotel company contact.

That’s when things started to head south. Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Guest: Is there any particular reason you didn’t reply to my last email?

Me: This may help. (I enclosed a link to my frequently asked questions, which explains why I can’t respond individually to the hundreds of messages I receive every day.)

Guest: Looks like you attract readers by gathering stories from individuals like me who approach you with a hope to get substantial help. You publish such stories on your website after gathering basis and authorization on emails to back the published story on your website. Further, you might be enjoying business revenues that you secure from commercial advertisements on your website.

(Hmm, my consumer advocacy website offers a free service that’s supported by advertising. That’s how most publications do it. I wondered: Am I missing something? At this point, I was still fairly certain the guest was projecting his frustration on me without realizing it. I decided to take the high road, but that was mistake number three — I should have ended it there.)

Me: I’m sorry you feel I haven’t addressed your question. I’ve looked at your case and I can tell you that the hotel has been contacted and that it is reviewing your complaint. I’ll let you know if I hear anything. Thanks for your patience.

Guest: If you contacted the hotel in my case, then why didn’t you keep me in loop? Please forward me all the communication that you did related to this issue of mine. You must keep me in loop regarding any communication on this issue of mine.

(I must? Actually, I consider the conversations between a company and myself to be private. But he made a valid point. My FAQ section never explicitly said that. In fact, it didn’t address the resolution process in any meaningful detail. It just assumed that readers would know that I’d try to help.)

Me: Unfortunately, the emails and calls between the hotel and me are private. I will update you when I have something to report. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Guest: That is not reasonable, if the issue is related to me, you don’t have any authority to communicate without my approval on my issue. If you have made any communications related to my issue, I have full rights to know what you communicated, please forward me all those communications and going forward keep me in loop on any communication related to my issue. Are you bluffing here? I don’t think you will ever have anything to report.

Me: I can assure you that I’ve contacted the hotel on your behalf. I will let you know when I have something to report.

(At this point, I suspected the customer wasn’t playing with a full deck. Time to back away … slowly.)

Guest: Why you contacted hotel on my behalf without my approval and consent? If you have contacted share all the communications.

Me: I’m sorry for any misunderstanding. You contacted a consumer advocate for help. That is what I do — I mediate consumer disputes. I would be happy to contact the hotel and ask it to drop the matter, if you are more comfortable with that.

Guest: First I need to know all the communications you did on my behalf. You can’t keep that private at your own wish without informing me. Share all the communications you did on this issue first then I will give you any further instructions.

(That did it. The guest didn’t have a firm grasp of reality, and engaging with him further wouldn’t make sense. Can’t believe it took me so long.)

Me: I’m sorry, I can’t do that. I’m afraid I’m going to have to close your case. I wish you all the best.

I contacted the hotel and said I was no longer in a position to advocate for this customer. It quickly dropped the matter.

But the guest couldn’t let it go.

“Ha ha,” he said. “You are a consumer advocate as you mentioned yourself and tell me in what legislation and law being a consumer advocate you are allowed to communicate on behalf of a consumer in private with the business without keeping that consumer in loop of all communication related to that issue. That stand of yourself possibly indicates that you are running a scam.”

He added, “You are doing this totally for your own benefit.”


Actually, the consumer advocacy I do has a long and established tradition in this country. My right to publish is protected by a little thing called the First Amendment. I’m not sure how anyone could twist a good-faith effort to help customers into something that is done “totally” for my benefit, but if anyone can do it, it’s a reader with chronic entitlement issues.

He has a right to my private emails? He deserves more than 50,000 points? I owe him a prompt response to every message?

Gee, if it only worked that way.

Am I running a “scam”? I think my body of work — the thousands of cases I’ve resolved on behalf of aggrieved consumers — answers that question better than I could.

But if you ever wanted to know how not to behave when you have a complaint, this would be Exhibit A.

I’m actually grateful for this case. Seriously. Thanks to the guest’s furious emails, I updated my FAQ section to address the mediation process, and what you are — and aren’t — going to get when you ask me for help. This reader’s hot-tempered email exchange with me will probably help countless other consumers.

Who ever said bad customers aren’t good for anything?

(By the way, have fun with today’s poll.)

Am I running a scam?

View Results

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • bodega3

    My question back to the OP is, ‘Are you running a scam?’

  • http://thestockhome.com/ Josh S

    aaaaannd ….the Page View rate for the FAQ suddenly soars

  • polexia_rogue

    what a jerk.

    this is the kind of guy who would get offended if Angelina Jolie did not reply to him on facebook or twitter.

    elliott.org is a nationally published article (i look forward to reading your work in my local sunday paper.) he is LUCKY you even looked at his complaint, much less replied to him.

    my point – you have the patience of a saint.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Attorneys call this a malpractice lawsuit/State Bar complaint waiting to happen. I had a client like that about 6 years ago. I dropped her 2 days later. She had unreasonable expectations and was very disrespectful.

    She left me a nasty voicemail because I contacted the opposing side with consulting with her first. Duh? That’s why you hired me. She expected me to clear every conversation, letter, and e-mail with her before I sent it. Obviously neither appropriate nor practical. When you have customers/clients like that you need to disassociate yourself immediately and unequivocally.

    And you’re right, an experience like this really makes you up your game to avoid a repeat performance. At least the lesson came cheaply.

  • Andre_K_FL

    I’m trying to figure out any logical possible answer as to the reasons that some people seriously answered yes to the poll question.

  • PsyGuy

    I voted yes, Chris is an advocate, but advocating and publishing (and really Chris should know this but Journalism) isn’t just about the problem and the outcome, but the process, and we the readers have never gotten insight or reporting on the process. Some one has a complaint, they go to Chris, and then Chris does the media equivalent of the godfather going into a back room, “doing something” and then coming back and saying “this thing you ask of me, it is done” or “this favor I can not do”. The story, the advocacy is all that “stuff” that happened behind the curtain, and as a critical reader “not a customer”, I need the inside story before I can trust the writer with confidence.

    Issues that are addressed and resolved with the equivalent of “magic” are usually scammy to me.

  • jpp42

    I’m guessing that Chris wants to keep his relationships with various people at the airlines, hotels, etc, secret because he feels disclosing the details of this could reduce his effectiveness. He’s using the journalism approach of “protect your source” in relation to these contacts. (If you read the FAQ, you’ll see that Chris takes this quite seriously.)

    Furthermore, I disagree that understanding “the process” is crucial to the message of this site. In his articles, Chris is always explaining how an individual could advocate for themselves better, which has more educational value then how Chris himself does it. And since when is a detailed exposition of “the process” critical for traditional journalism? Do journalists explain in their articles about the seedy bars near the capitol building they drank or smoked in, to ovearhear rumors about the next political scandal? I don’t think so!

  • Cybrsk8r

    Just yanking his chain. I considered doing it myself. :-)

  • JewelEyed

    jpp42 has very nicely explained to you why you are wrong. My only response is to say that perhaps you and the subject of the article should go get a beer. I also wonder why you read this blog if you think he’s running a scam. Any insight?

  • Meghan Guilford

    Great monday morning laugh!! If that’s his communication with YOU, I’d love to see his emails with the hotel chain and his “demands” to his rights from them. Yea, you’re totally running a scam. Because you know, he paid you to help him (oh wait, your services are free?)…. *rolls eyes*. Some people can’t be helped. Unfortunately, he’s one of those people.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    From the FAQ:

    What do you say to a company when you act as an advocate?

    Typically, I politely request a review of your case. If I have a question about the circumstances of your problem, I’ll also ask.

    There’s no secret to what I do. But yes, I am protective of my sources. As you know, I almost went to jail to protect them a few years ago.

  • DChamp

    Could you not have told this person “I politely asked my confidential contact at XYZ Hotel chain if they could possibly examine your case again and they will contact me after they review” when he asked for your correspondence?

  • sirwired

    Another point for the “SirWired’s Elliott.org Headline Reading Rule”! (If the headline contains quotes, and one of the words in those quotes connotes illegal or immoral activity, nothing of the sort occurred.

    As a side-note, the loyalty points and the referral to an insurance company seems to be exactly what I would expect from a decent hotel. (After all, they don’t even have to have such insurance…)

  • Molly

    Could you not have noticed where Chris said he contacted the hotel on the person’s behalf? Could you not have noticed where Chris said he told the person he (Chris) would contact him when/if there was a response from the hotel?
    Really! Read the article before you comment!

  • DChamp

    My point was adding the “Confidential contact”. Read please.

  • EdB

    That’s actually what I was thinking after reading the title and the first part of the story. Made me think of the situation not too long ago where the customer wasn’t entirely truthful to Chris to start with to get something they really weren’t entitled to.

  • John Baker

    And he wonders why he wasn’t more effective in getting his complaint resolved? …

    In the Chris Elliott dictionary of travel terms, I think we just found the picture for “entitled elite”.

  • BillCCC

    It appears that this fellow was under the mistaken impression that you were actually working for him and not just advocating on his behalf.

  • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

    You should change yoru business model to a less scammy one. Retainer for attempting to resolve

  • Nikki

    One more reason why I could never, ever be an advocate… and I respect those who do.

    Seriously, I can already see my co-workers’ reactions with somebody like him. We had someone similar not long ago… a self-professed “man of God” wanted – no, demanded – his entire 7-day stay (prepaid, OTA) refunded to him because of every little thing he nitpicked at. (room not cleaned to his specifications, etc) He’d already gotten a polite “no” answer from everyone at the desk but me – and my co-workers already knew that when it comes to people like that, I lack the necessary brain-to-mouth filter to deal with them. Even my bosses send their pain-in-the-ass customers to me – because I don’t pull punches with anyone. Sure, it’s unprofessional to a degree – but when you’ve exhausted all your avenues of patience and understanding, it’s time to deliver the bad news straight off the cuff.

    This guy? I probably would have directed him to the fire hydrant outside the hotel, with an invitation to do some deep knee bends on it.

    – Politely, of course…!

  • mslellen

    After 30 years owning our own business we too have finally figured out that sometimes it is okay to fire a customer.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Yeah, no. You need to publish the name of this idiot and his letters in their entirety as an example of “How to be a Douchebag”

  • writenow

    I quit reading after you wrote you had permission to identify the parties and chose not to. That was annoying.

  • MortarMagnet

    Chris, I am so sorry to hear of this. If there’s one person on earth who doesn’t deserve that sort of abuse, it’s yourself. As mentioned by others, I think you should publish this ignoramus’ name, just so that everyone else can steer clear of them. Don’t let this episode deter you from doing what you do best!

  • Alan Gore

    This person comes across as being both entitled and a conspiracy theorist. That’s always a bad combination.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I think that in time, he will regret what he said and how he said it. I don’t think the hotel deserves to be mentioned. They really handled this case by the book.

  • Ian Parrish

    Well, we may disagree about the value of frequent flyer programs, but I absolutely respect your largely successful efforts to advocate for consumers. I also think this is a good time to complement you on the by-product of this website, which is consumer education. Knowing how to handle yourself before, during, and after a transaction with a travel company is a valuable skill, and I’ve learned some tips and tricks for sure. Sometimes we learn through counter-examples, as in this case…this is clearly how not to complain about a missing bag.

    I think if you name the hotel in this case, it would actually show them in a positive light. They apparently attempted to reach a more than reasonable and courteous resolution while being bombarded with poorly written, personal, complaints.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Yeah, I’m cool with the hotel being anon since they’re in the right. But I’m kind meh on hiding the identity of someone who talks to anyone like that. If he was that rude to you, imagine how terrible he was to the employees of this hotel?

  • Raven_Altosk

    We have a winner! I’m willing to bet this clown was majorly trumping up what was in the suitcase. “Oh yeah, I had an Armani suit, and four laptops, and….PAY ME!!!!”

  • Cam

    Worst. Poll. Ever.

  • Kiki Lyon

    How can even 17 people believe you are running a scam? I suppose computers can be accessed under rocks!

  • Nica

    “I am a Platinum Member.” Yes, a platinum member of “Stuck on Stupid”.

  • Deborah Orth

    Dear Chris This is one of my Golden Rules: When asking for HELP I alwyas do so politely and I always express GRATITUDE after assistance has been given. If I ever need help from you that is what You can expect from me. Sometimes things take longer than we would like or hope for but some issues cannot be resolved immediately!

  • Raven_Altosk

    Or, some of us just voted “yes” to troll. I mean, c’mon, it’s a ridiculous poll.

  • Trudi

    As a consumer advocate Chis is running a service, an educational service. Does he make money from his service? Gosh, I certainly hope so! I’ve been following his columns and newsletter for several years. I’ve given his book to a couple of friends as gifts. His stories have always been honest lessons in how to protect yourself. Often the knowledge comes after you’ve made a serious judgment error, but it’s a lesson that other people can apply to their own choices. Then there are those people who seem to believe they don’t have to be responsible for their own actions. If they can blame someone else, they win! In today’s litigious society, people seem to treat lawsuits and settlements as though they were lotteries. It’s one reason insurance prices have gone through the roof. Chris isn’t running a scam; but clearly the person who sought an unreasonable settlement for ‘lost’ luggage is trying to win his own personal lottery. He gives a bad name to all travelers. Heck, I’m a platinum member of a couple of travel groups and I’m just happy that they greet me by name.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    I think the one that got me was: Guest: First I need to know all the communications you did on my behalf. You can’t keep that private at your own wish without informing me. Share all the communications you did on this issue first then I will give you any further instructions.

    Does the OP actually think Chris works for him? He had already failed to handle this whole thing, thus causing him to contact Chris and he thinks he’ll go on being the ringmaster at the circus he created, only with the strength of Chris’s name behind him?

    And as far as the attorney analogy, I’m with you on that one. I find my attorney does his best work when I tell him the problem and then stand back to watch him do his thing. I prefer to NOT encumber him with “my” thinking on it. He went to school for this, I went to school for something else entirely. There’s an old Native saying, “Turn loose your wolf”… If I’m taking it to my attorney, that’s a last resort and I’m fed up. He might seem nice, and genial, and kind, which he is – all these things – he just doesn’t screw around when it comes to enforcing the law.

  • emanon256

    I no longer need to leave a comment, because you summed it up far better than I could have.

  • EdB

    if you no longer needed to leave a comment, why did you leave a comment? You must be running some kind of scam! Trying to confuse people by saying one thing then doing another. Get the reader sufficiently confused so you can sell them anything you want to. I see through your little game though.


  • DCGirl

    I post on another board, related to etiquette, where, if anyone has a story about “should the hotel/airline/cruise company/tour operator done X, Y, or Z” the immediate response is tell people to come over here and ask Chris for help, regardless of how baseless the poster’s issue may be. I suspect that that site is not the only one the refers people here instead of giving people the reality check so many of them clearly need.

  • Havalina

    When I first found this site, I was desperately trying to find advice on how to deal with a
    rental car agency who was trying to charge me for damage I didn’t
    cause. After reading his column and suggestions on how to proceed, I
    already felt more empowered! I wrote to Chris, mainly to thank him for
    writing the columns because it validated to me that I was not alone in
    dealing with such an issue, and armed me with some tools. Chris was so
    nice, he actually started with “I am sorry this happened to you, yes it
    does seem like you have a case” and asked me to keep him posted on how
    the case evolved, and at some point, when clearly my requests were going
    unanswered- he contacted them on my behalf. I am incredibly thankful to him, and understand that he has contacts and clout in this area that I don’t…and he helped me.
    But even if the situation would have not gone my way, I would still be
    incredibly thankful, because at least then I would know that I have done
    everything I could, and the company was in the right. The fact that
    this guy DEMANDED anything from Chris, for a service that Chris provides free of charge…is unbelievable to me.

  • emanon256

    Hahahah :)

  • Londoner1936

    You stated that you thought that English was not his first language. Perhaps it was; seriously he sounds like the late Peter Seller’s imitation of a pompous Indian. .. That opening line “I was leaving my luggage … and later on the front desk did not tell me … “you are leaving it at your own risk”

    If this is the case, then you are dealing with a truly self impressed member of the platinum elite class.

  • Deborah Orth

    Another saying comes to mind Someone trying to represent himself has a fool for a client

  • Christina Conte

    What a joke! I also can’t believe you devoted so much time to this arrogant and entitled jerk, but like you said, you learned from the experience. Almost sounds like this could be from dontevenreply dot com! I won’t put the second part of this website’s name, although it fits this guy/woman PERFECTLY!

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I’m just as frustrated as you are with this reader, but I don’t think it’s necessary to call him names. I think his attitude kind of speaks for itself.

  • Christina Conte

    To quote Foghorn Leghorn, “It was a joke, son.”

  • John H.

    Because of the dropped articles in his prose (“the” and “a”) I have a good idea of the person’s native language and, thus, culture. It is
    quite possibly a matter of two cultures banging heads. The OP’s is, I think, operating on the cast system, and the OP is of the upper cast and expect the rest of the world to treat him/her like a king. Lived in a country similar to this OP’s, if I’m guessing right. I taught at a university there and I had students who would come into my office without knocking and yell at me because of a grade on a paper that was lower than the student deserved as “king of the hill.” At first I politely threatened to throw the student out through the closed window. Later on I realized what was going on and would merely threaten to push him out of the open window. I obviously softened somewhat. And this OP could also be in culture shock and not understand why he is quick to anger.

  • Deborah Orth

    My husband and would love to stay at your hotel. We don’t nitpick over trivial things. When we do ask for something (always politely, never demanding or in a entitled way) if we get a polite no we understand, and if we get a yes we always thank the person. We also let management when we had a great stay and give constructive criticism when appropiate. Our travel agent Penny once told us you two rarely complain so when you do I know it was a big deal. Restaurants or hotels yes we expect good service, but we feel that they can expect us to be good guests too.

  • backprop

    Well let’s judge objectively. Christopher fires off a few blog entries every week. In return, the advertising dollars that roll in fly him around the world in private jets, put him up in the presidential and emperor’s suites at the best hotels, pay the butlers, keep the caviar and fine champagne flowing, and keep his multiple yachts fueled and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

    At least, that is what I’m told about the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by travel ombudsmen.

  • Deborah Orth

    All I ask of any business is treat me fairly and with respect and that is how I will treat you in return. I don’t think you would have to fire me.

  • llandyw

    My opinion is this. First Chris, you are an advocate, not a lawyer, nor are you being paid by the “client” for what you do. You had no obligation to help him in any way. You told him you’d see what you could do and in order to do so, you had to contact the property. He would have known this before he contacted you. Keeping him “in the loop” is not part of any agreement you have ever made with anyone, and I for one would not expect it. I live with someone who works for a hotel. There was a guest there who claimed a “binder” of credit cards was stolen from her room. Who carries a binder of credit cards? Supposedly she filed a police report, but in the end nothing came of it since she had nothing to show she ever had this alleged binder. This particular request for your help appears to be along the same lines.

  • Deborah Orth

    Happy that your situation had a good resolution. Who knows someday I may be in your shoes so to speak.

  • llandyw

    I hope that one was meant in jest.

  • Stephen0118

    The thing is this: There may be those that don’t really want to read every step of the process because it could be just hundreds of e-mails going back and forth with the same thing over and over again. Think of it as mediation between a player and his team when they’re negotiating a contract. Would you want to read all of the back and forth that goes on?

    As someone else has said, Chris provides this as a FREE service. You’re not obligated to ask him to go further than the first correspondence.

  • Flip44

    I praise you for your calm composure in comments to the aggreived complainer. After ‘sucking’ you in for help, he sees this as a pure legal matter, and makes you part of perceived legalities, instead of appreciating your help. If he wanted to delve into the legal procdures, he should get a lawyer. I am surprised you did not ‘sign off’ sooner.

    If you had done what a lawyer does, and charge him $50 for each phone call, and $100 an hour for sending emails and research, I am sure he would have backed off immediately.

    Your advice is always sound and sensitive. I am surprised at the 4% that thinks you run a scam, and hopefully they will never return to your column.

    Yes, lessons learned for all of us.

  • Christina Conte

    You are joking, right?

  • Christina Conte

    I think the 4% were just joking around since it’s a joke of a poll. (Btw, you have an inexpensive attorney!) :)

  • http://www.talestoldfromtheroad.com/ Dick Jordan

    If you had been acting as the OP’s attorney, it would have been reasonable for him to expect to have been given (via a “cc” copy) all of the e-mails to the hotel.

    Mediators, on the other hand, often communicate with one party to a dispute without disclosing the details of the communication to the other side. Those confidential communications can facilitate resolution of the dispute.

    This gentleman apparently didn’t understand that distinction, and assumed you were acting as his representative, not a neutral mediator.

  • hotelguy

    I think you’re being a little naive..people with grand self entitlement issues never see the error of their ways. They go through life like that. A lot of times they get what they want by bullying. Fortunately they’re rare creatures which is why you got sucked in to his b.s. in the first place.

  • Mel65

    One thing my parents taught me and I have taught my children: When asking someone for a favor, you don’t get to set terms, conditions or expectations. It’s a FAVOR. I actually found it funny he kept saying you had no authority to contact them on his behalf. Um… what does he think asking for help means? Kudos for taking the high road and not exposing him to ridicule and ritualistic egging of his home, but…yeah I’m dying of curiosity as to who it is :)

  • Mel65

    When I worked customer service many years ago, our mantra was ‘the customer is always right, but seldom correct.”

  • LeeAnneClark

    So, PsyGuy, did the hotel ever give you any more money for your “lost” bag?

  • Miami510

    O.K., Here’s what I’m going to do:

    I’m going to subtract 4% from every minority vote in such outrageous cases. I often wonder who are these people that vote the oposite of common sense with no justification? Are they just contrarian for the sake of “stiring the pot?”

    I shall leave Chris with the slightly altered quote from Edmund Burke:

    Those who would contribute their time in public service must be proof against the
    most fatiguing delays, most mortifying disappointments, the most shocking
    insults and, worst of all, the presumptuous judgment of the ignorant upon their

  • LeeAnneClark

    Her point was that Christopher didn’t need to tell him anymore than he already did. Read please.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Did you read WHY he chose not to? I think his choice was admirable. But perhaps you are similar to the client, in that you feel that you are entitled to know everything that Christopher says or does, whether he wants to tell you or not. Interesting thought process (albeit bizarre).

  • LeeAnneClark

    Oh c’mon Chris…you know that this guy deserves every name we could throw at him. Why ya gotta be such a spoilsport? Oh…alright, we’ll be good. ;-)

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I don’t agree with your “scammy” comment, but there is some truth to what you say. There is no magic involved; people are just hoping that Chris’ contacts and experience (along with the fear of unwanted publicity for the hotel/airline/etc.) will break the logjam and result in a positive outcome.

    But, the thing to remember is that there is also an entertainment factor at play, which influences how certain things are presented. Some things are simplified or accentuated to make the stories clearer or more exciting. (At least that is my take on why important details are so frequently left out). The sometimes goofy poll questions and the way certain articles (frequent flyer programs being one example) are spun in extreme ways, obviously to illicit more responses, are other examples of this. Nothing really wrong with that, but that is how it is.

  • LFH0

    I have mixed feelings here about the person who had asked for assistance. While a mediator is neither a judge nor an arbitrator, a mediator might nonetheless be viewed by some people as a pseudo-judicial officer. And given the principle that communications with judges and arbitrators not be ex parte. In contrast, an advocate for one side is expected to communicate in private without sharing communications with the other side. Thus, I think there is some basis for the person to feel left out, at least to the extent that the role of the “consumer advocate” may not necessarily be clear to all involved.

    In this context, Mr. Elliott cannot imposing a binding decision on all parties (at least absent consent from all), and his role as mediator is limited to trying to find common ground. In doing so I think there is a need for him being able to communicate candidly, ex parte, with each side in order to ferret out whatever common ground might exist, and mandatory disclosure of those ex parte communications could well have a chilling effect on candid discussions. But there is also imposed on the mediator an obligation that information obtained be used fairly, not be mis-represented, and certainly not used as a sword against one side or the other.

    To be generous to the person here, perhaps he understood the role of Mr. Elliott. The very term “consumer advocate” suggests that such individual is not neutral but is instead advocating for one side (i.e., the person here). A more accurate term for Mr. Elliott might be “consumer affairs mediator,” but that simply is not the commonly-accepted term.

    As to the substance of the allegation, a quick reading of the relevant law suggests that the agreement between the hotel and the person was a gratuitous bailment, one for which the hotel is not liable except in cases of gross negligence.

    As I opined initially, I do have mixed feelings here. The person expected Mr. Elliott to his personal advocate, and Mr. Elliott expected himself to be a neutral seeking a mutually-acceptable resolution given his inability to bind either side. The person probably should have known better (and possess better manners), but there appears to be at least a colorable reason for his actions.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Has anyone wondered why this…um…”client” (I had to re-write this sentence multiple times because I realized none of the terms I used for him would past muster with the mods) thought it would be safe to leave something that was supposedly so incredibly valuable with STRANGERS? And he didn’t even bother to ASK if they would assume total responsibility for it? And he figured that if they DIDN’T tell him they weren’t liable for loss, then it must be safe?

    What a [term pre-emptively deleted]!

    The “client” wrote:

    “When I was leaving my luggage at your hotel, front desk didn’t indicate
    that I am leaving my luggage totally at my own risk and hotel won’t be
    liable in any case of theft,” he wrote in an email to the property after
    his belongings went missing. “Had they would have told me I would have
    made arrangements to secure my belongings at some other place.”

    So let me get this straight – the front desk “didn’t indicate” that they weren’t a safe deposit box. So because they “didn’t indicate” that they weren’t Fort Knox, you just assumed they were.

    By that logic, if you leave your diamond ring worth $20,000 with me, and I DON’T tell you that I’m not liable for loss, you just assume it’s safe? Wow. I had no idea the world worked that way.

    I thought of another term for this guy….he’s a [term pre-emptively deleted, but it possibly included the words “ass” and “hat”, but don’t quote me on that].

  • Christina Conte

    Or…some people are beyond help, unreasonable and rude.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    Did he file a police report?
    If I had a suitcase with valuable items, I would not check it with the front desk, the airlines or leave in the custody of anyone.
    For instance: if the bag contained expensive camera gear, I would be dragging that bag all over creation.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Well my eyes glazed over a bit at all the legalese, but I do feel it’s important to point out that, in fact, Christopher has NO obligation to either side because all he is REALLY doing is an unpaid favor!

    I think we need to remember that he receives no remuneration from anyone. Neither side pays him. He’s just a guy trying to help someone out. He has no requirement to tell either side ANYTHING.

  • LeeAnneClark

    My point exactly. I do travel with expensive underwater photography gear, which I carry on flights. I wouldn’t dream of handing that bag off to some hotel front desk. That was just dumb.

  • bodega3

    I had to recently send something to a company and had to have it insured. I took the item to be sent to a store front shipping company and they asked to look inside the box, while in an area of the store where their security camera would record this action. Reason being, they have accepted items for shipping that weren’t in the envelope/box when it arrived at the other end, that the person who came to them for their services claimed was in there. This is a scam going on and the store front shipping company will not accept anything over a certain value without having the security camera document the item, the closing of the container and the person who brought the item in to be shipped.
    We have left our bags many times with hotel bell captains or in a closet that the front desk has for this purpose. But before we leave it, we always get a receipt. I find it interesting that this isn’t mentioned by the OP.

  • gratianus

    Chris is running a business that depends on consumers presenting their issues to him. He then chooses which to pursue in part because the aggrieved party has a case and in part because that case, he believes, would be of interest to his readers.
    Obviously he is a talented journalist and persistent in trying to get justice for his readers, but he is also supporting his family and building a reputation/business through his work. I was one of those aggrieved parties, and though my story never appeared on his website, he did go to bat for me, and, I believe, was instrumental in my story having a happy ending.
    What happened here was bizarre. The aggrieved party must think that Chris as an advocate needed to become his creature. Regardless of whether the guy deposited luggage containing what he claimed it did, he seems to need professional help–and I don’t mean legal help.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I was wondering the same thing…every time I’ve left luggage with a hotel front desk, I got a claim ticket for it that explicitly stated that the hotel is not liable for loss, damage or theft. Did he really just leave his valuable belongings with a hotel front desk, and walk away with no receipt or claim ticket?

    If so, then he deserves what he got.

  • emanon256

    Good call, I didn’t even think about that, but it makes sense. Back in the day when I was a University Bursar, I had an MBA student who got mailed a past due notice come in and immediately start yelling at my staff, then he started telling people how dare they talk to him like this, do you know who I am, I will have you fired, and so on. He was so over the top I called the dean of the college of business and found out that this guy was a prince of a town in another country. Turns out every town in this country (I honestly don’t remember which) had a queen/king and princess and prince, and throughout the years we had many more princes attend our MBA program, all as arrogant. They were used to always being right, having everyone grovel, and always talking down to everyone without question. It didn’t work well for them when we treated them like we treated everyone else. Also these royal people never ever paid their bills on-time, and would raise holy HE-double-hockey-sticks when they got a dunning letter. From that point on, their dean would warn me, and we would meet with these people regularly as a team. They were much easier to deal with if they spoke directly with the person at the top. It was painful dealing with them, and unfair. But it was even less fare for me to leave my staff to deal with them. I still never let them get away without paying, and had many arguments with them. I imagine the top caste woudl be very similar.

  • emanon256

    Is that similar to a binder full of women? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    The binder of credit cards does seem odd to me.

  • joe

    Think the 37 yes votes didn’t read the report or the question.

  • Grant Ritchie

    Funny, funny, funny! Thanks for sharing that website. Wanna buy a fish tank? :-)

  • y_p_w

    Maybe a few mistakes. Possibly even the subject of the article who is selecting yes and then clearing cookies before voting again.

  • Christina Conte

    np-the clumsy seller one has to be the best! :)

  • Grant

    Funny! :-)

  • LeeAnneClark

    I think the yes votes are just yanking his chain. ;-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That makes less than zero sense. What are you exactly accusing Chris of doing? Let’s walk through this.

    OP asks Chris for help, Chris speaks to the appropriate people, He returns the answer. Where is the dishonesty or fraud in this???

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    I was about to post a similar comment. I don’t think it has as much to do with caste or position as the vagaries of doing business there. In the OP’s suspected country of origin, nothing gets done without a significant amount of yelling or threatening to escalate the matter to someone else. I lived there for nearly 3 years on a work assignment, and shortly after moving, I was finding myself extremely frustrated because I couldn’t get the department store to send someone to install my washing machine. The person either just wouldn’t show up, or come up with some lame excuse like “it’s raining, and there’s too much traffic to come to your place”. Eventually, an employee on my team called the guy, and started yelling that the service was unacceptable, and if he wasn’t there by 10 A.M. the next morning, he would be reporting to the expat support group that his company was terrible and that we should never do business with them ever again (the vendor was on a list of “expat friendly” vendors that were given to us). That did the trick. He was there at 10 the next morning. Fact is, when you have 1.2 billion other people that need the same stuff you do, the person yelling the loudest is the one that gets served first.

    That doesn’t excuse rude behavior, but if he hasn’t been in this country very long, he might know any better. Or maybe he does and is just a DB…

  • Asiansm Dan

    A Platinum member don’t know the limited liability of luggage consigne is either a liar or a scammer.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Actually, that’s exactly what attorneys do. If you have an unreasonable client that’s pestering you morning, noon, and night, you make sure that you charge for every email, phone call, letter, etc. The client gets the hint.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I don’t know of any attorney that cc’s their client on every e-mail. There are two reasons for this, the standard answer is that the client may respond with a reply all, thus disclosing privileged attorney client communication to third parties. The main reason though is that a such a client intends to micromanage his or her legal matter. That is a recipe for disaster.

  • Asiansm Dan

    A questionable “Platinum Member” who don’t have an idea about limited liability of consigne luggage at Hotel or even at an “other arrangements to secure my belongings at some other place” is either, make your choice, a dump, liar, scammer, tort expert or freeloader.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s very important. If you want someone to be an advocate for you, then you need to hire them and pay them for their services. It is the definition of unreasonable to expect to get the same level of personalized attention from a free service as one that you pay for.

  • LFH0

    I think that if Mr. Elliott were his lawyer, then the person’s expectations and actions could very well be viewed as within the realm of reasonable reactions. But in his real role as a neutral, the person’s actions were unreasonable and rude. The question I have is what the person’s thoughts were as to Mr. Elliott’s role, and whether those thoughts were reasonable or not.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    2 thoughts.

    My first thought is, its unreasonable to think that Chris is his attorney. Chris is not an attorney and the OP didn’t pay Chris.

    My second though is that an attorney would have had a quick discussion with the OP explaining how legal representation works. An attorney cannot work effectively if he needs to obtain the client’s permission to do every little thing.

  • LFH0

    That Mr. Elliott is not paid does not tip the balance strongly for me. If a professional has ethical duties to act in a certain manner, those duties remain whether the professional is paid or if the professional performs those services for free. Here, Mr. Elliott has undertaken the role of being a neutral in mediating consumer disputes without charge (overall, I think he does a very good job). But merely performing that job without being paid does not mean that he does not have to abide by his professional ethics. He could not obtain secret, proprietary, or other information from one side, and then, without cause, use that information to unfairly favor one side or the other, or worse, to use it for his own personal gain.

    Mr. Elliott does this, I think, as part of his professionalism, to give back to the community from which he has benefited in the form of paid assignments. By not being paid, he is not obligated to take on any particular dispute. But when he does choose to do so, he also takes on the obligation of being fair. And fortunately, I think he largely succeeds in doing so.

  • LFH0

    Mr. Elliott promotes himself as a “consumer advocate.” In general terms, an “advocate” has, essentially, the same role as a lawyer, i.e., advocating for the interests of a particular side. Sometimes the two words are used interchangably, as in Great Britain where I understand “advocate” is synonymous with “barrister.” It was suggested that language was issue, and that might have been caused some misunderstanding.

    Certainly a lawyer or an advocate does not require individual permission for each and every routine action undertaken, but the client does have the right to know what his lawyer or advocate is doing, and to make significant decisions affecting his or her rights. Moreover, payment for services, or failure to do so, does not affect the ethical obligations of professionals.

  • writenow

    Have you been this rude all your life? Not sure what it is you don’t understand about “I quit reading” other than a simple, lack of reading comprehension, but neither do I want to know from someone as rude as yourself who likewise practices mind reading, apparently. #SpareMeYourDetails.

  • http://www.talestoldfromtheroad.com/ Dick Jordan

    Depends on the client. Most business clients wouldn’t make that error. To avoid the “Reply All” problem entirely, the attorney’s e-mails could either be forwarded to the client electronically or by “snail mail.”

    The point I was trying to make is that clients are entitled to copies of communications between their attorneys and an opposing party. Parties to mediation generally don’t have the right to copies of written communication or a report of verbal communication between the mediator and the other party.

    The OP in this case apparently viewed Chris as his legal representative, not as a neutral mediator.

  • SteveZ

    Who are the 40 baffoons that voted yes to this?!

  • LeeAnneClark

    Oh…I get it…you think we’re on TWITTER! Now that’s just funny. ;)

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Please remember our comment guidelines, which encourage us to avoid personal attacks.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Guilty as charged :P

  • TonyA_says

    Sounds like she needs to be her own attorney :)

  • BunnyFaber

    If you are indeed running a scam, it is the worst scam ever. Needs more profit.

  • John Baker

    Couldn’t agree with you more… Including the last paragraph

  • writenow

    Chris: Kindly back off. In that I was responding to Ms. Clark’s attack of, “in that you feel that you are entitled to know everything that
    Christopher says or does, whether he wants to tell you or not.
    Interesting thought process (albeit bizarre)” you should have jumped in earlier and to Ms. Clark, who apparently doesn’t have anything better to do.

  • Christina Conte

    I wouldn’t worry about it. Someone actually down voted my Foghorn Leghorn comment! How is that even possible? Hahaha!

  • LeeAnneClark

    LOL! And getting funnier! Something tells me you didn’t LIKE it when I pointed out the similarities between you and the “client” (being that you both apparently get annoyed when Christopher doesn’t tell you things that he is under no obligation to tell you.)

    And you also seem to feel entitled to tell Christopher to “back off”…ON HIS OWN BLOG! Seriously, you are a laugh a minute.

    Thanks for the entertainment, anyway! ;-)

  • Christina Conte

    Those buffoons are joking around :)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Hey, I treasure my down-voting fans. There are certain people on this blog who down-vote pretty much anything I write. I could post “kittens are fluffy” and they would down-vote me. I consider it a badge of honor. ;-)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Seriously, right? I mean, come ON…the first rule of scamming is that there has to be at least the potential for profit. ;-)

  • writenow

    This person is just flat weird. I however, need to get back to work.

  • writenow

    “Something tells me” = the voices in my head are speaking to me, I must act. Yep. One’s own blog doesn’t mean they are immune to reality. Toodles cupcake, I got work to do. Feel free to do whatever you think it is you’re doing.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Feel better now hon?

    And HOW did you know I love cupcakes? Although I’ve never tried a “toodles” one…is that like a yodel, or maybe a ring ding? Hey, if it’s got cake and frosting in a little paper cup, I’m there.

    At least, so say the voices in my head. ;-)

  • LeeAnneClark

    See? I got one even on this! Too funny. ;-) Okay here goes: Kittens are fluffy. (How many down-votes can I get?)

  • Jane

    I know a person in real life who might act like this. But this person is suffering from mental illness. Not that this should change your behavior in ANY way!

  • Michael__K

    we always get a receipt. I find it interesting that this isn’t mentioned by the OP.

    “His receipt” is referenced in the 4th sentence of the article.

    There’s plenty of fertile territory over which to legitimately criticize this guy. If ever it was overkill to make up other reasons….

  • EdB

    I am going to down vote that response because it is not true. Not all kittens are fluffy!

    Just teasing. :)

  • LeeAnneClark

    LOL ya got me there! :)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Oooh, yup, there it is! That line slipped by me. I guess I believed that the dude wouldn’t possibly make such a huge deal over this if he was, in fact, informed that the hotel wasn’t liable.

    As it turns out, at least if we’re reading this correctly…not only was he informed, there’s actual hard PROOF that he was! It was right there on his receipt!

    That makes the whole thing even more stupid. He seems to have some odd theory that if they didn’t state it OUT LOUD then it must not be so. The fact that it was printed plainly on his receipt is negated because they didn’t actually…ya know…SAY it.

    Thanks for pointing that out, Michael K!

  • Grant Ritchie

    And how about “Special skaters,” where the guy responds to the ad for a hockey coach to help “Special Olympics” kids? “I’ll teach your kids how get away with everything without the referee seeing it. I’ll show them how to make butt-ending, head checking, slashing, and tripping look like an accident.” The wonder, to me, is how people get so spun up, and take this dude seriously!

  • LLC

    It truly sounds as though the OP is running a scam on hotels and trying to get details from Chris for solving problems he may have on future scams. Good job Chris. You tried…

  • Deborah Orth

    But all racing greyhounds are fast or so say my 2 retired racers Dr. Jake and Ellie Mae Bones

  • Christina Conte

    My son was just dying laughing the other day, and that’s the one he was reading!!! Yes, the best part are the people who just keep it going!

  • Christina Conte

    Voted down? Seriously? I feel sorry for people with no sense of humor.

  • Christina Conte

    Got it. So I take it you’ve made some “enemies” out there?

  • fshaff

    As I post this comment, I cannot believe there are 46 people who think Chris is running a scam. Are they nuts?

  • AH

    but she didn’t say “all” kittens. ;)

  • Christina Conte

    If you read the whole thread, you’ll see it’s all in good fun! ;)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Well, I don’t know if I’d call them “enemies” – they’re anonymous strangers on the internet, whom I’ve never met, and know nothing about me other than what they’ve seen me post on this blog. But I have been open about my strong objections to pretty much everything the TSA does, and the “AFSers” (“Anything For Safety” folks) have made it clear they disagree with me. So if they are “enemies”, then I’m happy to have ’em. I would consider anyone who supports the TSA to be really be an enemy of freedom, not just lil ol’ me. ;-)

  • LeeAnneClark

    Well then get used to feeling sorry. There are a TON of regular commenters on this blog who have zero sense of humor.

    But they can be quite entertaining themselves, so I’m happy to have ’em here. ;-)

    By the way, I found that website and wasted WAY too much time today reading it, falling off my chair laughing. What a riot!

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I think the OP viewed Chris as his servant.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I might agree with you if the OP reasonably believed that he had hired Chris as his attorney. However, given that Chris is not an attorney, does not hold himself out as an attorney, and does not charge for his services, under the specific facts, it is unreasonable for the OP to believe that he is entitled to an attorney-client relationship with Chris.

    And yes, while one’s ethical obligations are not necessarily dependent on payment, a payment arrangement is highly probative, though not dispositive, of whether an attorney has agreed to undertake representation of a potential client.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    True. Everything you said is true.

    But to break it down a little, when a professional undertakes an assignment, there are two standards, the first is the standard required by the profession’s canons; the second is providing a personalized “hand holding” services which is often the main difference between an unpaid professional and a paid professional.

    For example, public criminal appellate attorneys rarely visit clients in prison because its not relevant to the appeal. They get the trial transcripts, brief the issues, and submit it to the court. They don’t discuss which issues will be presented, nor what law will be cited.

    By contrast, private criminal appellate attorneys (I used to be one) always visit the clients in prison at least once. We discuss the issues, and generally are more interactive with the clients, although not required by the ethical codes.

  • Carver Clark Farrow


  • LFH0

    Whatever one can argue on one side, there’s an opposing argument on the other side (and I think I can argue either side). Hence I head back to my opening statement, “I have mixed feelings here about the person who had asked for assistance.”

  • silentnonrev

    OK, fess up. Call me a racist if you like…but how many of y’all read the “guest’s” side of the communication in your head, in an Indian accent?

  • Steve Rabin

    I voted yes just for yucks and giggles. Keep scamming away, Chris!

  • Leslie B

    I was all set to read my interesting book before bed but I was checking emails and saw this story and the comments. Wonderful to have several good chuckles and laughs right before bed. Hopefully I ‘ll have some amusing dreams. In my pre-retirement days I used to arrange travel for groups which is why I travel with my husband and another couple, that enough of a group for me..

  • Chester P. Chucklebutt

    I voted “Yes” just to “have fun”…of course you’re not running a scam! Entitled folks like that guy ruin it for the folks who truly deserve your help. Don’t let him get to you, and keep fighting the good fight!

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Fair enough. I take the opposite tact. If the OP wanted an attorney he should have hired an attorney.

  • Bigdog

    Couple of things.
    First, there may be a real cultural disconnect with this person. Based on his comments, he appears to be from a place where his behavior is accepted and tolerated and in his mind, quite normal. Despite this, you are in the clear in my opinion as to how you replied and interacted. In a normal situation, if he asked for your help, he would reasonably expect you to contact the hotel on his behalf and act as an advocate.

    Second, and lastly, on some level I resent your comment about the “dreaded elite”. While achieving that status doesn’t give folks the right to be rude or exhibit boorish behavior, I do think that it might appropriately deserve a bit more consideration or the “extra mile”. The “elites” certainly have paid for their status by the amount nights or miles experienced and more importantly, the massive amount of dollars we spend on flights, rooms, cars, etc. Additionally, if you really want to be honest about it, the “elites” subsidize the non-elites to a certain extent. My crazy airfare is shocking when I sit next to a person who paid 1/3 the amount because he had the luxury of booking far in advance or with some other type of discount. I don’t begrudge him that perk since my situation as a business traveler overwhelmingly precludes me from booking in advance. It is what it is, but his perk of low fares, in my mind, is offset by my “elite” status. I’m not for one minute embarrassed by it nor will I refrain from using it to my travel advantage. Of course that doesn’t give me the right to be rude or condescending, but I have paid for my status not only in dollars, but it wear and tear. Yes, it is my choice to do what I do for a living, but things have a way of evening out.

    Thanks for the forum.

  • Nica

    Okay, my comment was wrong. He was not stupid, but he was rude. I apologize if I have offended anyone.

  • rich

    you’re probably lucky to not get more loonies like this guy

  • mygreatkid

    He actually said dreaded “entitled” elite and that’s what this guy clearly was. Your whole comment is based on misreading what he wrote.

  • Bigdog

    With all due respect, I felt it was still a shot at “elite” travelers. I see your point, but it still didn’t sit well with me. Thanks for your comment, though.

  • Peter

    Not trying to be a suck up, but Chris has been professional and helpful, the rare times I have shared anything with him. And the OP clearly has some issues. But one thing that doesn’t seem to be discussed is how you feel when your property isn’t professionally cared for at a hotel.

    I was recently at a 4 star hotel in NYC, checked a number of bags with my companion (including TWO computer bags, because they were heavy and we didn’t want to carry them around all day). The bellman walked away after taking them (and giving receipts), went outside to hail cabs for people, and left all of our things standing in the lobby, with about 2 dozen people milling about. I was gobsmacked at the lack of professionalism. Once I was in the taxi, I called the hotel front desk and asked them to make sure my bags got locked up. I remember the feelings of frustration and impotence, giving my valuables to someone who didn’t treat them professionally. It was pretty upsetting.

  • Anonymous

    The 57 “yes” votes are the hotel guest with an uncontrollable index finger.

  • Philip Brown

    I can assure you that CHRISTOPHER ELLIOTT, is not running a scam. I am a retired consumer advocate & was not able to help my clients (no fee) – 100% of the time. A very small % of people look at their situation as a way to “rob the bank”; vs. an honest settlement by the parties involved.
    These people are the ones that caused me to retire at 62; with serious issues of anxiety & depression. The few complaints I have delivered to Chris have been handled in an ethical & professional manner; GOD KNOWS HIS HEART!
    Be thankful you have been introduced to Mr. Elliott; he is FOR REAL!!!

  • jennj99738

    My previous firm had a clause in the retainer agreement that phone calls on the weekend were charged at time and a half. This was a firm that practiced a lot of family law so calls on the weekend were routine. The client gets the hint fast when they get the first bill.

  • Lindabator

    Watch out, Alan – he’s added you to his list! HAHA

  • TMMao

    The way I deal with these types of “guests” is to offer them a full refund for the service that they paid for and did not receive. In the case of your consumer advocacy service, that refund shouldn’t cost too much.

  • Citizentraveller

    From reading this column over a considerable period, I am confident that Chris is a person of considerable integrity.

  • Christina Conte

    There are Americans who have this exact same sense of entitlement, so I wouldn’t pin it on his “cultural disconnect.” “Elite” has nothing to do with “entitled” either; there are some “elite” travellers who are entitled, as well as vice versa. This guy just had no common sense to begin with. My 15 year old daughter would know that if you leave a bag at the front desk of a hotel and it goes missing, that they are not responsible. Just like having your car broken into in a parking garage, they aren’t responsible either…it’s a chance we take everyday, and it’s not just in this country.

  • pauletteb

    I don’t know how “cheaply” Chris got off. What’s the going rate for a bottle of Maalox? And how many bottles did Chris need to get through this?

  • pauletteb

    The only “rudeness” I detect here is yours.

  • writenow

    Your failure to see the obvious, in RESPONDING to an attack, is not my issue.

  • TonyA_says

    You forgot to add the cost of your priceless adult anime collection :)

  • Puck2u

    Anytime anyone makes demands like this early on just say so sorry… Some people will always try to take advantage of anyone trying to help them. There are times when an OP is so angry with the situation another person who doesn’t have a any gain except a thank you very much is better talking with a company. Did the OP ever thank you anywhere in his contacts? I will take bets that he never did and was generally impolite. The OP was taking advantage of you just as he tried to do to the hotel.

  • Travelnut

    Wow. Nice way to treat someone who was helping you for free.

    I still wish Chris had been able to help with my travel horror story, so already the OP was ahead of the game. I still think it would have been an interesting story, and I’m still convinced the travel agency is the scammiest scammer that ever scammed a scam, and they deserve every bit of internet shaming I can figure out how to bring about. The unsuspecting public needs to be warned about them, so the same thing doesn’t happen to other people. Still working on that. But ya know? Chris does this free of charge. He gets thousands of requests every month and can’t possibly help with all of them. And the lucky ones? Get an expert. I’ve still gotten quite the education reading all the stories. You rock on, Chris.

  • Mia

    I’ve been reading Chris’s columns and articles for years and have followed all of his advice when the need has arisen to complaint about something done that needed to be addressed. He has always, always educated his readers on what to do in certain situations and what the person, who came to him for help in the first place, didn’t do. Are you that foolish to realize that a when a company is faced with the prospect of having a claim they handled badly being made public by a respected travel advocate that they will wisely review their decision and offer to make things right for the sake of goodwill and to mitigate any bad publicity that arises from stories like these? Why do you think there is any scent of a scam here. There is no magic implied. In fact in most cases Chris ends his stories with a comment along the lines of, “I contacted the company and forwarded your complaint. They apologized and issued you a (fill in the result here)” Magic? I hardly think so. The only magic is here is the illusion you suffer under.