Bedbugs confirmed in my room but Marriott only said "sorry"

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Feb 10, 2016
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I stayed for four nights in the Marriott Wardman Park. The itching started after night one, when two quarter-sized welts appeared on my left shoulder blade. I thought, Hm, weird, but tried to ignore them. Two nights later, an identical welt on my left hip. Again, hm, but my mind didn't go to bedbugs until I woke up in the middle of the night to an itchy foot and found two smaller bites in a line on my right arch. It finally clicked and I realized I might have been a midnight snack for bedbugs for nights. Eww.

I reported it and got a call from the claims department in short order. I was told that Ecolab did find a bedbug in room 6055. The associate apologized but when I asked what's next and if they'd pay for my dry cleaning she said there is no compensation of any kind for bedbugs. The dry cleaning costs and anything else was not Marriott's responsibility. Surely, I understand, she said.

I don't. My colleague was locked out of her room and got 15,000 points for the inconvenience.
I get bitten by bedbugs and I get zilch except concern that I've brought them home to my children.

Is this a typical response?

To add insult to itchiness (couldn't resist) I am a Marriott Rewards card holder and Silver Elite member with three weeks of upcoming travel with Marriott and am very underwhelmed by their handling of this experience.
I would have expected at least reimbursement of my dry cleaning bill and some Marriot points credited to my account.

Thanks you for reading my message!
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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Typical? Hard to say when you are dealing with different business reps for different grievances. That being said, I personally feel you are owed some sort of compensation. I would decide specifically what that compensation would be (be reasonable!) and ask for it using the company contacts on this website (http://elliott.org/company-contacts/marriott/). The more polite and professional your letter is, the better chance you will have in gaining an ally with the person who reads your letter. If you have a copy of Ecolab's report, I would include that in your correspondence. Write to one person at a time waiting a week to hear back. If you do not get the answer you are expecting, escalate to the next exec.

Good Luck!
 

Carol Phillips

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Dec 28, 2014
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@Kfiegs - I'm a Marriott Silver Elite, too, and have found the staff in the Marriott Rewards Dept to be quite helpful when I have an issue.

I agree with @Patina 's advice above to use our Company Contacts and send a polite letter, waiting a week before escalating to the next level.

I personally would include my disbelief at (a) finding bedbugs, (b) the hotel acknowledging bedbugs and confirming Ecolab's findings, and (c) the offered compensation being some dry cleaning. I'd also mention that bedbugs don't remain in place and easily might have hitched a ride home in my suitcase!

Also mention your forthcoming three weeks of Marriott stays.

Then be sure to ask for what you are seeking ... 20,000 Marriott points, maybe? (That'll get you a night in the lower level Marriotts).

Please let us know what transpires.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Eeew is right. I can't believe the rep essentially told you to get lost. You have to wonder what goes through the minds of hotel people. This is not a little problem with the HVAC; bugs of any kind in your bed are horrendous.

You don't state what level this rep was, but definitely deal with this in writing, just as my colleagues advise. I would start with the general manager of the hotel itself. Ask for points equal to the cost for one night at this hotel. If the hotel doesn't snap to immediately, I would ask for double points. Personally, I consider this kind of thing a major problem for a hotel guest.
 
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Aug 10, 2013
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@Kfiegs - I'm a Marriott Silver Elite, too, and have found the staff in the Marriott Rewards Dept to be quite helpful when I have an issue.

I agree with @Patina 's advice above to use our Company Contacts and send a polite letter, waiting a week before escalating to the next level.

I personally would include my disbelief at (a) finding bedbugs, (b) the hotel acknowledging bedbugs and confirming Ecolab's findings, and (c) the offered compensation being some dry cleaning. I'd also mention that bedbugs don't remain in place and easily might have hitched a ride home in my suitcase!

Also mention your forthcoming three weeks of Marriott stays.

Then be sure to ask for what you are seeking ... 20,000 Marriott points, maybe? (That'll get you a night in the lower level Marriotts).

Please let us know what transpires.
While I completely agree here, I just wanted to point out that the shorter your letter, the better. The unfortunate reality is that the people responding to the emails skin over them. So if you are polite and concise, you tend to receive the most favorable response. Also, simply state they have only offered dry cleaning and you find that unacceptable (which I totally agree, it is totally unacceptable!). Complaining about an individual tends to lead to a less favorable response.
 
Nov 3, 2015
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If I understand correctly, the Kfiegs was not offered so much as dry cleaning... just a verbal "sorry". I would have wanted my possessions fumigated, preferably by cold temperature storage, and sent on after me.

Personally, I'd be considering a back-up reservation with say, Hilton, for the forthcoming trip, while waiting for a reply from Marriott guest services. Because they dropped the ball on this one big time.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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If I understand correctly, the Kfiegs was not offered so much as dry cleaning... just a verbal "sorry". I would have wanted my possessions fumigated, preferably by cold temperature storage, and sent on after me.

Personally, I'd be considering a back-up reservation with say, Hilton, for the forthcoming trip, while waiting for a reply from Marriott guest services. Because they dropped the ball on this one big time.
Just don't book a non refundable rate if you opt for this and make sure you cancel before the cancellation period is up. Otherwise we'll be having a complaint that they didn't realize they had to cancel the second res. 2 days before staying and asked us how to get out of it. ;)
 
Aug 29, 2015
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North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Apparently you're not the first to experience this problem at the Marriott Wardman Park. Check out: www.bedbugregistry.com/hotel/DC/Washington/Washington-Marriott-Wardman-Park# No one can be sure that these reports are real or fake, but your experience lends credence to them. A reference to these prior problems might be a helpful addition to any correspondence you may have with Marriott. Oh, please report this incident to bedbugregistry.com

edit: There is another listing for this hotel on the site that gives even more examples:
www.bedbugregistry.com/hotel/DC/Washington/Marriott-Wardman-Park-Hotel
 
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AMA

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Dec 11, 2014
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OMG, George, that website is awful!!! Just looking at it gives me the creeps. I might just start sleeping in my car when travelling. :eek:
 
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Aug 28, 2015
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I stayed for four nights in the Marriott Wardman Park. The itching started after night one, when two quarter-sized welts appeared on my left shoulder blade. I thought, Hm, weird, but tried to ignore them. Two nights later, an identical welt on my left hip. Again, hm, but my mind didn't go to bedbugs until I woke up in the middle of the night to an itchy foot and found two smaller bites in a line on my right arch. It finally clicked and I realized I might have been a midnight snack for bedbugs for nights. Eww.

I reported it and got a call from the claims department in short order. I was told that Ecolab did find a bedbug in room 6055. The associate apologized but when I asked what's next and if they'd pay for my dry cleaning she said there is no compensation of any kind for bedbugs. The dry cleaning costs and anything else was not Marriott's responsibility. Surely, I understand, she said.

I don't. My colleague was locked out of her room and got 15,000 points for the inconvenience.
I get bitten by bedbugs and I get zilch except concern that I've brought them home to my children.

Is this a typical response?

To add insult to itchiness (couldn't resist) I am a Marriott Rewards card holder and Silver Elite member with three weeks of upcoming travel with Marriott and am very underwhelmed by their handling of this experience.
I would have expected at least reimbursement of my dry cleaning bill and some Marriot points credited to my account.

Thanks you for reading my message!
@Kfiegs This is my worst nightmare. It took me a day to even read this. I am so upset for you. I also heard about this happening at the Ritz Carlton in NY, another Marriott property. I will go even further and say you are owed very substantial compensation, aside from just dry cleaning, free room, etc. I think they should pay for an inspector to visit and check your home. I hear these things are insidious and I know a family who got them and moved and one followed to their new apartment. I am so sorry this happened to you. I would also check online for the bedbug reports of the properties you plan to visit. There is an online registry of the hotels affected by this. I am really surprised by the treatment you received. I think of Marriott as a customer friendly company. You may have just gotten a clueless manager.

Also, for a 3 week stay, you may wish to consider traveling with your own pillow cases and/or sheets. This may sound extreme but they make special ones for this. They should have comped your room and then some, without being asked.
 
Aug 29, 2015
606
1,082
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North Kingstown, Rhode Island
OMG, George, that website is awful!!! Just looking at it gives me the creeps. I might just start sleeping in my car when travelling. :eek:
Keep in mind that not every room in every hotel with bad reviews has bedbugs ... but always check the top of the mattress and behind the night stands before you go to bed! I've stayed at some of the offenders without incident. When you see a pattern in those reviews, though, watch out!
 
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Feb 10, 2016
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Thank you for all of the responses. I filled out a survey the hotel sent to me after my stay the same day I posted my experience here. I also sent a letter to the SVP listed on this site. Yesterday, I received an email from the "executive assistant to the resident manager" apologizing and offering to pay for my dry cleaning and deposit 50,000 into my Marriott account. I'm assuming she was responding to my survey, but might have read this post.

As for bringing them back with me, so far so good. I took precautions - some clothes in hot water, some in deep freeze, some dry cleaned and still haven't brought the suitcase into the house. I suppose only time will tell if we are 100% in the clear but no signs so far.

Thanks for everyone's support!
 
Feb 5, 2015
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Ahhhh, now we have hit my area of "expertise":

I stayed at the old Las Vegas Hilton a few years ago in what could only described as an old school 1970's 29th floor suite. Wicker furniture, Murphy bed, you could still smoke in it, the works. We put our luggage,clothes, everything...everywhere.

I was at a concert a few weeks later when I got a call from my other half saying he thought we had bedbugs. I raced home, and was just ASTONISHED (and that's an understatement) at the number of "things" that were crawling all over. I actually thought I had contracted Valley Fever because of the bites on my arms. Didn't have a clue.

We ended up throwing out our entire bedroom (mattress, furniture, dresser, the works) and sprayed with what we could until we could get the professionals out.

They ended up bringing the "drug dog" who can smell where the bugs are and where their scent is. It was pretty amazing to see this dog sniff sniff sniff sniff then stop and put his paw up or go bonkers when he saw excrement. Sure enough, they had entered the walls. I believe I had the option of paying $350 for an inside spraying of all the areas or $900 to heat up the walls. We ended up paying the $350 and the company sprayed as one does when trying to prevent scorpions.

The brutal part was because it had hit the bedroom the walk in closet was affected. We were told that EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) had to go into the dryer first, then the washer, then back in the dryer. Shoes, curtains, bookbags, EVERYTHING went in there. If it couldn't go in the dryer we threw it out. We lost a briefcase and books because of this.

From here we were told that we would not be able to use our closet for two weeks. Nothing could be hung up while the chemicals settled in. We were told to live out of trash bags, and that's what we did. We had a trash bag for our casual clothes, a trash bag for dirty clothes, a trash bag for dry cleaning, a separate one for shoes, etc. It was a pain. The second we got home EVERY bit of clothing we had on (no matter whether if it was from work, dinner, a walk, etc) went straight into the dryer for 20m and then into the "used" trash bag. We did this for two weeks. Ridiculous.

We got the all clear from the company a two weeks later and were more than grateful to put our clothes back up in the closet.

If only that were the end of it...
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About ten months later I was out and about and got another call from the house notifying me that we might have bedbugs again. NOT the thing you want to hear. I raced home, we lifted the living room couch, and there they were again. Crawling all over the place. So we threw all the living room furniture out right then and there. And called the company back.

The same dog came back out, did her thing, and we were informed that the bugs were most likely still in the wall and the original treatment did not get all of them (as they initially said). We should have done it right the first time, but ended up paying the $900 to have them heat up the house. And heat it up they did.

They bring hoses that travel resemble professional shampoo companies that hook up to their truck. We are talking about 1000 feet of hoses from my condo, down the stairs, around the landscaping, past the pathway, and to the truck in the parking lot. Cones were littered everywhere strictly for this purpose. We were told to remove all canned goods from the pantry, all electrical appliances from the rooms that were to be treated, and anything that could melt/explode had to be put in another part of the house. The contents of the refrigerator were okay because it is sealed. So that was a pain.

They bring handles that resemble what you would find on a rake or broom, attach construction lunch boxes filled with ice, and enclose every fire sprinkler in the room so that when the walls and house heat up the sprinklers don't trigger. Yes, that's right; They heat the place up to 130 degrees for eight hours. I was told to get out of the house at 7:30am and be back at 3:00pm.

It's the middle of August so it's literally 112 outside here in Phoenix. I walk into the house at 3:00 and it feels like it's 150 inside. In reality it's about 130-140. I am told not to open the windows or turn on the air for at least thirty minutes. The walls feel like any religious book you have ever read detailing how it feels "down there." They were so hot! Hot, hot, hot! 30 minutes passes by and I rocket open the windows to get some "cool air" into the place and turn on the air. The A/C unit immediately starts flashing "H."

I go to take a shower. I get out soaking wet and the water on me instantly turns to me sweating profusely. I have been out of the shower not two minutes and I am making puddles due to the floor and surrounding areas being hot. I take three more showers that hour just to cool down. It doesn't work. I finally have to leave the house to enjoy the 112 degree winter air just so I can breathe.

The house does not fully get back to an upper comfortable 82 degrees until 11pm, I kid you not. I thought we might lose our A/C unit because it was working so hard.

Long story short, here are some rules to prevent yourself from getting bedbugs:

1. ALWAYS use the luggage rack in the room. NEVER EVER put your suitcase or clothes on the bed. If there is no luggage rack, use the bathroom sink. Try to avoid the dresser drawers in the hotel room.

2. ALWAYS check the mattress for bed bugs. Take the time to inspect as much as the mattress as you can. Strip the linens and check them as well. Pillow cases, too. This should be the first 10-20 minutes in your room. If you find them, grab your stuff and go right back downstairs. You don't need to be in that room a minute longer.

3. When returning home, all clothes should go IMMEDIATELY into the dryer for at least 20 minutes. Yes, it really is a matter of unlock the door, strip down, into the dryer. They can then go in the washer, and then back in the dryer.

4. If you are coming home and live in a hot climate area like Phoenix, leave your suitcase in the trunk for 24 hours. This should kill them.

5. They do make a bedbug suitcase that will heat your clothes up to 160 degrees at the push of a button. Retail price: $300

They are my greatest fear. It's why I don't go to the movies anymore. I will have to wait until Star Wars comes out digitally.

Hope this helped. Glad you were able to get some compensation. I contacted the LVH twice and never heard back. Doesn't matter anymore. They will never get $1 of my business ever again.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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An astonishing story, Efren! It's hard to put your mind around this if it's never happened to you. I hope you never have to deal with a bedbug again.
 

Carol Phillips

Moderator
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Dec 28, 2014
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What an amazing story, @Efrenbojorquez . I read it twice and am still shaking my head. This should be required reading for anyone concerned about bedbugs. Thanks for sharing your experience.

I sure hope your home has remained bedbug-free ever since ....
 
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Dec 30, 2014
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OMG, George, that website is awful!!! Just looking at it gives me the creeps. I might just start sleeping in my car when travelling. :eek:

Haven't seen anyone suggest what I always do when staying at a hotel...I bring a bedbug proof mattress cover, king size, so it's big enough for whatever bed I get. I strip the bed before doing anything else and put on the mattress cover. Also have bedbug proof pillow covers. Bedbugs come out at night, so if you check in before dark, you should be ahead of them. Yes, it takes up space in your luggage but it's been worth it for the peace of mind. Haven't ever had a problem. Also, our clothes stay in our luggage and our luggage stays on a hard surface...desk, bathroom counter, etc. Luggage racks can harbor bugs. I use ELF (Eco Friendly Living) brand covers and love them.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Haven't seen anyone suggest what I always do when staying at a hotel...I bring a bedbug proof mattress cover, king size, so it's big enough for whatever bed I get. I strip the bed before doing anything else and put on the mattress cover. Also have bedbug proof pillow covers. Bedbugs come out at night, so if you check in before dark, you should be ahead of them. Yes, it takes up space in your luggage but it's been worth it for the peace of mind. Haven't ever had a problem. Also, our clothes stay in our luggage and our luggage stays on a hard surface...desk, bathroom counter, etc. Luggage racks can harbor bugs. I use ELF (Eco Friendly Living) brand covers and love them.
Or do what we do. As soon as we get into the room we pull the mattress off the bed and look for them.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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North Kingstown, Rhode Island
I recently bought a small UltraViolet flashlight at Lowe's for under $8.00 to identify some antique "uranium glass" or "vaseline glass" that glows bright green under UV light. I've just discovered that some people use these UV flashlights for finding scorpions and even bedbugs in the dark. I can't say whether these flashlights work or not, but there may be some more info out there about this method of finding the little critters. I'll probably be bringing mine along with me on my next trip although I'm a little afraid of whatever else may glow under UV light.
 
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