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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: New York

    I stayed at hotel for 5 weeks in Albany-NY. The hotel was smoke free hotel. I used to smoke in my car and put the butts into the water filled bottle. I used to throw it into trash located outside after parking my car and before getting into the hotel. But one day I forgot to throw the bottle into trash outside and left the bottle with me and brought it to my room. I naturally threw it into trash of the room. It was happened 1 week before checking out the hotel. I saw during check out in the morning that they charged $250 for smoking in the room. I did not so much time argue with hotel manager because of being about missing international flight in the morning. They showed me a picture that showed a butt on a white background and they said that the photo was taken in my room. I sent an email to GM and other responsible people to explain that those butts were not there because of smoking in the room. but the answer was that there were still smoke odor so they could not hire again this room for following 3 days after I checked out . so they refused to refund the money back.
    it is the story. here are my questions.
    1. can finding a butts be an evidence to blame someone smoking in the room?
    2. Is taking a photo in my room when I was not in and without my permission ethic ? Do hotel management have a right to take photo or record video without my permission when my personal documents were in the room? can I sue them to attack my privacy?
    3. According to hotel management; intensive smoke odor caused not to hire room again for 3 days. of course it is not true. I must smoked lot of cigarette to have that much smoke odor for 3 days that must have activate the smoke detectors. it only shows that I did not smoke in the room. all those things sound unreasonable.
    even if there is smoke odor do they have a right to charge money. smoke free means smoking in the hotel is forbidden. it is not forbidden to make the room smoke odor.
    4. is it acceptable to be informed this status during checking out? the event occurred 1 week before I checked out.but they did not warn or informed me at that day and wait till checking out day when I did not so much time to discuss the details.

    which way should I follow to get my money back? I do not live in US but come to US 3 times a year. how can I kick off o court or sue issues while I am in my home country.?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    Typically, hotels that have a policy prohibiting smoking in their rooms will notify you of such policy when you check in. Additionally, some will either have you initial the check in form next to some "no smoking" statement thereby acknowledging you were notified, others may require yyou sing a separate form, while others may simply post notice inside the room.

    So the questions that need to be answered to reply to some of your inquiries are:
    * Were you notified in writing of their "no smoking" policy?

    * Did you sign or initial any papers acknowledging you were in fact notified?

    * And if so, did the notice you were given indicate how much of a fee would be charged to your account if you were to smoke?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    smoke free means smoking in the hotel is forbidden. it is not forbidden to make the room smoke odor.
    this makes no sense. How would the room smell like smoke unless you were smoking in the room?

    I must smoked lot of cigarette to have that much smoke odor for 3 days that must have activate the smoke detectors. it only shows that I did not smoke in the room. all those things sound unreasonable
    No, what they are saying is whatever method of deodorizing the room they use requires 3 days to complete and since they cannot rent the room during that process, they lost 3 days business because you smoked in the room. They quite likely do something such as run an ozone generator for a period as well as go through a much more intensive cleaning process and wash things that are not typically cleaned after every guest.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    I was actually told once that the cost is due to the dry cleaning of the curtains...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    Quote Quoting cyjeff
    View Post
    I was actually told once that the cost is due to the dry cleaning of the curtains...
    I don't know about $250 to clean curtains but I am sure that is at least part of the additional expenses incurred.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    Quote Quoting cyjeff
    View Post
    I was actually told once that the cost is due to the dry cleaning of the curtains...
    They do have to clean the curtains... But the also have to use a de-ionizer to remove the smoke odor for fixtures, carpet, bedding... etc.

    It would be safe to assume that a good chunk of that $250 charge is their way of penalizing the guest (i.e. "pure profit"). But hey, if the policy and the additional charge was disclosed to the guest when s/he check in (and s/he signed/initialed acknowledging the notice) and yet you still smoked.... You'll really have no recourse.

    Quote Quoting karakazan
    View Post
    I must smoked lot of cigarette to have that much smoke odor for 3 days that must have activate the smoke detectors.
    Actually, if you're a smoker, you cannot smell it as well but smoke from 1 cigarette will permeate through the curtains, bed covers, mattress and carpeting.

    Even for smokers, when you first walk into a hotel room it is very easy to tell a difference between room has either been refurbished (remodelled) or one which has never been smoked in versus a room that has been smoked in and later deoderized (a thick deoderizer odor) or a room where someone smoked (musty smoke smell)!

    As for smoke detectors, hotels have long been required to have smoke and or fire detectors in their rooms... Even long before some hotels started "smoke free" policies like back when they offered smoking AND non-smoking rooms.

    So just because the smoke detectors didn't go off, does not mean that no one smoked in the room.
    Quote Quoting karakazan
    View Post
    smoke free means smoking in the hotel is forbidden. it is not forbidden to make the room smoke odor.
    Is that your way of saying that you did in fact smoke but only because you misunderstood what "smoke free" means?

    Quote Quoting karakazan
    View Post
    the event occurred 1 week before I checked out.but they did not warn or informed me at that day and wait till checking out day when I did not so much time to discuss the details.
    "The event"???
    I don't think you're going to find anything wrong with them notifying you at the time you request a closing bill or at the time you are checking out!

    The part that isn't clear to me is this:
    Quote Quoting karakazan
    View Post
    I saw during check out in the morning that they charged $250 for smoking in the room. I did not so much time argue with hotel manager because of being about missing international flight in the morning. They showed me a picture that showed a butt on a white background and they said that the photo was taken in my room
    So you were checking out, you noticed a additional $250 charge on your bill... While I can understand that you were rushing to catch a flight but ss you at least deny smoking? Did you dispute the charge at all? And yet they MADE YOU WAIT so they can show you a picture?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,387

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    I don't know about your state, but in my state the law specifically gives the hotel permission to charge you in this situation.

    I worked for a hotel for 8 years.

    1. can finding a butts be an evidence to blame someone smoking in the room? Yes.

    2. Is taking a photo in my room when I was not in and without my permission ethic ? They own the room. You are only renting its use. There is nothing "unethical" about their taking a picture of their property.

    Do hotel management have a right to take photo or record video without my permission when my personal documents were in the room? Yes

    Can I sue them to attack my privacy?
    No.

    3. According to hotel management; intensive smoke odor caused not to hire room again for 3 days. of course it is not true. I must smoked lot of cigarette to have that much smoke odor for 3 days that must have activate the smoke detectors. it only shows that I did not smoke in the room. all those things sound unreasonable. It's quite true. That is how long it takes to fully fumigate the room.

    even if there is smoke odor do they have a right to charge money. smoke free means smoking in the hotel is forbidden. it is not forbidden to make the room smoke odor.
    Yes, they have the right to charge you. Smoke free means no smoke OR smoke odor in the hotel.

    4. is it acceptable to be informed this status during checking out? the event occurred 1 week before I checked out.but they did not warn or informed me at that day and wait till checking out day when I did not so much time to discuss the details. I guarantee you that there were notices posted. It's not the hotel's fault if you did not read them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    From what was posted I think the charge is not reasonable. You can stop talking with the hotel and start writing a letter to your credit card company disputing the charge. Is finding butts evidence of you smoking in the room? I would think the answer is that is does not create a prima facia case that you smoked in the room.

    They claim that the room was vacant for three days due to your smoking and caused them loss -- I doubt that this is true & they have the burden of proving it.

    Since you paid the bill already, your credit card company is the first place to start. After that, if the CC finds the charge was a good one, I guess you'll suck it up...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    this makes no sense. How would the room smell like smoke unless you were smoking in the room?
    It smells because I had thrown the butts of cigarettes -that I smoked in my car- into the trash of room.

    They own the room. You are only renting its use. There is nothing "unethical" about their taking a picture of their property.
    Does the same rule work for if I rent a flat or house from someone? does the house or flat owner have the right to step in my my house and take photo or set a video? or in a other way, does the hotel management have a right to put a video ar record something in my room without my permission?
    If all those are legal how can I be sure that the photo was taken in my room? Because housekeepers are paid bonus when they notice any violation for smoke free policy.
    There were some signs that say smoke free and charge of 250 dollars. I do not remember that I signed any document about it. Noone told me that they a right to take a photo n my room as well... this issue is beyond smoking in a smoke free area now it is a matter of invation of my privacy by taking photo in my room. all those things were happened in New York. I am not familiar to US laws. What can I do to sue them or do I have a right to sue them for this issue. Taking photo should not be so easy in a hotel room even they are the owner of the room.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,387

    Default Re: Charging Money for Smoking in a Smoke Free Hotel and Taking Photo in My Room

    You cannot sue them for this issue.

    There is a difference between a hotel and a rented flat or house. A hotel has both the right and the responsibility to enter your room when you are not there (housekeeping, etc.). Your privacy has not been invaded.

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