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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

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

    I have never had such an inconvenient, stressful, frustrating situation and I feel as if my hands are tied! I booked a vacation package through priceline.com so all my fees were paid to them, no charges should have been made the merchant. Everything was great with the flight, the hotel not so much..

    I checked to Best Western Inn at the Meadows in Portland, Oregon in on 3/22/13 dog tired from a flight from Hawaii and 3 hour layover. My boyfriend and I went to dinner, came back and went to bed as we had a hiking trip the next day. I left the hotel around 9am everything was fine. I returned 2 days later (mostly got to the hotel to store my stuff and have a nice bed to sleep in the last night as this was an outdoor vacation) anyway we got back around 10pm and neither door key worked so I went to the front desk, showed ID, and got the keys reprogrammed and went to sleep. We were woke up by front desk calling past midnight asking me to come down to discuss something. This has never ever happened to me in all my years staying at hotels. I got up, got dressed, went to the lobby and a different person that wasn't even down there when I got my keys that were coincidentally disabled reprogrammed. He shoved a form in my face saying I was being charged a smoking fee. I was livid. I don't even smoke, I had just got there, they woke me up after midnight, and I don't even smoke!!! I went upstairs and said I would speak with management in the morning.

    I first logged onto my bank account and saw a charge for -$500, then a reversal for $500, then a charge for $352.68. I called and disputed this immediately.


    The manager was so unhelpful and uncooperative at checkout. He stated the housekeeper smelled smoke, and he and another person verified the odor so I was being charged. I said your charging me a fee based on a matter of opinion he said "yes" I then asked for all corporate and management information. He stated Best Westerns are individually owned and operated and he was the manager and part owner, I asked for the other owners information and he said "no, hes not around" i flipped out, i could not believe this was happening.

    I left immediately to proceed with my bank. Since i already paid for everything through priceline, on check in they just needed a card to hold the room so I just without thinking pulled out my debit card, not my credit card. (Im noticing debit card disputes aren't as easy as credit card ones). Anyway I had to get on a flight home and not let this completely ruin my last day. Then the next day I was instructed by my bank to write a detailed letter of the interaction and fax it in, I logged online to get the correct figure and the amount of $352.68 that I originally disputed was gone, and the charge of $500 (that was originally reversed) was back! I could not believe it. They increased the fee after I left, and probably after I got pissed at the manager at check out. Does anyone have ideas of what I can do here. Like I said, i'm working with my bank they are "investigating" the matter. The hotel manager has been completely rude and uncooperative, he has only contacted me to say im no longer welcome to stay there again (THE NERVE). Finding a higher up or corporate has been difficult to say the least. And let's not forget the most important fact I DID NOT SMOKE IN THAT ROOM.

    Today I was contacted by the General Manager via voicemail. He instructed me to call him back. I returned his call an hour later and he stated he could not talk to me, he just received an email from his corporate legal department and he cannot have any interaction with me due to some of the verbiage I used online. He did however warn me "watch what you say online"

    How ridiculous?! He expects me to keep quiet about this when they are charging me a fee for smoking on didnt do, and then increased it because I got upset at the manger.

    Do I really have no recourse here?

    Thanks in advance for any help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    OH10
    Posts
    17,019

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    Without knowing what you signed, it is difficult to be helpful in a manner other than which you have pursued. I suggest you also file a complaint with the states AG.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    Quote Quoting Bmcgee3
    View Post
    I checked to Best Western Inn at the Meadows in Portland, Oregon in on 3/22/13 dog tired from a flight from Hawaii and 3 hour layover.
    You skimmed over the part where when you checked-in they may have requested a credit/debit card to keep as a deposit "for incidentals"... This would be, of course, in spite of you paying for everything through PriceLine... But more importantly, this is the time when they explain their no smoking policy and have you sign or initial a document stating you agree to the fee if they smell smoke in the room.

    Do you not remember any disclosures, forms, explanations, agreements, anything of the sort that you could have possibly scribbled your signature over?

    Quote Quoting Bmcgee3
    View Post
    I don't even smoke
    How about your boyfriend? Does he smoke?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    Yes I was aware of the policy, thats not the issue because I dont and did not smoke, neither did my boyfriend. That would be like if they handed me a no pets policy, I would sign it without question as it does not apply to me or affect me and the last thing I would assume is that I would be charged for it!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    https://justice.oregon.gov/forms/consumer_complaint.asp

    Also file one with the BBB. I think you can file even if they are not a member. Did that once on a business over $40 and a year later he sent me my money back. So it could take a while. He was rude over the phone....

    I did file with consumer services of Utah ones over some small amount. I think it was like $25. They took it seriously even though it was such a small amount and I did get my $25 back.

    And throw out that debit card! I threw mine out a long time ago....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    The BBB has no regulatory authority whatsoever.

    Companies do, however, sometimes send "nuisance" payments to get rid of certain clients.

    (No, it's not a dig - it's just a fact of life)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    Thank you! Yes definitely learned my lesson on debit cards! Such a hassle!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,808

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    I had a recent problem with hearing aids....filed a BBB complaint...my hearing aids were serviced, and I even got flowers.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,195

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    Just food for thought....

    On the two days you were hiking did you light campfires? If so, your clothing and belongings may have smelled strongly of smoke, and that may have caused the hotel's reaction.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Hotel Charging $500 Smoking Fee and I Did Not Smoke

    Have you disputed the charge with your credit card company?

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