Why should I pay for my stay in a bedbug-infested hotel?

When Julia Ingle books a four-day stay at a Days Inn in San Antonio through Hotwire.com, she isn’t expecting a broken box spring, bloodstained sheets and bedbugs. But that’s exactly what she gets. What she doesn’t get is a refund from Days Inn. Can our advocates help her get compensated for what she got?

Question: I am trying to get a refund for a hotel room I booked through Hotwire. The room had bedbugs everywhere. I left with several bites and had to throw out several expensive items including my suitcase. I booked four nights but had to leave after three because the conditions were so bad. I spoke with representatives from both companies, who told me they could not help me and I would not be getting a refund. I am very disheartened by this experience. I want a refund for my stay. Can you help? Julia Ingle, Pacific Grove, Calif.

Answer: We can’t imagine anything more disgusting than finding bedbugs in your hotel room, except for when the hotel refuses to adequately compensate you for the stress and inconvenience. That’s incomprehensible and disgusting.

You did exactly what we recommend to consumers on our website every day, and that was to self-advocate. First, you complained directly to the hotel’s front desk staff. Instead of immediately resolving the problem, the clerk told you that you would need to speak to the manager who would be in later. When you asked if you could change rooms, his reply was a lackadaisical “possibly.”

When you didn’t hear back from the manager that day, you returned to the front desk and spoke with another hotel staffer who informed you that the manager would not be in until the following day. Exasperated with the hotel’s lack of customer service, you and your colleagues, who experienced similar infestation issues, packed your items and left the hotel a day early. You informed the front desk staff, who did not apologize or offer to refund your money.

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You then used our executive contact pages to send a concise, polite email to both Hotwire and Wyndham Hotel Group (the parent company of Days Inn) and included pictures, along with a request for a refund of the cost of your stay. This would have been reasonable under the circumstances, if you had checked out after one night of those deplorable conditions. However, you and your colleagues stayed for three nights of your four-night reservation, which might have weakened your case somewhat.

The reply you received from Wyndham referred you to the property’s franchisee, while informing you that they had “notified the owner/operator of this facility and conveyed our expectation that he/she take steps to address the situation adequately, and asked that they contact you directly to discuss the situation.”

In response to the notification from corporate, the franchisee in San Antonio credited you 45,000 reward points. So when Hotwire contacted Days Inn, they said that the issue had been “resolved” because of the credit and they were unable to give you a refund. You explained that you would much rather have the refund than the credit, but the hotel refused. That’s when you turned to our advocates for help.

We reviewed your case and your correspondence to Hotwire, Days Inn and Wyndham. We asked if you had documentation from the Days Inn that the 45,000 point credit was the limit of their settlement. Our advocates wanted to be able to document that was not a settlement for your troubles from Wyndham corporate.

You contacted Wyndham to request the pertinent information be sent to you in an e-mail that you would then forward to our advocates. Apparently, that request was the tipping point. Within hours you informed us that you had spoken to Wyndham, Days Inn and Hotwire, and collectively they had agreed to give you a full refund of $593, which they told you that you should receive in five to seven business days.

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We’re happy about the positive outcome of your case. It demonstrates, once again, the power that self-advocacy and a persistent consumer have in obtaining results.

Chip Hiebler

Chip enjoyed a successful career in the IT field. Now he's retired and splits his time between experiencing destinations and cultures beyond his home in Baltimore and generally having fun. He currently supports the mission of Elliott.org as the co-director of the research department.

  • deemery

    Pictures are critical. Otherwise it’s just ‘he said/she said’.

  • thinfool

    I hope you reported this on one of the many bedbug report sites and to the local health department.

  • sirwired

    Days Inn is on my own permanent “Do Not Stay” list. I’ve never found them to have any real standards whatsoever for quality.

  • The Original Joe S

    online travel agency – you don’t save anything when you use them.
    Should have checked out IMMEDIATELY.
    Photographs of the terrible accommodations, including the bugs.
    As thinfool said, complain to the health dept.
    Next time, bring your flame-thrower! Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • Reporter1

    I’m sorry, I still don’t get why they stayed three nights if “the conditions were so bad.”

  • charliebgolf

    I’m also curious as to why they would stay 3 nights under those conditions. I’m also wondering if her colleagues complained and got room refunds or were they in the same room?

  • cscasi

    From what I read, it said that her friends experienced the same issues with the bedbugs, so I would imagine they had separate rooms, but I cannot be certain.

  • Attention All Passengers

    3 nights ??….I wouldn’t have lasted three minutes in the room at the moment I saw a bedbug.

  • greg watson

    I am also shocked that they stayed 3 nights. Was that the only hotel in town ? I would have insisted that I get a room change as soon as I saw a bedbug or a bloody sheet & if I wasn’t happy with that, I would inform the desk that I was checking out. Was it a non-cancellable reservation ? 3 nights…………………… something doesn’t smell right !

  • SierraRose 49

    I also am wondering why they stayed 3 nights in the SAME room. Perhaps they prepaid for all 4 nights and were afraid of not being reimbursed. We book asking for AAA rates. Must say in most instances, the rates are lower, no money is required at booking (a credit card to hold the reservation in case we don’t show) and cancellation the day before or the day of is usually available. And I never use a 3rd party OTA site; book directly with the hotel.

  • michael anthony

    If you have a multi day stay booked and you find such conditions, report immediately. If the hotel does not take care of you immediately, I would contact the county health department immediately or as soon as they open. This would be in addition to calling corporate. The entire facility could be putting all guests at risk. In addition to pictures, a report from the health department not only assists you, but also assists other guests.

  • joycexyz

    Room change??? Stayed three nights??? I would have been gone in a split second from the whole property–after documenting the deplorable conditions and informing the manager, or his/her stand-in. I’d sooner sleep in my car!

  • greg watson

    like I said…………………………..something smells fishy ?

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