Bonus! This Best Western Plus case just got solved by you

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By Christopher Elliott

Cindy Iverson’s Valentine’s Day weekend was ruined and she needed a little help salvaging it. And guess what? Our fearless advocacy team did it.

That someone is Iverson, whose thread you can read here.

Earlier this year, Iverson made reservations for Valentine’s Day weekend at the Best Western Plus just outside of Duluth, Minn. They held the reservation with their credit card, but she intended to pay with cash.

“My understanding is that they hold your reservation until you arrive or they charge your card if you don’t show up or cancel too late,” she says.

And that was the problem. Iverson and her husband were running late.

“Realizing we would not arrive by 4 p.m., I called the hotel to let them know we were running late and please don’t give our room away or cancel and don’t charge our card, because we would be paying in cash upon arrival,” she says.

Can you guess what happened? Yep, they charged her card.

“It declined because from the time we made the reservation, we closed that account,” she says.

battleface delivers insurance that doesn’t quit when circumstances change. We provide specialty travel insurance services and benefits to travelers visiting or working internationally, including in the world’s most hard to reach places. Currently selling in 54 countries and growing, our mission is to deliver simple solutions to travelers worldwide heading out on their next adventure.

Iverson didn’t have a new credit card yet. To which a Western Plus hotel representative said: no card, no stay.

“After being in Duluth for 15 minutes at the most, we made the turn around and had to drive home,” she says. “The management absolutely made no effort to help us with our plight. We had the money, but they would not make any concessions.”

Iverson asked for our help setting this right. And our advocates obliged. They suggested that a good first step was letting the hotel’s management know how disappointed they were. And after a thorough review of the situation, our advocates recommended a short call to the property.

I’ll let her describe what happened next:

I finally gathered up enough nerve to make the call. Usually I feel a letter is more appropriate and you would get a better response, rather if you speak in person they are more likely to blow you off. I was pleasantly surprised.

After some back and forth, the hotel offered her an apology and either Western Plus 10,000 rewards points or a night on the house.

“It meant a lot to us to have had someone listen to us and suggest how we could solve the problem,” she says.

Hey, that’s what we do. Of course, there’s a takeaway or two for the rest of us. Always travel with at least two working credit cards, just in case. And don’t walk away from a disappointing customer experience without letting someone in charge know that you’re unhappy (how else are they going to know)?

But mostly, I’m proud of my team for helping Iverson. She needed a support group, and we gave her one. Good work, team.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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