The mystery of Oyster Bay’s energy fee deepens

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By Christopher Elliott

Last month, I reported on the possible re-emergence of Oyster Bay’s energy fees in the hotel industry. Today, I have some good news for you — and an update from the hotel that allegedly charged the fee to one guest.

Since that story was published, I’ve heard from no other travelers who had to pay a mandatory surcharge to cover their hotel’s energy costs. So the problem appears to be contained for now.

Well, not entirely.

Almost two weeks to the day after the post was published (the feature first appears on, then a few days later on my site and in syndication) I received an email from the general manager of the resort that was said to have charged the fee. He said the Oyster Bay Beach Resort does not force its hotel guests to pay for energy usage, that he had no record of the customer I interviewed. And he claimed I never contacted him.


So today I’m going to do a deep dive into the facts to determine what went wrong — and, most importantly, to find the truth about the Oyster Bay’s fees.

Energy fees

Does Oyster Bay charge its guests for energy usage? Yes.

“We do charge a $12 per day energy surcharge for a two bedroom and $7 for a studio apartment for our timeshare guests and exchangers given the high level of utility costs on the island,” said the manager. “We pay over 42 cents per KWH in St. Maarten and since the water is desalinated also the cost per cubic meter is very high.”

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OK, so the guest who had complained about the energy fees was staying in one of its two-bedroom units. In his email to me, he hadn’t drawn a distinction between the hotel and timeshare unit. He just said he was staying at the resort.

But Oyster Bay says it’s an important difference. Timeshare owners are informed about the energy fees in their contracts and when their stay is confirmed. It sent me one of the letters, which does indeed note the existence of a utility fee in the fine print of its confirmation letter. So this guest — if he’s really a guest — should have known about it.

The mystery customer

What about the traveler lodging the complaint, Jack Permadi? Oyster Bay says it could find no record of him. I sent the resort a copy of his email correspondence, and it quickly located his record, although it was under a different name.

I’m always concerned that someone isn’t who they claim to be online, particularly when they’re making a charge like this (no pun intended) against a travel company. In a world or savvy reputation-management companies that try to manipulate search engine results and TripAdvisor reviews, hotels would do almost anything for a good write-up. I’ll have more on that in a second.

You never wrote!

The most baffling of all the accusations was that I hadn’t bothered to ask Oyster Bay about this fee. If I had, I was assured I would have been given a quick reply. A review of my records show that I sent an email to the general manager’s address, contacted Oyster Bay through its Facebook site, which it acknowledged, and then sent another email to its general “in” box, after being referred to it by someone answering its Facebook page.

In each email, I was clear about my intentions — I was a reader advocate trying to answer a question from a guest about energy fees. I enclosed the customer’s email in each of my requests.

The emails were sent May 6. I waited four days for an answer before filing the story, and the post appeared May 12.

Oyster Bay claims it never received any of the emails. I find that difficult to believe, since it had acknowledge my Facebook post, and knew that my question was coming.

“I am sorry but our Facebook page is a social page for our guests and owners (and) is not a business page or an official way of communicating for us,” the general manager wrote to me in an email.

Oyster Bay is disappointed with my original story — “pissed” is how the manager described his reaction — and demanded a new article clarifying the fee. The Oyster Bay Twitter account also sent me several public messages berating me for committing a reckless act of journalism. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the manager sent me numerous follow-up emails, repeating his demand for a follow-up article.

I’m happy to oblige.

So, to recap: Oyster Bay does indeed have an energy fee, the guest exists and the resort’s email apparently doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes …

This story offers an interesting look at hotel reputations and how they’re controlled by companies.

Note the lag time between when the story was first published and a belligerent manager began emailing me.

Why did it take almost two weeks to contact me? The first story appeared online May 12 and the manager didn’t contact me until 6:53 p.m. on May 25. Shouldn’t the Oyster Bay’s PR team have caught the story sooner?

If I had to make an educated guess, I’d say the manager was either Googling the resort’s name one Friday evening, or that his reputation management software had IDd a problem in a weekly report.

Either way, he worked quickly to repair the perceived damage. He even told me he’d persuaded one online news outlet to delete the “erroneous” article from the Internet. I won’t mention the name of the organization, except to say that the site never asked me for a clarification.

Reputation points

Throughout our correspondence, Oyster Bay mentioned the online comments, which were costing it precious reputation points.

One reader accused Oyster Bay of “defrauding the customer,” adding, “Don’t these businesses know the definition of lying?”

Another commenter said energy fees, at least the way Permadi described them, ought to be illegal.

“Any hotel that pulls these undisclosed fees is a total fraud,” he wrote. “Obviously they want to present a lower price to the unsuspecting customer in order to get their business, knowing that most travelers in a foreign city won’t walk away from a confirmed reservation.”

Would a new story about Oyster Bay’s energy fee make any difference in how people perceive it?

The hotel apparently thinks so. It believes that the complaint came from a guest who glossed over several key facts, didn’t do his homework, and then complained to a consumer advocate who didn’t bother to confirm the veracity of his story. With these new facts revealed, Oyster Bay would clear its reputation.

Can it be that simple?

I don’t know if it’s that simple. The fact that one of its own timeshare owners didn’t know about its mandatory energy fee comes as no surprise to me. The “utility fee” is literally the last item at the bottom of the Oyster Bay confirmation letter. And I don’t buy the resort’s explanation that Facebook is no way to communicate with it, given how concerned it seems to be about its online reputation. (Here’s our guide to booking the best hotel at the most affordable rate.)

But I’m most troubled by Oyster Bay’s lack of response to my emails when I began researching this story. Either its email doesn’t work or it simply ignores the messages it doesn’t want to answer. It makes me wonder how closely the resort is listening to its own guests. (They booked a holiday on a beach, but the beach turned out not to be a beach.)

Who’s right? As always, I’ll leave the verdict to you.

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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.

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229 thoughts on “The mystery of Oyster Bay’s energy fee deepens”

  1. Hmmm. Interesting dilemma. Do you ever send follow-up emails or is it just the one shot? The email could’ve gone to spam, I guess… But the more important question is: Do other properties on St. Maarten also impose an energy fee? If not, it’s fair to single out Oyster Bay. But if so, then perhaps they should’ve only gotten a mention.

    • Yes, as I said in the story, I made three efforts to contact the property in writing: an email to the GM, to the Facebook page and then, after hearing back on Facebook, to a general address. I always to to document my contact in writing in order to have a record of it.

      • Out of a quick search on Tripadvisor, 25% of the 551 reviews rate the property as average or below. And most of those reviews bemoaned the lack of customer service. Sounds like OBBR needs to address that aspect of their operations and then good things will come… Chris, do you have any info on whether energy charges on the island are commonplace?

        •  I guess it all depends how you want to look at the glass half full or half empty?  Please look at our reviews for the last 2 years which is the time I have been at the resort.  Thank you.

      • It is possible that some companies do not know how to  respond to the “new” social media phenomenon. Anyone can attempt to attack a firm’s reputation in the internet so travel providers should pay attention to their emails if they wish to stamp out negative publicity quickly.

        Anyway, I did read Mr. R. Perez’s post in the forum last week. I did find it interesting that he made a distinction between a hotel quest and a timeshare guest or exchanger.  He claimed that only the latter was charged the energy surcharge. IMO that’s fair since not all timeshare owners consume the same amount of energy (as others may not visit their units at all).

        I do have a problem that no one seems to know who Mr. Permadi is. How can anyone get prime time coverage in Elliott’s blog and essentially do a drive-by shooting of a resort’s reputation without his story being corroborated or vetted?

        • Again, as I mentioned in the story, this was a real guest. They just had a different name under his email. But Oyster Bay was able to locate the reservation and confirm he had stayed at the property.

          And also, at the risk of repeating myself, I made multiple efforts to corroborate his story. I’ve always believed you should have a record of your communication in writing. Anyone can deny getting a phone conversation, and it would be your word against theirs. 

          • I am confused. When did the hotel know the real name of the guest? It seems that Mr. Perez (from his post) did not know the real name since he said there was no hotel guest under the name of Permadi. Can I assume that Mr. Perez only knew the guest’s real name after you contacted him again?

            So is the guest a hotel guest or a timeshare guest (now that he is known). Sorry if I am partially awake. I woke up at 3AM and drove my son to JFK and came back at 530AM. But me still thinks the issue is whether the guest knew he had to pay the surcharge or not. If he knew, then why is he complaining?

          • That’s right, the manager claims he didn’t have a record of the guest in his initial email to me and his post on the original article. When I shared the guest’s email with him, he quickly found the record. Everyone agrees the guest exists and stayed at the property. He appears to have been staying in a timeshare unit.

          •  We found out the name of the timeshare owner using “Mr. Permadi’s” email after Mr. Elliot gave us the email address and we searched our comment cards database.

          •  Mr. Permadi is not a real guest and he was not registered at the resort.  On the other hand a real timeshare owner was using the email address of the alleged Mr. Permadi.

        •  We have no record of Mr. Permadi, neither does the entire database of Google. Please do a simple google of Jack Permadi and see what you get?

          How come Mr. Elliot did not check his source with a simple google search?

          • Well, it’s great to know that Google is the be-all, end-all of one’s existence on this planet.

      •  Three emails would be laughed out of court if you tried to present that as due diligence.  You need to be more careful when you accuse someone of something.  At least careful enough that what you write is objectively true.

        • Since when is Chris suing hotels on peoples behalf?  Sending three e-mails is plenty diligent for a travel ombudsman.  If the hotel chose not to reply, and Chris stated so in his story, this is in no way libel or slander.  So I don’t see any courts being involved, nor anyone laughing at Chris for his actions.

          •  I didn’t say anyone was suing him.  You clearly have a sixth grade education, bravo.  Chris is accusing someone if a willful negligence.  If you had a business and someone posted something erroneous and used “he didn’t respond to emails” as justification you’d be pissed.

            Or maybe not.  You’re kinda stupid. 

          • 3 emails to allegedly 3 different emails.  What about 3 emails to my email and maybe a phone call?  What about his fake source Mr. Permadi how did he checked this source?  So if the gets not answer he is allowed to post whatever comes to mind even if it is totally wrong?

          • He had a source who may have used a fake name, however you confirmed your customers email address was legit. And when Chris got not reply he wrote an article about it stating the hotel never replied and the customer who was still real, just using a different name. Perhaps you should check with your staff to see if one of them got the email?

            And besides, last I checked, we still had freedom of the press in the US.

          •  Do you know they got the emails?  Did Chris even have the sense to check the “receipt” box on the email?  I guess we will never know because he never said.  I hope someone plants you based on you “not responding” to an email.

          • Reasonable attempt he claims he send me one email to my address?  No follow up to that same email?  What about a good old phone call?  What about checking the source of his fake source?  What about being careful before you slander the reputation of an entity?  Come on, be objective!

        • Looks like Oyster Bay hired someone to go to different websites to post comments attacking the credibility of anyone speaking negatively about them.  Well done, getting that job.  Especially in this economy.

          •  Good one.  I almost laughed.  How about someone bringing up a logical point?  Like not emails going unanswered as proof of something?  Really?   

          • Thanks BillyGe.  Good point Elliot CLAIMS he sends 3 emails, they go on answer because they were never received and that give him the right to avoid checking his source and slandering a reputable organization.

        • Billy, I think I just heard Oyster Bay’s GM calling from the other room.  He needs more coffee.  You’d better hop on that, you know how he gets when he’s angry.

      •  Once again we were not able to find any of your emails either on my blackberry or our resort’s server.

      •  Three emails.  Really.  I hope they file suit and you have to go to court saying you couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone.  Or try the post.  Or any method that can be authenticated.  You might not lose but it will teach you what journalism means.

  2. Afte the first artcile I just thought they were being shifty about fee disclosure; now I just see them as being extremely unprofessional. The only people who use the old ‘I never got any emails’ excuse are those not keen on being contacted about your problem.

  3. Please continue your “reckless journalism.” (ROTFLMAO)
    The traveling public needs someone to stand up to “pissed” managers who realize that “oh, I shouldn’t have blown that dude off.”

    ETA: To fix my grammar

  4. So now Oyster Bay has proven themselves to be not just dishonest, but also liars.  Great job, PR team at Oyster Bay!

    •  Unfortunately, that is what happens when journalists post erroneous information.  I am sorry you feel this way.

    • An you feel Mr. Elliot was very honest when he did not bother to check that Mr. Permadi is a total fake name?

  5. As a PR manager, I’m just shaking my head. So many levels of FAIL by Oyster Bay here, it’s not funny. Is there a parent corporation for this resort, and do they own other properties? I’d like to know so that we can avoid staying at any of them.

    • You know, with so many of the companies and their, uh…  Fails (like the airline refusing to return a dying veteran’s $190 fare and the CEO responding with some sort of alcoholic-type rant), my husband was asking me not long ago, in a rhetorical manner, “Just where ARE the PR people who would be the voice of reason in these fiascos?”

      Perhaps PR is one of the cost-cutting measures companies are employing to raise their profits?  It would seem so…

      •  Honestly, PR is always the first to go because you didn’t see the results daily and only realize how much you need them once a big issue comes up.  I know my office (a public relations/affairs office), has gone from 13 people to 7.

        • Wow, thanks so much for confirming you work for the resort and merely signed on here to start your trolling.  Can’t wait for Raven, et al, to start on you.  Wow…  You’re an idiot.

          • How can you reach the conclusion that this person works for us?  Because he disagrees from your point of view?  I do not hide behind any “fake names” so we do not have any “Trollers”.  

        • Actually, I’m down to my last two brain cells but I still have enough intelligence left to know I’m never staying at Oyster Bay.

          If I were on the fence about this whole situation at all, I sure wouldn’t be now, given the foul language, insults and idiocy coming from you and you boyfriend.

  6. I don’t feel better or worse about this particular resort.I feel the say way about any business that charges a mandatory fee in order to increase revenue while making their base price look better.  I am not a fan to say the least. It is legal but deceptive.

    There is a website offering $16 airfares from Toronto to Orlando (however taxes and fees are $283). This type of advertising ensures that I will never book a trip with them.

  7. The GM earns the PR Moron of the Month Award.  He doesn’t answer his emails, berates a journalist for doing his award-winning job, and gets even MORE negative publicity out of the deal, whereas if he had shut up the whole matter would have died down…now he has assured that the file keeps itself awake.  What’s the point of having a corporate Facebook page if it isn’t monitored….just to spam out useless press releases and ad copy? This GM couldn’t manage a Knights Inn…and I give more credence and professionalism to Mr. Patel at my local EconoLodge to be truthful and upfront and caring about his guests.  Not only is Oyster Bay off my radar, St-Maarten as well.  I could care less about his cost of doing business…it is what it is, build it into your rates and be truthful, or close down.

  8. “So, to recap: Oyster Bay does indeed have an energy fee, the guest exists and the resort’s email apparently doesn’t work.”
    I had to smile at this one, Chris.  It’s days like these I love being a journalist.  Funny how their e-mail suddenly works when THEY want something from YOU.

    And I’m sure, should you require something from them in the future, their e-mail will be inoperable again.  That alone puts them in the “shyster” category,IMHO. 

    To blame the FB response on a random page visitor, now they are FOS.  

    To wait two weeks, like it’s some kind of afterthought, to contact you and DEMAND immediate action – that’s just childish. (My teenage son LOVES to do this – sit around on his hands for two hours, say nothing to me of needing to be somewhere at a certain time and then rush into the room 15 minutes before he needs to at _____, knowing it’s a 30 minute drive, and fairly screaming at me, “We need to GOOOOOOOO.”

    This manager is a loon.

    •  Thanks for your comment.  I take full blame for not catching the article earlier.  On the other hand I would have responded to the emails If I would have got them.  Unfortunately nobody on my organization did.  So it is not an excuse, just the fact even though some times people refuse to believe them.

    • I hope he keeps coming here. He’s my new chewtoy.

      His name shall be Princess because “Cupcake” is just too cute.


      • OMG, Raven – this GM is PRICELESS!!!!!  He’s on here making a complete and utter fool of himself and doesn’t care!  Looks like the rum is flowing freely at Oyster Bay!

        • Isn’t he though? He’s such a cute little pet! I love me some interwebb trolls. They make the day go by so much faster!

      • wrong again.  I will give you my recap:

        -we have energy fees for TIMESHARE GUESTS and they are disclosed.
        -Jack Permadi DOES NOT exist.
        -My email does work [email protected], when people actually send me emails, try it.

  9. Now we can see clearly the pattern of managerial style which make us believe more in the plaintiff (customer).

  10. If anything, Christopher, you’re the one who should be pissed that they didn’t respond to your e-mails the first time around. By refusing to respond in the first place – and they certainly received the e-mails – they deserved your ‘reckless’ journalism.

    If anything, your followup reinforced the view that I should avoid Oyster Bay.

        • Thanks obviously your lack of input is substituted with insults.  Do you have anything concrete to say?  Check who is Jack Permadi and let everybody know, you will be more useful that way.

  11. Real journalists are required to validate facts before something is published, and many organizations (online and in print) have staffs that fact check.  When will people learn that bloggers are not journalists and do not hold themselves to this standard? 

    Probably after a few libel suits.  I’m surprised with those responses they can’t demonstrate a perceived damage.

      • LOL well I would agree with you, except that BillyGe actually has a posting history on this forum.  AND he’s in the anti-TSA camp, which makes it hard for me to impugn him (since we need as many non-sheeple voices out there against the TSA as possible).

        That being said, I can’t help but laugh at his commentary taking Oyster Bay’s side.  Given the numbers in the poll, he’s in a pretty small minority.  I know it’s hard to be a lone voice out there, especially when you really think you’re right.

        I think he’s wrong but hey…whatev.  😉

        • He only started posting a week ago and his posts consist of anti-Chris statements, saying he can do whatever he wants, insulting people and posters, saying he has an emotional support python, and a confusing statement about TSA.  I think he is a troll, or possibly the manager as his posts started around the same time the manger got angry with Chris.

          • Well then…troll it is! Or media relationship management for Oyster Bay. 😉 Either way, I think he’s full of bullpucky.

          •  Sorry, right or wrong but I do not hide to make my own posts.  I only heard of Mr. Elliot after he decided to use our name in a totally erroneous article.

      •  Agree, please do a simple search for Jack Permadi, the “source” of the info.  Please be honest and share the results.

    • Sit down and let the grown-ups talk.
      You’re obviously a troll for the resort and my troll tolerance is at an all time low today.

      •  It is amazing how people hiding behind fake names are so brave at making false accusations.

        • Princess,
          Raven IS my real name. You’re making a fool of yourself and your brand by coming here and trying to troll.

          On a troll scale of 1 to 10, you’re about a 2. Keep practicing, you might get better!

          • I am only trying to make sure that I clear a totally erroneous article from someone that failed to act with basic journalistic principles.  

            Called troll or any other name does not matter the facts are out.

            Mr. Permadi does not exist and it shows that Mr. Elliot did not event tried to check that fact.  But you believe 100% that he sent the emails to me?  I have to reason but I don not like seeing our name smeared and opinions based on partial information.

    • Eh. He tried to contact you 3 different ways and you ignored him. Ignoring journalists won’t make them go away; it will merely result in your not being able to present your side of the story.

      •  the same way he tried to verify Mr. Jack Permadi’s identity.  Do a simple search under this name and let me know your results.

    • Are you suggesting that Chris doesn’t thoroughly research his stories before publishes them? I think you should take a few minutes and read some of his entries. You will see Chris tries to get both sides to a story, as he did in this one, so he can give a fair representation of the case. Unfortunately, when you have a property like yours, I can only assume you’re a shill for the resort, he’s forced to publish without your input. 

      You would do well to learn that ignoring people and problems or trying to suppress information, especially on the web, only tends to make the matter worse. 

      •  I am only judging by this story.  Please google the name Mr. Jack Permadi the alleged source, share the results and this should answer your question.

    • I see plenty of news reports where the journalist says: “XXX declined to comment / was unavailable for comment…”, etc. As long as a good faith effort was made, I think that’s all that’s required.

    • The problem with your analysis is that the resort was given ample opportunity to present there side of the story.  They choose to ignore so they’re side of the story doesn’t get printed.  Otherwise, anyone could prevent a bad story from being printed by simply not responding.

      • EXACTLY! Ignoring Elliott was their option with dealing with this thing… until they realized they had a reputation problem. I see this kind of problem so many times. Some firms just have bad PR. But this is story #2. The original story is the Permadi story. We still need to resolve that one.

        •  Please do a simple google search for Jack Permadi and share the results.  Even before contacting me why didn’t Mr. Elliot verified that Mr. Permadi was a real source?  The same way he claims to have tried to contact me?

      •  We have proof that we never got the emails.  I wish I had another excuse but those are the facts.  We also have phones in St. Maarten.

        Please google Jack Permadi and share the results.

      • So in your opinion to response gives a journalist “carte blanche” not to verify the source of his information and to print any erroneous information that fits on his blog?

  12. This is a recent post by Oyster Bay on its Facebook page: “Remember you can follow us on Tweeter @OysterBayBeach:twitter”

    Tweeter?  Maybe some social networking 101 is in order for the hotel staff. 

  13. It seems to me, Chris, that you were taken in by a person who didn’t give you all the facts, i.e. he stayed at the resort under a different name for some reason, he didn’t tell you he was in a timeshare unit, not the hotel, and he failed to read his confirmation letter thoroughly. You may have been too quick to jump into this, although after you did the way the resort handled the situation was totally incompetent.

    • Not necessarily.  I stayed at a Marriott resort once, where I thought I was looking at a hotel, but it turned out to be a time share.  I was with other time share people in time share units and had no clue I didn’t book a hotel room.  Also it’s entirely possible for the primary gest on the room to have been the spouse or traveling companion of the OP, and if the GM could have easily missed them.  My wife often makes reservations and for some reason or other I am not listed on the room.  Though it is suspect that the GM says there was no guest there by that name, and suddenly there is.

    • I am glad you are NOT one who can’t see the forest for the trees. There are two issues here and I believe you nailed them. The first is whether the timeshare guest was informed about the Energy Surcharge. The answer – YES, on the confirmation letter. Hence, Mr. Permadi’s complaint was just as bogus as his (non recorded) name. I don’t understand why many posters here would let this fact slide. The OP was not forthcoming with the facts.

      The second issue is the email exchange (or the lack thereof) between Elliott and Mr. Perez. Even if Mr. Perez was a lousy communicator, it does not make him a cheat. IMO I would rather deal with one who makes mistakes in social media or emails, than one who withholds the truth.

      • The hotel not having Permadi’s name doesn’t necessarily signify anything out of the norm. If he had a traveling companion the odds are it was the other person’s name attached to the stay and tied to Permadi’s email address. Stuff like that happens all the time.

        And you’re being extremely generous regarding the email “mistakes” as you call them.  Not responding to them would be a mistake, but he’s claiming the email were never received at all.  To have that happen with three separate email accounts attached to the hotel seems extremely unlikely.  

        Plus, the GM’s response regarding Chris getting a confirmation back from his FB contact suggests he’s either being deliberately deceptive or doesn’t understand how FB works.  He says the FB page is for owners and guests to communicate and isn’t an “official” contact to the hotel.  Seriously? They don’t expect that people will try to contact them through FB?   If they’re the ones who set up the account (which he doesn’t deny) then somebody from them is the admin for it and is getting not just message email but also updates every time a posting is made to the page. If that person isn’t sharing these contacts with management/customer service, that’s the hotel’s problem. It’s even worse since they’re apparently confirming receipt of some messages and still not doing anything about it.

        • I really can’t comment on the Facebook and Twitter stuff because I really don’t use them. I tried FB to get reacquainted with old classmates at one time but didn’t bother with it after that.

          Mr. Perez probably is not an American and does not think like one. Maybe in his mind, he did not do anything wrong so he simply dismissed Elliott’s emails. That is his prerogative.

          But I noticed, that he posted a reply 2 weeks after the article came out here. I read his post and made a counter-reply to his thread. At that time, it was clear to me where the misunderstanding was – hotel vs. timeshare guest.

          I think it is admirable for a hotel manager to post his reply on this site. My hat’s off to Mr. Perez. Other than the fact that he did not answer Elliott’s email, I can’t see what the guy has done wrong.

          On the other hand, I think the OP misled us. He didn’t tell us that he was a timeshare user (and not a hotel guest). Shame on him.

          • Tony, I’m not following you on this one at all.  Americans are the only people who expect questions sent via email to be answered?  Again, he’s not claiming to have decided the email didn’t require a reply, he’s denying ever getting them.  If he was behaving like a professional, I could see giving him the benefit of the doubt. But telling somebody you’re “pissed” doesn’t sound like any kind of GM I’d like to deal with.

            As for the hotel vs. timeshare issue, these days that’s not always cut and dried. A big timeshare place near me has hotel rooms, rental condos, and timeshare condos. They’re all operated from the same front desk and the condos flip between hotel and timeshare depending on who’s in them any given night.  In a setting like that, I can easily see how the front desk might get confused on what type of customer they were dealing with.

          • I suspect there are some cultural nuances involved here. My own personal experience is different cultures react differently to advocates or lawyers. Depends where you are.

            About timeshare – condo- hotels -resorts, etc. I agree the FRONT DESK can get easily confused between the different guest types. But timeshare owners and guest themselves cannot because they know exactly where they stand.

            If Permadi is not the timeshare owner and bought (rented) the rights of an owner to spend a week, then that is HIS problem if he did not understand the rules.

          • He doesn’t have to be the bad guy. It could be a simple communication error. 
            Let’s say he did rent it from the actual timeshare owner.  He checks in and they tell him there’s a fee that he can decline. But by checkout they’ve figured out he really can’t waive the fee so they make him pay it, but it’s not made clear to him why that is, thus he complains.That’s a perfectly logical explanation for how it could have went down.

          • Why use Elliott for that? Maybe ask the timeshare owner why they did not tell him about the fee? And neither is the resort the bad guy if the owner knew about the fee and the confirmation letter disclosed it.

            I don’t understand why Elliott does not know these facts. It seems like Permadi and Perez are only giving him bits of information so we cannot get to the bottom of this.

          • Dear Mr. Perez, you said that Mr. Permadi is not a paying hotel/resort customer but is a timeshare guest. Is he a timeshare owner? Is he a guest of a timeshare owner. Or, is he a timeshare exchanger (e.g. Interval International)?

            I think knowing what kind of guest he is matters.

            Also can you clarify his claim that he was given the option to reject or accept the energy fees either during check in or check out.

            Thank you.

          • I am sorry about using the word “pissed”.  Unfortunately I was very upset at the fact that Mr. Elliot published a totally erroneous article defaming the reputation of our resort.  Based on info provided by “Jack Permadi” who is not even a real person.

          •  Thanks for your remarks.  Unfortunately I cannot reply to emails that I don’t get.  I was also bother that I only caught the erroneous article 2 weeks after it went “viral”.  It also bothers me that Mr. Elliot did not bother to check the identity of his source “Mr. Permadi”

            I check my emails constantly and I reply to them personally since I do not use a secretary.

        • “I didn’t get the e-mail” is the modern version of, “My dog ate my homework” but people STILL persist in using it…

          • That is a valid point – the safety measures on a friend’s account bounces unknowns into her spam, and if she does not ACTIVELY list them as valid within a 72 hour period, all subsequent emails just automatically bounce.    

          • It persists, but it’s not credible.  You’d just check your spam folder to confirm receipt or non-receipt during the applicable time frame.

            A personal e-mail account might erase spam quickly, but a business account, set up by an IT professional is less likely to erase SPAM. I back up all my e-mails, including spam, and never erase anything except potential malware

          • On my work-mail for contacting my clients I have it setup so nothing is ever filtered, or put in a spam folder.  I get all of my e-mail no matter what.  That way I can always respond to my clients.  I would rather get spam and have to delete it, than miss an e-mail from a client.  And as I only use it for work, I rarely get spam.

          •  Unfortunately that is the fact.  But you please tell me who is Jack Permadi, did you tried to google him?  Remember he is the “source”.  Did Mr. Elliot checked his source?

        •  I am sorry but I cannot reply to messages that we didn’t receive.  Unfortunately our FB page is for the social interaction of our guests not a formal place for us to communicate.  We may be wrong but that is how we have chosen to use that forum.

      • Tony. I think we are reading too much into these errors.

        I suspect that Permadi didn’t do the booking himself.  That would explain the lack of his name appearing as well as him not appreciating the distinction between hotel and time share, especially, if there was no physical distinction between the two.

        From Chris’ perspective, the hotel didn’t respond to his repeated inquiries, so Chris has nothing to go by except the OPs word.  I blame the hotel on that.

      •  Agree, who is Jack Permadi, why the need of a fake name?  Why didnt Mr. Elliot checked if this person was real the same way he claims to have sent me multiple emails?

    •  Mr. Wechesler you have gotten the facts correct.  I am at fault but when our integrity is in question we take it very seriously.

  14. This is another example of why people should read what they are signing. Had the guest read the registration card they signed at check-in they would have seen that there was a utility fee. And had they read the information about the TS before booking it they would have seen there was a fee.

    Had the GM responded to Chris’s emails this would have been a non-story.

    It seems to me that both the guest and the GM are at fault here and the original story was written based on the “facts” as they were known at the time.

    IMHO the GM needs to be more attentive to guests and communicating rates and fees. The OP needs to more attentive to what they are purchasing before rather than after-the-fact.

    •  The OP does not exist.  There was no Jack Permadi, please do a simple search and share your results.

  15. Everything I’ve read from you has always come off very fair to both the consumer and the business.

    With great power comes great responsibility. 

    Oyster Bay needs to punish somebody, either the IT guy because of a misconfigured email/spam filter or the office done who’s responsibility it is to actually read the letter.

    That being said, given what you can do to a company’s reputation, you should have placed a phone call as well. And you might want to look into options such as email read receipts, delivery/non-delivery receipts for future email contacts. 

    • Email read receipts and delivery/non-delivery receipts for email are pleasant fictions with regard to tracking, but are easily bypassed without any particular skill.  Some kinds of delivery tracking are actually likely to get your email caught in spam filters.  In general, they aren’t a good idea, with the possible exception of email sent within a company with a general culture of accepting read receipts.

    •  We have not been able to trace any emails received by Mr. Elliot.  But you are correct when you are going to take a chance based on other peoples misinformation and a resorts reputation a phone call would have resolved the issue.

  16. Was anyone from Oyster Bay able to explain the meaning of the following? (quoting the original article):

    “When we checked in, we were asked to accept or reject a mandatory $12 per night utility charge for the week,” he says. “We rejected it, thinking it covered air conditioning — which we do not use.”

    If it’s mandatory, and they claim the guest was a timeshare owner who was already notified, what’s the point of giving them the option to reject the fee and then charge them anyway?

    • The OP has a lot to answer for here, a fact which was not helpful to Chris. How could anyone assume that a “utility” charge covered only air conditioning?  His story about an option to reject a mandatory fee also makes no sense. This contradiction should have raised a big red flag.

      • If I’m presented with a choice to reject a service and I exercise that choice, then I expect not to receive and not to be charged for that service.

        I wouldn’t expect to be presented with such a choice when it comes to running water or operational lights in my room.  And if I was wrong about that, I could always go back to the front desk and change my choice.

        I do agree that neither the OP nor the hotel GM has much credibility at this point…

        •  He was presented a reminder of the fee not an option to accept or reject in order to avoid complaints upon check out.

      •  that is correct.  He was presented a reminder of the fee not an option to accept or reject in order to avoid complaints upon check out.

        • How can someone who allegedly doesn’t exist (check it on Google and let us know!) be presented with something at all?  Either he doesn’t exist, or he was presented with something at the front desk.  It has to be one or the other.  Instead of refuting again and again whether this guest exists, you would have more credibility if you accepted that there was a booking related to this person.  Otherwise you come off as the kid on the playground who keeps yelling the same inane thing again and again.

          • These are the facts:
            -There is not guest or person in the world that we could find name Jack Permadi.

            -Mr. Elliot should have checked the same.

            -We have a long time timeshare owner that used the email provided to Mr. Elliot.

            -Mr. Permadi pretented so communicate with me.  Once I ask him what was the relationship between his name and the onwer with the same email the communication stopped.

            -This same owner has paid the fee in past visits to the resort.

            My claim about Mr. Permadi is simple.  Why if Mr. Elliot claims he tried to reach me why didn’t he verified if Mr. Permadi was real or not?  I don’t know but in the real world journalist loose jobs and/or careers for moves like this.

    • I have a feeling it has to do with HOW one books the room. There are ways to book a unit and possibly the hotel/timeshare property has made some deals that don’t have this fee as mandatory. This is just my hunch. Otherwise I can’t make any sense of it.

    •  this was not an option but a reminder of the fee in order to avoid complaints upon checking out

  17. OK, that’s a slam dunk.  Over 95% say they now feel worse about the resort.

    The resort apparently didn’t respond to emails from you and the guest.

    The principal objection to begin with was tacking on an extra fee which was mandatory.  So why wasn’t it just included in the rate?  Truth in advertising would mandate they quote the complete cost at time of booking, not some base cost plus whatever fees they might disclose in fine print contracts and applied only at check-out.

    • Included in what rate? The annual maintenance fee of the timeshare owner? I understand that the certain Mr. Permadi was NOT a hotel resort guest. Apparently he was a TIMESHARE guest or exchanger, So I presume he did not have to pay a room rate  but he was charged an energy surcharge instead. At least this is the way I understood the story.

      • Do exchangers see the timeshare contract?

        What about the charade of offering the guest the opportunity to “reject” the charge at checkin?  I don’t see where the hotel challenged or refuted that this occurred.

          • The guest says he DID reject it…

            Mr. Perez says there’s a “clear” disclosure in the “confirmation letter.”  Chris writes that it’s actually in the “fine print” of this “confirmation letter.”

            Regardless, when and how is this confirmation letter  sent?  What good is it to get this “disclosure” AFTER you reserve dates?

          • Timeshare owners are informed about the energy fees in their contracts and when their stay is confirmed.
            Permadi is referring to accept or reject options for hotel guests. According to C.E. Permadi was a TIMESHARE guest. So all the BS Permadi talked about doesn’t apply to him.

          • 1) For exchangers, does this confirmation come before or after they reserve dates?

            2) The OP (whatever his name is) clearly states: “When we checked in, we were asked to accept or reject a mandatory $12 per night utility charge for the week“.  The hotel makes no effort to refute this.

          • Oyster Bay is with Interval International. Unless you are a member of that exchange, you are not privy to any information. In my opinion they operate as a PRIVATE CLUB so what they do is not my or your business if we are not members. So there is no point in discussing what members pay or get charged since those things are not for the general public.

          • It’s a basic consumer protection/ fairness issue.

            Would it be okay if Sam’s Club posted a price for a product, you brought it to the register and paid for it, and then they handed you (or snail- mailed you) a receipt which states that  you still owe them an extra $X for the product?

            Does being a “private club” give them this privilege?

          • You did not understand me. What I am saying is unless you are a member of Interval you can’t see anything. You need a user id and password to display the “rates” and “fees”. According to my officemate who is a pro user of RCI and Interval, you will see ALL THE FEES before you book. Also the fees appear in your confirmation letter.

            If Permadi borrowed or bought some other member’s week, then that is his problem. The real member should have told him the fees. Nevertheless, if Permadi is a GUEST of the member, a confirmation letter will also be sent to him with all the fees.

          •  it is not an optional fee.  We disclose it at the time of the reservation via confirmation letter and we remind the guest once they arrive to make sure they are aware in order to avoid problems upon check out.

        •  It is not an option, it is a reminder at the time of arrival in order to avoid complaints at check out.

      •  correct.  There was only an owner in this room.  No Mr. Permadi…….who is Mr. Jack Permadi?

    • I would even accept the mandatory “optional fee” at time of booking if it was just listed as part of the booking process, rather than hitting me with it once I’m standing there in front of them.  IMHO, that’s a form of extortion – “Oh, yeah, and since you’ve just traveled 1,200 miles to stay with us, we can now tell you there’s an additional $12 a day that wasn’t mentioned before.”

      At this point, I have no choice but to agree.  It’s not like I have the time, ability or wherewithal to stand there and call around, looking for accommodations.

      • Let me try to present the 3rd side of the coin (argument). Suppose Permadi was neither a hotel guest or a timeshare owner. Let’s say Permadi was merely a companion to or someone who “rented” a weekend from a timeshare owner.

        If you use a GDS (through a travel agent) and book a 2-bedroom suite, it will cost you at least $445 per day plus 20% tax.

        If you rent a 2-bedroom suite timeshare (using an exchange site), it will cost you about $1100 for one whole week.

        So 7 nights booked as a HOTEL guest is $3115 plus 623 tax. Rent or use someone’s timeshare week for $1100 (or free) plus $84 in energy fees.

        Which kind of guest do you think Permadi was? I’m leaning towards the more cheapskate option. That’s why he is contesting the $84 (weekly) fee.

        FYI, Oyster Bay Beach Resort(s) get pretty high marks on Interval Int’l. So they do have a decent reputation.

        • I absolutely get what you’re saying, Tony.  Realistically, once you’ve spent four figures on a resort stay, what’s another $84?

          On the other side of the coin, though, of your argument – it could be said, “But you ALREADY have over $3,000 of my money?  How is it this $84 isn’t covered?”

          And I tend to be suspect of any online reviews anymore, given it’s become a separate industry to have people post positive reviews and work to negate any negative ones.  I think BillyGe is a good example of this.

          • $3K IF he was a paying hotel guest. But he wasn’t.
            That’s the whole issue here. Permadi was NOT a hotel paying guest.
            Hotel paying guests are already paying an arm and a leg so they don’t have to pay this $12 energy fee.

        • My family are members of Interval Internation.  I just went through it as a time share owner and nowhere was the resort fee disclosed prior to the page where you entered your credit card information.

          I have to disagree strongly with the suggestion that how much money you pay has any bearing on whether you would dispute the $84 fee.

          There is an old mantra, “look after the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves…”

          • Mr. Perez says it is disclosed to timeshare OWNERS (of OBBR itself) and also in the confirmation letter. Therefore, it is the duty of the timeshare owner to share this info with other people they book for. I do believe that both the owner and their guests gets a copy of the confirmation letter.

            As far as the EXCHANGE itself (Interval), if you say that OBBR did not disclose the fee, then Interval should dispute this matter with OBBR.

            We are not sure how Permadi got to stay in the timeshare. Is he an owner? A guest of the owner? Or a timeshare exchanger member of  Interval. These facts need to be known.

          • Either the fee is disclosed prior to entering credit card information or its not.  I suspect it’s not given that its not on interval, nor does the general manager make that claim.  I would assume, a presumably sophisticated business like a GM would articulate the earliest time  where the fee is disclosed.  A confirmation is too late to be the first disclosure, especially since this is a non-refundable booking.
            Interval only gives the information that its members property provides. 
            The lack of disclosure on Interval’s website is a strong indicator that
            the property is simply not on the up and up

          • Remember Interval gives this resort its highest rating. So it is possible that the fee is “waivable” for Interval guests. What you are saying is correct IF the week was booked on Interval. We need to know HOW the OP booked the week.

          •  the week was booked by an obbr guest that received a confirmation stating all the fees.

  18. “Hidden fees” right? That’s what many call these.  And for those of us who plan and contract for meetings, it becomes a bigger issue if one doesn’t ask enough questions. 

    I have no opinion nor did I about Oyster Bay. I do know that in looking at how hotels make and spend money, energy has to be a consideration along with labor, food costs, etc.

    IF the issue is their lack of response, that’s inattention at best, neglect at worst.

    If the issue is why are they charging for energy v. adding a price to the room rate, that’s another.

    And if it’s whether there are lots of costs to run a hotel and whether those fees should be passed along, in some way, to customers/consumers, still another.

  19. Three emails is more than enough with today’s communication standards. Less and less people are relying on telephones in today’s world and I doubt three emails to different addresses could have been lost. I think Chris did due diligence here.

    •  If he did his due diligence please check for Jack Permadi and tell me if you find such a person?

  20. Maybe it’s just me (being crazy) but I think most of y’all have it wrong on this one.

    Since when are timeshare disputes brought to the attention of a travel or consumer ombudsman? As far as I know, when you join a timeshare you agree to the rules set by the Membership Board of the Association. That board can decide to institute ENERGY SURCHARGES as a way to lower basic maintenance fees. If you as a timeshare (interval) owner have a problem with that, then take the issue to your board.

    Try to google some timeshares + energy fee in Aruba, the Caribbean and Hawaii. You will some of the search results interesting.

    IMO things they do inside a PRIVATE ASSOCIATION is not any of our business if we are not members of that association. Go fish.

    • As much as this has evolved into the original story from weeks back, the true story here is that the GM accused Chris of not doing several things. Chris has provided proof and corroborated his end and as a result the GM now looks even more foolish than he did before.

      I especially loved this from the story… ”
      So, to recap: Oyster Bay does indeed have an energy fee, the guest exists and the resort’s email apparently doesn’t work.” LMAO at that bit of sarcasm.

      •  It does not change the FACTS a single bit. Either Permadi is a paying HOTEL guest -OR- a timeshare guest or exchanger. If he is the latter, he needs to pay $84/week for a 2-BR unit or $49/wk for a studio.

        • To me there are all kinds of FACTS here, starting with the original dispute right through them getting angry at Chris and offering some pretty implausible excuses (we never got any of your email…even though somebody from us replied to you on Facebook, that’s not an “official” line of communication for us).  

          And their attitude towards Chris has a negative effect on what I think about the original case.  They’ve not displayed a very professional attitude in the aftermath, so why should I simply assume they had all their ducks in a row when this guy stayed with them. Did they give him the hotel guest speech on check-in by mistake?  That would explain how he even knew about the different types of fees in the first place and why they refused to waive them when he checked out.

          • Because if you are a timeshare guest, your confirmation letter is your contract. Maybe Mr. Perez should send doubters a copy of that letter here so they can understand what Permadi agreed to.

          • Not getting why we have to assume the OP was a bad guy in all this. Maybe he didn’t get any letter, maybe he misread the letter…whatever. He checks in and is told in error he can decline this fee. Then on checkout they decide he’s not a hotel guest so that’s not the case and he needs to pay it. So, he questions that.

            Also not getting why we need to have a great deal of sympathy for the GM. Questions and misunderstandings come up in his business all the time, yet he’s handled this one pretty poorly.  Lousy communications have plagued his dealings with Chris and very likely were the cause of the original dispute. 

          • we never got confirmation from Mr. Elliot that anybody responded to him from FB, another half truth.

        • Assuming the fee was disclosed prior to paying.  I don’t believe it was given that my almost booking with Interval suggested that it wasn’t disclosed until after the credit card information was entered.

          • Could be a bespoke deal between the OBBR Timeshare owner and Permadi. This is what I really mean by “PRIVATE”. There are no PUBLISHED rates for these kinds of deals.

        •  No we dont know who is Jack Permadi please google him and let me know once you find him.

      •  Please google Mr. Jack Permadi and tell me if you still think he exists?  Mr. Elliot should have corroborated his “source”.  Energy fee is disclosed for timeshare users nor regular hotel guests.  The email does work when people actually send the emails not when they pretend they did after the fact.

  21. I picked “worse” because I’m just sick of being nickeled and dimed to death whenever I travel.  It’s at the point now where a hotel/rental car agency/airline can now advertise “no fees! (or hardly any fees to be realistic)” as a selling point and get lots of business.  I know I’m not the only one….

  22. Most hotelsin Hawaii, Caribbean, Las Vegas, and Chain hotels in Mexico have enegy fees, but some package companies include them within their fees. Some hotels will not allow the fees to be paid up front. It is not a con, but is indeed a pain in the ass to decipher. It takes a great travel agent to get through this red tape and advise their customer.

  23. Here’s where the confusion lies

    You see there are many ways to get a one week stay at the Ocean Bay Beach Resort (OBBR).

    (1) Book as a HOTEL guest. You pay the PUBLISHED room rate and 20% tax. No Energy Surcharge. My GDS says so.

    (2) You buy a timeshare from OBBR. You become an owner for a given week. You stay at the OBBR for that week (each year). Mr Perez, the OBBR GM says that timeshare GUESTS & EXCHANGERS will be charged the energy fee. But will OWNERS themselves be charged if they personally stay for their designated week ???  Anyway the GM says owners were informed of the energy fee.

    (3) You become a GUEST of the timeshare owner of OBBR. Note, the manager (Mr Perez) says they will charge you the energy fee.

    (4) You are a member of Interval (Timeshare Exchange Club) and you get your week at OBBR from Interval. Note: as Carver says there is NO DISCLOSURE of any resort fees. However, Mr. Perez says timeshare exchangers will be charged the energy fee.

    I believe that Mr. Permadi was neither a HOTEL GUEST or an OWNER. If we was, then it would have been easy to search his name. If Permadi was a GUEST of the owner and he did not see the fine print in his confirmation letter then that explains the problem. However, this does not dispute the fact that according to Mr Perez the OBBR owners KNOW about this energy fee. So, Permadi should pay it.

    If Permadi got his week via Interval, then he could have complained with Interval. As far as I know these large exchange organizations are very powerful and resorts often give in to them. That said, we never heard Permadi mention Interval so I don’t think he went this route to get his week at OBBR.

    So, I have to speculate that he was a GUEST of an owner. This leads me to ask how did he become a guest? Did he buy someone’s week on the net? Was this an under the table deal? Is this allowed by the rules of the OBBR Timeshare Agreement? I really would want to know because if my hunch is right, then this was not the fault of OBBR but the fault of a clumsy peer to peer transaction.

    I wish Chris can ask Permadi how he booked his one week stay at OBBR.

      • This makes we wonder – what if you are just a guest of a timeshare owner? What other charges are you responsible for? Surprise and gotchas galore ???

        •  the person occupying the unit is responsible for all charges while using the unit unless the owner decides to prepaid the charges on behalf of his guest.


      • Emanon, I do have one more question. Remember Elliott forwarded the email to Mr. Perez (OBBR GM) and that email had another person’s name. Who is that person??? Is it the REAL GUEST or the REAL OWNER? So, was Mr. Permadi just a guest of a guest ??? If so, he could so far removed from the private transaction between the owner and the guest of an owner to have known the RULES of the Timeshare Association.

        • More good questions.  Was it the letter that had a different name?  Or something in the letter that helped Mr. Perez find the reservation which had a different name?  It really could be a third party guest, wow!  I also wonder if it was really presented as option or not.  I personally wouldn’t even bother contacting an ombudsman over such a fee in the grand scheme of things.  It’s not worth the trouble of fighting it.  Especially if the rental wasn’t in my name.
          I did stay at a time share once without knowing, I booked what appeared to be a hotel through Marriott’s website.  It was very inexpensive and the room was much larger and nicer and had a kitchen.
          I still don’t like the way the GM handled things in this situation.  Despite the OPs unclear story, the GM could have been more professional when dealing with Chris.

          • I agree this was a PR disaster for OBBR.
            I understand how some people feel when they believe they were RIGHT. They stand their ground and IGNORE questions. Then they realize that they made a mistake IGNORING a consumer advocate (who happens to have a very popular site or sites). By that time, they have to do damage control to their reputation.
            But there is more to this case than getting mad at the GM’s behavior.
            It shows IMO how a private deal — renting a timeshare — can go awry (as Carver calls it), because all the disclosures are not PUBLISHED.
            That’s the reason why I pursued it like a hard*ss.

          •  Mr. Elliot was not ignored.  There was never an email from him.  Believe it or not that is the fact.

    •  There was no such person staying with us as Mr. Jack Permadi.  It seems like this name was made up.  Please google this name like Mr. Elliot should have done and let me know what you get?

  24. Two-Words:  “Solar Panels.”  Take advantage of the abundant (FREE)sunshine there, take the edge off the power bills…duh.

  25. Dear Mr. Elliot:

    Once again your attempt  at clearing your original erroneous article feels more like a backhand apology than a clarification I wonder why?

    Somehow you always find a way to twist some facts and miss other altogether. I will make an attempt to clarify them:

    -You forgot to mention that I left multiple messages via email and on your voice mail after I saw the article but unfortunately you never returned the calls.

    -You failed to inform the public that I checked my blackberry and my resort’s server and had no record of your incoming email.

    -Our corporate office also had no record of your original email.

    -In only contacted you after I read the article.  Guilty, it took me 2 weeks to realize the article was out there. I wish I would have seen it right away.

    -Mr. Permadi was never a guest.  We found his record after you provided the email address.  He was registered under the name of a legitimate timeshare owner.  There is no record of a person callled Jack Permadi all of the U.S.  Once again do a simple google search of your “source”.

    -I contacted the timeshare owner asking who is “Mr. Permadi” the guest never responded to my direct inquiry.
    -the site that withdrew the original article are our request was

    -the public messages sent to you were in order to make sure that you published all the facts not just some of them.

    -“his reputation management software had IDd a problem in a weekly report.”  This is a fact I just caught it late, once again my bad.

    Once again whenever you have a chance please feel free to return my phone messages 721-543-6040 ext. 3801.

    Ricardo Perez

  26. As far as I can tell, this is what looks like what happened.

    A time share owner didn’t read the fine print and began to complain over the energy fee.  Not wanting it to be traced back to them since they still own the time share, they use a fictitious name and send it off to Christopher Elliott.  Elliott having no special contacts with the time share, does look them up on the web and attempts to contact them via email, Facebook, and twitter but with little response.  He posts the article and the GM finds out about the article and responds (a little miffed) and blames Elliott.

    Among all the accusations, there seems to be little in the way of conversation about how to correct the issue.

    1) Mr. Elliott might have asked the informant if he is using their real name and if he could contact them on their behalf using a name the company may recognize.  I don’t think it should be a requirement.  Anonymous informants are always necessary in journalism.  For the most part I thin Mr Elliott did his due diligence.
    2) “Mr Permadi” should have given Mr. Elliott the means in which to contact the resort and under what name he was registered under.  If you didn’t want to be singled out, you should state that to Mr. Elliott who can keep your information a secret.  If you want help from Mr. Elliott, you should give him the tools to help.  

    The rest of these suggestions are for Mr. Perez
    3) As with most companies, you should have an email account devoted solely to complaints.  You do not use these email accounts to log onto web sites or in posts on the web. Emails addresses posted on the web get harvested by spam bots and the email address will be spammed.  Proper web developers can create web pages that easily hide email addresses from most spam bots.
    4) The email address where complaints do come in should keep the email and forward a copy of email to all your appropriate management for review. Its too easy these days for one person to make a mistake and accidentally eliminate email records.  By forwarding it to multiple accounts, this is more difficult to do.  Emails in the complaint mail box should stay for a period of 1 year.  
    5) Use an email account with a good spam filter, such as gmail.
    6) When responding to comments on web posts, never point blame even if everyone is pointing at you.  Yes, it may not be true and yes, you can defend yourself.  But when you point blame at other people, it makes you look unprofessional and then kind of substantiates the idea you weren’t on the ball and were at fault.  NEVER POINT BLAME.  If you do find that there is a problem on your end of what went wrong, admit error AND suggest how to you are going to fix the issue.  This reinforces the idea that you work to improve the customer’s experience and take pride in your work. 

    • Dan thanks for you comments and recommendations.  I have been an internet and email user since 1994.  To be honest this is the first time that I have personally experienced somebody claiming they have sent me emails to multiple accounts and nobody was able to track them or identified how the email was “lost” in cyberspace.

      I appreciate all your other comments and suggestions.  Unfortunately when we work so hard to ensure that we have a superior reputation is very hard to let go and not fight a barrage of unwarranted attacks and partial truths.  I understand that Mr. Elliot is a reputable journalist but even though my social media etiquette has not been the best I stand firm for what I believe and have worked hard to establish.

      I refuse to allow anybody to tarnish our name and our reputation.  The guest had no need to hide under a fake name if his facts were straight.  Also, I thought one of the basic principles of journalism 101 is to verify the credibility and identity of the source of your information?  I would have been more respectful if he would have disclosed that he new the identity of the guest but decided to withhold it,

      Also, even after the fact why does Mr. Elliot still refuses to pick up the phone a have a business like conversation?  Trust me I have left multiple voice and email messages to the same person that is chastising me for not responding to his within 4 days.   Come on!

  27. Simple questions to Mr. Elliot:

    -If you tried to contact me why not a phone call?
    -Did you bother to check who is Jack Permadi?
    -Why you have not returned my phone calls as I requested?

    Imagine it would be a embarrassing to admit the source of your story does not exist….google Jack Permadi and let me know.

  28. The burning question I have for Mr. Perez is why not include mandatory fees in the rate? Airlines must quote all mandatory fees…government imposed included…in their fares. Why can’t a hotel include their fees up front as well?

    • Good question the answer is quite simple.  The fee is already included for hotel guests that paid by the night.  For timeshare guests the fees are separate depending if they visit the resort or not.

  29. i think you should also do a survey that says:

    Should Mr. Elliot google the “source” of his information before publishing an article Yes or NO?

    • “Googling” a name does not guarantee that you learn anything about a specific person.  For instance, if you google Ricardo Perez, you find that the US Department of Justice lists him as WANTED by U.S. Marshals.  

      •  I totally agree with you, but dozens of pages show up.  
        But you don not find strange that nothing comes out on Mr. Permadi?  Interesting how you choose to comment about the google search under my name showing the Wanted page.  This is in the second page of  the search why you choose this one in particular?  Sounds more sensational right?

  30. This the email that you sent me a few weeks ago how come you decided to publish this follow up without sharing it or letting me know like you stated below?

    —–Original Message—–From: Christopher Elliott [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:57 AMTo: Ricardo PerezCc: Anne Marie BrooksSubject: Re: you email to us
    Thank you. I am still considering a follow-up article. I will let youknow when I have something to share with you.
    Christopher Elliott 370-7934

  31. How come you never contacte regarding the follow up article as you indicated in your email below…..the ambush approach again?

    —–Original Message—–From: Christopher Elliott [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:57 AMTo: Ricardo PerezCc: Anne Marie BrooksSubject: Re: you email to us
    Thank you. I am still considering a follow-up article. I will let youknow when I have something to share with you.
    Christopher Elliott 370-7934

  32. I do care that is why I am so passionate about something smering our reputation and credibility by publishing articles without checking the facts.
    Did you check who is Jack Permadi?

  33. By the way I forgot to mention out of the dozens of pictures out on the internet of our resort I love how Mr. Elliot choose to use one where the natural colors of the beautiful water and the resort were distorded!

  34. The half-brained idiot from the other day, BillyGe, is back and insulting pretty much anyone and everyone.  Turn loose your wolf!  LOL

    I hope he stays on here so we can all slap him around some more.  Gawd!

    • Why not come up with a good argument instead of insulting people.  Is respect not a consideration when blogging?

  35. OMG, you’re such a flipping loon in dire need of meds!  How do you prove you DIDN’T get something?  Give us a screen capture of your inbox NOT showing anything from Chris in it?

    Question – aren’t your arms getting tired from digging that hole you’ve dug for yourself?

  36. I regularly check my spam and junk mail folders to make sure messages in there should have gotten through.

  37. Mr. Elliot in your haste to slander our resort you forgot to address this part of your article:

    ” In a world or savvy reputation-management companies that try to manipulate search engine results and TripAdvisor reviews, hotels would do almost anything for a good write-up. I’ll have more on that in a second.”

  38. Mr. Elliot this is what I expected your follow up article to the original erroneous one should have sounded like:

    “A few weeks ago I wrote an article attaching Oyster Bay Beach Resort regarding their Energy Fees.

    Unfortunately I attempted contacting the resort but didn’t really checked if they received my messages trying to clarify the situation.

    In addition I assumed that my source Mr. Jack Permadi was a legitimate guest and a real person even though unfortunately I didn’t verified that he was.

    As the result I ended up writing an article that was distributed all over the internet were unfortunately I had a source and the facts that he provided me were not 100% accurate.  In addition to that I decided to attack the credibility of the resort and its GM for trying to clear facts from fiction.

    Unfortunately I messed this one up, but I am human.”


    I would have been pleased with an honest correction to your original erroneous article.


    Ricardo Perez

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