Tied up in a chain: hotel denies transfer, pockets guest’s money

daysCharles McGovern clicked on the wrong Days Inn property when he booked a room to attend his grandson’s high school graduation in Richmond, Va. He assumed the hotel chain would transfer his reservation to the right hotel.

He assumed wrong.

Instead, the company kept his money for the first nonrefundable reservation and made him pay for a second stay, only a few miles away. Can Days Inn keep McGovern’s money?

Before I finished reading his email, I knew what Days Inn’s answer would be. Yes, it would keep the money because his room rate was nonrefundable. And no, he couldn’t transfer the reservation because each hotel is “independently owned and operated.”

I hate it when I’m right.

Let me hand the mic to McGovern.

I would appreciate any assistance you would provide in my attempt to recoup a $220 loss due to a mistake I made in booking a motel room on the Internet.

Our grandson was graduating from high school in Richmond on June 6th, and I went on line to make a reservation for three nights: June 4th, 5th and 6th at the Days Inn in Richmond.

I made a mistake by booking the Days Inn at 6910 Midlothian Turnpike when I had intended to reserve rooms at the Richmond Chesterfield Days Inn at the Town Center Mall.

My travels happened to take me to the Richmond area on June 1st and I stopped by the Midlothian Days Inn to explain my mistake and that I had meant to have the rooms at the Town Center Days Inn. The Midlothian motel was almost 8 miles from our daughter’s house and the Town Center motel was only 3 miles distance.

I informed the Days Inn Customer Service staff, at an 800 number, that I wasn’t canceling our reservation but simply transferring to another Days Inn that would better meet our needs.

Another important factor in desiring to transfer was the very negative reviews given the Midlothian Days Inn: infested with bugs, room was shabby, putrid, disgusting, dangerous crime in the parking lot, water damaged furniture, absolutely filthy and the hotel is a dump. I also had friends in the area who advised us against staying at the Midlothian Days Inn for similar reasons. The place wasn’t up to the standards I have experienced in other Days Inn motels.

The first weekday after we returned, from Richmond, I went to the local Bank of America and explained my problem. They suggested I dispute the charge and the $220 was deleted from my account. Five weeks later I discarded all of my notes because I thought the matter had been settled in my favor. On July 28th I received a notice from the bank informing me the charge had been reinstated.

When I log onto the Internet looking for motel accommodations I consider the location, price and amenities but, in this case, I failed to read the fine print.

I feel the Midlothian Days Inn should fully reimburse our $220 because I gave them more than sufficient time to rebook the room that we never used.

As I review McGovern’s case, I notice a few things are missing. The Midlothian Days Inn never officially denied his request for a transfer, although based on my previous experience with Days Inn, it almost certainly told McGovern that his room was nonrefundable and couldn’t be moved to another Days Inn. Like this case with Ramada (both Ramada and Days Inn are owned by the same parent company).

Rather than appeal Days’ decision in writing, McGovern went straight to a credit card dispute. I might have tried appealing this to Days Inn corporate first.

During a card dispute, the amount in question is credited to you pending the outcome of the investigation. That means you’re still not out of the woods.

Discarding the paperwork? Bad idea.

Still, I felt McGovern’s request to transfer his reservation was reasonable. From a hotel guest’s perspective, one of the reasons you do business with a chain is that you know the standards are consistent and that you can count on other benefits, like loyalty points.

I contacted Days Inn on McGovern’s behalf. Late last week, I heard back from him.

I just received a call from Days Inn and they said they were sorry about my experience in Richmond and would be sending me a check in the amount of $220. Thanks for your help.

Hotel chains like Days Inn have been aggressively imposing non-refundability terms on their rooms in an effort to raise revenue during these difficult economic times.

Next time you book a hotel online, pay close attention to the terms.

(Photo: Bravo Six Niner Delta/Flickr Creative Commons)

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Send this to a friend