“The noise was constant and unrelenting”

Lisa Stickevers thought she was renting a quiet villa in the Turks and Caicos Islands during the holidays. She thought wrong.
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I can’t stay here!

Susan Farkas couldn’t stay in the New York City apartment she’d rented. The air conditioning was on the blink during a summer heatwave, and the toilet stopped working.

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Should US Airways compensate me for a lodging error?

Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com
Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com
Ken Middleton and his girlfriend were flying back to the mainland after enjoying a vacation in Hawaii. At least, they were supposed to be. But their US Airways flight was canceled because of a mechanical problem and they were rebooked on a flight 24 hours later.

Ah, 24 extra hours in Hawaii. What to do? I can think of a few things.

Well, US Airways describes what it should do in its contract of carriage, the legal agreement between Middleton and the carrier.
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Bad news, bargain-hounds: “The worst appears to be over” for lodging industry

ruinIt’s good news for them, bad news for us. Sorta.

The long drop in hotel rates appears to be nearing the bottom, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Its lodging analysts believe the economic recovery will lift demand for hotel rooms in 2010.

But hotel rates? That’s another story. Average daily rates in 2010 are expected to remain below 2009 levels, even with the projected bounce. (Can you say Year of the Deal?)
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In a listless economy, look out for hidden resort fees

Just when we thought the resort fee epidemic was under control, along comes a recession and ruins it for everyone.

Resort fees — those mandatory extra charges tacked on to your hotel bill to cover everything from beach towels to exercise facilities — are wrong on many levels. They’re nothing more than a sneaky way of raising your room rate. But until now, they’ve been in plain sight. Good hotels don’t charge them, but the bad hotels that do are up-front about them, at least.

Or were.

When Elvera Penner checked in to the Quality Inn & Suites Anaheim Resort, she had confirmed the rate carefully, like she always does. And then — bam!

We came up against this surprise $3.15 per day resort fee when we checked out. We asked to see the printout we had signed when we checked in — when they take your credit card imprint — and lo and behold, the resort fee was not included in that either! The manager grumbled mightily, but did remove the resort fee.

It may have been Penner’s case that prodded Quality Inn to clearly disclose the fee on its Web site. Either way, the surcharge is now highlighted in red, so it’s hard to miss.

Quality Inn should include all fees in the base price of its rooms. If it doesn’t, it needs to clearly disclose any required fees at the time of booking and when guests check in.

If a hotel doesn’t do any of these things, you should ask to have the charges removed. And what if it doesn’t? Talk to your credit card company.

As the economy staggers along, expect more hotels to try to slap a resort fee on your bill. When they do, put up a good fight. It keeps the whole lodging industry honest.