Holiday Inn Debacle

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Aug 28, 2015
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#1
On April 9 I made an online reservation to stay at the Washington DC Georgetown Holiday Inn for five nights in June, noting that the cancellation policy was very generous. Within two days my plans changed and I cancelled the reservation and noted that I received a confirmation of my cancellation.

I was horrified to find that the charge of $1104.95 was not refunded me. When I contacted the hotel to request that this be corrected on July 3, they refused to do so because they insist that I agreed to a non-refundable reservation. It is hard for me to imagine that I did this, but I do not have copies of the original reservation, and Holiday Inn has been unable to provide them to me when requested (I've worked with four different agents yesterday alone) .

Assuming I made the error of clicking on a non-refundable reservation, I have begged their pardon by phone and by written mail, to no avail. My credit card company simply called Washington DC Geogetown Holiday Inn, who reiterated to them that I had made a non-refundable reservation.

I do not feel that my presumed error warrants Holiday Inn $1104.95 because it caused no hardship to them and they delivered no services to me. I cancelled the reservation seven weeks before the intended stay, making the room available to be reserved by another paying guest. My cancellation was cheerfully acknowledged with no warning that this was non-refundable. The only reason to have a means to cancel a non-refundable reservation seems to be to scam unsuspecting travelers.

I am a single mother, and a nurse. This amount of money represents a mortgage payment to me, and would be a great hardship to lose. Any assistance you can provide would be most appreciated. Thanks! Andrea
 
Last edited:
Jan 17, 2015
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#2
Oh dear, I just noticed your post. How distressing!

About all I can think of is to post to their Facebook and Twitter feeds laying out your problem. I see a few such posts on Facebook, but the general response is " Please send us details to IHGCare@ihg.com along with your Confirmation number and Facebook name."

Have you explored trying to recover the confirmation email from your server, even though it's been "deleted"? Many computers merely mark "deleted" files as "ok to overwrite", but don't actually delete the information.

Intercontinental Hotels is the parent company for Holiday Inn. It sounds like you've not gone farther up the line than Customer Service. You might try a *succinct* plea to the executives here:
http://elliott.org/company-contacts/intercontinental-hotels/ Start with Chris Zoloth, then work your way up, one exec at a time, giving each at least a week to say yes before going on to the next.

Good luck, keep all correspondence in case Chris Elliott needs to get involved, and we'll hope that the execs are in a great mood when asked for this exception.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#3
Thanks for your advice, besseya, I will write to Christ Zoloth, and also post on Facebook (but I don't know how to Twitter - I'm old!) Andrea
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#4
How extensively have you searched your own "archived" e-mails..... That confirmation is there somewhere. Had you made a claim immediately with your credit card company the Holliday Inn would have had to "Prove" their claim of a non refundable reservation to the bank. I don't suppose you did that???? When you got charged you certainly had another 60 days to challenge the charge with your Credit Card company.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#5
Good points, JVillegirl.
I have a free AOL account, so not entitled to any support services to help me search further for deleted emails. My credit card company told me I call to the hotel, not sure it is worth contacting them again now that it is over 60 days?
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#6
Sorry, that was my credit card company offered no further services after they briefly called the hotel. Is it worth contacting them again now that > 60 days have passed?
 
Likes: AAGK

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#8
Called the hotel??? They needed to obtain proof that the reservation was non-refundable.... That confirmation is critical! And they have a copy of that e-mail in their system....but you are sure it's not hidden in yours, you didn't forward to work or a friend who might still have it in their archived files ?
Just a thought before you escalate up the chain of command!
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#9
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think part of the issue is that you think you may have mistakenly clicked on no refundable, in which case the confirmation would show that. A couple of other steps to consider:
1. Did you call the hotel and ask why you were charged for more than one night? I recall the website said something about a one night penalty only. Take a second look at that.
2. You can pursue this still with your card issuer. The 60 days is tolled to an extent as you did dispute in a timely manner and you are allowed to appeal the final decision. Call the card company today and tel them you are appealing and will fax them supporting documents. Get the fax number as well.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#11
I did not file a dispute with my credit card, which was a Chase United Plus Visa, just called and asked to dispute the charges. When that got me nowhere, I assumed that I had to try to work with Holiday Inn. I kept only the reservation number, the cancellation number, and of course I have a case number with Customer Service that documents the dozen or so phone communications I have had with them. I didn't think I needed to hang on to the emails and have certainly learned a critical lesson should I ever venture to travel again.

You are correct, AAGK, that I truly thought I was making a refundable reservation, because I knew my plans were not yet firm. If I clicked on the non-refundable as they say I did, the two buttons must have been right next to each other and my finger must have slipped.

Holiday Inn Georgetown Washington DC says they are entitled to keep the $1104.95 payment for the 5 day stay because they say these were the terms of the reservation that they say I agreed to. They offer no proof of this, but they have my money and I am out over $1100.00
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#12
First, next time Dispute it in writing that is the only way to protect your rights. Sounds like you called in plenty of time but calling does not protect your right to dispute. However, you bank may feel you actually did dispute because they called. Start with your bank and ask them for the proof they "should have" requested.... Don't let your bank off the hook.... Get them to go back and demand proof!
 
Jan 17, 2015
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#13
If you read it on a computer, that email may still exist somewhere on the computer, though marked as being "deleted" -- as well as being on the AOL servers. Got any friends who know how to look for deleted files?
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#14
Earlier I asked if maybe you "shared" your plans and confirmation with a friend, co-worker.... I often forward reservations to someone I'm meeting or sharing the trip with?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#15
I wrote this yesteday but it did not get posted, sorry.

Andrea, this is just awful, I had no idea that a reputable chain like IHG would charge more than one night for an error like this. What was the nightly rate?

I would start over with a concise, polite complaint on their website, asking that you be penalized just the one night's charge. Escalate that up if you don't hear back within a week.

I have hopes that we will be publishing our Company Contacts again very soon after this recent server problem.

I am surprised that Chase did not go to bat for you, perhaps you could ask them again? Definitely use their website to request the dispute.

ADVOCATE ADVICE
  • Always keep copies of all travel reservations in a folder within your email system.
  • I also forward these kinds of emails and keep them on another ISP's records.
  • If you are computer challenged, print a copy of the confirmation and any subsequent changes or cancellations.
  • Mistakes are made by both parties, and the only way you can protect yourself is to have the evidence.
  • You can go in once in a while and purge out all the old docs.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#16
I did not file a dispute with my credit card, which was a Chase United Plus Visa, just called and asked to dispute the charges. When that got me nowhere, I assumed that I had to try to work with Holiday Inn. I kept only the reservation number, the cancellation number, and of course I have a case number with Customer Service that documents the dozen or so phone communications I have had with them. I didn't think I needed to hang on to the emails and have certainly learned a critical lesson should I ever venture to travel again.

You are correct, AAGK, that I truly thought I was making a refundable reservation, because I knew my plans were not yet firm. If I clicked on the non-refundable as they say I did, the two buttons must have been right next to each other and my finger must have slipped.

Holiday Inn Georgetown Washington DC says they are entitled to keep the $1104.95 payment for the 5 day stay because they say these were the terms of the reservation that they say I agreed to. They offer no proof of this, but they have my money and I am out over $1100.00
The non refundable rate will always be the first (and cheapest) rate that comes up.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#18
I wrote this yesteday but it did not get posted, sorry.

Andrea, this is just awful, I had no idea that a reputable chain like IHG would charge more than one night for an error like this. What was the nightly rate?

I would start over with a concise, polite complaint on their website, asking that you be penalized just the one night's charge. Escalate that up if you don't hear back within a week.

I have hopes that we will be publishing our Company Contacts again very soon after this recent server problem.

I am surprised that Chase did not go to bat for you, perhaps you could ask them again? Definitely use their website to request the dispute.

ADVOCATE ADVICE
  • Always keep copies of all travel reservations in a folder within your email system.
  • I also forward these kinds of emails and keep them on another ISP's records.
  • If you are computer challenged, print a copy of the confirmation and any subsequent changes or cancellations.
  • Mistakes are made by both parties, and the only way you can protect yourself is to have the evidence.
  • You can go in once in a while and purge out all the old docs.
Thanks, Judy, and all, for your help! I've just written a letter to executive Chris Zoloth at IHG following the guidelines on this website and am hopeful that he will respond kindly and quickly!
Andrea
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,391
6,449
113
San Francisco
#20
Thanks, Judy, and all, for your help! I've just written a letter to executive Chris Zoloth at IHG following the guidelines on this website and am hopeful that he will respond kindly and quickly!
Andrea
You know, Andrea, I'm just remembering doing this same thing with an IHG res several years ago. Reading my confirmation, I was horrified to find out it was prepaid, since it was several months in the future. I beamed the website back up and scrutinized it, there was no indication that the rate I booked was nonrefundable.

So I pitched the biggest most polite fit you ever heard on the phone and forced them to cancel it and rebook it with the usual cancellation but at the prepaid rate, I've been a platinum person with them for years, so that may have helped.

I noticed shortly thereafter that the website displayed the differing room rates much more clearly ... and I did keep the res.

The same thing happened 2 years ago with 2 different hotels on Expedia. That one took alot longer to straighten out but it got done. This is one of the reasons I'm so adament about not using OTAs. I believe that the hotel industry was playing fast and loose with their websites at first, hiding the "non-ref" information.

One of the things I love about Elliott's forum is that we are able to effect change when a company is not doing things properly.
 
Likes: Neil Maley