Holiday Inn Debacle

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Aug 28, 2015
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#41
Hello Everyone,

I seem to have reached an impasse. To update: no resolution with dozens of phone calls to the hotel, to IHG, and to my credit card company. I've written emails and a letter to 3 different IHG executives. These communications are apparently being forwarded to a single "executive liaison" person who has told me they have no jurisdiction over the individual hotel. She referred me back to the Washington DC Georgetown Holiday Inn, but they do not respond to my emails.

It's been six months. Must I now take them to small claims court?

Andrea
 
T

travellerdan

Guest
#42
A concern is the fact that there was a CC charge at all. The fact that a charge actually posted suggests that the reservation was a non-refundable "pay now" reservation. When, exactly did that charge post, at the time of making the reservation or shortly after missing the stay?
 
Likes: AAGK
Mar 4, 2015
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#43
Is it emails to accommodations@higtdc.com that are being ignored?

That domain is registered to this hotel management company:
Donohoe Hospitality Services
2101 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20007

They have their own generic inboxes for email inquiries at dhsinfo@donohoe.com (dhs=Donohoe Hospitality Services) and tdcinfo@donohoe.com (tdc=The Donohoe Companies). You can let them know that this hotel does not respond to your emails and ask if there is a technical problem.

The domain admin contact is fekades@donohoe.com who according to their "Hospitality Team" web page is the Corporate IT Manager. (Maybe he can help if it's a technical problem? ;)) If the other team members follow the same email convention (firstname+last initial) then maybe you can try that to contact the Executive VP (e.g. drewm@donohue.com) if you don't hear back from the contacts above either.

http://www.donohoe.com/Hospitality/team_hos
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#44
A concern is the fact that there was a CC charge at all. The fact that a charge actually posted suggests that the reservation was a non-refundable "pay now" reservation. When, exactly did that charge post, at the time of making the reservation or shortly after missing the stay?
The charge posted on the day I made the reservation, April 9.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#45
I googled this issue- you are not alone. There are thousands of people who thought they were booking a refundable rate and were somehow routed to an advance-pay nonrefundable rate online, which they didn't notice until too late. Apparently, there is a difference between booking over the phone and booking online that triggers this issue. I spent about ten minutes going through the iHG website and I couldn't find anything helpful about cancellation. That reflects badly on the hotel as this information is usually easy to find. Keep at it with the contacts. Perhaps the Elliot research people can come up with an additional exec contact for you. Your issue seems to very widespread and if so many people are misunderstanding the site, then it must not be clear. IHG needs to address this problem.
 
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Aug 28, 2015
20
5
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#46
Is it emails to accommodations@higtdc.com that are being ignored?

That domain is registered to this hotel management company:
Donohoe Hospitality Services
2101 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20007

They have their own generic inboxes for email inquiries at dhsinfo@donohoe.com (dhs=Donohoe Hospitality Services) and tdcinfo@donohoe.com (tdc=The Donohoe Companies). You can let them know that this hotel does not respond to your emails and ask if there is a technical problem.

The domain admin contact is fekades@donohoe.com who according to their "Hospitality Team" web page is the Corporate IT Manager. (Maybe he can help if it's a technical problem? ;)) If the other team members follow the same email convention (firstname+last initial) then maybe you can try that to contact the Executive VP (e.g. drewm@donohue.com) if you don't hear back from the contacts above either.

http://www.donohoe.com/Hospitality/team_hos
Thank you for this information. I was writing to the email address that was given to me by the hotel personnel and imagine that they are not respondng just because they are tired of hearing from me. I will try those you provided.
Andrea
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#47
I googled this issue- apparently you are not alone. There are thousands of people who thought they were booking a refundable rate and were someone routed to an advance pay no refundable rate online, which they didn't notice until too late. Apparently there is a difference between booking over the phone and booking online that triggers this issue. I spent about ten minutes going through the iHG website and I couldn't find anything helpful about cancellation. That is a bad sign- this information is usually easy to find. Keep at it with the contacts. Perhaps the Elliot research people can come up with an additional exec contact for you. Your issue seems to very widespread and if so many people are misunderstanding the site, then it must not be clear. IHG needs to address this problem.
Yes, it is comforting on some level to see that I am, as you say, one of thousands of people with this issue but very distressing to know that something so unjust is continuing to occur unchecked. Thanks for your words of encouragment - Andrea
 

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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#48
I book with HI and HI Express a lot. The lowest rate is "Book Early and Save" and the webpage makes clear a non-refundable deposit is charged immediately. The "View Rate Details" feature explains this in even more detail. The next higher rate, "Best Flexible Rate", is listed directly below, with "Free Cancellation" and "No Deposit Required" highlighted in color.
If the Book Early rate is chosen, personal info is entered on the next page and a sidebar breaks down the rate details and conditions. It shows the deposit amount (usually 100% of the entire stay, not the first night) that will be immediately charged to the CC. Again, a "Details" feature provides further info.
The last step after entering CC payment info is checking a box stating you have read and understand the rate and rules....in the form of a link that opens a popup that repeats all the details.
The CC was immediately charged the full amount, so it's almost certain "Book Early and Save" was purchased. To their credit, the IHG website highlights non-cancellable and directly contrasts it to a flex rate (provided that rooms are still available at that rate). I hope OP can get a happy ending but the IHG webpage is far more up-front than most travel booking websites. It's difficult to see how the rate being 100% non-refundable could be missed, especially since they require acknowledgement that the customer read, understands, and agrees to the rate rules.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#49
I book with HI and HI Express a lot. The lowest rate is "Book Early and Save" and the webpage makes clear a non-refundable deposit is charged immediately. The "View Rate Details" feature explains this in even more detail. The next higher rate, "Best Flexible Rate", is listed directly below, with "Free Cancellation" and "No Deposit Required" highlighted in color.
If the Book Early rate is chosen, personal info is entered on the next page and a sidebar breaks down the rate details and conditions. It shows the deposit amount (usually 100% of the entire stay, not the first night) that will be immediately charged to the CC. Again, a "Details" feature provides further info.
The last step after entering CC payment info is checking a box stating you have read and understand the rate and rules....in the form of a link that opens a popup that repeats all the details.
The CC was immediately charged the full amount, so it's almost certain "Book Early and Save" was purchased. To their credit, the IHG website highlights non-cancellable and directly contrasts it to a flex rate (provided that rooms are still available at that rate). I hope OP can get a happy ending but the IHG webpage is far more up-front than most travel booking websites. It's difficult to see how the rate being 100% non-refundable could be missed, especially since they require acknowledgement that the customer read, understands, and agrees to the rate rules.
I expected to see all that stuff, but for whatever reason- I didn't encounter it. It just went straight to the booking without option to explore cancelation policies, etc. I found the website almost excruciatingly difficult to navigate for first time use. i agree, if the full amount is charged, it suggests nonrefundable. I think that is a good point for consumers to keep in mind. Anytime money leaves your hands to pay for services, whether you thought you were booking a temporary hold, or a refundable anything- be prepared for the fact that it will not be returned easily.
 
B

bodega3

Guest
#50
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.
******************************************
When you book a hotel room, you are taking a room out of inventory early that someone else might have been wanting. During the time you are holding the room, rates go up and down and when you canceled. the rates might be higher and nobody may have taken your room. You also committed to the rate as nonrefundable.
As a nurse you must be aware that many medical facilities and doctors are charging a fee to cancel. There is a cost involved to prepare for a service and if you don't show up, they still have to pay for employees who were there to assist you.

Since you booked online, you had to have received the confirmation by email. I know of no hotel that doesn't provide cancelation policies that apply to the rate you booked.
 

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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1,762
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KSNA
#51
I expected to see all that stuff, but for whatever reason- I didn't encounter it. It just went straight to the booking without option to explore cancelation policies, etc.
That's interesting, while I was composing my earlier post, I went on iHG.com and started a dummy booking to the same specific hotel. Maybe try it again, it would be interesting if you don't encounter the box that requires acceptance of the rate rules before the purchase button can be clicked.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#52
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.
******************************************
When you book a hotel room, you are taking a room out of inventory early that someone else might have been wanting. During the time you are holding the room, rates go up and down and when you canceled. the rates might be higher and nobody may have taken your room. You also committed to the rate as nonrefundable.
As a nurse you must be aware that many medical facilities and doctors are charging a fee to cancel. There is a cost involved to prepare for a service and if you don't show up, they still have to pay for employees who were there to assist you.

Since you booked online, you had to have received the confirmation by email. I know of no hotel that doesn't provide cancelation policies that apply to the rate you booked.
I held the room for 48 hours, and cancelled 7 weeks prior to the intended stay. I would understand Holiday Inn keeping perhaps one night's deposit for their trouble in this case, but to keep over one thousand dollars seems blatantly unfair.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,976
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#53
It depends on the terms- non refundable is meant to heave a hefty penalty to ensure the traveler doesn't cancel.
Your only option may be to bring them to small claims court but you have to be able to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. Without that original confirmation it may be impossible to do.
 
B

bodega3

Guest
#54
Why are you not sharing with us the cancellation terms on your email confirmation?
A business can offer you various prices and if you pick a restrictive one, you are obligated to those rules.

At HI, this is what you find with every rate. The type of rate is at the top and the rules of the rate is highlighted for you to click and read.
Book Early & Save - Advance Purchase
    • Non-Refundable Rate
    • Deposit required
    • Must book 7 days in advance
    • View Rate Details
 
Likes: kenish

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
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1,762
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#55
Your only option may be to bring them to small claims court but you have to be able to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. Without that original confirmation it may be impossible to do.
Court action will be a colossal waste of both parties time. As explained in the thread, the 100% non-refundable rate is the *only* one where the CC is immediately charged. The fact this happened makes it self-evident that's what OP purchased. The IHG website provides "yellow" flags at 3 points in the online reservation process and requires opt-in to the terms. Compared to most travel provider websites, IHG is much better at this.
There's probably an arbitration clause in the contract, anyway. As far as "unfair", "scam", etc...courts will consider it irrelevant in the face of a the fully disclosed contract that OP agreed to, there was no duress, and it's OP that's trying to get out of the agreement (who's actually being "unfair", and why was it OK at the time of purchase?)
Don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but OP has not tried to follow advice or provided info requested by others in this thread....the response of "unfair" instead of providing facts, says a lot.
 
Likes: bodega3

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,976
12,225
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#56
Court action will be a colossal waste of both parties time. As explained in the thread, the 100% non-refundable rate is the *only* one where the CC is immediately charged. The fact this happened makes it self-evident that's what OP purchased. The IHG website provides "yellow" flags at 3 points in the online reservation process and requires opt-in to the terms. Compared to most travel provider websites, IHG is much better at this.
There's probably an arbitration clause in the contract, anyway. As far as "unfair", "scam", etc...courts will consider it irrelevant in the face of a the fully disclosed contract that OP agreed to, there was no duress, and it's OP that's trying to get out of the agreement (who's actually being "unfair", and why was it OK at the time of purchase?)
Don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but OP has not tried to follow advice or provided info requested by others in this thread....the response of "unfair" instead of providing facts, says a lot.
Ken I agree with you but LW doesn't have original confirmation which would have shown the terms yet they insist they booked properly. If LW had that confirmation which showed the proper confirmation showing they did NOT purchase non refundable. Then they could go to court, but not without that
 
Likes: kenish
Aug 28, 2015
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#57
Why are you not sharing with us the cancellation terms on your email confirmation?
A business can offer you various prices and if you pick a restrictive one, you are obligated to those rules.

At HI, this is what you find with every rate. The type of rate is at the top and the rules of the rate is highlighted for you to click and read.
Book Early & Save - Advance Purchase
    • Non-Refundable Rate
    • Deposit required
    • Must book 7 days in advance
    • View Rate Details
As stated earlier in the thread, I unfortunately did not save the original reservation and cancellation confirmation emails (just the numbers). I have requested these documents from the hotel and from IHG, but they say they have "recycled" the numbers from my reservation and cancellation and do not have them.
Andrea
 
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bodega3

Guest
#58
Sadly you now know to have saved them. I always save confirmations for about 1 year. You have the burden of proof. They have it on their side with the code that comes across when you book.
 

kenish

Verified Member
Sep 1, 2015
1,040
1,762
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KSNA
#59
As stated earlier in the thread, I unfortunately did not save the original reservation and cancellation confirmation emails (just the numbers).
I'm very tech-savvy, and several people correctly suggested looking for the emails on your hard drive (or getting help from someone who knows how). I don't recall you confirming you tried this, only looking on the Yahoo mail site. It's very possible they are on your computer and not really "deleted". One presidential candidate has become aware that "deleted" emails often remain accessible. :) :)
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#60
It depends on the terms- non refundable is meant to heave a hefty penalty to ensure the traveler doesn't cancel.
Your only option may be to bring them to small claims court but you have to be able to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. Without that original confirmation it may be impossible to do.
Promal - One point of clarification, generally, in civil cases, the burden of proof is not beyond a reasonable doubt, it is preponderance of the evidence, a much easier standard. However, the judge would still need to see the reservation in order for the OP to make their case. The OP could get lucky in front of a sympathetic judge, but without the reservation confirmation, it is harder to even meet the burden of proof necessary.