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Overchaged by Sheraton Rockville, MD

Discussion in 'Starwood' started by devilsAdvocate, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. devilsAdvocate

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    Let me describe the experience in chronological order:

    1. I book a single room in Sheraton Rockville (Maryland) through Priceline.com for 3 nights (May 19 to May 22).
    2. I call the hotel directly a day before my stay (May 18) to inform them that I will be arriving at the hotel only on May 20 at around 7am, and to ask if there's anything I need to do to pre check-in, to which the hotel agent named X says that I will need to fill out a credit card authorization form so they can check me in before I arrive. During this conversation, I also ask about the type of room for me, and he informs me it is a room with one king bed. I ask him about getting a room with two double beds, and he says it would be $20 extra per night of the stay, and asks whether I would like to upgrade to that. I tell him I'm driving and cannot confirm right now, and if he could email me all the details and I can then confirm via email whether or not I want the upgrade. He tells me he will send me the CC authorization form and the upgrade options soon and I can then confirm via email.
    3. I wait for a couple hours but never receive any email from X.
    4. I call the hotel back and this time I'm connected with another agent, Y. I tell Y about my conversation with X, and Y promises to send me the CC authorization right away, which he does.
    5. While filling the CC authorization, there are some fields to enter the dollar amount that I wish to authorize the hotel to charge me with. Since I am confused on this, I call back and speak to Y again about it.
    6. I ask Y about the room type again, and he informs me that my booking is already noted for a 2 double beds room. Since I was informed previously by X that there might be an extra charge, I ask Y if I should fill any dollar amount in the CC authorization form, and also ask him to confirm what my total charges would be upon checkout. At this point, Y tells me that my total amount would be only what I have already paid through Priceline, and that there would be no additional charges. He also advises me to check "Incidentals Only" on the CC authorization and send the form over. He explicitly tells me to leave all other dollar amount related fields blank.
    7. After this call, my understanding was that the 2 double beds room was a free upgrade, since I had explicitly asked for the total charges, and was told it would just be what I have already paid to Priceline.
    8. I pick up my keys in the hotel in the morning of May 20 (since I was pre-checked in), and complete my stay and checkout on the 22nd. Upon checkout, X is at the hotel checkout counter, and he charges me $60 extra for the double beds room upgrade. I explain to him that Y confirmed that there would be no additional charge, but he disregards that and just keeps iterating that he had informed me of the additional charge before check-in.
    9. I feel cheated but have to leave because I have a flight to catch.

    After coming back from Maryland, I call the hotel and corporate customer care several times, but to no avail. After a long argument, the hotel's general manager finally says "she can't imagine why agent Y would say that", when I pointed out that I had gotten my final charges confirmed from Y.

    The corporate customer care initially promises to carry out a thorough investigation, but all they do is contact the hotel about the case, and get comments from them and close the file, without even calling me back about it.

    So my question for the people on this forum is: what do you think my recourse should be moving forward, in order to get back the $60 I was charged? Would creating a credit card dispute help?
     
    #1
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  2. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Do not do a credit card dispute. It will be a false dispute - you stayed at the hotel so they deserve to be paid.

    What type of room did you book through Priceline? The problem with Priceline is that when you book a certain room type, you can't simply change it to another room type. The room type you book is the room type you get. What Sheraton Rockville was it - what state?

    Why didn't you book a double room when you originally booked the room?
     
    #2
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  3. devilsAdvocate

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    Do not do a credit card dispute. It will be a false dispute - you stayed at the hotel so they deserve to be paid.
    >> They did get paid for the booking. What I wish to dispute is the "extra" $20/night that they charged me.

    What type of room did you book through Priceline? The problem with Priceline is that when you book a certain room type, you can't simply change it to another room type. The room type you book is the room type you get. What Sheraton Rockville was it - what state?
    >> I used the Priceline Express Deal option, and and the end of the booking it showed me that the room was a 1 King bed room. It was Sheraton Rockville, Maryland.

    Why didn't you book a double room when you originally booked the room?
    >> There was no option to specify that when booking through Priceline.
     
    #3
  4. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    The deal with Express deals is that it is JUST for the room you chose - if there was no double bed room, then they didn't contract for that. And the Express deals say that the hotel can charge an extra fee for special requests. If you didn't have the availability to check off the double bed, then it wasn't available through the Express Deal.

    So whoever told you there was an additional charge was right due to your booking it through Priceline. If you booked directly through the hotel, the prices would have been the same for either bed type - do whoever told you there is no charge didn't do their due diligence in looking to see how you booked your room. This is why you shouldn't do a chargeback, because the terms were there that you could be charged extra.

    From Priceline:

    Depending on the reservation you make, you may have the option to request a specific bed type prior to booking.


    When you make a reservation using our Retail service (or Express Deals, when the option is available), you can select a specific bed type prior to booking.


    When you make a reservation using our Name Your Own Price you will not be able to select a specific bed type through Priceline.


    Rooms booked on Priceline.com are guaranteed to accommodate the maximum occupancy shown on your itinerary page. Requests for bed types (King, Queen, 2 Doubles, etc.) or other special needs (including preferences for smoking or non-smoking rooms) cannot be guaranteed, but can be requested through your confirmed hotel after your reservation is confirmed.


    Special requests are at the discretion of the hotel and subject to availability. Keep in mind that if available, there may be an extra charge payable directly to the hotel. Your confirmed hotels phone number is listed on your itinerary page.


    That said, here is what I would do:

    We have company contacts on top of our pages. Use our company contacts for Sheraton, write to Customer Service and ask why you were charged an additional fee, since the bed types are the same price on the Sheraton website and you would like a refund of the extra money.

    Give them a week to reply to you. See what they say. It can't hurt to ask but they may come back and tell you it was because of the Express Deal and that is was only for the king bed.
     
    #4
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  5. devilsAdvocate

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    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your detailed reply. However, I was already aware of all those details, and I still believe the hotel unjustly charged me extra because of the following reasons:

    1. Since Priceline mentioned there may be extra charges for room changes, I called the hotel to inquire if there would be a charge to change my room type to double bed. When I was told at first there would be, I told them I would email back and confirm if I wanted that option.

    2. The room type was changed to a 2-double bed without my confirmation.

    3. I was given conflicting information on the extra charges, and in fact at the time of check-in when I was told my booking was noted for a 2-double bed, I explicitly tried to confirm my total charges, and was told there would be no additional charges.

    As a customer then, do you think my expectation of not being charged extra is unwarranted?

    I would have been fine with just a king bed as well, if I clearly knew there were going to be extra charges for a 2-double bed room.

    I have already tried contacting their customer care as well as corporate office, and they are unwilling to do any adjustment in the charges, which is why I was thinking of the credit card dispute option.

    Thanks.
     
    #5
  6. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Have you gone all the way up the executives one at a time once a week? If you have, then there is nothing else we can do.

    I can't recommend a charge back and that is because their website states there may be a charge but you can certainly try if your heart is set on it. The worst that will happen is that if the credit card company finds in favor of the hotel, you'll be re-charged the $60. But if you use Sheratons a lot, you might also be blacklisted from booking them for doing a chargeback that you might lose.

    Think about this carefully before doing a chargeback.

    If you have contacted every executive, you can see if our writers can do anything before you chargeback. Use our help buttons, and fill in the form all over. Tell them you have written to each executives and they have refused to refund and ask for assistance. You can state you came here and we referred you back because you have gone up the normal chain. If the writers think they can do anything they make take the case. You'll have to provide all of your correspondance.
     
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  7. devilsAdvocate

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    I haven't tried going up the executive chain yet; will look into it.

    I can't recommend a charge back and that is because their website states there may be a charge but you can certainly try if your heart is set on it.
    >>Sure the website says there may be a charge, but doesn't the charge have to be for something I requested and confirmed that I wanted? In this case, I only inquired about a change, told them I would confirm if I wanted it, did not confirm, and they made the change anyway. Moreover, after knowing they made the change, I also did my part by re-confirming my total charges, and was told there was no additional charges. I am failing to see what more I could have done to avoid the additional charges for something I did not request.

    The worst that will happen is that if the credit card company finds in favor of the hotel, you'll be re-charged the $60.
    >> Really? You mean another charge of $60, on top of the $60 I have already been charged by the hotel?


    I started with contacting the writers first, they recommended me to post here.
     
    #7
  8. VoR61

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    I want to lend my support to @Neil's last post, and add that before you consider moving up the executive chain be sure you have your exchanges with them in writing. Your chances decrease if any of this was given verbally.
     
    #8
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  9. Carrie Livingston

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    If you wanted the double beds, what is the complaint? If you were willing to accept the king bed, then you should have gone back down to the desk and switched rooms if you didn't want to pay the additional charge. By accepting the offer, you accepted the charge.
     
    #9
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  10. jsn55

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    Looks like the agent made an error when he old you there would be no extra charge for the two beds. You should pursue the $60 if you wish, as my colleagues have outlined.

    On the subject of a CC dispute, I believe that the issue is that you can't dispute just the $60. When you file a dispute, they remove the charge from your bill, pending investigation. After they determine who is right, the credit on your bill either stands, or they rebill your CC. I believe that CC disputes are for the entire amount of the charge, and that should be a last resort ... after you have tried to get this resolved.
     
    #10
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  11. devilsAdvocate

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    Thanks for your response. It looks like you missed reading the part where I mentioned the hotel staff informed me during check-in that there would be no additional charge for the 2 double beds room.
     
    #11
  12. devilsAdvocate

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    I think in this case, I can dispute just the $60 charge, because that is the only charge directly billed by the hotel on my CC. The actual booking amount was processed by Priceline.
     
    #12
  13. jsn55

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    You are correct. Even tho experienced travellers know that agents will say/do anything, that doesn't make it right. If more people made a fuss about travel companies doing it correctly, perhaps the agents would think twice before just telling the travellers something and "forgetting" to follow up as they promised. But, sigh, these are usually minimum wage people who aren't long-term employees.
     
    #13

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