Charged for smoking

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Feb 19, 2021
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Hi all! I recently was charges 450 for smoking in a hotel room. I threw away a empty cigarette pack in hotel garbage. Absolutely did not smoke in the room. Was out for the day and cleaned my backpack out in hotel. What are my options here. Hotel scammed me cause of empty cigarette pack. No smell as didn’t smoke. It seems I have absolutely no rights here. Any advice appreciated.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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the United States
Additional information:

What many hotel guests do not realize is that a typical "No Smoking" policy is not restricted to activity in the room. Smoking anywhere will transfer to
clothing, which then transfers to the room. And that will trigger the policy penalty. However, there are some things you can do to mitigate the smell:
• Use Febreze or Ozium on your clothing (absorbs)
• Open a box or boxes of baking soda in the room (absorbs)
• Open the windows before you leave (1 hour+)

Assuming that the empty pack was yours, the above would apply.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
You may not have rights, but you certainly can fight this (huge) smoking charge. The amount is something I would expect if you'd been chain-smoking cigars for hours. Quite ridiculous.

Compose a concise, polite email informing the hotel that you did not smoke in the room and asking them to remove the charge from your CC. Your tone should indicate that this is probably just a mistake, you're not accusing anyone of anything. Finding a cigarette package in the trash is not any kind of proof. Do you know that you left that package in your trash, or did they tell you they found it? If the hotel didn't bring it up, you can ignore it ... there are no rules against putting things in your hotel room trash can. Ask them to confirm that they processed the credit within 5 business days. If they push back, ask them for proof that you smoked in the room. If they don't respond at all, send another very polite email and tell them that you'll be forced to dispute the charge on your credit card if you don't hear from them in five business days. At all times, maintain a businesslike approach; the person dealing with this at the hotel did not cause your problem, and may be in a position to help you. Good luck, and please let us know the outcome.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
3,244
4,870
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Maui Hawaii
Additional information:

What many hotel guests do not realize is that a typical "No Smoking" policy is not restricted to activity in the room. Smoking anywhere will transfer to
clothing, which then transfers to the room. And that will trigger the policy penalty. However, there are some things you can do to mitigate the smell:
• Use Febreze or Ozium on your clothing (absorbs)
• Open a box or boxes of baking soda in the room (absorbs)
• Open the windows before you leave (1 hour+)

Assuming that the empty pack was yours, the above would apply.
This will NOT disguise or cover-up the smell of smoke to a non-smoker. A smoker will think this will solve the problem (because their sense of smell is desensitized) but housekeeping staff will not be fooled.
 
Feb 24, 2018
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Listen, I am as much (more) sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke as anyone, but I think this is a topic where my colleagues here on the forum tend to jump too far, too fast. Yes, it's possible that you dragged the smell on your clothes in with you. The simpler, and far more likely, explanation is that the hotel staff saw the discarded packet and made the assumption that you smoked in the room.

I must agree with my colleague jsn55 that you can, and should, fight this charge with the steps suggested in that post.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
3,244
4,870
113
Maui Hawaii
Hi all! I recently was charges 450 for smoking in a hotel room. I threw away a empty cigarette pack in hotel garbage. Absolutely did not smoke in the room. Was out for the day and cleaned my backpack out in hotel. What are my options here. Hotel scammed me cause of empty cigarette pack. No smell as didn’t smoke. It seems I have absolutely no rights here. Any advice appreciated.
If you are a smoker, your hair and clothing are permeated with the byproducts of cigarette smoke and this odor is transferred to the hotel room (or rental car) bedclothing, drapery, and upholstery. This is easily apparent to a non-smoker. Unless you take only recently laundered clothing, shower prior to entering the hotel, and do not smoke before or after arriving at the hotel, the room/car will smell of smoke (which you can not smell because your sense of smell is desensitized to the smell of smoke). Your room/car will not be able to be used until it has been cleaned, and may well take the room out of service for 24 hours. Take this as a learning experience and plan your travels in the future so you do not encounter this problem again.
 
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Jul 13, 2016
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My husband and I are non-smokers, but we carry matches when we travel to "freshen" the hotel bathroom after using the toilet. I am hyper-careful about discarding the burnt match. First we wet the match to make sure it is completely extinguished. Then I wrap it in a kleenex or toilet tissue and bury it in the bottom of the trash bin. I absolutely do not want to get embroiled in false smoking claim.
 
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Apr 1, 2019
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I would like to ask this. As a lifelong smoker should I always being expected to pay a smoking fee if I do not smoke in a hotel room or rental car?

For the record I have never been charged this fee even when I told the companies in advance.
 

Skippy

May 30, 2019
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The challenge the Original Poster (OP) will have is, while there may or may not have been lingering odors as suggested in prior posts, there is physical evidence that the OP is a smoker and the OP stayed in the hotel room. If the hotel took pictures of the empty cigarette pack, then it would be even harder for the OP to successfully claim that they did not smell up the room.

In the interests of self-advocacy, a few questions:
  • Was there a documented 'no smoking' policy?
  • What evidence did the hotel provide as part of charging the $450 smoking fee?
  • Was the hotel in question a major chain?
 
Dec 23, 2018
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If you are a smoker, your hair and clothing are permeated with the byproducts of cigarette smoke and this odor is transferred to the hotel room (or rental car) bedclothing, drapery, and upholstery. This is easily apparent to a non-smoker. Unless you take only recently laundered clothing, shower prior to entering the hotel, and do not smoke before or after arriving at the hotel, the room/car will smell of smoke (which you can not smell because your sense of smell is desensitized to the smell of smoke). Your room/car will not be able to be used until it has been cleaned, and may well take the room out of service for 24 hours. Take this as a learning experience and plan your travels in the future so you do not encounter this problem again.
so what? I believe the contractual requirement is not to smoke in the room or other forbidden places, period.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
10,647
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San Francisco
We really need to get off the pulpit about how smokers spread smell all over. This is patently untrue unless we're dealing with someone who is constantly smoking, or someone smoking a cigar. I have seen housekeeping taking a break in an empty hotel room and several are smoking. Maintenance people smoke in rooms they're working in. These actions do not make that room unrentable; the odor from a couple of cigarettes smoked in a hotel room is promptly removed by the HVAC system. Regardless, opinions about smokers do not belong on this forum.

Our goal is to assist JBoyer with the erroneous smoking fee he was charged. This is what we're here for. @JBoyer, it would be helpful if you answered our questions about the specifics.
 
Aug 30, 2015
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We really need to get off the pulpit about how smokers spread smell all over. This is patently untrue unless we're dealing with someone who is constantly smoking, or someone smoking a cigar. I have seen housekeeping taking a break in an empty hotel room and several are smoking. Maintenance people smoke in rooms they're working in. These actions do not make that room unrentable; the odor from a couple of cigarettes smoked in a hotel room is promptly removed by the HVAC system. Regardless, opinions about smokers do not belong on this forum.

Our goal is to assist JBoyer with the erroneous smoking fee he was charged. This is what we're here for. @JBoyer, it would be helpful if you answered our questions about the specifics.
@jsn55 I agree with you about the goal, but I definitely do not agree with you about the other statements. It is a huge problem to stop people from smoking where it is prohibited while not penalizing people who play by the rules. It can be very frustrating to be wrongfully accused and penalized. I would really like for there to be a technical/chemical solution to determining this issue but I don't know of anything in the pipeline.