Update on the Holiday Inn Issue

Ok, it’s been a few weeks since my original post about the robbery I am fighting involving the Holiday Inn-Muskegon Harbor in Muskegon, MI.

If you missed the original, click here and read all about it.

Now for the update. I have had no response from my credit card dispute yet, though that is understandable as the credit card company gives the business 45 days to respond.

The Better Business Bureau however, only gives 16 days, so I have received a response through them. And what a response it was. Here is it verbatim from the BBB website:

“On August 19, 2008, the business provided the following information:
Contact Name and Title: Desiree, Front Desk Man.
Contact Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Contact Email: Desireexxxxx_himuskegon@xxxxxxxx.com
I’m not sure what happened here, but a response was sent back the day that I received it. I will go ahead and explain the situation again.
Mr. Harlow had spoken to Rachel (She was a GSR, but is no longer with us) initially about his reservation. Our system is very clear on what our rate is, for each room, and it will even add on our taxes for us so we can have the total amount upon booking. I had spoken to Rachel about this situation and she was very clear with me on what she had quoted Mr. Harlow. She said that she was on the phone with him for quiet some time explaining all the details to Mr. Harlow. When his wife came to check in ,there was all this confusion with her on the price. I wrote down everything for her; seperate room prices, taxes, all of that and none of that seemed right to her. I then spoke to Mr. Harlow, and explained the same thing to him. He was giving me information that was not even registered in my computer. I 100 percent believe that this was a misunderstanding on Mr. Harlow’s behalf. Rachel was very clear on what she quoted him ,and strongly said that she had quoted the direct pricing to him. I tried very hard to work with Mr. Harlow on this, but after the second time speaking to him he was VERY RUDE, and was threatning action against our hotel, and then hung up on me. I stronngly disagree with any sort of compensation for Mr. Harlow. We already gave him a discount, and feel like this was plenty of compensation for him.

Thank you”

Now then, here is the response to that that I submitted back to the BBB today. Be warned, it’s long and it’s detailed.

Let me respond one step at a time here.

“Our system is very clear on what our rate is, for each room, and it will even add on our taxes for us so we can have the total amount upon booking.”

If the system they use is as clear as Desiree claims it is, I would like to know why I was never told over the phone, nor was my wife told in person that the TOTAL charge for the 3 nights was going to be $1131.90. Had that number been communicated to either of us in any way at all, we would have cancelled the reservation and sought different accommodations. For the purpose of illustration, copy and paste this URL into your web browser: this was a link to a scan of my mortgage statement that I am not posting online. As you can see, the charge for three nights at this HOLIDAY INN came out to be more than my monthly mortgage payment. Considering the fact that I originally accepted that reservation having been told I would be paying $339 plus tax total, for the suite, for three nights, it is absolutely ludicrous to believe I would agree to pay more than a house payment for this stay.

“I had spoken to Rachel about this situation and she was very clear with me on what she had quoted Mr. Harlow. She said that she was on the phone with him for quiet some time explaining all the details to Mr. Harlow.”

The total time I spoke with Rachel was maybe ten minutes. In those ten minutes she first offered me the bedroom of this “suite” for $129 a night. She then told me that she could offer to attach the “parlor” room and make the reservation for the “suite” and that her “manager” had approved her to offer me a price of $339 for the weekend.

I said, “Really? $339? A minute ago you told me the bedroom was $129 a night, and now you are offering me the suite for $339 for the entire weekend?”

She said, “That’s right, it’s a really good deal.”

Before the conversation was over, I had asked her two more times to verify $339 plus tax as a total for the weekend, and she confirmed it each time.

When I spoke to Desiree, she told me that Rachel should have said that it was $339 plus tax per night for the weekend. Well, the fact of the matter is that that is not what she told me. Desiree also informed me that she is the manager and that she was not working when the reservation was made. The “manager” Rachel referred to was, I don’t recall the exact title, but it was something along the lines of Director of Hospitality, and had no authority to offer me any kind of “good deal.” Remember this point; it comes back in to play shortly.

Now, if Desiree is correct and Rachel should have said $339 plus tax per night, let’s try to see how that in any way could be considered a “really good deal.”

I was quoted $129 per night for the bedroom. If you break the $339 per night price tag in half that becomes $169.50 per room, more than the number I was originally given for just one of the rooms. Not a “really good deal.”

After my second phone call with Desiree, which was about two weeks after the stay, I had a third party call the hotel and inquire about the “suite” and a reservation price. She was quoted, by Melissa, $129 plus tax per room per night, for a total of roughly $259 plus tax per night, roughly $80 less per night than I was charged.

Now, if the room price is actually $169 plus tax per room per night, as Desiree says, this leads me to believe that either A) the computer system is not nearly as clear as she claims it to be, B) the front desk staff is terribly inept at using the system, or C) they make a habit of lying to customers over the phone, and at least two different GSR’s (Rachel and Melissa) have done this.

Let’s continue.

“When his wife came to check in, there was all this confusion with her on the price. I wrote down everything for her; separate room prices, taxes, all of that and none of that seemed right to her.”

My wife was not told the total price for the room would be $1131.90, regardless of what Desiree says. As I previously stated, she would have cancelled the reservation on the spot if that price had been put in front of her. She was in town for her brother’s wedding and had plenty of family she could have stayed with if the only room available – which I was told by Rachel this was – was going to cost that much money.

“I then spoke to Mr. Harlow, and explained the same thing to him. He was giving me information that was not even registered in my computer. I 100 percent believe that this was a misunderstanding on Mr. Harlow’s behalf.”

As I stated above, I was not told the total was going to be as high as I was charged. After telling me that the $339 quote I was given by Rachel was “impossible” and “not going to happen” Desiree quoted me a price of $507 plus tax for the weekend for the “suite.” She did not point out “per room” at all when giving me the price. Considering the fact that she had been explaining that Rachel should have said “per room”, it is idiotic to believe that she could have told me that and I would have “misunderstood” it again. What she did tell me was that she was going to give me a discount, but not as much as I wanted. I still don’t understand where she believes this discount came in to play considering she ultimately charged me more than I was originally quoted for one night in one room, and more than was quoted to my third party that inquired about the suite.

“Rachel was very clear on what she quoted him, and strongly said that she had quoted the direct pricing to him.”

Rachel was obviously trying to cover herself by lying to Desiree because at no point in our conversation did she give me any price higher than $339. Claiming that she told me the total price for the weekend is a flat out lie.

“I tried very hard to work with Mr. Harlow on this, but after the second time speaking to him he was VERY RUDE, and was threatening action against our hotel, and then hung up on me.”

This is also a disingenuous statement. Desiree did not try to “work with” me in any way, shape, or form. She was rude to my wife from almost the moment she walked in the door, and was rude to me both times I spoke with her. As far as working with me, she called me a liar to my wife and then charged me more than the $129 per room per night that you could get quoted if you called the hotel today.

I did not threaten any action against the hotel. The first time we spoke I informed her that I would be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. She responded to this with a very flippant, “You can complain to whoever you want.” I can now see that this attitude was based on the fact that she would be the one handling the complaint and that she has never had any intention of doing the right thing in this situation.

The second time we spoke, I called and simply asked if she would correct what I thought was an error, as there was a duplicate charge on my credit card. I told her that I wanted to try to straighten it out with her first so that I didn’t have to dispute it with my credit card company, which is generally regarded as a huge hassle, though I have never done it before. She then began to try to argue with me about the charges. I started to get sucked in to her argument, but then stopped myself. While she continued to try to argue in a raised voice I simply said, very calmly, “I did not call to argue with you about this. I will just dispute the charges with my credit card company.” As she had not stopped trying to argue and had continued to talk over me as I said this, I simply hung up the phone.

There was no “threatening action” at all in either of our conversations. I only informed her of the steps I would be taking to make my dissatisfaction known.

“I strongly disagree with any sort of compensation for Mr. Harlow. We already gave him a discount, and feel like this was plenty of compensation for him.”

As I stated above, there was no discount given that I can find in any of this. The $40 per room, per night overcharge is the only thing I see.

Now, as I mentioned above, the Director of Hospitality and Rachel were the two people who initiated this problem.

Rachel, by referring to her “manager,” who was actually not her manager and had no authority to offer a price reduction, violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act 331 of 1976, Section 445.903, Subsection 3, Part (1), definition (c) which reads:

(c) Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have or that a person has sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he or she does not have.

Rachel, in telling me that her “manager” had approved this “really good deal” misrepresented the status of the Director of Hospitality and lied about having the approval of her management to quote the price that she did.

Offering me the suite for $339 plus tax for the weekend and repeatedly confirming that price to me when it was in fact false further violated the M.C.P.A. in definition (i):

(i) Making false or misleading statements of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions.

There was in fact no price reduction, a fact compounded by Desiree’s continued insistence that I was given a discount when I clearly was not, as illustrated above, and was actually overcharged.

This leads to violation number three:

(y) Gross discrepancies between the oral representations of the seller and the written agreement covering the same transaction or failure of the other party to the transaction to provide the promised benefits.

I was quoted two different prices over the phone by two different employees of the Holiday Inn. Both numbers were grossly under the actual price charged to me, as was the third quote obtained by my third party.

I believe I have stated my case here quite clearly that the Holiday Inn and their management are in the wrong in this situation and need to take action to make the situation right.

*my name*

I am already tired of dealing with this chick. I really hope this time it gets through to her that I have solid legal ground to stand on, or that it will get passed beyond her up the management chain at some point soon.

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