Commission Commiserations

, , , | Right | April 25, 2018

(I work at a hotel in Canada.)

Customer: “Hi! I’d like to rent a room for this evening, checking out the day after tomorrow.”

Me: “No problem. Do you want a room with one bed or two?”

Customer: “First of all, what are your rates?”

Me: “It is $105 for the room with one bed, or $119 for the room with two beds.”

Customer: “On [American Travel Site] they have the rooms advertised at $89 for the one bed and $102 for the room with two beds. Can you match that price?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, sir. Those are the rates of that company, and in order to get those rates, you have to pay up front and the room is non-refundable and non-cancellable, meaning if something happens and you can’t come, you lose your money. I can bring the price down a little. I can do $99 for the room with one bed or $109 for the room with two, but I can’t go any lower than that.”

Customer: “Well, then, I’ll just book it online and you guys can pay the commission, then.”

Me: “That’s your choice, sir. Those prices are still on the table if you call back.”

(He hangs up, but about two hours later he calls back, furious.)

Customer: “Yeah, I just booked that room online, and I need to cancel it and get my money back. Those idiots charged me $150! The room is supposed to be $101 plus tax. Now, they tell me that their rates are listed in American funds, so with the conversion I’m paying more than I would have if I booked with you. That’s dishonest business practice. Anyway, I need you to refund my card, cancel the room, and rebook me at the rate you offered, please.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but like I explained earlier, those rooms are prepaid and non-cancellable. Even if it were refundable, I don’t have your money to give back to you. [Company] takes the payments, and then sends us a prepaid credit card to charge the room costs to. Any refund would have to come from them, but like I said, they don’t refund them.”

Customer: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Me: “No, sir, I wish I were. That’s how they make their money. They don’t have hotels to maintain. They take your money, give us your reservation details, then share the money with us in the form of a reduced room rate. You may have paid $150, but after taxes we’re barely making $90 off this room.”

Customer: “Unbelievable. No wonder they make so much money; that’s a scam!”

Me: “Anyhow, if you still wish to stay two nights like you initially wanted, I can give you a good rate on the second night.”

Customer: “Seriously?! They said you were sold out tomorrow!”

Me: “Really? Well, I’m standing here looking at a list of unsold rooms, and I’m pretty sure we’re not.”

Customer: *laughing* “I guess I should have shut up and just took that rate from you, huh?”

Me: “Well, live and learn, I guess, right? I’ll just add the extra night at $109; your room is ready whenever you are.”

Customer: “Thanks, hun, you’re the best.”

(I’m so glad he didn’t take it out on me.)

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