A Fraudulent Waste Of Time

, , | Right | April 26, 2018

Me: “Thank you for calling [Hotel]. This is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Representative: “Hello, my name is [Representative], and I’m calling from the fraud department of [Third-Party Travel Site]. May I speak with a manager, please?”

Me: “I’m the guest services manager; how can I help you?”

Representative: “I’m calling in regards to a reservation made for last month on the sixth for two nights. The name of the customer is [Customer], the confirmation number is [number].”

Me: “Okay, let me just pull that up… Okay, yes, I have it here. What can I do for you?”

Representative: “I’m calling because the customer has just informed us that you turned him away at the front desk because you had overbooked your hotel, and he was forced to stay elsewhere, despite the fact that our company card was charged for both nights. According to the system, you were not fully booked that night, and we will need to be reimbursed for the two nights so that we can reimburse the client. We will also be launching a formal investigation, since this is considered to be fraudulent business practice.”

Me: “Oh, I see. Well, according to what I’m seeing in my system, this customer checked in on the correct date at 5:37 pm, and checked out at 7:21 am two days later. I’m seeing that he incurred just under $4 worth of long distance charges ,which he paid for with his own personal credit card, and we even have him down for a 6:00 am wake-up call for both mornings. It would seem to me that he was, indeed, here. Could we be looking at the wrong reservation?”

Representative: “The client did not stay at your hotel; you need to find out who your employees gave the room to, then, because it was not him.”

Me: “Okay, can you hold the line for a couple minutes? I’m going to pull up his registration card from the audit. It won’t be long.”

(I go find the registration card and quickly pull up the security footage from the day and time that he checked in. I take a still shot and print it out.)

Me: “Hi! Thanks so much for holding.”

Representative: “Mm-hm.”

Me: “So, from what I’m seeing here, this customer signed his registration card on the three spots indicated at the time of check-in. He also filled out his full address and vehicle information on the front, and provided his credit card for incidentals, which he verified by inputting his PIN. The credit card number ends in [numbers], and the expiry date is [date]. Would that by any chance be the same card the customer used to pay you for his reservation?”

Representative: *pause* “It does appear to be the same number. His card could have been stolen, though. This customer has provided me with a receipt from the other hotel where he stayed; why would he stay somewhere else if he stayed at your hotel?”

Me: “I’m not sure, sir. I can fax you his signed registration card so that you can see his signature. I also took the liberty of printing out a screen shot from our front desk security camera, which shows him checking in.”

Representative: “That would be great. I have a copy of his driver’s license and credit card here, so I can compare the pics and signature to prove he wasn’t there!”

Me: “Okay. You do that. What is the best number to fax this to?”

(He gives me the number, I fax it over, and we shoot the breeze about the weather, etc. About two minutes later, he gets the fax.)

Representative: “All right, I got it. Now, the signature on your registration card…”

Me: “Yes?”

Representative: “Um…” *clears his throat* “It would appear that this client did, in fact, sign this document. The picture matches, too; he was there.”

Me: “Yes, as I said, he was here. We wouldn’t give away a prepaid room to some random person; we have more respect for our business than that, and none of my staff are that dishonest.”

Representative: *clears throat* “Well, the document he sent me is mostly handwritten, and at closer look it appears to be fake. I will have to contact the other hotel to confirm that he was there and I will, uh, get back to you.”

(I never heard from the rep again. What a waste of ten minutes.)

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