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Refunds Take Their Suite Time

, , , , | Right | February 4, 2020

I work at a small hotel in a small town. We get a lot of tourists during the summer but the winter is usually pretty dead, except for hockey teams. I’m still relatively new to the job and this is my first time dealing with a youth hockey team staying in the hotel. There are all the usual expected issues — noise complaints, kids running in the hall and through the lobby, etc. — but in general, they’re a pretty decent group. 

Shortly after my shift begins, one of the parents comes up and asks if they can use our breakfast room to serve their kids dinner. I say sure and let them in. Later, my boss comes in and tells me they aren’t supposed to be in there without an employee because it is a food safety issue. However, he does allow them to finish their meal and the room is well cleaned when they are done. Shortly after, they leave for their game at 8:00 pm.

When they return, the parents come back and ask if they can get into the breakfast room again. I tell them they can’t and explain why. They understand and don’t give me a hard time or anything. Shortly after, they come back and ask if there is any other room they can use, even if there is just an extra room they could rent to keep the kids out of the halls.

I show them our suite and tell them the price. They agree and take the room. One of the other rooms had an issue with the toilet around the same time, so instead of charging them for the suite, I move that room to the suite at no extra cost to the group. 

I finish my shift and all is well with the hockey team.

Then, the next day happens…

Apparently, my system override of the price on the changed room didn’t take, so when my coworker — who is also new-ish and just lost her grandfather so is emotionally vulnerable — checks them out, she charges their card for the full amount of the suite. They also kept the keys to their old room and used it through the rest of the night. By rights, my coworker should charge them for the second room but doesn’t. When they notice the price difference, they come down and berate her while she gives the refund for the full amount of the room. However, our system doesn’t call it a “refund” but a “correction,” and the guest doesn’t believe her when she says it is a refund. So, she goes in and does another transaction on our terminal that actually says it’s a “refund” of the difference in price.

At this point, we have actually paid this woman about $11, so we have to go in and charge her the actual price she should have paid, plus the $11 she was over-refunded by mistake.

Now, here in Canada, refunds can take up to five business days to show up on your statement, but charges show up right away. Now the guest is upset because she’s been charged twice and still hasn’t gotten a refund.

Eventually, my coworker gets so upset and shaken they have to make an emergency call to one of our managers to fix the issue. The issue gets fixed and everything is worked out on our end, but of course, the refunds still don’t show on the guest’s statements. The guest proceeds to spend all afternoon calling the hotel nonstop, to the point where my coworker refuses to answer the phones because she just can’t deal with her. 

By the time I arrive for my shift, my coworker is practically in hysterics because of the way the people who were upgraded to the suite treated her.

Just as she is getting calmed down and ready to leave, the woman walks into the hotel. With me and our head of housekeeping behind the desk with her, she begins to explain the whole process of what she did to the guest, who feels the need to interrupt after every single step is explained.

After almost twenty minutes, we finally get the guest to understand that refunds take time to show up, and they definitely don’t show up immediately on a Saturday.

She’s still upset, and when she leaves, my coworker and the head housekeeper go back to the laundry room while she cries again. While this is happening, the guest’s husband and son come in to use our bathroom. The husband stands in the lobby the whole time, awkwardly listening to my coworker’s tears and complaints about his wife.

Finally, the kid comes out and they leave.

I really hope the refunds show up sooner rather than later because she’s already planning to call the manager on Monday morning to complain.

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