That’s One Expensive Cigarette

, , , , , | Right | May 16, 2018

Me: *answering phone* “Thank you for calling [Hotel]. This is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Guest: “Yes, my name is [Guest], and I’m seeing a charge on my credit card from my recent stay?”

Me: *pulls up reservation in the system* “Yes, ma’am, it looks like you were charged $500.”

Guest: “What? But it was my friend! We didn’t know we couldn’t smoke!”

Me: *having reviewed emails from my colleague the day earlier, I know how the previous conversation with this guest had gone* “Ma’am, my files here show that we contacted you the moment the smoke was detected and alerted you that you were going to be charged. It is our hotel policy, as we are a 100% no-smoking property, and you did sign our form at check-in agreeing to abide by this policy.”

Guest: “Yes, but I said sorry!”

Me: “I’m sorry. We had to collect the fee in order to clean the room.”

Guest: “But the room had windows! I know I signed the no-smoking form, but when we saw the windows we thought it would be okay to smoke.”

Me: “Again, ma’am, we are a 100% no smoking property.”

Guest: “That’s bullcrap! The room had windows! All you have to do is open them up and let it air out! It doesn’t cost $500 to clean!”

Me: “Well, actually, since several guests complained about the smell of smoke, we had to issue partial refunds to a couple people. Plus, we could not sell the room the following night because it still smelled like smoke. This was quite the financial loss for the hotel, ma’am.”

Guest: “But it was my friend! He didn’t know!”

Me: “As the room was in your name, ma’am, you are responsible for the activity of your guests. I suggest you speak with your friend if you are interested in being reimbursed.”

Guest: “But I said I was sorry as soon as you called about the smoke! I thought because I apologized you weren’t going to charge.”

Me: “Again, it is our policy that we are a no-smoking hotel, which you agreed to at check-in. We have your signature on file as proof.”

Guest: “Wow, this is just bad business! I’ve stayed in millions of hotels and no one has ever charged me a smoking fee.”

Me: “Again, it is our hotel policy.”

Guest: “But I said I was sorry!”

(At this point I was fed up with all the excuses. I transferred the guest to my manager, who I told not to pick up the phone so that it would go to voicemail. I later followed up with my manager and she said the woman left a message, threatening to sue us to get her money back. We’ll see how that holds up in the court of law against a form with her own signature on it!)


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