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That’s One Heck Of A Friend

, , , | Right | CREDIT: barbellseed6969 | January 14, 2022

A guest attempted to check-in around 3:00 pm into a prepaid reservation. Despite it being prepaid, we have a $300 security deposit that is mandatory. Her card was declining for the deposit, so we could not check her in. The guest left the hotel around 4:00 pm and ended up coming back with her friend around 11:00 pm. Her friend spent $100 on an Uber to come to our hotel and put his card down for the deposit so she could check in, and then he had to Uber back for another $100. That’s a good friend right there.

The next morning, the guest brought me down a piece of paper filled top to bottom with her demands. First, she wanted her entire stay comped. Second, she wanted additional comped nights in the future. Lastly, she wanted comped room service and breakfast. Her reasoning? We didn’t let her check in due to her card declining.

Guest: “So, what do you think?”

Me: “We can’t comp things for you because your card declined. That is not an error on our part.”

Guest: “Oh, so you’re basically just blaming me, then.”

Me: “I’m not blaming you for anything. I’m simply stating that it is not the hotel’s fault that your card declined.”

Guest: “I had to wait hours since I couldn’t check in.”

Me: “You couldn’t check in because your card declined.”

Guest: “My friend had to spend $200 on Uber to come here. He lives very far away, but he came all the way here to put his card down for me. All this trouble for a deposit.”

Me: “He had to do that because your card was declining.”

Guest: “Yeah, okay, everything is my fault.”

Me: “What would you expect the hotel to do in a situation where your card is declining? If we don’t have your card on file, then we can’t check you in. It is not our fault that your card was declining.”

Guest: “I am a movie producer from London. My card declined because I’m traveling.”

Me: “I don’t doubt that, but again, we can’t give you comped things because your card declined.”

Guest: “Oh, and I guess that I’m such a horrible person and everything is my fault because my card declined.”

Me: “I didn’t say that.”

She then left the front desk. Luckily, that day was her checkout date so we wouldn’t have to deal with her much longer. Or so I thought.

She called down to the desk.

Guest: “I’d like a late checkout.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I cannot offer you a late checkout.”

Guest: “Why?”

Me: “Because we are booked tonight.”

Guest: “Every single room?”

Me: “Yep.”

She hung up.

At 11:00 am, security informed me that the guest was outs by the pool speaking to different guests. I walked out there, and other guests told me that the crazy lady was bothering them. As I walked up to her, she was sitting with two random guests.

Me: “Excuse me, gentlemen, is everything okay? Anybody bothering you?”

Gentlemen: “Ehhh, it’s fine. We’re okay.”

Guest: “The only person bothering them is you.”

Me: “So, you guys are sure everything’s good?”

Gentlemen: “Yeah, it’s fine.”

Guest: “Bye. You can go now.”

Me: “Remember, checkout time is 12:00.”

I started walking away and then turned around.

Me: “Oh, and if another guest complains about you bothering them, you will be kicked out of the pool.”

Eventually, the 12:00 pm checkout time hit. I made sure that security went to her room first as part of due outs. They informed me that her bags were all over the room; however, she was not there. We did smell cigarette smoke coming from the room, and an inspection revealed that she had been smoking extensively in the room. That is a $500 fee. I authorized $500 on her friend’s card since that was the only one we had on file.

1:00 hit and then 2:00 pm. The guest did not come back to the hotel until 6:00 pm. I posted a $300 late checkout fee to her room, as well. With the smoking fee, late checkout fee, and resort fee, the total we placed on her friend’s card was $850. When she came back to the hotel, we told her that we could not release her items to her until we got a signature by the cardholder accepting these charges. The guest threw a fit, screamed that she was bringing the media and the press to the hotel, and then left.

The next day, I got a call from her friend asking why he was charged $850. I informed him of everything, and he was shocked.

Guest’s Friend: “[Guest] is having a midlife crisis right now and she’s not in a normal mental space. This $850 charge is outrageous! I didn’t know that I was signing up for all this when I put my card down.”

Me: “Putting your card down for [Guest] was essentially you taking responsibility for her reservation. I feel for you, but charging your card is not my decision. Also, since we can’t release her items to her, her items are still on the room. The card on file will continue to be charged for each day the bags remain in the room, and we will only move the bags out of the room once we get an authorization form signed for the charges.”

Guest’s Friend: “I will gladly pay the $350 for the late checkout and resort fee, but the $500 smoking fee is too much. If I’m charged $850, I’ll open a dispute.”

I asked the general manager, and the most we could do was offer 50% off on the smoking fee. Instead of $850 charged, it was now $600. I emailed the friend back letting him know, and per the manager, mentioned that even if he got it disputed with his credit card company, the hotel would still pursue payment in court. He ended up accepting and signed an authorization form accepting the charges to his card.

We then went to the guest’s room and put all her items in a bag. She ended up coming to pick them up at 3:00 am. We told her to wait outside, and we would send someone out to give it to her as she was not allowed on the property.

Overall, I felt very bad for the friend. He Ubered a great distance to come put his card down for his friend. She ended up getting him on the hook for $850, and his first instinct was to compliment her character and explain to me that she was just dealing with a mental illness. But it is what it is, and the hotel had to do what it had to do.

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Has a customer ever tried to cross you and lived to regret it? What happened?

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