Cotulla Hotel

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Rip Off, Rude, and Nasty People
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COTULLA, TEXAS -- Stay away from this rip off...They charged 67.20 for the room and 50.00 cleaning fee: to my credit card, after I left, saying I smoked in the room. I have never smoked and, and if I did smoke: I would have requested a smoking room. Let me assure you that place has never had a cleaning much less one worth the 50.00. The owner is rude and will do anything to keep your money. I called for 3 days and told someone would call me back. I finally got to talk to Mrs. Nelson, on the 3rd day. She wanted to argue with me over the fact the room had been smoked in. If it was it was after I checked out. I am not sure but I think I was bitten by bed bugs. Go on down the road DO NOT STAY HERE. IT IS PROBABLY A COMMON PRACTICE AT THIS ESTABLISHMENT, TO BILL YOU CREDIT CARD FOR BOGUS CHARGES: SO PAY IN CASH, IF YOU HAVE TO STAY HERE. Better yet sleep in your car. Save yourself the aggravation.
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User Replies:
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
I ALWAYS pay in cash for a hotel room, for this very reason. I only use a debit card to make and hold the reservation. Good review!
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
With all due respect, Justice, that debit card you used to make and hold the reservation can and will be charged for things like damages, cleaning fees, etc.

Also, most hotels place a hold on debit cards for additional funds above and beyond the room charge (usually around $250) precisely for this reason.

I've never had a fee charged after I checked out, but I would think the OP can dispute the charge and Cotulla will need to show proof that the charge is valid.
Nohandle on 12/08/2011:
The OP stated a credit card was used as payment, not a debit card. A credit card fee can be disputed. It's my understanding a debit card is out of your account and there you sit and are on your own to get your money back.

This is not the first review posted where someone was charged an additional fee for smoking in a nonsmoking room. Some were charged because a floating cigarette butt was in the toilet, others that a cigarette butt was in the trash can and others the smell of tobacco was in the room. I think some of these establishments need to check out their housekeeping employees.

Nice reminder OP. Remember to DISPUTE the credit card additional charges. Gosh, do we need to demand someone escort us back to our room and verify everything is perfect before checkout?
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Justcuz> With all due respect, you couldn't be more wrong. The hotels I reserve rooms from, specifically state in legally binding writing and terms that my card will not be used for that purpose. The only thing it can be charged for is if I cancel my reservation without any notice.

In addition, I have a separate debit card with a $0 balance that I use just to reserve or validate my existence on earth, since the world of plastic has forced my hand. Nothing more, nothing less. Since it is a debit card, and I don't have overdraft protection on it, the card would be declined if they tried. A credit card on the hand could be charged. Again, though, as they state in their terms and conditions, the card is only meant to identify you, and hold the reservation.

However, when paying cash, they may occasionally ask for a deposit of $100...for those reasons. But I have them check the room upon checkout and get my deposit immediately.
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Justice, I would say that you've happened upon a pretty sweet deal, that is awesome!

In all my years of traveling for business and personal, I have never come across a hotel yet that accepts debit cards with $0 balance on them, in other words no possible way for them to get payment from a customer should they decide to skip out on their room or any other charges.

You should consider posting an informative review with the names of these hotels, I'm sure I can't be the only one that had no idea this option was available at some hotels.
Churro on 12/08/2011:
I book with Marriott all the time and they never pre-auth the credit card for the reservation before I check-in. *After* I check in I see the authorization. In fact when I show up to check in they ask if I want to use the card on file or a different one.

I think what J4A stated is probably fairly common if it's just holding a reservation and not a prepay. But I could be wrong.
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Easy. Make sure your DEBIT card has a zero balance, then log onto Holiday Inn Express for instance. After selecting a room, they'll ask you to enter your card information. Then presto! Your room is reserved, they give you a confirmation #, and you're all set. When you arrive for the night of the reservation, you simply state you'll be paying for cash, and they may ask for a $100 cash deposit. Been doing it everywhere I travel. The only exception is Vegas...but they're weird out there!
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Churro> You are correct. Simply astonishing how many times this week I've admitted to that. Don't let it go to your head.
Slimjim on 12/08/2011:
To have a zero balance on a debit card means someone would have no money at all in their bank account, wouldn't it?
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Pre-auth with a credit card isn't that common, but with a debit card it is, including holding additional funds for incidentals/damages, etc.

I often hold with my credit card, present that card upon check in, and then pay with my debit card upon check out.

I've just never heard of being able to reserve or present a card upon check in with a $0 balance.
trmn8r on 12/08/2011:
I use my credit card for EVERYTHING. I have never had a fee "tacked on". In my opinion, not using one because something like this may happen is a form of insurance I am not willing to pay for. By "pay for," I mean losing the convenience and going through disputing a possibly errant charge.

If an establishment charges one of these "cleaning fees" when someone smokes in a room, they should have strong evidence IMO of the offense. OTOH, if the cleaning person walks in and is hit in the face with a strong odor, I don't know how that is documented.

I am wondering what Mrs. N told the OP the evidence was she had that there had been smoking in the room.

Churro on 12/08/2011:
How does one avoid a hotel hitting you with a cleaning charge for smoking? Really, all they have to do is state you smoked in the room without any requirement to substantiate their claim. I don't know if a charge back would remedy the situation or not. An unscrupulous hotel manager could merely smoke in your room after you're gone then toss the butt in the toilette and charge you the cleaning fee. How can we consumers defend against that?
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Slimjim> It only means I have more than one account, and that they aren't tied together.
Anonymous on 12/08/2011:
Churro> I defend myself against that scenario by only paying in cash. In addition, my cash deposit is returned at the time of check out, so there's no he said/she said after I've left.
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