Best Western Inn at the Meadows - Scammed out of $500 for bogus smoking fee
OREGON, CALIFORNIA -- I am from out of town and frustrated by what happened during my visit to Portland, I need help exposing this scam and assuring that businesses do not engage in unscrupulous tactics such as this. My recent stay at Best Western Inn at the Meadows has been one of the worst travel experiences of my life. I was falsely, and unlawfully charged a $500 a smoking fee despite the fact that smoking did not occur in the room. The manager is basing this solely on his discriminatory opinion and bias. My credit card was initially charged $500 on 3/23/13 for a smoking fee, that charged was reversed soon after, a subsequent charge of $352.68 was made on 3/23/13, the charge for $352.68 was then voided and my card was again unlawfully charged $500. This is a blatant attempt to steal my money. I fully comprehended the non-smoking policy, and I was well aware of the fees associated with violation of this policy.
Also, having worked in Property Management for several years, and being a non-smoker myself, I completely understand and agree with this policy. I checked in on 3/22/13 directly off of a flight from Hawaii. I was only physically in the room for approximately eleven hours total before exiting the property for over 24 hours at around 11:00am on the 3/23/13. I left Portland for the night to continue my vacation and upon return around 10:30pm the following night I noticed neither of my door keys worked. I proceeded to the front desk, showed my identification and returned to my room to rest after a very long day. The front desk then proceeded to call my room near midnight, demanding I come down to discuss something. In all of my years of staying at hotels dispute, issue, or whatever the situation I have never been instructed to get out of bed at midnight, put on my clothing, and engage in dialogue with the front desk clerks, not even management, to settle a matter. When I arrived at the front desk I was greeted by a very rude and unprofessional employee that was not previously at the desk when I was there earlier, (fixing my keys that coincidentally had been deactivated). This employee proceeded to shove a paper across the desk at me instructing me to sign a “smoking fee.” I immediately disputed this! It was past midnight, I had no idea what was going on, this is the first I've ever heard of such a thing, I had not smoked in the room or even been there for 24 hours for that matter. There is no basis for this charge other than assumption and no evidence irrefutable, conclusive, or otherwise that smoking occurred in the room.
Furthermore, I was not provided with proof that services for a room recovery were actually completed by your hotel. It is my understanding that a merchant needs my signature to validate a charge and I need proof that a violation has or had occurred and proof that services were rendered (which was not provided.) When I got upset and disputed the charge on check out the manager increased the fee from $362.68 to $500 which posted to my account on 3/25/13 subsequent to check out and following our unpleasant discussion! This was was unauthorized and charged solely because he didn't like what I had to say to him. The manager has been completely uncooperative, unfair, unkind, and unprofessional. He has failed to provide any contact information for anyone besides himself, he stated he was owner and manager and I had to go through him. He gave me nothing written, provided no dispute policy, and said I had no recourse, it was his opinion I had smoked therefore I was paying the fee. I am currently working with my financial institution to fight these unauthorized charges and recoup my losses.
I am in no way paying any $500 smoking fee charged to my account by the Best Western Inn at the Meadows, for the simple fact that no one smoked in the room. Each establishment is independently owned, however, Best Western Inn at the Meadows is a horrible example of what a customer service oriented business should be. I sincerely hope my experience wasn't indicative of how they treat all of their guests. Having worked both in the customer service industry and management, along with traveling frequently, I am still having trouble conveying to you how astounded I am by the unprofessional treatment by those working at Best Western Inn at the Meadows and their theft of $500.