Holiday Inn Complaint - Charged For Fictional Pets!
HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS -- Company Name:
Holiday Inn Express
Company Contact: 1 800 Holiday
Front Desk Clerk / Corporate Customer Service
4253 Central Avenue
Hot Springs AR 38011
My wife, son and I stayed at the establishment on 1/16/2009 - 1/18/2009 as part of a Cub Scout outing to the Mid America Science Museum. We arrived around 9pm on 1/16/2009 checked into our room. On 1/17/2009 4 other families from our Cub Scout Pack arrived and we toured the museum and they then too checked into the hotel. On 1/18/2009 I woke up to find my bill under the door as expected. Upon reviewing the charges I noticed a $200.00 Pet Charge added to my bill and highlighted in yellow. Assuming this was a typo or bookkeeping error I went down to the front desk and asked the front desk clerk, Leah to please remove the charge from my bill as I have no pets in the room. Much to my surprise she immediately displayed a defensive attitude and indicated that the housekeeper, Ana, had seen evidence of dog hair on a blanket in our room and the charge would not be removed. I immediately registered what she was referring to.
My 7 year old son had brought his favorite blanket and pillow from home and both of those items do indeed have dog hair on them from our dogs at home. I explained the situation to her detailing that there was no dog in the room or dog hair on any of the hotel furnishings, and that the housekeeper must have been referring to my son\'s blanket. I asked that she please send someone up to the room to verify. Leah indicated that there was no one to send and that she could not leave the front desk and the charges would not be removed. I then asked to speak to the General Manager On Duty listed on the sign behind her: [snip]. She told me that there was no manager currently on duty and I would have to wait to speak to him/her on Monday.
I asked if she would call him and she refused. I returned to my room, took pictures of all the hotel furnishings, sheets, towels, floor etc as best I could as I could see where this argument was heading. I then contacted 1 800 HOLIDAY and was given case number: 2301228. They attempted to call the local Holiday Inn and have Leah reach the manager on duty but were also unsuccessful. They indicated that I would have to contact them via the case number on Monday. I again asked Leah to contact the General Manager, and she again refused and threatened to contact security if my wife and I did not leave the front desk area immediately. Having no other legal recourse at this point I followed those directions and checked out.
On Monday I contacted 1 800 Holiday again and was told that the manager could not be reached and to please allow 48 hours from the time of the incident for a resolution. On Tuesday (today) I called again and they indicated that the local manager had indicated there was evidence of dog hair according to the housekeeper, and the charge would not be removed. The Corporate office indicated they would stand by the local branch and would not remove the charge and suggested if I had issues that I contact my credit card company and dispute the charge. I have contacted Discover card and asked that the charge be disputed, and they have made a note on my account to this effect. I still have to wait for the official charges to hit my bill before it can be taken further. I have since registered a formal complaint with the better business bureau and several other complaint sites to warn prospective customers.
I have pictures, and 4 other families who will vouch for the fact that there was no dog in that room along with the check that I have written to my dog sitter back home to watch the dogs while I was away for the weekend, and no one will take any action. I find these business practices very frustrating and will never stay at another establishment owned or operated by Holiday Inn.
$200.00 additional charge to my credit card. Being called a liar and accused of having fictional pets in front of my Cub Scout Pack of which I am one of the leaders.
1/28/2009 - Update
I received a survey from International Hotels Group (IHG) yesterday regarding my feelings on my stay at the Holiday Inn Hot Springs. I answered the survey and then noticed at the bottom a generic note that said something to the effect of "we thank you for your business" signed the Senior Vice President of Holiday Inn Brands. Being in I.T. myself, I figured their email formats were probably firstname.lastname@example.org so I tried it and was able to mail him directly. I expressed my concerns, and he emailed me back almost immediately with a sincere apology and promise to get to the bottom of the issue. This morning, a lady from his office contacted me twice regarding the issue and promised to resolve the issue through the credit card company request and enrolled me in the Premier Club along with a complimentary 15,000 points equating to a free stay at one of their properties. It is unfortunate that I had to go all the way to the top of the food chain to get this resolved, however, the gentleman was very cordial and seemed to genuinely care that my issue was not treated with respect and prompt resolution. I will not mark this item as resolved until I can verify the charge has been removed from my account, but I can say that once I got to the right people the level of interest did improve.