Homewood Suites - Kingwood Complaint - Wronged by Hilton - Homewood Suites by Hilton (extended stay hotel)

Review by Wrongedandwaiting on 2009-12-23
KINGWOOD, TEXAS -- Our house flooded at the end of September and we needed to find an extended stay hotel for a few weeks while it was repaired. I was away on business when my wife and daughters checked in, but my wife said that the check-in procedure went well and the gentleman who took care of her was great. During the transaction, she was asked for a credit card and she presented the only card she had on her which was our debit card. We only use our credit card in emergencies and I had the only card on me, as I was traveling. The gentleman said that they do not accept debit cards but "that's okay, if we need to get the card we will slip something under your door". My wife accepted that and did not think anything else of it.

A few days later, and after I returned to Houston, my wife and I came home from shopping for new floors to find a note on the desk in our kitchen stating something to the effect of..."Sir, please come to the front desk to take care of an issue with your bill, we have taken a few items out of your room as a precaution." I still have the note, if you need to see it. My wife and I looked around to find her laptop, our camcorder, my work badge and car keys missing. We were absouloutly stunned that this had happened and I immediately went to the front desk to find out what had happened. The gentleman at the front desk (Derek) was very nice and dealt with my anger very well. I asked him what the note was about and he said that he did not make "that call" and that his Manager (Michael) did so, because they did not have a credit card on file for us! I told him to immediately return my items and while the maintenance man went to retrieve them, I gave my credit card to him to run. Unfortunately, in the meantime, my wife had called our credit card and debit card issuers and had the cards cancelled. Looking back on it, I am glad she did, as at that point we felt very violated and just knew that someone had been in our room and gone through our things. The gentleman ran the card and handed it back to me without any further comment.

The maintenance man then emerged with our items and handed them to me. As soon as I took posession of them and turned to walk back to my room, the cover to the DVD drive on the computer fell to the floor. This had not been like this before they decided to take these items out of our room. As you can imagine, I was now irrate and could see that the maintenance man and the front desk clerk had seen what had happened. I told them, in not so many words, that this was completely unnaceptable and I demanded to speak to the Manager. They proceeded to dial Michael and allow me to speak with him. Essentially Michael could not have cared less about the error they had made (not collecting a CC, telling us if they needed it they would contact us, and then taking items out of our room) and told me "well I couldn't let you walk out on a thousand dollar hotel bill". I am a very calm natured person, but I don't think I have ever been so angry. I told him I wanted the General Manager to call me "first thing" the next day so I could speak with her and he said he would.

The next morning came and went and I was so angry that nobody felt this issue was of enough importance to deserve a return phone call as I specifically requestes. I waited through the afternoon and still did not receive a phone call. I decided to leave work early to come to the hotel to speak with someone before they left for the day. When I got there, my wife met me in the lobby and we asked to see the GM or Michael. Michael came out and sat down at my request. I explained to Michael that I had spoken to our neigbors in Kingwood who are both long time Marriot employees (granted not Hilton) and they had told us A) that you as a hotel have the right to secure the room forcing us to come to the front desk but have no legal right to take items out of our room and B) that we absouloutly should call the police and file a police report. My wife and I decided we would allow you all a chance to make this right and were exteremly upset that you had taken no action. I explained to him the numerous ways that taking our items have effected us or could have effected us including the fact that all of our sensitive data (medical, financial, personal, etc) on our computer had been totally compromised as it had been in the possesion of some maintenance man. Not to mention that he had possesion of our home and car keys and could have very easily made a copy of the key to later enter our home. I was leaving for a month in Africa the next week (where I am now) and my wife was very scared to be at home by herself with the children knowing some man had had our house keys. Lastly, I had to call the security department at my company to have my security access disabled/changed as it is our corporate policy to do so anytime our badge or office keys have been out of our posession. The liability you all took on when making this ridiculous and illegal decision is unbelievable.

During the conversation, when I mentioned the keys, Michael indicated that they should not have taken our keys as he did not authorize that. I told him that I was having my house rekeyed to protect my family and that I fully expected to be reimbursed for that. He said he could not make that call (despite being completly in the wrong) and said he would need to contact the owner. He said he would e-mail him. It was very clear that he had the lack of interest and sense of urgency that I would have shown if I were in his shoes. I told him that he needed to call him instead of e-mailing him, which he did. He came back out to say that he didn't answer but that he left a message for him. I confirmed very clearly with Michael that I expected to be contacted ASAP regarding this.

I finally got the GM to call me despite 5 times of her saying she would and then not calling (I have all of the e-mails to prove it). She said that the hotel did have a policy and that it only states that they should conducted the "lock out" and that they shouldnâ't have done what they did. I have the e-mail showing her saying this. I finally got her to call my wife and apologize (after a month of attempts). During that call my wife told her to keep in contact with me every three days to keep me updated on her conversations with the Owner and the reimbursements/compensation. She didn't, so I e-mailed her again and they are now refusing to do anything.
Comments:5 Replies - Latest reply on 2009-12-23
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-23:
Though it was wrong to hold your things hostage, how did you rack up a thousand dollar bill? Also, what gave you the right to call and cancel your cards when they were in the process of running your credit card? seems like you were trying to scam the hotel.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-23:
You should have called the police when you discovered your items missing, and let them sort it out. At least you'd have had it on record.
Posted by Jennifer on 2009-12-23:
Tennboy, I think the OP said his wife was canceling the card unbeknownst to him while he was dealing with the front desk. I don't think they were trying to scam anyone. I'd be beyond furious, too. What gives the hotel the right to take things out of someone's room?
Posted by Inat on 2009-12-23:
wow. usually posts on this site are laughable as it is always the complainers fault; not in this case. You handled it much more gracefully than I would have. Don't let this rest - go above and beyond the GM. What they did is completely unacceptable and you're right - data privacy was breached from an IT perspective
Posted by Pepper on 2009-12-23:
did you file the police report as well?
i agree with ken - file the police report cos the hotel can't stop you from doing that
and it generates paperwork.

plus the note can be used as evidence against them - though the police would have custody of the original in an evidence locker most likely

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