I made a reservation for 6 nights at the Comfort Inn, 17105 E. Shea Blvd. Fountain Hills, AZ 85268. I felt confident in making this booking because before I confirmed my reservation, it clearly stated that my credit card would NOT be charged and this was to secure the booking only. It also stated that an additional 14.75% tax would be added. Within 48 hours, something occured which resulted in my being unable to stay at this hotel. The reservation had been placed for a date almost SEVEN WEEKS in the future. I found no place on their website whereby I could cancel my reservation. I emailed the hotel and I got a response that told me they would not cancel my reservation, in fact they claimed they had already charged almost $750 to my credit card. The additionally shady part of this communication, was that it came from the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" - NOT a corporate email as one would expect. The author of the email simply signed off with the name "Sam". I felt like it had been sent by an apathetic desk clerk, the response was so poor.
I emailed back and said to have the General Manager call me. I got another email that reiterated my credit had been charged, no refund would be honored and this time it was signed Sam T - GM. No surname was given, no phone number was given. It was extremely disturbing and the fact that I had given my cell phone number and asked for a return call, and all I got in return was this second unprofessional and unreasonable email in response.
Having no choice, I called the hotel and asked to speak to "Sam". I was put through and I asked the "General Manager" why on earth was he charging my credit card almost $750 when I am making a cancellation within 48 hours of making the reservation, the website clearly stated my credit card would not be charged when I booked it, and that the reservation was for a date seven weeks into the future. What was the problem here? "Sam" (which is not his real name, by the way - I had to research on google to eventually discover his surname is Trivedi), asked me if I had read the email he sent me. I went to answer him and he just began SCREAMING over me. I tried to interject and state that I would like to answer the question. He kept yelling and getting more and more hysterical by the second.
I attempted to remind him he had, in fact, opened the conversation with a question and he would not have any of it. He continued to get so irate and screaming so loud on the phone that people around me heard every word. I told him that if he was going to continue with this irrational, unfair, unethical and unprofessional behavior and charge my credit card despite the statement on the website saying the credit card would not be charged, I would have no choice but to seek legal counsel and inform my credit card company. He sneered at me "go ahead and get your legal counsel". He then hung up on me. Within a few minutes, he emailed me and reprimanded me for "threatening" him with legal counsel!
If this is a reflection of customer service throughout the Choice Hotels franchise, then it is of serious concern. This person who goes by the name of "Sam" should be utterly appalled, embarrassed and ashamed of his unforgivable behavior and business ethics. Is he not in the hospitality industry? There is absolutely no need to be screaming at a guest in such an unreasonable and hysterical manner. Sam apparently has extremely worrisome anger management issues that is not befitting a person holding the position of General Manager. He has sent petty and immature emails from his yahoo email address and never ONCE tried to handle this situation in a reasonable, mature, professional (and socially acceptable) manner.
I am totally shocked by his behavior and I would recommend that everybody be extremely careful when making a reservation with this hotel. Based upon my experience, Sam will charge your credit card for the full amount of your stay, in advance (despite the assurance on his website that this should not be the case), and will absolutely refuse to refund your money despite giving almost 2 months notice of cancellation. And if I was traveling with children, I would have even deeper concerns about having any child being in an environment with such a volatile and angry man in a management position. Be careful and definitely think about making arrangements to stay in an alternate hotel in the area rather than risk being subjected to this extreme anger and unethical business practice, as was demonstrated in my experience.