On 09/09/07, I made a reservation at this hotel for the night of 09/29/07. I was told at that time that the room reservation was non-cancellable, a fact that I understood to mean that I would be charged for the room if I canceled the reservation between that time and the actual date of arrival. This is something I do NOT have a problem with.
In review of that account statement the morning of 09/14/07, I discovered that the hotel personnel took it upon themselves to post the charge on the day the reservation was made and that it was withdrawn from my account effective 09/10/07. NO ONE told me that my account would be charged prior to my arrival on the 29th, therefore I had no idea that these funds had been removed from that account. As a direct result of this, I had no idea of the actual balance in that account and with several other charges arriving in that short time frame, the account was overdrawn and the bank charged me $70.00 for two overdraft fees.
I FINALLY was able to speak with the hotel manager, Don Neuharth, that afternoon and he was EXTREMELY rude, unhelpful, unapologetic and condescending. I have reserved many many hotel rooms at locations throughout the country and I have NEVER been charged prior to my arrival date. While I understand that the hotel wants to make sure that they make the money for the room, I do think that the employee who took my reservation should have informed me on the 9th that they were going to charge my account immediately. I could have then made the decision to go forward or decline based on this information.
Mr. Neuharth seems to believe that I was to infer from the statement that the reservation was non-cancellable, that they would be immediately charging my account. I am not and never have been in the hospitality industry and have no idea how I was supposed to make that assumption.
However, I do have over 10 years experience reserving blocks of rooms at larger hotels in other towns for weekends that they were going to be very busy. Each of those times, I had to guarantee each room with my own credit card and understood that I would be charged if the guest did not arrive. And each of those times, the guest paid for his or her own room upon arrival or checkout. Not one time in booking blocks of 10 rooms for each of 10 years was I or anyone else EVER charged prior to arrival.
Mr. Neuharth went so far as to lay fault on me for not keeping sufficient funds in my account. I keep sufficient funds in that account to cover expenses I am anticipating. Anything else is no one's business but my own.
Not only was he rude to me, but he also tried to change the terms of the reservations made by other persons in this party and was rude to the bride who booked the original block of rooms. He did make a half-hearted attempt at conciliation once I complained to the corporate office, but by the time I received that correspondence, I had decided to take my business elsewhere.
I stay at Choice Hotels with some regularity and have in the past written complimentary letters and emails when I felt that service I received warranted it. Additionally, I have been a manager and owner of service businesses for nearly 25 years and cannot begin to comprehend how someone with this attitude has stayed in business himself.