I am a pharmacy student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. I am in the Dallas area this summer working as an intern in a nuclear pharmacy. I'm writing because I want to make others aware of what I have experienced at the extended stay hotel called Intown Suites which is located at 2661 Westgrove Ave. in Carrollton, TX. This chain has several locations throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth area.
Here's some background information on how this hotel works. You pay weekly for your room, your renewal date is the same day of the week that you moved in, mine is Thursday. The office is open every day except Sunday from 11am 7pm. On your renewal day, you must pay by 12:00 or you will be charged a $25 late fee. The manger is a man by the name of Reginald Reggie Heisler. Apparently, he is the only employee on the premises who can accept payments. At first glance, this seems a little unusual, but not entirely out of line. However, what happened when I was trying to renew for week #6 was so completely ridiculous that I think someone needs to report it so that local consumers will not have to go through what I experienced.
It all began on Monday, June 13th. I knew that I was going to be very busy this week with working in the pharmacy and also going to the medical library to work on my internship projects. On Monday, I decided that I would cut an hour out of my day to leave work in order to be at the office so that I could get my stay at intown extended another week. When I arrived at 3:30, the office was closed and a sign on the door said Manager on property will return shortly. I proceeded to wait until 4:30, when there was no sign of the manager, I decided to get back to work and take care of it on Tuesday. Tuesday went exactly like Monday went. Same sign, same hour wait, no sign of the manager. Once again, I had to get back to work, so I thought there was no way this could happen again on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning at work, I called the office at 11:30 (remember, they claim to be open 11-7) and there was no answer. The message said that the hours were 11-7, and if there was no answer during that time, it was because the manager was on the property and would return shortly. I left a message saying it seems like you are always on the property and will return shortly, it's very difficult to pay and avoid a late fee when you are NEVER in the office. As I had done the previous 2 days, I went to the office the only time I was able to, 3:30. Amazingly, the same sign was on the door, and there was no sign of the manager. Since this was the only time I would be able to pay on Wednesday, and I would be at work on Thursday during the one hour window that the office would be open before the noon deadline, I knew that I had to do something.
I then found one of the maids and asked Where's Reggie? She said that he was OFF of the property and would be back in about an hour. I explained my situation and asked if there was anyone that could accept my payment before then because I had to get back to work (and doubted that he would be back in an hour anyways). She contacted the head housekeeper, who called Reggie and asked if I could leave a money order in the mail slot for him. I was getting his responses third hand, so they weren't entirely clear, but I interpreted it to be, it can only be cash. (isn't a money order cash?) At this point, I was so thoroughly disgusted with the situation that I went back to my room and wrote him a letter explaining what happened, and enclosed the cash. The letter politely asked that he put through the payment so I would not receive a late fee on the next day. I gave the envelope containing the letter and cash to the maid and asked that she make sure Reggie received it. The maid and the head housekeeper were very good about the situation, they verified with me the amount of cash that was present and we each signed to verify this amount in view of the security camera in the office. They certainly weren't trying to do anything wrong.
With my letter, I had left my cell phone number so that Reggie could call me if there was a problem. On Wednesday night, he called and told me that he received my envelope and he was extremely upset. He said You can't do that, in response to my leaving a payment like that. I responded with How can I pay when the office is never open? He said It is open, I'm there from 11-1 and 5-7 every day. At this point my cell phone died, and I was unable to reach Reggie the rest of the night. When I got home on Wednesday night, I found an Intown Suites consumer complaint line and left a message describing the situation.
Thursday was the day that my payment was due at noon. From work, I started calling the office at 11am. After calling approximately 15 times, Reggie finally answered at 11:30. He said that he could not accept my payment as I had provided it, and that I was lucky he did not call upper management and report what I had done. THIS IS ME TRYING TO PAY HIM!!! Because I didn't want a late fee, I decided to cooperate. I asked if it would be possible to put the late fee off until 3 or 4 when I would be able to get up to the office. He said this was not possible, and the late fee would appear at 12:00. Because of this, I left work at 11:35 and rushed to the office where, amazingly, Reggie was at the desk. I made my payment at 11:59. After this, Reggie began to lecture me by saying this is just like a car payment or anything else, you have to pay it on time. I stopped him right there and said wait a minute, you're lecturing me? I then pointed at the door to the office and said 11 to 7, you're not here from 11 to 7. He proceeded to explain that the office was open from 11 to 7 but he put a sign up when he was attending to business outside the office. The rest of the conversation resulted in me being in complete shock as to how ridiculous the whole situation had gotten. He ended by saying, Now we're not going to have this problem again, right? I took my new room key and left. There isn't going to be a chance to have that problem again.
This was the point at which I decided that this will be my last week here at Intown Suites. I needed to get through week #6 because this is the week when I become tax exempt and receive credit for the taxes that I have paid during the first 5 weeks. I will find an extended stay where customer service matters. It is quite obvious to me what is going on here. Intown Suites is a scam that gets rich off making it nearly impossible to make your weekly payment on time. They know that many of their guests are out of town working jobs that will make it impossible for them to make payments while their office is open. After searching several business complaint sites on the internet, I have found many people have experienced exactly what I've been through all over the country at Intown Suites locations across 20 states.
Thank you for your time. As someone who has spent nearly $1000 on a company that has treated me so poorly, I want to get the word out. I want others to know what I went through. In this society, we as consumers speak with our pocketbook, and I think a clear message needs to be sent to Intown Suites. Intown Suites is a very difficult company to reach upper management of in order to complain. I had some luck by calling (770) 799-5000, but I will be surprised if I get a response.
After giving my move out notice and discussing the matter with Reggie, I am convinced that the problem stems not from him personally, but from company policy. It is the company policy that sets the ridiculous office hours and, in my opinion, does things in a way that will create late fees. I actually feel sorry for Reggie as he has to enforce the ridiculous Intown Suites company policies that are extremely customer unfriendly. Reggie was surprised when I told him that the Intown Suites corporate management hadn't returned my calls, I was not surprised.
Battle Ground, Indiana