I recently spent my honeymoon at Sandals Grande St. Lucia (Oct 15-21, 2012). During my stay there I quickly found out that any expenses that you incur will be charged to your room, and I had no problem with that. The issue that I have with the resort is when I returned home and checked my bank statement; Sandals had overcharged my account and sent the account into a negative status. The amount of the charges was $102.98 and $270.00. When I called the resort to address the issue, the manner in which I was spoken to was very rude, and the staff implied that I was lying about the charges. While I was on the phone with the resort I spoke to three different staff members and each one of them could not explain to me the overcharges.
The operations manager pretty much told me that until she receives my bank statement, this phone call was a waste of her time. Sandals wastes no time charging your card for items that youve purchase, but when it comes to questioning some of those charges you get the run around treatment. This was my first and last time staying at a Sandals resort.
***Response from GM at Sandals Grand St. Lucia***
Thank you for your email. I am pleased to know Kerry has sorted the over charge applied to your credit card.
On arrival a preauthorization amount of $400.00 was applied against your credit card. This allowed you the flexibility to charge items to your room. At some point the totally charges applied to your room exceed the $400.00 and our system automatically charged your card an amount which would allow additional charges to be applied to your room.
I trust this offers clarification. Please contact me at your convenience if I can be of any further assistance.
Thank you for your patience while we sorted this out.
Carl Otto Beviere
***My response to GM at St. Lucia Grand***
Thanks for your response, but if your system automatically recharges my bank card to cover any expenses over $400.00 why isn't that explained to the guest during check in. Guest are told by Sandals staff and are under the impression that an accumulated bill will be received and settled prior to checking out. To me this seems to be very redundant, and misleading. It does not make any sense what so ever to initially charge my card when I check in, then charge my card again if I go over the $400.00 limit, and then charge my card again when I check out. Also if my card is automatically being charged again to cover anything over the initial $400.00 limit, then why does the same charge appear on my final bill and included in the final balance. For instance if I pay for a $270.00 spa treatment and Ive already gone over the $400.00 limit, why does that same spa charge appear on the accumulated final bill, if my card was supposedly automatically charged by the resort to cover the expense. If this is the process that Sandals is using, then during check out the guest should receive a receipt and not a bill.
This is a redundant charge and if I wasn't paying attention to my bank account then Sandals would have received an extra $270.00 (not actual amount of overcharges). Again I think that their needs to be some clarification when guest are checking in. Also the operations manager, who was very rude to me over the phone, informed me that Sandals staff notify guest once they exceed that initial $400.00. She argued and reassured me that the staff probably did call my room and left a message. She told me that I probably was not paying attention to the message indicator on the phone. I know for a fact that during my stay there no was message left for me. Furthermore during my stay I ordered room service every night, so I am pretty sure that if a message had been left for me, I would have noticed the "RED" message indicator light.
For the amount of money I paid for this trip, I would expect Sandals to handle their customers professionally. It comes as a shock to me that Sandals staff would imply that I was lying about these overcharges and that the ops manager would tell me that my phone call was a waste of her time. I think it's fair to say that every guest is entitled to question charges that appear on their bank statement. I should be able to receive answers from the resort and not be told by the front desk staff, accounts staff, and the operations manager "I don't know!"
In your previous emails that youve sent to me, you have yet to address the rude manner in which I was spoken to by your staff. This was and will be first and last time staying at a Sandals resort. I can take my business elsewhere. Thank you for taking the time to address my complaint.
*TripAdvisor readers, I found out about the overcharges on 10/24/2012. That same day I Immediately contacted the resort and faxed over the banking information that they requested. Once the information was received it took 2-3 business days for the resort to reconcile my bank account. Now also keep in mind that while my account was in a negative status, I could not use my bank card and any checks that post to my account were going to bounce. On 11/7/2012 Sandals provided me with clarification as to what they think happened to my account. Now Sandals assured me that within 24 hours of the initial complaint, I would know the results of their investigation and what might have caused the overcharges. Once my account was corrected no one from the resort contacted me, and the only reason I knew my bank account had been corrected is because I kept checking it.
Readers I kept copies of all the email correspondence between me and Sandals. I strongly recommend to anyone visiting this resort to exercise caution when using your bank card, and if at all possible pay for your purchases with cash.
EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back!
HERE IS WHAT RIP-OFF REPORT SUGGESTS YOU DO:
Go to your bank within 60 days of the charge, or as soon as you know about the charge, don't delay, and tell them that there has been fraudulent activity within your account. Explain that you wish to file a dispute, and demand that they assist you in accordance with Federal Regulation E.
According to the majority of victims interviewed by Rip-off Report, those who immediately called their banks to dispute the charges did not get very far. Many victims got the following responses from their banks: we could not do anything for you or you waited too long; it has been more than 60 days.
If the bank is says that you have waited too long, explain to them how you called their 800 number as soon as the charges were found, and were told by the bank that nothing could be done. Remind the bank that they failed to assist you properly at the 800 #, and instead, provided you with an inadequate explanation of your right to dispute. Tell the bank that it's their fault time has expired, and since they gave you the wrong info to begin with, they will just have to deal with it, take the loss and reverse the charges.
Tell them the truth; this was unauthorized and your account was NOT to be charged! Keep emphasizing how you never authorized anything! Direct them to the hundreds of victims reports that were filed on Rip-off Report.com. And if you're at the bank, walk them over to their computer and make them go to this site! If you are on the phone with them, tell them you will wait while they access this site! Either way, be persistent!
DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN
Let them know nicely, that you were advised to Report them (the Bank) and this situation to the Banking Commission in your state. Since each state has a different name for the agency/controller over banks, find that name before you call or get to the bank so you can throw it in their face. The more knowledgeable you appear to be, the further you will get.
And just continue to demand the Federal Regulation E form! The bank CAN, MUST and WILL reverse the charge! But, you must be persistent; ask to speak to the supervisor or the area manager for all the branches in the state.
Let the bank personnel know you are meeting with the media later in the day, that you would much rather they do the right thing (as most other banks have) by looking at the complaints and immediately reversing the charge(s) to your account; no matter how long ago it was. Be sure to call the Media if necessary so you are telling the truth.
If you have to, be loud (but nice) in front of other customers. If you are just calling by phone, the above tactics should still work. The bank can easily fax or mail to you the Federal Regulation E dispute form.
CHARGES TO YOUR CREDIT CARD
If the charge was to your credit card (not debit card, check card, or checking account), contact the credit card company as soon as possible to request a dispute form. Consumers usually have a little longer to dispute fraudulent credit card charges (up to 6 months), but it is better to act right away. In this type of situation, credit card disputes are usually successful since fraudulent companies often won't contest the disputed charge. In rare cases, credit card companies will review disputes, but refuse to reverse the charges. If this occurs, complain to a manager and let them know you will be filing a report here.
Remember Don't let them get away with it! Make sure they make the Rip-off Report .. The more Reports filed on a Company or individual, the more likely it is that the authorities, media and attorneys will want to take action.
And good luck Let us know how you do!
ED Magedson Founder
Author of www.ripoffrevenge.com
PO Box 310, Tempe, Arizona 85280