Letter e-mailed to Days Inn manager.
At the Days Inn in Crystal City, Virginia, I was charged half price for a room I did not use. A misunderstanding occurred regarding the room rate, and when I discovered the mistake, I checked out of the hotel and returned to the motel at which I had previously been staying. Here are the details:
I was visiting Washington D.C. May 8-14, 2003. On May 10, 2003, as I was about to spend my third night at the Crystal City Motel (which charged $60 per night), I called Days Inn and asked their rates. I thought I heard the receptionist say $54 per night. I made a reservation there for the next three nights.
At approximately 9 a.m. on May 11, 2003, I dropped off my suitcase with the bellman at the Days Inn (the room was not ready yet) and quickly signed in (I was hurrying to a nearby conference) without noticing any room rate printed on the document. There were a bunch of numbers that were meaningless to me. I was not given any receipt or copy of the sign-in document.
I returned to the Days Inn about 4:30 p.m., brought my suitcase up to my room and set it on the floor, then went out for dinner. I returned again about 6:30 p.m., went up to the room, and turned on the TV. When I saw the large channel selection, and for the first time appraised the quality of the room, I began to realize that maybe I was mistaken about the room rate. I called down to the front desk and was told the rate was $154 per night.
I spent the next hour and a half looking for my Days Inn receipt (which it turns out I had not been given), arguing at the front desk, hoping someone would come along to assume my room reservation (which the hotel said they would be willing to transfer), and making phone calls to my VISA card company and the Crystal City Motel (to see if they had a vacancy; they did).
The person at the front desk showed me the registration form I had signed that morning. As it turns out, the word Rate did appear on the document, but it had been printed over the hotel's logo, making it difficult to read. I'm sure that had the printer not been misaligned, I would have seen the word Rate and not signed in.
I was told the hotel was not sold out that night, thus they did not have to turn away any business because of me. I cancelled my three night reservation but was told that even though I had not used the room (in the sense that it was as clean as I found it and I had only turned on the TV), I would still be charged half price ($84.87) for that first night. I walked out at about 9 p.m. and returned to the Crystal City Motel.
In sum, I had not heard the rate correctly over the phone when I called the day before. I would not have checked out of my much cheaper motel otherwise (which I eventually checked back into). The word "Rate" was difficult to read on the Days Inn registration form. When I found out the rate, I checked out of the hotel without using the room. Nevertheless, I was still charged half price. The hotel experienced no loss because they did not have to turn any business away and the room did not require any maid service.
There was no "meeting of the minds" in this transaction, thus no legally binding contract. I was the only one who had to endure any hardship because I had to change lodgings twice. The charge of $84.87 is not something I should have to pay since I received NOTHING in exchange for it. I tried talking to the nighttime assistant manager, but he could only follow "policy," not what was ethically correct. I would really appreciate it if you could correct this and post a refund to my VISA card.