Problem with customer...need advice.

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sonatainn's picture
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I had a customer today who booked a room with us a couple of weeks back....entered the room, and hated it...and decided to leave.

He booked two nights, and made it clear to me (in an incredibly threatening tone,) that he would reverse the charges on his credit card if we charged it.

He booked our best room at our second property...it's a beautiful room with hardwood floors. He claimed that it smelled of mold...I went to verify, and it smelled great, I even asked several of my staff members to ensure I was missing something. It was clear the customer was fishing for excuses.

How can I go about charging him. He booked during a busy weekend, and it caused me to lose about $490 of business.

Should I take him to small claims court? It's clear that VISA and Mastercard will do nothing to help us....I should also mention we are in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

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seashanty's picture
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 ....  i am so totally confused by this thread.  I guess that happens when you come in at the end of a discussion.

   anyway, i had a woman call wanting to stay with me because she had severe sensitivities and allergies and the place she was at was too new ... so she smelled chemicals or paint or carpet or something.  the owner of the place spoke to me and they'd been renovated months before so what could she do?  i didn't want this guest because how could i guarantee she wouldn't be sensitive to something at my old place?  she arrived, smiling but snarling and we ran her card.  i showed her around and she went to her room then she walked off for an ice cream.  about 9 pm, she rang for the office, told me she took a few sniffs, said she smelled mold and could not stay with me.  she ended up sleeping on the outdoor porch of the hotel across the road.  was yelling at my guests who were outside smoking cigars that their smoke was polluting her air. they walked down to the boat docks and she continued to shout at them. i am not a smoking fan, but they were trying very hard to be accommodating. 

i think a person like that should vacation in their own rv, that way they can have it just the way they need it to be. 

i was surprised she did not protest the charge for the room but i could have booked it with someone who stayed.

 

Generic's picture
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I had one who called and I turned her down at 10:30 PM and then called back at 11:30 PM again. I wasn't getting out of bed at 10:30 PM, what makes you think that I was going to get out at 11:30 PM because you didn't have the common sense to book me in the first place?

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Ice
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

I had one who called and I turned her down at 10:30 PM and then called back at 11:30 PM again. I wasn't getting out of bed at 10:30 PM, what makes you think that I was going to get out at 11:30 PM because you didn't have the common sense to book me in the first place?

yes

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have had calls from several of that variety. I have always wondered why they do not just build themselves a bubble and live in it. How do they survive in the real world where they have their domicile? Neighbors spray lawns (the reason my invisible guest booked and SHE could not have chemicals, down, etc), cities spray for mosquitoes, vehicles have exhaust...  Is the world supposed to cut a swath for these people? I feel sorry that they have so many allergies (if they are real) but I have do solution for them in the real world. And WE are more likely to jump through hoops to accommodate them than a hotel is. Then after we do everything we can to accommodate, they write a slamming review.

Como Depot's picture
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I just posted the story of my latest, fortunately they are few and far between and usually those I am glad to see the back off.

At least 2 of my staff have a concealed carry permits, and I have a very large if soppy dog.

I also have a limited knowledge of foreign languages. Something I do not let on usually.

I would not hesitate to dial 911, I am male so that probably helps.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Como Depot wrote:

I just posted the story of my latest, fortunately they are few and far between and usually those I am glad to see the back off.

At least 2 of my staff have a concealed carry permits, and I have a very large if soppy dog.

I also have a limited knowledge of foreign languages. Something I do not let on usually.

I would not hesitate to dial 911, I am male so that probably helps.

Where the heck did THIS come from? No one was threatened - this comment is TOTALLY off the wall and is nothing but garbage in my not very humble opinion. Problem guests, I mean REALLY problem might require a 911 call, but the LAST thing this gun owner innkeeper is going to do is show a weapon of any kind to anyone (caveat - may show muzzle-loaders DH made to interested - and interesting - guests). This post rates nutcase level because it has nothing relevant to the discussion.

Arks's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

Como Depot wrote:

I just posted the story of my latest, fortunately they are few and far between and usually those I am glad to see the back off.

At least 2 of my staff have a concealed carry permits, and I have a very large if soppy dog.

I also have a limited knowledge of foreign languages. Something I do not let on usually.

I would not hesitate to dial 911, I am male so that probably helps.

Where the heck did THIS come from? No one was threatened - this comment is TOTALLY off the wall and is nothing but garbage...This post rates nutcase level because it has nothing relevant to the discussion.

He said he was joking about the arsenal, and I'm sure he was. He hasn't been here enough to know how to find the emoticons pop-up to give a wink or a smile to soften things. I've had a few attempts at humor fall flat too!

Several here in the past have made statements just as strong, but we knew the poster well enough to understand it's tongue in cheek. Como just made the mistake of doing it before people here got to know him well.

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His avatar may be new but says he joined here in 06/25/2008.  anyway to fake that??

Madeleine's picture
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Not really sure what having a gun does in the case of a guest wanting out of the reservation?

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Como Depot's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Not really sure what having a gun does in the case of a guest wanting out of the reservation?

 

It was a bit tongue in cheek, more is response to customers going weird on you.

Arks's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Not really sure what having a gun does in the case of a guest wanting out of the reservation?

Have to ask PT how they do things in Texas Eye-wink

Proud Texan's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

Madeleine wrote:

Not really sure what having a gun does in the case of a guest wanting out of the reservation?

Have to ask PT how they do things in Texas Eye-wink

leave me out of this!  

Madeleine's picture
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I have a gun, too. Would not bring it up in terms of a guest with problems or not.

Generic's picture
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You know.... I think I'm going on vacation in Europe after all these gun discussions....

Silverspoon's picture
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Yikes!!!! I'm with you....let me out of here if it is coming to guns!

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Flower's picture
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Think I will join you.! Eric

 

 

 

Tongue and cheek maybe? But maybe bitting off more then you could chew!! Why Oh why would any body let staff carry GUNS!!!!!??? OMG!

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Como Depot's picture
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The Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

I have no idea if they do whilst working here, I highly doubt it.

I am much more concerned about smartphones.

 

Generic's picture
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Take this from the standpoint of someone who isn't from the US and a visitor to your country.... the idea that citizens can carry concealed weapons makes me so nervous......

Como Depot's picture
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I am not from the US, what made me nervous was that only criminals could carry concealed weapons in my country.

I have had some Law Enforcement come in with guns, as I am used to unarmed Police it was a bit weird.

The local Supermarket has a sign that they respect your 2nd Amendment Rights but that ask that you do not open carry in the store. Sounds a fair compromise.

gillumhouse's picture
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Como Depot wrote:

I am not from the US, what made me nervous was that only criminals could carry concealed weapons in my country.

I have had some Law Enforcement come in with guns, as I am used to unarmed Police it was a bit weird.

The local Supermarket has a sign that they respect your 2nd Amendment Rights but that ask that you do not open carry in the store. Sounds a fair compromise.

There are only a few States that allow open carry. MOST States now have concealed - and that means exactly that. If it is NOT concealed, you are breaking the law in those States. 

My daughter is a cop in a BIG CITY, she and most of the cops I know like concealed carry (she wishes it was in her State) because it really does cut down on crime since the bad guys who carry whether legal or not and therefore are more restrained. And yes, when citizens do not have the legal rights, only those who do not care a rip about law will have/do whatever they want - and it does not just apply to the 2nd amendment.

Madeleine's picture
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Yeah we're a bunch of crazies south of the border...

Hillbilly's picture
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I have several of these on the books right now. A few of them are last min cancellations and a few are people who have stayed and I did not run their card at the time of check out. I typically email and call them for a few months and then I turn it over to a collection agency. They then have to fight with them. It is true the collection agency takes 1/2 of what the receive. But you can place a collection fee of you notify them a month before you send it. Or you can also use it as a bargaining chip and wave that if they pay quickly. I have had very good luck with them collecting. If in the end they can not collect, they do place it on the customers credit score. So you get the last word in. I'm sure you have collection agents in your Country. For any of you in the states that don't want to mess with bad guests, let me know and I will send you the agency we use.

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Last year when I had a psycho show up and nearly called the police and she drove all the way here with her daughter to prove we were not where we said we were...and was foul mouthed, crazy-eyed lunatic. We had a nice single guest who just arrived and was on the porch and encountered the entire altercation.

I did not want this guest to stay, misery on wheels, to disrupt the entire house. I asked her to leave. She said "We are here now, we are staying!" and I asked her to leave, and yes I was upset and said "Get out of my house!" and picked up the phone to call the police as she wouldn't leave...

Meanwhile nearly a year later, said single guest on the porch writes a review on TA about this. I was hoping that wouldn't happen, but it did. 

So the pain goes on... the last thing you want is a bad guest, an unhappy guest to stay and infect the entire house. Just in the door was bad enough. It was the worst situation I had ever had here. I didn't mention it online specifically, as I couldn't. I was in tears, I was upset for weeks, visibly shaken.

Now not living on site, may be a totally diff ball of wax. You can deal with things remotely better than in your face. The last thing I EVER wanted was to encounter this woman again, in any shape or form. In fact, I told everyone I WOULD HAVE PAID HER to leave!  I still feel that way, a year later.

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Arks's picture
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CC company fraud software is getting pretty good at flagging suspicious use of a stolen card, but things like this can still happen.

I'd always thought it's the CC company that "eats it" when things are bought with a stolen card. Didn't realize it's the merchants who get the chargebacks. But I guess that makes sense. Banks always win. Merchants always lose, it seems.

Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

CC company fraud software is getting pretty good at flagging suspicious use of a stolen card, but things like this can still happen.

I'd always thought it's the CC company that "eats it" when things are bought with a stolen card. Didn't realize it's the merchants who get the chargebacks. But I guess that makes sense. Banks always win. Merchants always lose, it seems.

I keep sharing all this stuff with my mom. She had fraudulent charges on her card to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. (Someone bought and shipped a bunch of Keurig machines using her card.) I told mom that GMCR was going to lose the money when she got the charges removed from her card. She called GMCR to apologize. Mom's funny like that.

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I am also telling everyone about this as its been a con my friend has just had done and it involves customer not present deposits.

(1) guest books self catering apartment and is charged on point of booking with card details supplied.

(2) guest arrives for 11 night stay and then orders a whole bunch of stuff online expedited delivery with stolen credit card.

(3) guest gets all stuff and leaves keys and checks out in a normal way

(4) my friend doesn't know about the delivery as it is an apartment not where she is onsite but this could happen anywhere

(5) police arrive - like as not card he booked with is stolen so this means the $2000 he has paid will likely be charged back.

 

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Arks's picture
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I've fumed about this a while, and decided the wise old heads here are right.

Society just doesn't give us any enforcement powers in a situation like this. We depend on people being honorable. When they don't do the right thing, or are not reasonable, there's not a lot we can do about it.

We must look at the big picture. Yes, a $500 hurts. It hurts a lot, both financially and in principle. Because we are honorable and reasonable, and are shocked when others are not. But the big picture tells me to accept it: they got us this time, but it's not worth damaging the business through a bad TA review, and it's not worth the headache and heartache to press a losing position.

The sun will come up tomorrow. Press on, and don't look back. You didn't really learn much of a lesson here, because nobody could have foreseen this. Just a no win situation all the way around. Sad

gillumhouse's picture
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I just had one that left within an hour of arrival and I charged him. It was a 1-nighter, Saturday Memorial Day weekend. So far nothing, but IF he challenges I will let it go because it is not worth the aggro. Besides, he wanted to smoke a cigar - that is a stench I do not want in my rooms clinging to the smoker.

IF it is worth it to you, do what Eric suggests. He knows his stuff on these issues.

Generic's picture
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And you know exactly what I would do? Let it go. Maybe list his information on theguestadvisor.com, then never ever want to hear from him again in my life. Ever.

I know what you can do and sometimes what you want to do. But I also know that sometimes it's best to just let things go. Sell the nights that you can and move forward. Karma will send a reservation off-season to make up for this idiot... or will send him with something nice and crawly to take back to his home in his luggage.

Honestly, I wish we had a formal black list to keep track of the troublemakers.

Arks's picture
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I want to strangle somebody right now...  angry

Generic's picture
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Can you live with the T/A listing if he puts it up? If you can then the new question is.... Where is the guest from? Canadian?

If they are Canadian, the contract is a contract, send him the legal letter pointing out that it is payable in 10 days. Make sure you write "Without Prejudice" and see if he pays if. He not, you can choose to go to small claims. At that point, when you win (and unless he shows up, you will) you can then send him a copy of the judgement and a note saying that if it is unpaid in 10 days you will have the judgement registered with a bailiff at extra cost and a copy of the judgement sent to Equifax and TransUnion to register on his credit report.

If he isn't from Canada you have a lot more to run through, but it could also mean he will never be able to return to this country. Since it's a commercial obligation, you can call the police and register it as theft of service. Next time he crosses the border it will come up.

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I am to the point in my life that only life and limb are worth the extreme hassle of fighting someone over something. Life, meaning my family.

As much as I would like to say he needs to pay for what he booked, i can't say that. I would let him walk and be thankful to have him out of my hair. He would bring me down for way way too long to consider any amount of money or "right doing" worth it.

As I type this I think about the few who have caused me grief, and I will say "I do take it too personal" since this business is our life, I cannot separate myself from it. I wish I could. It would be like a slow leak that finally sunk this ship. However, if you are tougher than I am, stick to your policies!  I think most businesses would let him walk and be done with it, in the end.

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Sometimes it is just worth our sanity to take the wind out of their sails and say, 'You're not happy? Then it would be better if you left.'

No arguments, just walk away. Come here and vent and move on.

I used to be all fired up about this stuff. And there are still days the bastards get me down. But I've seen some pretty nervy people here and there really is no sense in engaging them in their petty pissing match. Does it mean we are taken advantage of? I don't think so. I think it means we have chosen to live a certain way.

You're not happy? Then it would be better if you left.

A couple of summers ago we had the one who booked the suite and it was absolutely not what she wanted. We told her to leave. Oddly, she wouldn't go. Knowing now what I didn't know then I would have insisted. She ran a hotel in Switzerland and her reviews were absolutely awful. No refunds for any reason. No views even tho their website stated views of the lake. Surly staff. And she came in for the worst of it.

Not only was she rude to our faces, she spoke French to her au pair thinking we didn't understand the language. Potty Mouth (auto filter).

So, my take? If it happens here, let them go. (I might keep the deposit!)

Madeleine's picture
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Tough one to call. Like JB says, 'How much is the aggro worth to you?' Also, if you sue, do you have the time to deal with this? The room smells. Yeah, not one you can take a photo of.

I'd put the charges thru anyway. If they chargeback, and it seems they know how to do this, you may lose. But, you may win. My guess is lose because the cc company needs him, they don't need you.

Most of the time it is better to say good riddance, even tho it's a lot of money. I know I wouldn't want nasty people staying who just make everyone miserable.

This sort of thing is one reason we take deposits.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Sorry you're going through this. I had a similar situation once. I charged both nights of their reservation and the guest disputed it. I initially won the chargeback, then they filed again. I lost that one because we could not prove there was not an odor!

You can try charging and see what happens. Seems this person knows the ropes though.

I also took a couple to small claims court once because a chargeback went in their favor. We won the small claims. It was an emotional experience for us, so you have to weigh the pros and cons. Was this reservation done online where they have to agree to you policies?

 

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"Room Rage"

Sorry Sonata, this has been making the rounds of late. How worth it is to you? and should you back up your customers desires and just let him go?

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