Government rates & meal per diems

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notAgrandma's picture
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07/07/2017

A guest calls to place a reservation, says he needs the government rate. I said I'd need to look up what it is for 2018 & he replies that it's $130 per night. I stated that there's also a per diem allotment for breakfast and I would need to check on it. I also stated that I will not make his reservation tax exempt and there will be taxes on the $130. Guest agrees it's no problem. The guest is traveling with his wife, so they're clearly making a vacation around a business trip. I highly doubt that he'll be working during the Saturday & Sunday of their 4-day stay, too.

I look on the gsa.org website and breakfast is $12 a day for my city. I send the guest with a confirmation email tallying the 4 nights + 4 breakfasts + taxes. Guest replies back, "I am expecting breakfast, all taxes and fees to be included in the fee of $130/day. If this is not acceptable, then please cancel the reservation."

I am ticked off. This guy is obviously trying to work the system and cheat me out of $48 + $50 in sales tax + $41 in hotel tax. NO WAY. I am not paying an additional $140 out of my pocket (essentially a free night!) for this cheapskate. His reservation is 10 days away and would be subject to our 14-day cancellation policy wherein he's responsible for paying for the entire reservation. I'm not pushing that issue, though. I will gladly cancel his reservation to avoid the hassle of meeting this $@#&%$ angry

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JimBoone's picture
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Did your person actually say "I work for the government" or just attempt to bargain for a cheaper price based on the government rate? Life is too short to let folks like that cause us grief, only hurts us when we let it occupy our minds.

I feel like Beach House, what the government pays is not my problem, this is not a garage sale, any discounts should be because they fit my needs at the time.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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What do I care what his employer per diem is?   My rates are my rates.   His reimbursement or other travel allowance is between him and his employer.    

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06/24/2008

I take Gov rate only Sun-Thurs and only 1 person in the room. 

The rate is for business travel.

Government expects to pay taxes (usually), in 18yrs I have had less than a handful of tax exempt forms handed to me. 

If he were really traveling on gov. business he shouldn't mind paying your rate.  You are correct to think he is using the system.  Let him move on. 

 
  

Baygirl's picture
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05/26/2009

We do the same thing Copperhead.. Sun - Thurs only and breakfast isn't included in the gov't rate.  Also it's for one person and if they want to bring someone than it's an add'l $25.00.  Tax exempt is fine as long as they have the form, otherwise they pay the taxes on the gov't rate.   

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I don't accept the government rate, which is $93 here, but I give them a discount code to use in ResKey that knocks the rate down to $103, so by paying $10 out of their own pocket, they could stay at a nice place (me) vs. a fleabag motel in the area. They almost NEVER book, the cheapskates, and that's fine with me. I'm not about to match the rates of the cheap motels!

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

You don't want him anyway.

Is he really government? Is the email address government? Did you check the CC? Because that's supposed to be paid by government CC. See https://binlist.net/

If he isn't government, requesting the rate is fraud... which is something you report to the police. 

But you are correct, you have the right to the government rate plus breakfast. Breakfast for the wife is NOT included and has to be paid separately... that too is fraud.

In future, send them to FedRooms and just refuse the business. He isn't supposed to be bringing his wife on federal business trips. The whole thing smells of FRAUD. Seriously, I'd check up on him and his linkedin account to see if he really does work for the government. And I would consider calling the cops... stop him from doing that in the future.

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notAgrandma's picture
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07/07/2017

Great suggestion! I never thought of googling the guest's name. His name is very unusual, so I'm 99% certain that the LinkedIn profile I found is him. He owns an engineering firm. He wanted to use an Amex for the reservation, which I don't accept. I don't believe the US govt has an agreement with Amex. 

Yes, it's fraud but I guarantee that my local police wouldn't do anything about it. I'm tempted to email this jerk & call him out on his fraud. It infuriates me even more than usual when another business owner haggles with me about prices. However, I've already cancelled his reservation. Jerk didn't even reply to my cancellation email, though I can see by the read receipt that he read it.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

notAgrandma wrote:

Great suggestion! I never thought of googling the guest's name. His name is very unusual, so I'm 99% certain that the LinkedIn profile I found is him. He owns an engineering firm. He wanted to use an Amex for the reservation, which I don't accept. I don't believe the US govt has an agreement with Amex. 

Yes, it's fraud but I guarantee that my local police wouldn't do anything about it. I'm tempted to email this jerk & call him out on his fraud. It infuriates me even more than usual when another business owner haggles with me about prices. However, I've already cancelled his reservation. Jerk didn't even reply to my cancellation email, though I can see by the read receipt that he read it.

GSA SmartPay accounts are issued by Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and US Bank on the current account, so not American Express. See https://smartpay.gsa.gov/sites/default/files/downloads/SP%20Vendor%20Slipsheet%20508.pdf and cards start with the following BIN numbers:

Purchases: 5568, 5565, 4716, 4614, 4486
Travel: 5568, 5565, 4486, 4614
Debit&Prepaid: 5564, 5568, 5565, 4614

From what you are saying, he is clearly violating US law and committing fraud by impersonating a government employee. Assuming he isn't from your state, you don't need to call the local police, you need to call the FBI. Talk to an officer. Even if he won't make an arrest, you might mention that a quick call from an FBI agent might help this man better understand that he's committing fraud and that they could take action. It's not right for him to defraud businesses under the name of the US government... that's for people in Washington to do. Smiling

Generic's picture
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PS: Check https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/state-tax-exemption-information-for-government-charge-cards#/state/missouri to see the rules about taxes. From what I read, if I understood it correctly, only if paid with government CC is he exempt from the state tax.

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08/31/2016

The short and least confrontational answer is to cancel the reservation no questions asked. 

If you want to press the issue as for his TDY/travel orders to see if the government is paying for his lodging, meals/expenses over the days he has a reservation. If the government isn’t paying for him, he shouldn’t be requesting the government rate.

taxes can always be added to a federal employee travel expense report and would be covered (unless it is a local employee paying local taxes), under additional travel expenses. 

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05/21/2013

I hate government rate (we actually don't have one!),  specially for someone travelling with a spouse and on the weekend.   Is there any ways to ask them to prove they are staying for work reason ? If he is extending is work trip by 2 days to enjoy the weekend,  shouldn't we be allowed to charge regular rates for saturday and sunday, unless they can prove they are working ?

 

 

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

Agree. Pay the rate or GTFO. 

I don't take government rate business at all because in my area it's so low it's not worth the trouble. 

 

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