Michigan Hotel Tells Guest He Should Have Cancelled His Reservation 9 Hours Before It Was Booked To Receive Refund
Have you ever had a vacation become a disaster before it even started?
A two night stay at Michigan's Mackinaw Beach and Bay All Suites Resort in Mackinaw City was booked just after 9pm on Wednesday June 17th.
The confirmation email arrived at 9:19pm that night.
Two things caught the eye of the mid-Michigan man that had just booked the reservation for his family of five.
First, the reservation for the suite which included two beds; a King and Queen Size, two TVs and other amenities a person might assume would accommodate multiple guests -- say, a family of five -- would only allow two occupants in the room.
Second, in order to cancel the reservation and receive a full refund, the cancellation should occur by noon on Wednesday June 17th -- nine hours before the reservation was made.
The first call, made minutes after receiving the confirmation, was to the hotel, to find out what the added cost would be. The clerk indicated the cost would be $10. Per night. Per person. That's a grand total of $60 for their three children for their two night stay; an added cost the man was unwilling to pay, primarily, as a matter of principle, he says.
"At no time in the booking process was there a conspicuous notice that the room would only allow two occupants, but the sheer fact that the confirmation indicated a cancellation would need to occur nine hours before the reservation was made is the real issue."
The hotel clerk, whom the man alleged was less than polite, refused to wave added costs but conceded to a slightly smaller amount -- a gesture still unacceptable to the man, again, as a matter of principle.
Next was a live chat with Priceline.com, the website through which the reservation was booked. The chat agent was unable to assist because of the cancellation policy -- ya know, that one about cancelling nine hours before you book your stay. The chat agent told the man that to cancel the $237 reservation (less than thirty minutes after making the reservation), a fee of $139 would need to be paid.
After two subsequent phone calls to Priceline and two hours after the initial reservation, an agent was able to cancel the reservation and refund the amount paid in full, despite the hotel manager being "very upset" about the situation, according to the agent.
I am that man and this is how our vacation -- which hasn't started yet -- is going so far. *rolls eyes*
To be clear, it's not like we were calling right before we should be checking in. These reservations were made (and cancelled) more than 72 hours in advance.
If the hotel had made a fair concession on the added costs -- even a flat fee of $10 per night, as one example -- that would have been fine. Or, I don't know, if the clerk had just been sympathetic and friendly...
Instead, the hotel lost more than $250 and left a bad taste with me and my family and anyone we happen to mention this gem to, Priceline lost their cut and we're now working on finding a different place to stay while vacationing in northern Michigan. Oh, and this story on the internet...
So here's the comedic sad reality of the whole situation: We will probably end up spending as much on a hotel as we would have if we would have just paid the extra $60, but -- yes -- it's the principle.
My thanks to the third Priceline agent who told me he "has my back" -- yes, he used those words, and I felt really awesome for a second.
What's your vacation disaster story?