Hotel Phone Bills
Help Me Hank: Hotel Phone Bills
"I just needed to call home and let them know I wasn't stuck somewhere in the snow."
So Lisa had a few days of maid service and nice little shampoos and fluffy robes. She called home to check in a couple more times and when the storm was over, she checked out.
"I was shocked, I didn't even know what to think."
Lisa was in sticker shock, not over the bill for the room, but the bill for the phone calls. Five quick long distance calls, New Hampshire to Massachusetts, more than $118!
"How much was that a minute."
"Twenty, twenty-four dollars."
"Twenty-four dollars a minute?"
She argued with the assistant, she argued with the managerů she got absolutely nowhere.
"I was ready to cry, I didn't want to have to pay that!"
That's why Lisa called "Help Me Hank." We found that hotel phone fees are like the surcharge for cable TV or room service, or why you pay $3 for a soda from the mini-bar.
"Are there any regulations or restrictions on what a hotel can charge for a phone call?"
- Arthur Canter, Mass. Lodging Assn.
"No, hotels can really charge whatever they want."
Hotel experts call it the cost of doing business.
"What is that money used for?"
"It could be used for anything in the hotel."
But listen, hotels are required to provide you info about phone carriers, access and charges. In Lisa's room, there was nothing.
"Did you know what you would be paying?"
So Lisa went right back into battle, she called, she faxed, and she didn't relent. Now look at Lisa's revised bill. She gets a big $80 refund!
"You can win!"
"You can and I did."
The feds are right now in the midst of investigating whether hotels are providing the phone information they're required to, so far, they've issued more than two dozen citations!
So what's your consumer battle? Maybe I can help! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org