How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room

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How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room – is a new website that helps smokers find hotel rooms that allow them to light up. Graham Hughes/AP

A new online booking tool has been introduced to help smokers find smoking-friendly hotel rooms.

How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room

How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room, based in Lake Forest, Calif., has a database of more than 250,000 smoking-friendly hotel rooms, said founder and smoker Shawn Bradley. “On existing online travel booking sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia, you have to click on a hotel and see if they have smoking rooms,” he said. “It gets very confusing and frustrating. Our list includes only hotels with smoking rooms.

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A growing number of hotels, such as Marriott and Starwood, have made all their facilities 100% smoke-free in the United States. “However, many Days Inns and Quality Inns — and many hotels in the South, where there are still many smokers — will generally have smoking rooms available,” Bradley said.

In 2012 In a survey of 52,000 properties conducted by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 63% said they were 100% smoke-free. “But remember,” Bradley said, “many hotel chains that prohibit smoking at their properties in the United States have smoking rooms at their properties in other countries.”

Many of the 43.8 million adult smokers in the United States who travel will smoke even if they have to rent a non-smoking room. “They’ll burn candles, they’ll use cologne, they’ll blow smoke out the windows, all to try to mask the smoke,” Bradley said. may be difficult to compare with existing online travel agencies, said Marcello Gasdia, consumer analyst at PhoCusWright.

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“The only way to generate revenue is to steal market share,” Gasdia said. “That’s hard to do when you’re dealing with entrenched players like Priceline, Expedia or Kayak.” Targeting a niche audience is one way, but it is still difficult to attract the consumer to these popular brands. Or a determined consumer advocate. But it can be done. Like this.

Kelsey’s case is another story that illustrates a disturbing trend that seems to be developing in the franchise hotel industry. We are receiving an increasing number of complaints from guests alleging that these named properties have been charged outrageous post-stay fees without any evidence. However, as you will see in this case, even if the hotel provides “evidence”, there may be more questions than answers.

“My mom and I took my two-year-old on a road trip to spend the night during Hurricane Florence,” Kelsey recalled. “A few days after I checked out, I noticed an additional $200 was charged to my bank account! When I called the manager he told me it was a smoking fee.

How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room

Kelsey told the manager that neither she nor her mother smoked and that no one else was in their room. The manager didn’t want to think that someone in the hotel had made a mistake. So Kelsey asked for evidence to support this smoking suspicion. The manager said there was a smell of smoke in the room and someone found the smoke.

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Kelsey told her that no one would be able to find a baby in her room.

Walking in circles with her manager nowhere to be seen, Kelsey hung up the phone and called her bank. He explained the unwanted and unjustified $200 charge to his account. Hoping for a quick solution, he asked if the bank could waive the hotel’s smoking tax.

Unfortunately, the answer wasn’t what Kelsey wanted to hear. A bank representative told her that their team would look into her complaint, but that a traditional tax refund investigation would not be possible.

The Fair Credit Billing Act is designed to protect consumers from merchant billing errors. These billing errors include, but are not limited to, charges for goods or services that are not authorized or do not match the description. And especially important in this case, the FCBA includes:

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But Kelsey’s problem was that she used her debit card at this Holiday Inn Express. FCBA does not protect debit card purchases. This fact is essential information that users should familiarize themselves with. In addition, he emphasizes the importance of using a credit card for large purchases whenever possible. A cynic might even think that unscrupulous merchants might target customers using debit cards, knowing they can’t dispute the charge in the traditional way.

Of course, Kelsey isn’t the first user to learn this important tip too late. Regular readers of my column will remember the unfortunate story of Meghan Robinson and Peaches, a sick piglet.

Non-refundable at the end. Because Robinson used her debit card to buy Peaches, the bank couldn’t help her. A year later, he was still trying to figure out how to settle it without a small claims lawsuit.

How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room

With the hotel manager and Kelsey’s bank offering no hope of getting the $200 back, her next email the letter has been sent to our defense team.

Why Do Hotels Ask

First, I should say that we almost never take these smoke tax cases. The reason is that many of the travelers who contact us are actually smokers. Although they are shocked by the accusations, they often admit that they “emptied the ashtray from my car in the room” or left “an empty pack of cigarettes”.

When a hotel guest brings cigarette butts or ashes into their hotel room, they open the door to the hotel’s smoking tax. We probably all know smokers who don’t even realize they smell smoke when they’re not smoking. And in a world that is becoming more and more intolerant of smokers, it is imperative that smokers don’t wear

Fact: In most hotels today, each guest signs a small card at check-in where the hotel can charge a smoking fee. Depending on the hotel, the smoking fee is usually between $200 and $300. And nowhere on that card does it say what level of proof the hotel needs to have to scan your card on file.

From complaints received by our legal team, we know that hotels freely apply this smoking tax. Perhaps too liberally, as non-smokers are also affected.

How Do Hotels Know You Smoked In The Room

Of course, the problem with our advocacy team is that we don’t personally know the users who come to us for help. And I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of our regular readers, but not every user who contacts us is 100% honest. While some users may omit important parts of their case, others stretch the truth beyond reasonable limits (did that flight injury really almost kill you?).

Therefore, before submitting a claim directly to our team, we need to be reasonably sure that the user has provided accurate facts. Our reputation with the companies we work with is at stake.

In this case, Kelsey said no one in her group smoked during the stay. And she indicated that she had her baby with her.

How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room

“Why would anyone in their right mind smoke while sharing a small room with a child,” she asked.

Accommodations And Hotel Rooms

Some may call me gullible in this case, but as a mother and a non-smoker, it convinced me.

In some of the cases I’ve recently documented where surprise fees were charged after payment, managers have provided no evidence. And in other cases, the hotel simply ignored our contact (see: pillow theft in a 2-star hotel).

I was hoping the manager of this Holiday Inn Express could explain this case. So I contacted her and asked for the evidence that led Kelsey to charge the $200 smoking fee.

I soon heard from the manager who said he was not allowed to talk to me based on guest privacy policy. As you will soon see, his concern for guest privacy does not extend to all of his guests. But I noted Kelsey’s signed waiver authorizing me to defend herself on her behalf, and again asked to justify the $200 fee:

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Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in franchise owners charging guests for “damages” that were not justified. This practice is not customer friendly. We’ve been exploring this new trend for a while now. If this guest caused damage or made the room uninhabitable, provide the following documentation. Thank you. Hotel lawyer: “Our staff found evidence” supporting the smoking fine

I received the email very quickly. a letter from a lawyer representing the franchise management company that owns this hotel.

Michelle Couch-Friedman, Our company policy is to charge a $200 smoking fee if there is evidence of smoke or odor in the guest room. Ms. Russell has initialed the attached registration confirming her understanding of this policy. Upon check-in, our staff found physical evidence of cigarette butts in the coffee cup and the room smelled of smoke (photo also attached).

How Do Hotels Know If You Smoke In The Room

When I opened it

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