Ramada Overcharges Guy, Won't Give Full Refund

Every time you leave your credit card info at a hotel front desk, it’s natural to worry you’ll be overcharged. Tony’s fear came true, since his card was charged even after his girlfriend paid for the room. And he’s been tangling with Ramada over a hotel stay in which he was double-charged for a stay.

Tony’s story:

Hey I’m a long time reader. I thought I’d come to you with this story. I’m frustrated and I need your help.

Back in May 22 my girlfriend and I stayed at the Celebration Ramada in Kissimmee, Florida for a convention. I booked the rooms in advance with a special discount and printed the receipt to a PDF file (enclosed). As you can see it’s set for the right days and shows the cost of reservation as well as of the rooms, per night. No problem, right? Wrong. May 22nd comes around and we go to check into our rooms. I reserved it under my girlfriend’s name as she was paying cash, but I paid the reservation with my MasterCard, as she wasn’t 21 yet and it was a requirement to be 21 to reserve a room. So we check under my name, her name, everything. Nothing can be found and we’re standing at the desk area with friends and family waiting and trying to be as polite as possible without seemingly or underlying frustrated. We know their job is tough, and I read consumerist all the time, so I’m extremely patient and avoid major problems if I can help it on my end.

Anyways finally they find a reservation for the previous weekend. At the time I’m confused and forgot about my adobe PDF print out at home of the receipt, and checking my email at the desk couldn’t find any proof of the dates, just the charge in my bank account, so time passes and they eventually just let us have a room, minus the mini fridge we requested since they were all out. No problem, I thought. Heck I could have made the mistakes to reserve the room for those days myself.. except, I was told someone checked in and out on my girlfriends name the weekend before, and signed. But I assured them since we didn’t live anywhere near the area that it was definitely not us. Extremely fishy, but what can you do? They fixed it. Good on them. Moving on.

So the weekend goes great, my girlfriend pays for the three nights (we stayed an extra night since the hotel is so nice) we stayed in cash and all is well. Right?

Nope. Seems on June 9th they charge my card $30 on one instance and $148 and change on another. OK. Odd. I call them up and politely (I must go out of my way to mention how I try to be as polite as possible in these situations) ask to speak to someone who might help me with this issue. I’m told only a supervisor can and only a “Donna Marie” would be the one to help me, so I give a call back number and eventually in due time get in touch with this person. I lay out the case and even say I can print to PDF the pages from my bank website of the charges and give my girlfriend’s details and my MasterCard’s details to help investigate why I was charged for pretty much a day’s stay on my card as well as an extra $30. She gives me her email address and says she will check with her accounting department on this and asks me to go ahead and wait an extra ten days to see if the ‘charges drop’. OK, I think, I’ll play their game if it only strengthens my case later when I can show the same person that it’s not gotten anywhere. Well she said she would contact accounting anyways, so no problem.

Two weeks pass and nothing, so every few days after that when I get off work or on my off days I call and ask for this supervisor, Donna Marie, and am told she is not there or asked for a call back number. Each time I do and get no call back. I eventually get in touch with her (i’ve lost track of the number or calls or the days) and she says she will look into it again. Nothing happens for weeks. I call again, same routine, same call back number, same name, eventually one of the nicer people asks the magic words; “Have you called before?” and I respond with “Yes, unfortunately I believe this is at the very least my fifth time calling for her since I last spoke to her, but It’s OK! I understand if she’s busy, I don’t mean to sound impatient.”

I get a call back the very next day July 15th (see how much time has passed in all this?), like magic. Donna Marie hears me out again, finds the emails I sent her, says the amounts and says she will email me when she has fixed the issue. The next morning I find an email that says she will refund me the $30. Wait, what? There were two charges, and she went out of her way to remind me of both charges on the phone, but in email acknowledges just one? Something’s really stinking here. I call immediately, before work, and luckily am able to speak with her. She seems to sound strained, but says “you mean the charge for $148.xx? I see it now, don’t worry I’ll submit it as well!” Great. All taken care of. I sit back and relax.

On July 23 I check my bank account online and see a refund for only $30. Wow. Just wow. The refund was on the 17th, which is nice, but obviously in all this time nothing else was submitted. I call right after work, at 3:05PM, roughly. I’m told by the woman who answers that Donna Marie is not in but that she is scheduled to come back at 3:30. OK, fine. I have a long drive home so I am asked if I’d like to give a call back number. No, I say, I will be calling them instead as I don’t want to inconvenience. In reality I want not to be expected, cause I’m sure I’m being avoided.

At 3:45 PM on the dot as I’m just arriving at home I call them up. The nice reception person who picks up tells me Donna Marie isn’t in. She gets off work at 3:30PM that day and left ‘just ten minutes ago’. Wow!!!! I’m at a loss for words. She gives me her schedule for the next day and is very nice about things. I thank her and head over to my computer, frustrated, to get in touch with The Consumerist. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m roughly out $150 of which they acknowledge to know was their fault without explanation, and it seems I’m being lied to and avoided. Why? Because it’s annoying to have someone persistent to ask for something promised to them? I don’t understand. I really go out of my way to be (and not just seem, but actually be) as polite as possible since I do tech support on the phone myself and can understand their end, but this is insane. Why was the room said to be reserved the previous weekend? I can prove I reserved it the right weekend and was told it was confirmed that the room was indeed paid for in cash fully for the weekend we stayed.

What should I do, guys? I really don’t know. I’ve enclosed all of the proof I previously mentioned. Is there anything else I can do? I’m scared I will just be avoided until they expect me to give up.

I think Tony should work his bank for a chargeback and keep pressing Ramada. Any other suggestions?

(Photo: Morton Fox)