Hyatt Charges Asthmatic Woman $250 For Smoking, Says It Has Secret Photos

A woman who stayed at a Hyatt in Milwaukee last month was hit with an extra $250 charge for smoking in her room. The problem, she says, is that she has severe asthma–she offered to show Hyatt her prescriptions–and is not a smoker. When she complained to Hyatt, the hotel’s director of operations told her “the Hyatt had photographic evidence of smoking in the room and would absolutely not refund her money.”

The director of operations told the Journal Sentinel’s “Public Investigator” column that he stands behind the charge, but that the charge is a mistake, or something like that:

“We told her we had pictures and evidence that she was smoking in her room. And we do. I don’t know if we made a mistake. So we’re going to assume that we did make a mistake because it’s our job to make the guests satisfied when they leave and to make sure we treat them fairly and they leave happy.”

I’m not sure how secret photos–of your guests? of their rooms when they’re not in them?–contributes to customer satisfaction and happiness, but at least the woman got the $250 refunded.

“Hotel guest fumes over smoking bill” [Journal Sentinel] (Thanks to Alice!)

Comments

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  1. tmitch says:

    So the Hyatt is admitting to secretly taking pictures of guests in their rooms?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      This is what I’m hearing, too. She needs to file a suit against for that shit. At least subpeona the photos.

    • trey says:

      i was thinking the same thing… sounds like someone is up to something they shouldn’t be doing.

    • leprechaunshawn says:

      I doubt it.

      It’s more likely that when housekeeping went into the room to clean they found evidence of smoking and took pictures. This is would explain why they didn’t receive the bill for $250 until 2 days after they checked out.

      • Difdi says:

        It strikes me that a good way for the cleaning staff to sneak a smoke break would be to smoke while cleaning a room, then photograph the ashes and butts to “prove” the customer did it.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      No, it seems they are admitting to taking photos of evidence of smoking in rooms. Not of people ACTUALLY smoking. It’s just like them taking pictures of damage to a room.

      • trentblase says:

        The mistake of which they speak is letting everyone know they are pervs that photograph you while you sleep.

    • Julia789 says:

      They probably took pictures of ashes or a cigarette butt, probably left there by a previous guest but missed by the cleaning staff until now.

  2. Winfield says:

    “Photographic evidence…” Note to self: never stay in a Hyatt.

  3. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Sounds to me like someone needs to subpeona Hyatt and find out exactly why they think it’s legal to surreptitiously surveille their clientele.

  4. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    If they have photo evidence they should have shown it to the couple. If they have other evidence they should have told the couple what it was. Otherwise they should have immediately refunded the money once the couple said they didn’t smoke in the room.

    I REALLY want to know, for absolute sure, that they do NOT have photos from inside the room when the couple were there. They need to say one way or the other. If they do, then this is horrendous.

    I’m hoping the photo evidence is from after the couple checked out – maybe cigarette butts or something of that sort. But that is NOT evidence that the couple smoked, because it could be the cleaning crew, or the maintenance crew.

    • knoxblox says:

      Exactly. Corporate probably backed down when they realized that taking pictures after the family checked out does not equate with catching them in the act.

    • Pax says:

      Or the “evidence” could be due to a prior occupant, and the housekeeping staff needs a good reaming.

    • Bohemian says:

      I want to know what this “evidence” is. The comment sounds like they have a picture of the guest smoking in the room. If that is the case there are bigger issues that need to be addressed than a $250 smoking fine.

    • geekisvogue says:

      Furthermore, under this scenario, they would need photographic evidence that proves it was the family’s room. Which would bring us back to the invasion of privacy issue. Any other proof could easily be fabricated in order to place blame on this family.

    • j_rose says:

      Or someone the hotel guest invited into their room and allowed to smoke in it?

    • One-Eyed Jack says:

      There’s an easy solution to this: simply DNA test any cigarette butts.

      /sarcasm

  5. Bruce W says:

    I would not want to stay in a hotel that has cameras in the room to look for smokers.

    • ellemdee says:

      That’s what I thought at first, but then I figured they were probably referring to evidence such as the maid finding cigarette butts in the trash while cleaning the room…though it sounds that wasn’t even the case anyway, as a severe asthmatic is unlikely to smoke.

  6. BobOki says:

    Invasion of privacy, photographing without permission, whatever else you can think of…. time to run it hard.

  7. grucifer says:

    That’s great she got her money back and extremely creepy that the hotel has photo’s of her in her room smoking.

    Even if they do seemingly have a strict policy to not show internal photos to the public, isn’t it illegal to video tape sleeping quarters unbeknown to a guest?

  8. Jfielder says:

    Maybe they mean they have pictures of some ash, or cigarette butts or something in the room… So either A: the room wasn’t very clean when she got there, or B: they mixed up the rooms, and really have “photographic evidence” of smoking in another room close by.

    • Southern says:

      or (c) the cleaning staff took a quick smoke break for whatever reason.. perhaps the clients didn’t leave a “Tip” on the end of the bed for ‘em…

      • sixsevenco says:

        The reason is probably a quickie with a coworker. I hope they remembered to properly dispose of the condom when they were done.

        • EmanNeercs says:

          I hope so. I’d hate to hear that a four year old boy found it and thinking it was a balloon, tried to blow it up…

    • Hoot says:

      That’s exactly what I thought. I mean obviously they don’t take pictures of their guests like these idiots in previous posts (or at least wouldn’t so readily admit it). They probably have pictures of cigarette butts in the room. But I mean, it could have been the staff. If she can prove she was not the culprit beyond a reasonable doubt, it would be good PR to refund the money.

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Who are you calling an idiot? They said they had photographic evidence of “her” smoking. If it was circumstantial, they misspoke.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      I think it would be difficult to prove what room any “evidence” was photographed in as the room number is outside the door. Nice try, might work on the clueless, but yeah, a lawyer will just laugh at you.

  9. digital0verdose says:

    Sounds like Sliver to me.

  10. Bunnies Attack! says:

    Sheesh people, maybe a maid took a pic of a full ashtray? They said they had photographic evidence of smoking in the room, not photographic evidence of HER smoking in the room.

    • Tim says:

      We told her we had pictures and evidence that she was smoking in her room. And we do.

      • 99 1/2 Days says:

        Yeah, that they pinpointed her implies they have photgraphic evidence of “her” doing it. A smart manager would say “We have phtographic evidence that smoking occured in your room.” IOW, it’s very stupid for the manager to blame her directly without irrefutable evidence. Could be considered slander. So I can understand the confusion here. Also the “secret photos” in the title gives the implication they were taken undercover or unknowingly in flagrante.

    • humphrmi says:

      Maybe then Hyatt can make with the pictures, to clear this all up, instead of saying:

      “We told her we had pictures and evidence that she was smoking in her room. And we do. I don’t know if we made a mistake. So we’re going to assume that we did make a mistake…”

      In four sentences, they contradicted themselves twice, and still didn’t offer any evidence. It wouldn’t sound so fishy if they were up front about it.

    • Michaela says:

      Even with an ashtray, how can it be proved that the woman was the one smoking? What if a staff member took a quick smoke break in the room after the couple checked out, but before the room was cleaned?

      The only true proof the hotel could have would be an actual picture of the woman entering the room with a cig in her mouth (which could come from a hallway camera). That doesn’t seem to be the case.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Re-read the quote.

  11. rpm773 says:

    I’m glad Hyatt has a better way to determine if someone is smoking in a guest room than to leave the investigation up to a maid, disgruntled for not being left a tip.

    Eh, maybe I’m not so glad.

  12. brianary says:

    That’s funny, I usually associate boudoir photography with *Hilton*!

  13. Mighty914 says:

    What does the asthma have to do with not smoking? An unfortunately large percentage of patients with asthma are smokers.

    I recall one patient who would use a nebulizer treatment to expand his lungs, just so he could get the “full flavor” of each cigarette. He was also on oxygen.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      “Only two things are infinite: the universe, and human stupidity…and I’m not so sure about the former.”

      - Albert Einstein (paraphrased)

      • mandy_Reeves says:

        what IS creepy and sad, are the folks with that traecheostomy hole in their neck from throat cancer…yet they hold the cigarette up to the hole to smoke!!! I saw it done a very very long time ago.

    • EllenRose says:

      I had a friend who was on oxygen, and a smoker. One day, she lost her eyebrows in a gout of flame.

    • LaurelHS says:

      A relative of mine suffered a heart attack and several strokes, but she still continued to smoke. She doesn’t smoke anymore because she can’t light the cigarettes on her own and her caregivers won’t do it for her. But my point is, Mighty914 is right that health problems don’t always deter people from smoking.

  14. humphrmi says:

    I won’t stay at a Hyatt anymore.

  15. shufflemoomin says:

    Where does it say ANYWHERE that they have pictures of HER smoking? It says they have photographic evidence which will be taken by the cleaning staff after check out. It could be pictures of ash, a cigarette butt or burn or pretty much anything. I think it’s bordering on liable to imply they take secret pictures of guests in rooms.

    • Tim says:

      Read the quote. The guy said that they have “pictures and evidence that she was smoking in her room.”

    • yulingo says:

      I think you meant libel.

      Unless the hotel shows the photographs and can prove they’re from her room, it’s basically their word against hers, and the fact that she has asthma just makes their case so much flimsier.

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      The wording if it is intended ot make it seem like tey do have pictures of her smoling, which would sound more scary to the person being accused. It’s not stated explicitly but I think it is disingenuous to think that they didn’t want to give that impression. This means that whatever pictures they actually have probably would not hold up to scrutiny.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        That’s probably why the story was written that way. Add more shock to their case for the paper.

    • Aleave says:

      Something like that is NOT taken by cleaning staff. They have to stop what they are doing and call management. Be that be head of housekeeping (if they even have one as most hotels are phasing them out) or Ops Manager or GM. Whoever is available in that position. Management has to do all that because they have to deem it necessary to charge more. And not to mention they have to get maintenance because the carpet has to be shampooed, the walls repainted, the whole works. For the next guest that has health problems and is not supposed to be around it. I know from 4 years experience.

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      “We told her we had pictures and evidence that she was smoking in her room”

      In order for pictures to prove she was smoking in her room, they would have to be pictures of her smoking in her room.

  16. fizzypopbubbles says:

    I’m reasonably certain the hotel isn’t saying they have photos of the actual customer smoking, just evidence that smoking that took place in the room. I can’t imagine that it’s particularly damning evidence as the wouldn’t SHOW IT to anyone.

    • Bob says:

      Cigarette butts in a room does not prove smoking of a guest. It only proves that SOMEONE smoked in there and that makes them angry (having to clean and sanitize the room for non-smokers). It could have been anyone, including their staff.

  17. smo0 says:

    The wording on this confuses me to all hell….

  18. Dyscord says:

    I’d ask to see the photo evidence. Then I’d ask why they were taking pictures in the first place. Then I’d get them for invasion of privacy.

  19. Rocket says:

    Maybe these ‘pictures’ were taken by housekeeping and are actually pictures of the ‘damage’, not her?

    • CookiePuss says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. There would be no mistake if they had actual pictures of her smoking, or even surveillance footage of her or her fiance smoking outside. It was probably a floating butt in the toilet, or a makeshift ashtray left in the room/trash.

      Being the rooms should be thoroughly cleaned after each guest I’m sure anything found would be assumed hers.

  20. Bernardo says:

    Shouldnt the police be called in to see if there is a problem with the hotel illigally taking pictures of guests?

  21. aloria says:

    Lots of people here are assuming that they were taking pictures of the woman smoking, but it’s equally as likely that housekeeping found something like ash, cigarette butts, a burn mark, and took pictures of THAT. Guess I don’t see the point in freaking out with “OMG HYATT PHOTOGRAPHS THEIR GUESTS” when we really don’t know what the photos were of.

    It would also explain how they have “evidence of smoking” despite the fact that the woman can’t smoke. Finding a cigarette butt in the room is evidence that someone smoked, but not necessarily her, and not necessarily in the room (she could have tracked in a butt from off the street.)

  22. frank64 says:

    “Lloyd called her credit card company, Capital One, for help, and though she said people there were sympathetic, they also informed her it would be difficult to prove she hadn’t been smoking in the room.”

    So, when you use a credit card at a hotel, you are charged whatever they want to charge, and you have no recourse on a chargeback? They could say you used the mini bar, or bury a fee in some small print and leave you screwed. The should only be allowed to charge you what you sign for. They can charge you what they want, but it shouldn’t be automatically accepted by our bank as gospel. Let them sue for it, and then THEY prove that you smoked, or are due whatever they say.

    It seems credit cards are not as safe as they seem. Do hotels accept cash or checks, so that we can avoid this type of stuff?

    • rpm773 says:

      It seems credit cards are not as safe as they seem. Do hotels accept cash or checks, so that we can avoid this type of stuff?

      You can probably pay by whatever means you desire, but I believe most hotels require a credit card at check-in to cover “incidentals”

      I’ve found that credit card companies aren’t very interested in helping you resolve open disputes with hotels. Mis-charged for a night that you didn’t spend at the hotel? Sure, chargeback. Disputing a charge that came about per a hotel policy that you implicitly agreed to when checking in? Good luck.

    • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

      Sounds about right for Capital One. Their employee performance review system is completely based on anonymous comments and you have no option to hear the comments or defend yourself from falsehoods. /still bitter

      But anyway, isn’t the onus on the hotel to prove that the customer did smoke? Works for the US justice system . . . .

    • Sarcastico says:

      I stayed in a Hyatt last month for an employer-required seminar. The employer paid for my room with the company credit card but I was required to give the hotel staff my credit card for “incidentals”. Either that or give a debit card [like I would do that?]. Three weeks later my credit card company phoned me with the information that someone had attempted to use my card number for a couple of online purchases, small amounts under ten dollars. Fortunately, they caught it in time to deny the charges, cancel my card and issue me a new number. Coincidence? Maybe. But this hotel was one of two places where I actually handed my card to someone to process rather than run it myself through a card reader. The other place was my long time vet. I did not use this card at any other place while I was out of town. Nearly all the other places I used the card were my usual haunts–grocery stores, gas stations–etc.

  23. RandomHookup says:

    Pics or it didn’t happen.

  24. FilthyHarry says:

    Call the police, file a report of theft for taking your money against the Hyatt corporation.

    Then call a lawyer and begin the lawsuit from the mental anguish of having Hyatt employees spying on you in your room.

  25. doctorc4 says:

    The Lovely Wife and I can’t stand the smell of a hotel room. For some reason, it kills us.
    So we bring incense. We light it, clean up after it etc. All of the no smoking policies that I have read have specifically said no smoking tobacco. So I am wondering if this is the case…. All incense, and no tobacco.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Every hotel room I’ve been in has a smoke detector or a smoke detection system. I don’t bring incense with me on business trips for that reason. I’m surprised it didn’t occur to you to worry that the smoke detectors weren’t working properly when they didn’t pick up on you burning incense. I hope you are not disabling the spoke detector in your room.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        sMoke detector in your room. …Lunchtime!

        • Bladerunner says:

          Most standard smoke detectors are designed not to go off from cigarette/incense smoke. There’s a threshold level, because standard smoke detectors are designed for residences where the people might be smoking indoors, and they don’t want false alarm syndrome
          (above according to my brother the fire inspector)

          Of course, these days, they also make smoke detectors specifically to target cigarette smoke, too. But even then I would think incense (in moderate amounts) would be okay?

    • Gulliver says:

      So you feel sharing your nasty smell with the rest of the world is acceptable? It is just plain rude. If you do not like the smell of the hotel, go elsewhere. You can’t smoke pot, crack, heroin, cloves, oregano or anything else. NO SMOKING is NO SMOKING.

      • Bladerunner says:

        Burning incense isn’t smoking. It’s not done at all in the same manner as cloves, crack, cigarettes, etc.

  26. quirkyrachel says:

    Wait. They have pictures of her in her room?! [looks around all paranoid]

  27. JuanHunt says:

    Its a scam by the cleaning crew. They claim evidence of smoking, hotel hires company to do extra cleaning of room carpets, draperies, etc, company pays cleaning crew for referral, everybody wins.

  28. scratchie says:

    Where TF did the word “Secret” come from? That word doesn’t appear in the original article.

    Sounds like Consumerist is trying to blow this up into something that it isn’t. If Hyatt actually took “secret” photos of their guests in their rooms, that would be a big deal.

    If they took photos after the fact, to provide evidence that someone smoked in the room (as was almost certainly the case, based on the actual article) that’s trivial, especially since they conceded that they could be mistaken. (E.g., the evidence may have been from a prior guest?)

  29. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Don’t hotel rooms have working smoke detectors? If I was the hotel, I would be more afraid of someone pointing out that someone smoking in their room didn’t set off the smoke detector.

    • Aleave says:

      Cigarette smoke does not set off a smoke detector. Otherwise there would be none in non smoking rooms. It is not enough smoke. Have you ever been with a large group of people that smoke in a room or chain smoke and then the alarm goes off after a while? One or two, even 3 people smoking one cigarette once and hour is not going to set off the alarm.

  30. JohnDeere says:

    fucking pervs.

  31. fedupbs says:

    the only comment i’d like to offer is
    first I am a smoker – and i respect non smoking areas – I’ve been going outside to smoke forever it seems and I’m used to it and have no complaints about that. When i do go outside (unlike some other smokers – if there are no cans/ashtrays ect…. I field strip the cig when i’m done and put the butt in my pocket rather than littering/throwing the butt on the ground.

    Now – fast forward to the hotel room – I’ve never smoked inside that room – but maybe in the process of changing clothes – the butt came out of the pocket and ended up on the floor ?? Maybe I didn’t notice it when if dropped out…….Should i be socked with a 200 charge for that?

    Not saying that this has happened or will happen.

    The argument may be “why didn’t you get a smoking room then?” – sometimes that room may have been the only one available that stay………..

  32. kityglitr says:

    The pictures are probably not secret or even pictures of the woman smoking. When a hotel thinks someone smoked in a non-smoking room, usually photo evidence is a good back up plan. Housekeepers easily find butts in beer bottles, coffee cups or the tiny room trashcans when they are cleaning. If they find these things, they take a picture and pass it on to management. So what really happened here is that someone made a mistake. Maybe they got the room numbers mixed up, or maybe it was a different guest (same room). Either way, it should be easily cleared up!

  33. vastrightwing says:

    Hotels are counting tooth brushes in your bathroom to make sure if you registered only 1 person there is only 1 toothbrush. Otherwise, they charge you for an extra person. Now they’re assuming that other evidence makes one guilty of smoking. Note to lawyers and judges, don’t allow anyone who works at a hotel to be on a jury because they will assume that such and such evidence equates to guilt.

    Game: next trip to a hotel, empty a bag full of different color toothbrushes and leave them in the bathroom before you leave for the day. Leave an empty pack of cigarettes and an ashtray with some old butts in it. Could be fun.

  34. Kid Notorious says:

    So when Marion Berry was caught smoking crack in the hotel room with a hooker, that was a sting right?

    Same with Frank Gifford and his lady friend?

  35. Sarcastico says:

    Maybe the housekeeping staff are sneaking smokes while they’re cleaning up the rooms.

  36. BeerFox says:

    “We have pictures and evidence of her smoking in her room.”

    He may have meant it as ‘Pictures *of* evidence of her smoking in her room’ (cigarette butts, for instance), but if so, he really needs to choose his words more carefully. With the way ‘and’ is used here, normal usage makes it into two statements:
    “We have pictures of her smoking in her room.” and
    “We have evidence of her smoking in her room.”

    If they really do have the former, they should’ve learned from that school district that came forward with “We have secret pictures of a student in his home, doing drugs!” The public is gonna be waaaay more worried about that first part than about the second.

  37. ElBobulo says:

    I found this comment while reading the original article: “They got charged a smoking fee for emptying their car ashtray into the wastebasket in the room”.

    So, this may mean that what is happening behind the scenes is that the hotel staff is purposely going through the customers trash — looking for butts and who knows what else. Then taking photos of any “evidence”. Beware.

    • Aleave says:

      If it was sitting on top, which if it needed emptying it would be full, they would have seen it without going through the trash. Would have also smelled it from a mile away. Even a smoker, as myself, can smell that particular smell right off the bat.

  38. Tankueray says:

    I imagine that the photo evidence is nothing more than a cigarette butt in a trash can…
    My boss had to get a test for his insurance company once for tobacco use, he dipped, but apparently the test could tell whether you had used any tobacco within the last month or so. I’d suggest she have one of those done as proof that neither of them had smoked in the room. It may actually have been a cleaning or maintenance employee.

  39. Big Mama Pain says:

    There wouldn’t be ashtrays in a non smoking hotel room, for one thing; and since you pretty much can’t smoke in any hotel, who would leave a bunch of butts lying around after check out? My guess is that they were full of shit about having photographic evidence. It took two days for the charge to hit her card, so maybe another guest checked into that room and said that it smelled like smoke.

    • Aleave says:

      The chain I work for does put ash trays in non smoking rooms with a no smoking sticker on it. It does confuse some people, but easy to explain, and kinda makes sense. Some people will get a non smoking room and smoke in it. At some mom and pop places, non smoking rooms are cheaper than smoking because of cleaning fees, and they believe that applies everywhere. When they do this, about 7 times out of 10 they will put it out on the furniture. This says, “No smoking, but if you do at least use the ashtray. Not the furniture.”

  40. crazydave333 says:

    To everyone who thinks that the hotel is secretly photographing their guests: you are paranoid morons. In fact if you want to be really scared, you should probably be aware of the lack of surveillance and security at most hotels.

    If you think it was the maid “getting back” at someone for not leaving a tip, you are similarly a moron. Housekeepers aren’t waitresses and don’t depend on tips for their income, and customers rarely leave tips for housekeeping. It’s nice if you do, but rarely expected.

    I can’t account for why she was charged for smoking and if they are unwilling to share their photographic evidence (which is taken by a manager, not the maid) and the customer is adamant that they did not smoke in the room, then they should refund the money.

  41. checkcard2009 says:

    Add on charges are able to be charged back (smoking in the room/damages at a hotel). It used to be a pre-compliance chargeback, but now is a code 53 (Not as Described). The cardholder WILL win once the hotel sends the receipt showing that the charge is for an add on (see previous explination of add on charges). I have keyed and won more of these chargebacks than I can count. The same applies to damage/towing/or impound fees on a rental car (GAS and ADDITIONAL DAYS OF RENTAL CANNOT BE CHARGED BACK). Trust me.

  42. sopmodm14 says:

    i’d file for more charges

    especailly if privacy violated or they have policy regarding surveillance in private quarters

  43. Aleave says:

    Jesus H. people. The hotel does not have pictures of them smoking in their room. Do you really think a big named hotel would really do that? I work at as a hotel front desk clerk at a different big named chain hotel and have for a little over 4 years now. I can tell you that yes, deep cleaning after a guest smoking in a non smoking room does get expensive. We have to do it because the next guest may be allergic, asthmatic, etc. Most likely housekeeping called the manager, he/she went to the room, it wreaked of smoke, there were ashes all over the room, with ash trays full of butts, and/or put out on the furniture. IF it was a light smell they probably wouldn’t have charged her. That’s an easy fix, wash everything in the room, replace the pillows, maybe a bit of carpet freshener, spray some Odo-ban, it would be good to go. I can bet money someone was severely smoking in there. Even if it was just the smell and could even remotely blamed on the previous guest, it still had to be bad enough to warrant the charge, and she would have immediately asked to move to another room.

    Oh, BTW, the hotel I work at takes pictures of EVERYTHING. No, there is no spying on guests. BUT if you are out of the room, housekeeping goes in to clean, or maintenance comes in for something, they see something laying out in the open you shouldn’t have, you bet your pants the manager is coming up and taking pictures. Legally, as far as that goes, they have the right to do that. At least in my state. From what I understand that does differ from state to state.

  44. heart.shaped.rock says:

    I was a guest of an friend at her company holiday party last year. It was at a hotel where everyone got a free room to avoid any drinking and drivng. All we had to do was provide a credit card for ‘incidentals’. My friend didn’t have her card with her so we used mine.

    The Monday after the party, I got a call from someone at my friend’s company saying that the hotel sent a list of people who were going to be charged for smoking in the rooms, and I was on the list! My friend and I are both smokers but we did NOT smoke in the room. We were barely IN the room, other than to get ready for the party, go to bed afterwards, and wake up in the morning.

    I called the hotel and the gal was insinuating that there was a party in our room, kinda like she was laughing along with us, and that housekeeping reportedly found butts on the balcony and that the room smelled. There were several after-party parties in various rooms (which we attended!) and some people were smoking on the balconies but not in ours (we’re not THAT stupid!). I told the gal that housekeeping was completely mistaken, and that there was NO party or smoking in our room and other than time spent SLEEPING, the room was used for less than 2 hours. She said she would “investigate further” and if they decided we smoked in the room, they’d charge my card $250.

    I explained that she could go right ahead and do that, if she felt it necessary, and I would file a chargeback and I would win. I never got charged.

  45. LastError says:

    “secret photos” means housekeeping took pictures of “evidence” while cleaning the room, either during the stay or after the fact.

    It may or may not have been the guest’s fault. Some hotels swap housekeepers around. So if you have a guest damage the place, it may not get noticed for a few days until the normal housekeeper for that room comes back on duty. Then they blow the whistle for what could have happened from a previous guest.

    When checking into a hotel, I always triple-check the room for this kind of damage, take pictures or video and notify the desk immediately. And on the way out, I take more pictures and video as my own proof of how I left the room. I also leave it spotless and I leave daily tips for housekeeping. But that’s just me.

    Treat your room like a rental car: document everything immediately when you get the key, dispute anything wrong, and when you are done, inspect it yourself and document the state. Sometimes you can call the desk and ask for a check-out inspection. They may do it.

    Anyhow, I’ve been on the receiving end of damage reports exactly like this, when a group I was with filled up a large hotel for an event. When the event was over, the hotel sent over a big dossier of pictures of guest rooms where there were things like cigarette burns, trash piled up instead of in the trash cans, places were drink coolers had leaked on the floor, and in one case, where somebody had ripped a vanity off the wall.

    Yes, we had a lot of drunks.

    Anyhow, the hotel pursued each and every one of those guests for the damages. There was a flat rate for smoking related damages, and a flat rate for rooms that required extra cleaning, and they billed for damages on the damaged rooms. All of our guests were told this was going to happen before they checked in. They had to sign off on it, even.

    The hotel did not play around.

  46. physics2010 says:

    I’m glad hotels are going after the @holes that smoke in non-smoking rooms, because the smoking rooms smell….like smoke. The burden of proof, however lays somewhat heavy on the hotel. As far as this instance goes the lady needs only to indicate to the credit card company that the charge is disputed. The hotel will then have to take the lady to small claims court.

  47. Aleave says:

    Housekeeping does not do the picture taking. Vacant rooms HAVE to be cleaned THAT day in every major hotel chain. Housekeeping found the evidence, stopped everything they were doing, went and got the manager, who in turn took the pictures, and deemed it bad enough to charge her card. Like I say, it had to have been bad to warrant charging it. Most places won’t do it because they don’t want to deal with the inevitable charge back. Housekeeping has no say on whether or not it’s bad enough to charge these people. Management does. It was most likely refunded because $250 was not enough to deal with through her BS. I can guarantee she or someone she was with smoked in that room. They smoked like a chimney.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      “Guarantee”? BS. So tired of all these “I know EXACTLY what happened” Miss Cleos. I know you think it makes you look intelligent, but it just makes you look like a blowhard.

  48. tk427 says:

    “If I’m in room 7, how do I know I’m NOT the movie in room 8?”

    – Bronco Bob