Scam Alert: Are Hotels Billing You For Goodies You Didn't Eat, Hoping You Won't Check Your Bill?

Travel superhero Christopher Elliott is wondering if there’s some systematic shadiness afoot in the land of the hotel minibar. He’s been hearing reports of items not consumed showing up on hotel bills, and when the error is brought to the attention of the front desk, refunds are instantly credited with no argument. Hmmm.


Richards’ conclusion — and it’s one I tend to agree with — is is that some hotels are overbilling their customers on purpose, hoping that they won’t check their final receipts.

Which hotels are doing this? Richards thinks many are trying.

For a long period of time last year I was staying at a W almost weekly. It got to the point that before I took possession of the room I would have them come remove the “goodie box.” Recently at a Marriott I was charged $5 each day for a bottle of water I did not even touch, much less consume.

Have the frequent travelers among you noticed this? It may sound cynical, but we’ve noticed that whenever refunds are instantly credited with no argument — the probability that something shady was going on increases dramatically. We picture the hotel employee whistling while she removes the charge from your bill. Nothing to see here…

Scam alert: beware of hotels that charge for what you don’t eat — or drink [Elliott]
(Photo: Richard Moross )