Vacation Condo Charges Me For Causing Internet Outage, But It Wasn’t Me

Visiting a beach town on business, Dontel stayed in a condo building that’s oriented more toward tourists. When he checked in, he learned that some guests were having intermittent Internet connection issues, and was told to report any problems he had to the front desk. Okay. He didn’t have any problems. When he returned home, he learned that the condo management had conducted an investigation, and blamed the outage on…Dontel. They claim that he tampered with his unit’s access point, messing up Internet access for that whole part of the building. They’ve billed him $120 for their trouble. He says that he didn’t touch the access point, and didn’t even know that there was one in the room. He asks the Consumerist Hive Mind for help: is there any way that he can prove he’s not behind the fateful hard reset?

I’m writing today to try to get some advice from the Consumerist Hive Mind on a situation I’m dealing with. Recently I stayed at the [redacted] Condominiums in [redacted] while I was in that area for work. Upon checking in my coworker and I were informed by the front desk that other residents were currently having internet problems and to let them know if we have any problems.

I go to my room I am able to connect to the through the wireless network so everything is fine. I go to my meetings, enjoy some good food, and get to walk on the beach, check out 3 days later and return home. Great productive trip, or so I think.

Upon returning home I notice and additional charge of $120.00 on my credit card from the condo. I call to investigate and this is when they informed that I tampered with their router that was in my unit. They claim that I removed a sticker that says “Do not use” switching the port the the Ethernet cable was plug into. And when that didn’t work that I did a hard reset on the router returning it to factory settings (also reverting it back to a router rather then an access point) and in turn causing the internet access in adjacent rooms to become unavailable.

I tried calling up and was able to speak to their head Internet Technician and even the Owner who are both sticking by their “investigation”. Despite the fact that I have told them that I never touched the router. I wasn’t even aware that each room had a router. And had no need to change anything as I was able to access the Internet.

Of course I do not have any proof of the routers state upon my arrival to the room. All I know is that I never committed the act that they are accusing me of. When I informed the Owner that I would be requesting a charge back through my credit card company he threatened to file a a claim in Small Claim Court against me stating that “it would be a big hassle for both of us”.

That’s where we stand now. They’re not going to refund my money and I have yet to file a dispute. Hopefully someone can provide me with some guidance on the steps I should take.

I’ve attached the letter, agreements, and “investigation” report that they sent to me.

Networking pros of Consumerist: you’ve been summoned. Can you help Dontel?

We didn’t include the agreement in this post: the relevant part is the same as the highlighted text in the letter above.

(Click on the thumbnail to view full-size.)