This is what Consumerist reader Amy says happened to her mother recently with a Hampton Inn here in Pennsylvania.
According to Amy, her mom had to cancel her reservation due to a family emergency, so she contacted the hotel to see what its policy is.
“She was told she had plenty of time to cancel,” writes Amy. “So she spoke to a nice young woman who said she would take care of the cancellation, and gave her a cancellation number. At this point we thought everything was taken care of.”
But a few weeks later, Amy’s mom looks at her bank statement and sees that the hotel had gone ahead and hit her with a $500 charge for her entire canceled reservation.
“She called the Hampton Inn and they said it would have to be something that was dealt with through their corporate office,” Amy tells Consumerist. “When she called the corporate office they informed her that she had actually booked a no-cancellation room, which was her own fault. HOWEVER they said that since the hotel made the mistake of saying we could get a full refund, and even issuing her a cancellation number then they should still be able to refund the full rate, they just had to check with the hotel first.”
Another couple of weeks go by, and Amy’s mom gets a call from someone at Hilton, the parent company for Hampton Inn.
The Hilton rep gave her the bad news that the hotel is now denying that it ever offered Amy’s mom a refund on her reservation.
“The woman at the corporate office even said that if it were up to them they would just refund it, but those decisions are made by the individual hotels,” says Amy. “So even though we have a cancellation number, the hotel just says ‘oh well that never happened’ and my mother is out $500.”
Amy says she completely understands that her mother may have reserved a non-refundable room, but doesn’t understand why Hampton Inn failed to mention this when it promised to refund her mother the full amount of her reservation. Instead, it waster five weeks of everyone’s time, all just to end up with an unhappy customer who probably won’t be staying at a Hilton-owned hotel anytime soon.
We’re reaching out to Hilton to see if it has a side to this story that might explain why the hotel first told Amy’s mom it would refund her reservation and why it took so long to suddenly realize she’d made a non-refundable reservation.
UPDATE: After putting Amy and her mom in touch with Hilton HQ, they were able to get a refund for the full amount.