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shurmust
shurmust, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 165
Experience:  I have successfully prosecuted over 50 jury trials advocating on behalf of the government.
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I booked a room with a Choice Hotels hotel, for 8 days, 8/24-9/01.

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I booked a room with a Choice Hotels hotel, for 8 days, 8/24-9/01. Unfortunately, two things transpired after the booking: 1) I learned the place was a dump (barking dogs, sketchy characters, dirty rooms), and 2) I had to change my length of stay in the area. This was a 'prepaid' reservation, which Choice Hotels offered but said "no changes, no cancellations". My credit card hadn't been charged yet, so I called the hotel to cancel the reservation, and she said, 'the computer won't let me. you have a prepaid reservation'. I asked for and got a phone number for Choice Hotels, called them, and was told the same thing. After I ended that phone call and checked my email, I found that Choice Hotels had charged the 830.00 to my credit card. I've contacted my credit card company, and they said I could dispute the charges but would have to wait 15 days from the date of the charge posting, which was 7/31/13.

The kicker is, the confirmation statement for the original booking said that, if I didn't check in on the 24th of August, my room would be released on 8/25 at 7:00 a.m.! For a room I've already paid for!!

What are my options, and rights, in these circumstances?

shurmust :

I am sorry to hear about your situation and I am happy to help you resolve the matter.

shurmust :

First, while they say they may forfeit your room if you do not check-in within 24 hours, despite it being fully prepaid, I would be shocked if they did not allow you to continue your stay should it come to that.

shurmust :

However, you should absolutely dispute the charge with the credit card company when you have the first opportunity.

Customer:

I've set the dispute process in motion with my credit card company.

Customer:

And I have no intention of staying in that hotel.

shurmust :

Finally, in situations such as this, while unfortunate, I have found these type of issues to be resolved with a simple letter to the corporate office and copy the hotel. I would explain that there has been a change in circumstance, perhaps you were unaware of the "prepay" and you may have a family emergency or other situation that may divert you from your stay.

shurmust :

It may also help to call the corporate office and explain your situation. Certainly, I would explain that you do not intend to "litigate" this matter, but you may be compelled to should they continue to charge your account.

shurmust :

How soon after you paid for the hotel, did you wish to cancel the hotel?

Customer:

I called the hotel to cancel, BEFORE any charges had been posted to my card.

shurmust :

I can tell you, the last thing a hotel like this wants is to get tied up in a small claims court or litigation over $800. The costs far outweigh their profits.

Customer:

But, is it the hotel,or is it Choice Hotels the corporation that would go to court?

shurmust :

How many days after you purchased the hotel did you call to cancel

Customer:

1 day

shurmust :

Generally, most states have a law that allows you to withdraw a contract within 3 days. So that will work in your manner.

shurmust :

However, this is more ammunition you can use in a letter to corporate and to the hotel.

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX good bit of information to know. I'll have to see if it applies to me here in Michigan (the hotel also located in Michigan)

shurmust :

My pleasure. If you need anything else, I am here to help. Good luck!

Customer:

Got it. Thanks!

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