A year and a half ago I wrote about the Hyatt Regency Crystal City improperly charging me for a bottle of water. It’s a tiny matter the scheme of things, but if everyone ignored small charges, it would create a very strong incentive for hotels to purposely tack on charges like that, small enough that no one bothers, but at $3++ per room night actually meaningful. All guests would be worse off.
And I stay at enough hotels (around 150 room nights last year) that those $3 overcharges start to add up. Hotels never seem to leave off charges from my bill. Mistakes always seem to be in the hotel’s favor.
So always check your folio. But that’s not enough. You have to watch your credit card statement too.
One of my Top Ten 10 Pet Peeves is billing your credit card for additional charges after checkout and not bothering to give you a heads up.
- When a hotel decides to charge you for something that wasn’t on your folio when you checked out, by just billing your credit card, they should have to email to let you know they are doing it and identify the item(s).
By all means, you should pay what you owe, but a huge pet peeve is additional (usually small) charges showing up on my credit card statement. If I didn’t comb through my statements I wouldn’t even know they had done this. And then I have to get in touch with the property to find out what this additional charge is even for.
If a hotel’s systems and processes are too poor to identify charges before checkout, they should at the very least proactively reach out to the customer to explain they’re hitting the card for more charges and send a statement detailing those charges. Don’t leave it to the customer to notice they’ve been hit, and then have to do research to understand why.
So when I stayed again at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City and the front desk confirmed for me that in-room bottled water is still a courtesy they extent to Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond members (which is much appreciated) I was pleased when my folio didn’t have any improper charges on it. They did better this time!
Or so I thought. They charged my card for the amount on the folio — and then charged it again for $3.18 — a $3 bottle of water, plus tax.
Since I happened to remember the story (and amount!) from a year and a half ago it didn’t take much investigation to figure out what happened. Housekeeping serviced the room after I had left, saw a bottle of water used, and reported it. They posted the charge, and didn’t check against their policy for Diamonds post-checkout.
It was easily fixed with the hotel, although it’s annoying because of the time it takes to figure out and because I’d have never even known if I didn’t investigate all unknown charges on my credit cards. Many people wouldn’t bother with $3.18 and I wouldn’t blame them. I do.
Do you bother checking your credit card statements and following up on small charges like this?