Q: I recently booked a room at the Cassa Hotel 45th Street using Expedia. I was confirmed for a Petite Single room and an offer to “Forgo Housekeeping & Save 10%.”
My wife and I stayed in the hotel, and we skipped housekeeping. When we went to check out, our bill did not credit us with the 10 percent savings for forgoing housekeeping.
A hotel representative told us that if we wanted housekeeping, it would have cost us an additional 10 percent over the promised rate of $269 per night, and Cassa Hotel refused to give us a refund.
I wrote both the hotel and Expedia asking for the refund they had promised, but received no response from either company.
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I think this is a fraudulent deception to induce customers to book a room, and they should either fulfill their promise or be enjoined from promising this discount.
David Weitzman, Berkeley
A: I read the description from Expedia’s site the same way you do: If you forgo cleaning services during your stay, the Cassa Hotel will knock 10 percent off your bill.
When you contacted me with screenshots of the offer, I tried to find the offer on Expedia, and I couldn’t. I also tried to find Cassa’s disclosure of its housekeeping discount on its site, but none was available. That leads me to believe that this may have been either a special offer through an online travel agency or something done off the books for certain guests.
Like most travel companies, hotels interpret offers in a way that’s favorable to them. So I wasn’t surprised that the property would say that the quoted rate had already factored in the housekeeping discount, and that it would charge 10 percent more if you asked for clean towels and linens.
That’s actually a clever variety of the hotel resort fee, those mandatory daily charges that cover everything that should be included in the cost of your room. Don’t even get me started on those.
The misunderstanding was between you and Expedia, though. If Expedia prominently displayed the 10 percent discount offer, it should have promptly replied to your request for a refund. It appears as though you went through all the right channels, but you could have tried an appeal to someone higher up at Expedia. I list the names, numbers and emails of Expedia’s executives on my consumer-advocacy website: http://elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia.
Looking back, this might have been avoided if you’d asked the hotel for the specifics of its discount before you booked. A representative should have explained that the rate already had the discount factored in, and then you might have booked a different hotel.
I contacted Expedia on your behalf. It says it refunded 10 percent of your hotel bill, or $108.
Email Christopher Elliott at email@example.com.