Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review: Sleep Inn Charleston (Savannah Highway)

Okay, this might not going to be "review" but more a "rant" about the Sleep Inn Charleston on Savannah Highway. I wrote "review" in the title of this post in the hopes that search engines are going to pick the title up and people get to read what I have experienced with this "fine' establishment so far and the issue is not resolved in the meantime.

It's a long one, please bear with me. Here is what went down:

Team "Do Not Resuscitate" needed accommodation in Charleston for after the Palmetto200. So I set out to find our team rooms early in March. We ended up choosing the Sleep Inn on Savannah Hwy in Charleston because of practical location and good pricing. Since it would be almost another 2 months until the relay and a lot of the team's family didn't know yet, if we they would join us down there, I ended up making reservations for 10 rooms. The thought process was to secure enough rooms and if we don't need them, we can always cancel them - right?? Yeah right! In order to make reservations on the rooms, I gave my credit card.

Fast forward to our last team meeting one week before the relay. We finally got the final headcount and found out that not many of us would have the family coming along. So we decided to cut the rooms in half and order rollaway beds for two of the rooms. Since I made the original reservations, I was in charge to take care of the rollaways and the cancellations. Which I did, first thing Monday morning. I had a young lady on the phone, whose name I can't recall (which is really extremely unfortunate) that went through all the confirmation numbers that needed canceling and all the confirmation numbers that we needed to add rollaways. In the course of our conversation, there were a couple of questions which she verified with somebody in the background. She said she is going to take care of it, we ended the phone call and I forgot all about it.

The morning we checked out of the hotel, the receptionist asked me what happened to the other five rooms that haven't been used from the group and I told her that I called the previous Monday and canceled those rooms. She then asked me who I talked to and I told her that I can't remember the name, but I can remember that I called Monday in the AM and that the girl kept on relaying questions to somebody else. She then responded: "Well, it must have been the new girl! I am going to take care of those cancellations for you." And we left and I forgot all about it again.

A couple of hours later while in the van on our way back to Greenville, I received a call from the receptionist again, trying to verify "my story" because her manager wouldn't let her take those reservations out of the system without a cancellation number. So she asked me if I had gotten a cancellation number which I didn't and I really didn't expect to get one, because nobody mentioned a cancellation number before this. She once again asked me, if I could remember the name of the person I talked to and again I said I couldn't. She said she is going to talk to her manager again and get back to me.

By Thursday of that week, nobody has gotten back to me, so I thought this whole topic has most likely been resolved, but I checked my credit card statement and low and behold, I had six hotel room charges on my CC. One of the room, that I actually used and the five canceled room... We are talking about around 600 bucks here that my CC has been charged with for canceled rooms.

What followed over the next couple of hours sure wasn't pretty... I called the hotel, I was promised a return call from the manager. Several hours later, I called again, finally got the manager on the phone and she basically just told me that I never called and I am making up this whole story and they kept those rooms for us in good faith* and now we have to pay for them. I then asked for her manager and she gave me the reservation hotline for the ChoiceHotels and those guys basically told me that billing related topics are the hotels responsibility, there is nothing they could do for me and if I don't agree with the charges, I should go ahead and dispute the transaction with my CC company.... How handy of a solution is that FOR THEM!

*I came to hate this phrase over the next couple of days.

I ended up disputing the transaction and as of now my balance has been corrected. But I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), since I believe they need to refund that money instead of pushing the responsibility over to the CC company.

The response by another hotel manager for my BBB complaint was going with the famous "in good faith" theme and that he spoke to each of his employees and nobody can remember talking to me (of course they are going to step up and say that they screwed up) and besides, group reservations cannot be changed anymore after 30 days prior to arrival. I have a confirmation e-mail that states, that I can cancel the room up to 6PM of the day of arrival.... So much for that and that's what I wrote in my response to the BBB.

That's the last thing that happened in this matter and I will keep you posted how things developed.... if anything else is going to happen from this point on.


  1. FWIW..
    the hotel is independently owned, the brand "sleep in" in this case is a booking facility. Working with the booking facility website is USUALLY the best way of going about things because you get EMAILS with the confirmation/cancelation numbers and you have an audit trail. You, stuff like, comptrollers like :)
    You do need proof of cancelation since the hotel only knows what is on the computer and that is operated by the booking facility.

    And yes, disputing charges with your CC is a superior way of sorting this kind of issue out, VISA etc al take a dim view of gouging since it takes away from credibility of the VISA brand. They make the IRS look like sunshine and puppies comparatively.


  2. The only problem with that was, that the booking facility doesn't deal with group reservations. I tried to cancel the rooms online but it wouldn't let me because they were part of a group.

    Live and learn...

  3. Live and learn, indeed ! And I agree, it does suck having to spend time on that kind of issues. But, it has to be done and don't worry, you'll prevail. Judging from your story it sounds like the establishment in question let untrained personel answer the phone, which, usually, is a recipe for ticking customers off.

  4. Also, go to and rate the hotel. A lot of people check that site before they reserve anywhere.--Judy O.

  5. Thanks for the tip. I was actually planning on doing that and then forgot all about it, but I have already written it up now! ;-)