Air your grievance the moment it happens

Question: Would you help me with a dilemma, please? I recently booked a trip to Seattle through Expedia. My accommodations were at the Marriott’s Renaissance Seattle Hotel.

On my first night, when I turned on the heat, I felt as if I was getting bitten all over. In fact, I had red welts on my face and back.

The next morning, I told an assistant manager that I could no longer stay there. Apparently, he knew of the heating unit’s problem — it was full of pollen that affected hyperallergic people. He was very apologetic and helpful at the time, and he said he would cancel my full reservation. He explained that Expedia deferred to the hotel in these types of decisions.

However, when I received my credit card bill, the charge of $989 for my four-day stay was listed on it. The hotel claims that it sent a full refund to Expedia, but Expedia hasn’t refunded my account. Could you assist me in removing all charges from my bill?

Barbara Kaplan, Swarthmore, Pa.

Answer: Yes and no. You’re entitled to a partial refund if the hotel told you that it would give you one. A review of the Renaissance’s restrictions suggests that you could have canceled your reservation up to a day before your arrival. Otherwise, you would be charged for the first night as a penalty.

You waited until the morning after to take this up with a manager. I’m not sure I would have been that patient. The best time to address a consumer grievance is at the moment it happens — when you can show a hotel employee the red welts that are keeping you awake. The Renaissance might have been able to offer you a different room, or perhaps even a room at another Marriott hotel in the area, in order to make your stay more comfortable.

If the hotel refunded Expedia directly instead of sending the money back to your card, there would have been a little lag time. But how much? It all depends; however, it’s not that unusual to wait two to three billing cycles for the money to appear.

But as a practical matter, Expedia should send you the money as soon as it gets it. If it doesn’t, you could contact the hotel (which you did) and the online travel agency. A written request probably would work best. I list the name, emails and phone numbers of Expedia’s executives on my site: http://elliott.org/contacts/expedia/.

I contacted Expedia on your behalf, and it refunded your room rate, minus $247 for the first night you spent at the Renaissance. When the assistant manager told you he would cancel your “full” reservation, he meant that he would cancel the entire remaining reservation. Had you notified the hotel of your health issues sooner, and checked out before the morning, I might have been able to push for a refund of the entire amount, particularly if a hotel representative had offered you all of your money back. But the partial refund is enough to close this case.

King Features Syndicate Inc.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Kamiak student Aidan Norris (center) drags Matthew Ninh into a scene as Mitchell Beard (left) reads his lines. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Joy, disappointment at Kamiak High’s ‘Spamalot’ auditions

More than 80 students try out for 45 roles in the outrageous Monty Python musical comedy.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

What’s new for 2018 for travelers in Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway and Finland have embarked on many urban, cultural and transit projects.

Kia Rio subcompact takes a classy step up in 2018

A new design, roomier cabin, and better fuel economy are among the improvements on the 2018 Kia Rio.

Overcome your fear of death, in a book title at least

Three novels about death worth reading at Everett Public Library.

Dolores O’Riordan was lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries

The police force said the death was being treated as “unexplained.”

‘Trump saying something racist isn’t exactly news anymore:’ ‘SNL’

The week’s news was dominated by reports that Trump disparaged Haiti, El Salvador and all of Africa.

Bald eagle no longer listed as ‘sensitive species’ in the state

A recent study found that eagle numbers are strong throughout Washington.

Most Read