Does he really have to pay a Days Inn cleaning fee?

A traveler is hit with a $150 bed-cleaning bill from a sketchy motel in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Q: I stayed at Days Inn in St. Paul, Minnesota, recently. It was not a pleasant experience. The motel was dirty and stinky. I had to get my room key reset every day or else it wouldn’t work, which was inconvenient. Their staff also was not very friendly, and the morning I checked out they were not at the front desk to help me but were outside smoking.

A few days after my stay, I noticed I had a $150 charge on my credit card from Days Inn. I called the motel, and a representative told me that it was a cleaning charge. He said there was blood all over the sheet and pillow in my room.

When I left, I didn’t notice any blood anywhere. I asked Days Inn for pictures and they sent me a picture of just a little blood on some sheets. But the hotel did not provide proof that it was from my room.

I believe Days Inn charged me just to make some extra money. If they are going to hold their guests to such a high standard and charge them when something happens that they didn’t know about, they need to hold the rest of the motel to the same standard. Why not keep it clean and smelling better and have nicer, friendlier staff and room keys that work for more than one day?

I would like a complete refund of my Days Inn cleaning fee. Can you help?

— Joel Koehn, West Union, Iowa

A: If Days Inn can’t prove you bloodied the sheets in your room, you shouldn’t have to pay $150. And even if it can, I think the way it handled your charge leaves something to be desired. The hotel should have contacted you to discuss the state of the bed, and only after showing you proof of the damage should it have charged you a cleaning fee. Instead, it simply charged your card.

Days Inn doesn’t disclose its $150 cleaning fee on its website. But I looked at the photos it sent. There are no timestamps and nothing that would indicate the damage happened in your room, such as a room number or a geotag. It didn’t send you an incident report, either. Days Inn is simply asking you to believe it.

I quizzed you about your stay. Did you have any medical episodes while you were there? Any other guests in the room? You didn’t have so much as a nosebleed, and there were no additional guests. I’m suspicious of Days Inn’s cleaning charge.

I think a politely worded email to Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Days Inn’s corporate parent, might have helped. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the top executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. If it doesn’t respond, you could have — and should have — disputed the extra charge on your credit card.

Now, I’m not saying cleaning fees are not legit. If someone trashes a hotel room, then the property should be able to charge you for the cleanup. But Days Inn didn’t meet even the most basic threshold for proving the bloody sheets were from your room.

I contacted Days Inn on your behalf. It refunded your $150 as a “goodwill gesture.”

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the author of “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler.”

Talk to us

More in Life

You’ve never seen anything like this woman’s crafting room

Everett resident and retired teacher Melissa Halferty loves all things red, vintage and Frida Kahlo.

Sarah Feinberg will perform as SYLVI, her solo singer-songwriter project, for Everett Music Initiative’s HOMEBODIES streaming series. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Streaming concerts help fill a local music void in Everett

HOMEBODIES, hosted by Everett Music Initiative’s Facebook page, will feature performances by local artists.

Four easy-to-grow vegetables you should plant in your garden

If you plant these perennial crops now, you’ll be harvesting their bounty by next year. And every year after that.

Videos offer virtual art lessons during coronavirus shutdown

Mukilteo resident Christine Awad Schmalz is posting instructional videos twice a week on Facebook.

Great Plant Pick: Crocus ‘Goldilocks,’ Goldilocks crocus

This large-flowering bulb features golden blooms with a splash of burgundy on the outer petals.

Pottery sandwich looks good enough to eat — except for the frog

This David Gilhooly sculpture sold for $2,125. He added frogs to his artwork as a running joke.

‘Queen of bluegrass’ to perform in Darrington this summer

Rhonda Vincent is among the headliners who will play at the Darrington Bluegrass Festival July 17-19.

What to stream: ‘Mark Ruffalo Investigates’ movie marathon

Watch “Zodiac,” “Spotlight” and “Dark Waters,” in which the actor plays real-life investigators.

The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project will host a presentation on “Gardening for Pollinators and Birds,” April 15 on Camano Island. (Mike Benbow)
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Events listed here are scheduled to happen after April 6, when Gov.… Continue reading

Most Read