Bad experience with hotel
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29-12-2014, 03:14 AM
Bad experience with hotel
I had a bad experience a couple of years ago. We had gone to California on vacation, taken the grandchildren to Disneyland, seen L.A., the Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater, etc.

The financial strategy for the trip was to take only two debit cards, no credit cards and to keep cash on hand to a minimum.

We spent the night in an out-of-the-way hotel that was rather nice, $150 / night. I gave them my debit card, got checked in and we spent the night. On checking out the girl at the desk said that the card had not cleared and that she needed an alternate form of payment. This sounded strange to me, that the problem had not shown up when we checked in.

The girl suggested that I go to the gas station next door and get cash from their ATM machine. Now my suspicions were really high. Why should the card work with an ATM machine when it would not work for the hotel? I suspected that the girl was trying to con me, that the card had indeed cleared and she was trying to double charge me.

I called my bank on my cell and was told that the problem was probably that I was spending an unusually large amount while out of town. They called me back about an hour later and said that that was not the problem. They suggested having the hotel try to run the card again. Again it would not clear.

I was beginning to think of trying to get relatives back east to wire us some cash. The problem with that was that the nearest Western Union was about 100 miles away (this was really in the middle of nowhere) and the hotel would not agree to let me leave, even if I left the family as hostages. On more than one occasion the girl had hinted about calling the cops.

About noon my bank called and told me that no charges from the hotel had ever been presented.

The problem was that the hotel was not swiping the card but were entering the numbers manually on a laptop with a faulty keyboard. So the whole thing was resolved, but to this day I still suspect they were trying to scam me.

I'd rather not reveal the name of the hotel as I think they probably have better lawyers than I can afford. However, I suggest that you avoid hotels that are not part of major chains, that are far from interstates and that are owned by Indian tribes.

Sapere aude
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29-12-2014, 07:21 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
You had me with you until the end of the last sentence.
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29-12-2014, 07:49 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
Having done quite a substantial amount of traveling, and often opting to stay away from the conference crowds in smaller but nice independent hotels, I have learned to do the following..

I always carried a debit card linked to an account that was habitually empty. Just before using the card, I would get online and transfer the exact amount of money into that account. That prevents anyone else trying to use the card for anything as the account is always empty. I still do this when shopping online.

It also lets you see at a glance if the money has left the account...

An alternative is also using a prepaid card, you can buy mastercards or visas most anywhere and load whatever amount on it. You can buy a number of them and use them like traveler checks...

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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29-12-2014, 08:20 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
Just say the name.
It's not defamation if it's true.

It doesn't sound to me like they were trying to scam you, rather that the lady behind the counter was a fucking retard.

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29-12-2014, 08:42 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
There are certain things it is always better to use credit cards for. Credit cards offer you protection and debit cards offer you none.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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29-12-2014, 08:50 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
That she wanted you to go get cash makes me think she was gonna pocket the cash, and then charge your card after you left.
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29-12-2014, 09:38 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
It could have been worse.

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29-12-2014, 10:56 AM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
KC

There is an excellent book on that whole thing called Devil in the White City

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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29-12-2014, 04:39 PM (This post was last modified: 29-12-2014 04:43 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Bad experience with hotel
Debit cards are a horrible idea for a hotel. Many of them add a security deposit to the debit card and can tie up those funds for quite some time. Same thing with rental cars. The reputable ones at least tell you that up front though.

#sigh
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29-12-2014, 05:57 PM
RE: Bad experience with hotel
Some hotels and rental cars won't accept debit cards. Not having a credit card can be a serious liability in the modern world.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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