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Mercure London Paddington - ludicrous 'security'

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RooFlyer

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I booked and pre paid a night here a month or so ago. Funds were transferred from my credit card almost immediately.

When I checked in today, I presented my passport as usual, and they took a copy of it before I knew what was happening. I wasn't happy - I don't like stuff like that copied willy nilly, but it was too late. I said I want the copy back, on check out, with no copies retained. In no other hotel throughout central and Eastern Europe this trip has a copy of my passport been taken. I know a copy will be taken in Russia, but it's still a quasi Police State, needing police registration.

Then they asked me for a credit card for extras. No problem, I gave them a business card that I wasn't using. That way it gets stuck with all the ' pre authorisations' that take ages to come off and can add up to a dent in ones credit availability, keeping my personal card, being used for the trip ( as well as Citi plus debit card :)) free. But no, they wanted to take a swipe of the card I paid for the room with, as well They said it was " for security" and on the Trip Advisor web site a manager says it's to prevent fraudulent use of the card.

I refused point blank, saying that they had 1) sighted the original card ( I showed it to the check in guy), 2) had a copy of my passport to ID me AND 3) a swipe of another credit card of mine.

Guy insisted on taking a swipe of the original card. I still refused. This was a ridiculous bridge too far. The funds had been taken, they knew who I was, they have the card details on file. Eventually he gave in and asked me to sign something he typed up saying I declined to allow a swipe of the card.

So tell me, was I unreasonable? I simply get fed up with hotels taking more and more liberties with ones ID and credit cards etc. The funds had been taken from that card, they had seen the card in my hands and they had a copy of my passport. Enough was enough.
 

OzEire

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I can understand your frustrations, I too value my privacy and dislike these checks.

I also get why lots of hotels, and online booking sites, do this for various security and anti-fraud measures.

Hotel reception staff are just doing their job. Hotel management might be able to help but may not have the freedom, or inclination, to over-rule the booking site requirements.

Would be interesting to know what their position would have been if you didn't bring or had lost your 'booking' card.
 
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RooFlyer

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I can understand your frustrations, I too value my privacy and dislike these checks.

I also get why lots of hotels, and online booking sites, do this for various security and anti-fraud measures.

Hotel reception staff are just doing their job. Hotel management might be able to help but may not have the freedom, or inclination, to over-rule the booking site requirements.

Would be interesting to know what their position would have been if you didn't bring or had lost your 'booking' card.
I asked them what would they do if I had lost or cancelled the original card. Reply was that they would cancel the original transaction ( refund the money I assume) and charge the card I had on me. Wonder how I would access the funds refunded on a cancelled card.

I value merchants looking out for fraudulent use of cards. But in this case there should have been no doubt as to my identity, nor that I was the holder of the card in question. It didn't require a swipe.

In other places where I prepaid, I was asked to sign the credit card chit that was printed from the original cc booking and payment ( ie signing retrospectively). No problems in doing that.

On reflection, I suspect that the requirement to have the original card swiped was to 'prove' that the check in person had actually sighted the original card. An untrusting management?

BTW before I hit London, it was refreshing to tour all over Europe, from Netherlands to Romania and never had to give a credit card as a 'guarantee' ( except in Vienna IIRC) :).


RooFlyer
 

opusman

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Hotels making copies of passports is very common throughout Europe, although I haven't often noticed it in the UK. Certainly not out of the ordinary though.
 

Anna

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It's amazing how many people switch their brains off when opening their mouths to say "it's because of security" or "it's because of privacy".

Were you unreasonable? If the issue was important to you then I would say no. Would everyone object? Probably not.

I know where you are coming from because I have done similar in the past. A bank rang me this week and then their first statement was "ok I just need you to answer some security questions". "Not on your nelly", I replied (or words to that effect). "Oh well in that case I can't give you the good news", says she. "If it's so important you can write to me", quoth I. "I didn't expect this conversation to go like this", she said :shock: Oh, you just expect everyone to hand over their personal details to anyone who rings up and says they are from a bank?? :shock:

I have had a similar conversation in the past with someone ringing from the ATO and they did not like it one bit that I refused to answer their security questions when they were ringing me (unsolicited) and not vice versa.
 

moa999

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Suspect they are just minimising risk.

A merchant is responsible for all CNP (Card Not Present) transactions such as your online payment. The minute you question it the funds will be removed from the settlement. By converting the transaction from a CNP to a CP (and presumably PIN authorised) transaction, they substantially reduce their risk.
 
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