bill-shockUnexpected charges on a hotel bill can be frustrating at the best of times. But one member recently discovered a fraudulent addition to their bill of almost $300 worth of room service charges!

I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Central Park from 24-28 September and had a room service charge to my account for USD 290.75 (yes that is a lot of food!)

I was not in my room at the time when the service was ordered, and the Hotel says my room was accessed using a guest card when I was at a meeting on Park Avenue at the time. They also say someone was in my room to sign and accept the food. I have the receipts (from the hotel) which do not match my signature (even remotely) and can get statutory declarations that I was not at the hotel at the time, and that I had dinner downtown in the east village that night.

Despite protesting that the charges were fraudulent, the hotel has refused to drop them from this member’s bill. Our member has even got in touch with HHonors, the loyalty program of Hilton Hotels. But, despite being a loyal Hilton customer that has spent 34 nights in Hilton Hotels this year, HHonors too appeared disinterested. So, is our member stuck with the hefty room service bill or are there other remedies available?

One member suggests processing a credit card chargeback. They believe this should reverse the fraudulent charges, especially as the signature on the receipt does not resemble our member’s.

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Another possibility is to get the police involved. Although not all are convinced that the police can resolve the situation, some believe that at least the threat of contacting police will push the hotel to investigate. As it stands, the hotel appears disinterested in even entertaining the complaint.

I would have asked them for the local NYPD precinct phone number then and there, you would be amazed how quickly attitudes change. i have beaten off plenty of scammers that way when traveling.

One member suggests writing a frank review on TripAdvisor. Hotels sometimes take negative reviews more seriously when they’re on a public forum for all to see.

Do you do Trip Advisor? Might be a good time to start.

Unfortunately it seems that in this instance, the charges were not picked up on check-out as the “express check-out” facility was used. With the benefit of hindsight, our members suggest that checking out using the traditional method ensures there are no erroneous charges added to the final bill. In addition, one member has a unique strategy to try to limit extra charges after checking out…

Don’t know if it would stand up but with my express check-out account I always circle the amount to be charged and write “circled amount approved $?.?? to be charged” and sign it. It seems to stop any miscellaneous charges made up by the minibar inspector

What would you have done in this situation? Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]