Deceptive Practices and shameful treatment of "rewards" members.
I think my username is saying it all, but let me explain...
Recently I chose to book a room on Marriot's website. I was satisfied with the price published and the convenience of boring it over my phone app. After finding out later that I would be required to stay an extra day for work I attempted to cancel my reservation, only to find that the reservation was on a "pre-paid" rate. I attempted to contact customer service, which was extremely busy 6 days prior to my arrival date. After waiting 10 minutes I was told that the reservation was pre-paid and that I would need to speak with someone in customer care. I was placed on hold for another 15 minutes, after which I selected the "1" option to receive a call back.
After 24 hours...still no returned phone call...
I contacted the same number again and made it clear to the associate that I had not received a call back. She desperately tried to get me to agree to call back on a weekday, that customer care must be too busy. I made her aware that I would be too busy to discuss this issue on the weekday, and that I had already made 2 different calls. She was able to place me on hold and get a customer care representative on the phone. The customer care representative said that she had to call the hotel directly. She spoke with the assistant manager who told her that they were refusing to refund my 1 night of $140 worth of charges because it was a pre-paid rate. I asked her to escalate and she said that she needed more time to speak directly with the hotel manager, and that I again would receive a call back within 24 hours.
After 72 hours...I received a voicemail from customer service...as well as the following email:
Dear ****** XXXXX:
Thank you for contacting Marriott Customer Care. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information regarding your reservation at the Residence Inn Albuquerque Airport.
We researched your reservation and have determined it was booked online via Marriott.com. The rate, which was selected at the time of booking, was a special advance purchase rate. This is a discounted rate with special terms and conditions, including a requirement to make payment in full, including tax, at the time of booking. As noted online, this rate does not allow for any changes or cancellations without forfeiture of the advance payment.
While we can confirm that your reservation was cancelled online, the hotel did not refund your prepayment due to the special terms and conditions noted above.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Your patronage and goodwill are very important to us. If we can be of further assistance, we invite you to reply to this email.
Marriott Customer Care
This communication contains information from Marriott International, Inc. that may be confidential. Except for personal use by the intended recipient, or as expressly authorized by the sender, any person who receives this information is prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, and/or using it. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately delete it and all copies, and promptly notify the sender. Nothing in this communication is intended to operate as an electronic signature under applicable law.
Here's how the same process worked with Starwood when I had to modify and cancel a night in less time:
Contact Starwood customer care, get a rep, tell them I have a pre-paid rate that I accidentally clicked and that I would no be making my trip. Starwood customer care refunds rate and asks if there is any other hotel I need to book. I say yes, I book the next three weeks because I have not heard back from Marriott. They say "Thank You for our business." I go about my weekend.
Ladies and Gentleman who are buying into the Marriott Rewards thing, it is true, Marriott has a lot of locations and they are usually pretty available but as you can see form the story able, if you are a private corporate customer they will not force their franchisees to do anything on your behalf. They are willing to stand behind their hotel (which I can appreciate to an extent) and let you flounder with broken promises and wasted time. I am a manager of north american sales-esc employees for an internet security company and I can tell you that Starwood seems to be the place to go because they simply refuse to chose anyone other than their customers.