On Mar 5, 2018, approx, 10PM EST, using the Marriott Reward site, I tried to make a reservation for SpringHill Suites in North Charleston/Ashley Phospate property, 7535 N Forest Dr, Charleston, SC. Initially, the site for a reservation at this property show inoperable. I then called the property direct and the lady at reservations told me the computer wasn't working and she could not help me with a reservation.
Unfortunately, I then went to Expedia/Hotels.com to try to make a reservation. There are two choices at the top of the page for this property. The first choice is lowest price and the second, with a slightly higher rate, showed a cancellation policy of Mar 10. This was my preference. However, I clicked on the line just above the second line and immediately received confirmation that my reservation and cancellation policy was "non refundable." I quickly called hotels. com, spoke with a lady with somewhat limited English language ability and was told I had to wait until noon the following day to talk directly to the manager of the hotel. She sounded positive about resolving the situation, so I could get the 10 Mar cancellation policy and I was certainly willing to pay the slightly higher per night cost. Wrong assumption!
The following day, Tues, 6 Mar, I spoke to the Mr Radu Moodova, who said he was the SpringHill Suites/Ashley Phosphate manager. After speaking with Mr Moodova I strongly believe he is trying to make it difficult to use the Marriott Reward site for reservations, and further using the "no cancellation" policy associated with third party hotel reservations companies to fill as many of his rooms as possible with "non refundable" reservations. This is predatory behavior, in collaboration with hotels.com, because Moodova was absolutely unwilling to work with me to modify the reservation. He was rude and aggressive in his tone and absolutely my worst experience with Marriott properties managers/employees in decades of being a Marriott Customer (currently Gold Elite).
Also, when I called Marriott Gold Elite customer service the very nice lady on the phone told me there was nothing she could do and that I must be careful because there are many complaints about third party hotel reservations companies, especially affecting "older" customers. I'm 67 and I find this comment shows that such third party hotel reservations companies, especially when they collaborate with someone like Moodova, to be blatantly discriminatory in how they make their web site user friendly and, again, this is predatory behavior.
I am continuing to pursue this type of customer discrimination and predatory activity in multiple avenues, including Congressional engagement as well as direct interaction with Marriott Headquarters in Bethesda, MD. While I'm sure third party hotel reservations companies, as well as Marriott will try to convince me and others that there are relatively few complaints such as mine, how could one really know. Conversations like I had with Moodova are likely not reported most of the time, because customers are led to believe there is no way out of unintended third party reservations inputs. Also, I predict little or no response from Marriott on this issue, but will not give up on trying to fix this problem for others in every way I can.