TL;DR: I have pictures and video of bed bugs and bites from a stay at the Fairfield Inn in East Greenbush. General manger emailed me a "clean" inspection report from 9 days after my complaint and denied any problem. Who do I contact to remedy this issue?
I'm sorry this is my first post to the Insiders community but I don't know where else to turn. My wife and I were bitten by bed bugs during our stay at the Fiarfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Albany East Greenbush from September 1-3, 2018. We were attempting to celebrate my birthday by taking a road trip for the long weekend. (You can see how "unforgettable" this trip became through the pictures and video below). I've documented most of the journey below for completeness, so hopefully no other travelers have to relive my saga.
After moving the mattress and lifting up the bedskirt, I was able to find where the bed bugs were hiding and snap a couple pictures and video. I even managed to catch and kill one that I showed to the front desk as we were leaving the room. They apologized for the inconvenience and gave me the email of the general manager who'd "be able to able to resolve the issue."
Once we had returned home and washed all of our items (except for luggage which I threw out since it had been on the bed), I contacted the general manager and included the video and photos below to see what he could do to remedy the situation. He responded the next day with "...We are awaiting the professionals to come and inspect the room after having forwarded the information to them. I will be in contact with my corporate offices for a remedy of the situation and will keep you updated promptly. ...”
Because I had trouble sleeping the night before (since my whole body itched) and my bites were starting to swell, I decided see an urgent care doctor. They confirmed that I had bed bug bites and recommended some over the counter medicine to reduce the symptoms. After a couple days of taking the medication, the symptoms subsided and I "only" woke up when I thought something was biting me. Got to love the tricks the brain plays on you...
Fast forward to the following week and the GM hadn't provided an update on the situation, so I reached out to him on 9/10 asking for an update on the situation. He responded within the hour saying, "I am currently working on your case right now with our advisory team. In the meantime, if you could please provide me with you and your wife's date of birth for the file so we can compile your case accordingly. Also, please retain any doctor's visit bills for out of pocket expenses as we will definitely be taking care of those. I will notify you daily of the progress of this case.” We responded with our date of birth shortly thereafter and on 9/11 he replied saying, "Thank you for this information as I am adding this to your file. I will be forwarding the file to our advisory team for review. I will let you know when I receive response from them in regards to next steps.”
This is when things take a detour from what makes sense. We hadn't heard from him in two days and decided to follow-up with him on 9/13 requested a copy of the inspection report. The GM replied on 9/14 with a copy of the inspection report that took place on 9/12 (A FULL 9 DAYS AFTER MY COMPLAINT) indicating there were no bed bugs in the room and stated the following "I am following up with you on your report of insect bites while in your guest room. Please note that we inspected the guestroom and found no evidence of any bed bugs or other pest activity. We also had our pest control vendor inspect the room. They also found no evidence of any bed bugs or other pests in room or ones adjacent. I have attached a copy of the report as you have requested. Based on the inspections we feel the source of your contact with any insects occurred elsewhere. As such, we will be unable to provide you with any assistance. We certainly regret your misfortune and hope all is well with you. We thank you for your patronage and trust you can appreciate our position."
What set off red flags was his drastic change in tone. It went from someone who was sorry for there being an issue, going so far as to supposedly start a claim with Marriott corporate to someone who had erased all evidence and wouldn't be doing anything other than pay for medical bills because it's policy (whatever that means). I responded to the GM, asking for the corporate office and insurance carrier contact information since I wasn't going to be given the run around by someone obviously hiding something. On 9/15 he responded with "As previously stated, if there are any out of pocket medical expenses that you want reimbursed we have a medical payment benefit for guests regardless of the basis for any injury. If there is no medical expense you incurred, then please tell us what it is you are asking for. I will have my company consider your request and will advise you." and I decided it was best to stop talking with him and try elsewhere.
A little bit of online research led me to the Rensselaer County Environmental Health Department as the government entity that handles bed bug claims for that region. On 9/25 we contacting them to report bed bugs at the Fairfield Inn and asked them to inspect the property with the full understanding we were probably too late to take this step. On 9/26 one of the staff members inspected the hotel but we weren't provided an inspection report unless we went through a freedom of information act request. On 10/4 we submitted our request and after following up with the department multiple times, we finally received the report on 11/3. As one would expect, they didn't find anything in the room we stayed since the hotel had most likely taken steps to eliminate the bed bugs before the Ecolab inspection on 9/12.
Which brings me here, trying to find the next step in the journey. I haven't given up because it seems pretty clear the hotel doesn't take bed bug reports seriously and is actively covering them up when they occur. Given everything that's happened, I'm only asking the hotel reimburse the points I used to reserve both nights, reimburse my medical costs, and reimburse me for the luggage that I couldn't salvage. I should probably be asking for more due to the actions of the hotel general manager, but I'm foolishly hoping that by being "fair" things will work out. If you have any suggestions on who to contact or how to proceed, it'd be greatly appreciated so I can find closure for this experience.