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How do I escalate a complaint beyond the customer service black hole?

Question asked by kvegas on Aug 7, 2019
Latest reply on Aug 15, 2019 by pat2927

I am extremely frustrated and disappointed in the lack of response I am getting from Marriott Customer Service.  I have been dealing with this continuously since my stay back in June with no satisfactory resolution offered so far.  I have called on 4 separate occasions, each time getting a very friendly understanding rep who understands my issue and even agreeing with me.  They say they are going to get a resolution and call me back.  They never call back.  


Back in June my family of 4 exhausted my final 240,000 Marriott points to stay at The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas.  We had stayed there two years prior and had an absolutely fantastic experience.  While I make a decent living, there is no way I could afford a 5 night Bahama vacation without using points.  I also should mention that I am Titanium Elite for Life, being a member over 10 years and logging over 950 nights to date.  I was fully prepared to not receive any Elite benefits at this property since it is well known that Bonvoy status gets you nothing at this resort. Our experience on this trip wasn't quite as fantastic as the last one, but we still had a good time.  The problem occurred at check out when I was charged $616 extra persons fees for my 2 children ages 15 & 17.  This was a shock to me and blew the vacation budget out of the water.  Why was this a shock to me?  


1. I was not charged this fee the previous visit.

2. This fee was not included in the estimated charges on the reservation details even though the resort fee was.

3. Marriott's terms & conditions section 3.2.e regarding included charges on point redemption stays directly states that extra person fees are included in the redemption stay except for the listed properties in the next subsection which did not include any Atlantis properties.

4. Most importantly!!!!!! I was not informed at check-in that this fee would be added.  Yes, I signed the standard form that everyone has to sign at check in stating that the room was subject to extra person fees, but due to reasons 1-3 above I did not worry about it.


At check out I questioned the charge.  The front desk clerk provided me with a copy of the agreement I had signed at check in stating the extra person fee policy.  In return I showed the clerk the terms and conditions section regarding redemption stays and the reservation detail estimated charges.  I was told that I would have to take it up with Marriott since it was their terms and conditions.  We had a plane to catch so I intended to do just that.  I left with confidence that Marriott would make it right somehow. So far not so good.


While waiting in the airport I sent a Twitter message to Marriott to state the issue.  The response?  Call Atlantis.  I called Atlantis and again was told to contact Marriott.  I sent a 2nd Twitter message to Marriott.  The response was that a case had been opened and I would hear from the hotel directly.


1st call to Marriott:  Call went great.  Rep agreed with me and even went so far as to say that he was going to do everything he could to get my $616 back.  Woohoo!  He said we had to give the property 5 additional days to respond and they would likely reach out to me directly to resolve it.  He would call me back to follow up. Nope.  No call and no call back from Marriott.


Meanwhile a Twitter response comes in from Marriott quoting their terms and conditions section that specifically addresses Atlantis properties.  Why does this have it's own section?  Why wouldn't this be addressed in the point redemption section?  The terms state that redemption stays at The Cove, The Coral, and The Royal does not include extra person fees.  Ok so now we have conflicting information in the terms and conditions.  The message went on to state that the extra persons fees went into effect April 20, 2018.  Interesting statement to be made when an email that I got later stated that this policy had always been in effect and had not changed.


I call Marriott a second time to appeal my case that there is conflicting terms, I wasn't fully informed, and wasn't charged before.  This rep again said she would escalate and I would receive a call back in 5 business days.  No call back.


3rd call to Marriott: Rep advised case had been closed but could not tell me the result on the phone.  She stated that she would email me the resolution shortly after we end the call.  Got email which stated case was closed as the terms and conditions state..........blah blah blah.  


4th call to Marriott:  Nice rep named Kat listened to my points again and said she fully understood my side and that she was again going to send it over to the department that handles Atlantis issues.  She said to give the old 5 days for response.  I voiced my doubt since I hadn't received a call back yet so she went so far as to give me a phone number for Mr. Marriott's office.  5 days later I called that number and could only leave a voice mail.  I requested a call back regarding the case number.  You guessed call back.


5th call to Marriott:  Amazingly spoke to Kat again!  She remembered me and my issue.  She put me on hold to try to call the general manager of the property.  On hold for probably 15 total minutes.  She did check in twice stating that she was still trying to contact them.  Finally she came back and said she had the department that deals with Atlantis on the other line and they would be calling me back once they spoke to the property.  Drum call.


So here's my issue.  I have completely proven my brand loyalty to Marriott which is evident in my status.  Why can't I get some semblance of loyalty in return to even simply call me back when they say they will.  I don't expect to get my $616 back.  I'm past that at this point, however I will not return to Atlantis unless I do get it back.  I can chalk this up to a learning experience to fully read the Bonvoy terms and conditions prior to any future resort stays.  


I'm attaching some supporting photos that support my story.


Marriott, I've got 20 more years of work travel before I hang it up and I'd really like it to be with you.  Please don't let one easy to resolve situation drive me away.  All I ask is to help me put this to rest feeling like you cared about me as a long time dedicated customer.  It would be nothing to throw some points back my way to compensate for the $616 that the hotel will never give back.


Anyone reading this, is there any other ways I can address this at a higher level than the folks I've been dealing with to at least get a "give it up we don't care" answer before I take my experience onto social media?


point redemption terms

reservation 1

reservation 2

email response

twitter response