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hotel collect call scams

Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 04:46 AM
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hotel collect call scams

I just returned from 3 weeks in Brazil predominately Sao Paulo and Rio. I just wanted to share a couple of my experiences with the hotels. I had trouble with one of my credit card reservations via Expedia.com. I asked advice from the hotel as Expedia and my credit card states that I can make a collect call from anywhere and the hotel operator assisted me in making the call. When I went to check out there was a mysterious international call charge of $ 245.00 R's. They stated that I placed the call and had to pay for it. I decided rather than argue that I would take it up with my credit card company. I also thought that maybe I did make a mistake. This happended again in Rio after assistance from the manager who stated that he was unsucessful in placing the call but said that I could only do it from my room telephone. This time the call was shorter (just getting Expedia to confirm my reservation). The front desk manager stated that there was no such thing as a collect call from their hotel and that if he was on duty he would have made that clear.
Any thoughts or comments?
bsvirginian
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 06:48 AM
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I know most hotels charge for any type of calls made from their rooms, and the charges are more than they would be than if you made them from a private residence. Even if you are charging the call to a calling card or making a collect call, the hotel will charge you something.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 07:02 AM
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Calling from your hotel's phone is usually hazardous for your wealth, even when you are staying at an otherwise reputable hotel.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 07:02 AM
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Charging something is what I would expect but the equivalence of $ 115.00 US dollars when thinking the call was collect is way over the edge. Just my thoughts. I am trying to get some satisfaction thru my credit card though. Expedia has proved to be useless and I regret that Citi bank is using them. The main reason I've gone back to Capital One.
bsvirginian
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 07:05 AM
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I am hoping that my next trip might be Costa Rica. I like wildlife and a variety of photographic opportunities. I wish I had spent the amount of money and time on Costa Rica than Brasil.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 10:40 AM
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My advice is Never call from the hotel room if possible.
In most countries they sell cards to call overseas for pennies you can use these cards in any public phone , even if there is one in the hotel lobby.
Phone cards are sold around the world in magazine newspaper kiosks and tobacco shops and in the US in little shops, like in Miami I know of a shop that sells loto,and things like that.
From Miami to Argentina to give you and idea calls are with one of those cards only one cent the minute.
The same card that I use sometimes in Miami can be used in Argentina to call the US. ( charge per minute is a little more like 2 cts the minute) . I am suggesting that for instance is you are going to Brazil you can buy a card in the US that can be used in Brazil. This will save you a lot of money .
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 10:42 AM
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In my experience one country where international calls from hotels are really expensive is Mexico. May be I am wrong...?
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 10:50 AM
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I don't know about Mexico, Graziella, but my advice is never to call from your hotel room, unless it is extremely urgent or you have a calling card and know exactly how it works from the hotel.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 04:15 PM
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I totally agree avrooster and this is what I said, ( I posted twice) I thought it was useful to mention the Mexico thing because charges from any phone are
absurd.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2008, 05:05 PM
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To the original poster, I don't think you really have much to stand on. The fact that Expedia and your credit card will accept a collect call is a non-sequitur to whether your hotel has to provide you with a free phoneline. Short answer--it doesn't. Your hotel can provide a free phoneline, or it can charge a flat "connect" fee, or it can charge per minute, or per hour, or whatever. If you choose to use the hotel's phoneline, you pay whatever the charges are. (And please don't say its extortionary, or a contract of adhesion, or whatever. You always have options.) Now, if the hotel tells you there's no connection fee, and in fact there is one, I think you have a good ground for not paying them (but NOT necessarily for paying, and then later contesting it). But it's not clear to me that the hotel told you the call was free; it just seems that they connected you to an operator (or perhaps an international operator?), but didn't inform you of the connection/per minute fee. That's unfortunate, but it's not clear to me that the fault was the hotel's for not telling you or yours for not asking. So, short answer, you may get the hotel to forgive the fee, or you may get your credit card to forgive the fee, but there's no real reason they should. And to Expedia being "useless," I guess that's true in the sense that if I lose money in the stock-market and then ask for it back from my doorman, he's "useless." Expedia didn't cover the connection fee from your hotel because Expedia never promised to do that. Nor did your credit card. At most they promised only to pay the long-distance charge for accepting a collect call. That charge is distinct from the one you're aggrieved about. You really need to take responsibility for this.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 06:46 AM
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Dealt with this recently with Chase.

Simply certify the charge as fraud

your will get credit.

plus interest on the charge.

This is a common scam with many hotels

CA SA Europe

Usually call them on it on check out

they always back it out.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Beware! This happened to friends whose daughter was traveling with a school group in Portugal. They sent their 16 year old to Europe with a Visa pre-loaced student debit card from AAA and a calling card. This sounded like a great idea.

She used her calling card with an 800 access number from her hotel room in Lisbon.

She called home in the wee hours sobbing that the hotel would not let her check out without paying over $500 in phone charges from using her calling card. She didn't have enough funds left on her AAA Visa card, as she was at the end of their trip.

The delay was potentially going to make the group miss their flight.

The hotel did not care, but simply wanted the parent's credit card number on which to make the charge.

It was pretty clear that the hotel was taking advantage of the school kids, but there's a lesson learned and the parents did make her pay them back half for not checking out the hotel policies before calling friends and boyfriend for hours on end. They'd had conversations about this very thing prior to departure.

It happens here too. I was at the Swiss Hotel for a conference some years ago and there was a British gentleman checking out. He was furious that a call direct to the UK cost him over $100 US.

Lesson learned... always assume the worst case scenario.

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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Hotels phones should not be used if possible.They make a lot of money on calls and today with the facility of buying a Long distance card locally it is silly to use the hotel phone at all.

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