Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > any recourse for excessive hotel internet charges?

any recourse for excessive hotel internet charges?

Reply

Oct 28th, 2001, 06:04 PM
  #1
carol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
any recourse for excessive hotel internet charges?

we have traveled with our laptop computer all over the country and just experienced our first problem with it. since we use it in many hotels, we expect a nominal long distance charge when we check out. but when we checked out of the grand hotel in ogunquit, maine last week, we found a $250 long distance bill for using our aol account while there! although we complained, the manager said that the phone charges were stated in their books in each room. we never looked in the book so were unaware of the charges we were incurring. in the next hotels we stayed in, we noticed the internet charges were clearly posted on or next to the phone. the ones in maine were not. do we have any recourse?
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 28th, 2001, 06:34 PM
  #2
NotCarol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Carol- Did you see exactly what the charges were for? If it is a case of having to call a long disance number in order to connect, then direct some of your ire at AOL for not having a local dialup number available.
That said, the unfortunate but standard policy is that most hotels do charge for long distance, and rates can be quite exorbitant. It's a caveat emptor situation, and if the hotel disclosed their policy in the literature in your room but you failed to read it, then you don't have much of a right to complain, as they did what they said they would do.
If you believe that the charges were erroneous or somehow a scam was run, contact the appropriate regulatory agency in the state. Next time, read the telephone policy before you dial up, and consider this an expensive lesson.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 02:33 AM
  #3
Keila
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
In small towns in remote or rural areas sometimes there is no local connection for AOL. So every time you connect to internet it is a long distance call. Too bad that you had to learn your lesson this way. On the other hand you will remember to check things like that before you make any calls.
I live in a small town and we used to have aol. Our monthly telephone bill came to $172.00 every month in order to have a regional calling plan. Sorry but it is your fault and you can not do anything about it but to remember when you get to any hotel next time. Did you enjoy your stay in Maine? What did you like about that area the most?
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 03:21 AM
  #4
joan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Carol, I'm curious: why would you expect "a normal long distance charge"? I would think AOL has local numbers just about everywhere in the nation. Keila and other, wouldn't this be the exception rather than the rule?
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 08:23 AM
  #5
Jim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Go to kinko's, or an internet cafe.
Why spend so much if you can walk a few blocks away or a short train ride and surf for hours for a few bucks.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 08:42 AM
  #6
Beth
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I had a similar experience at the Radisson Hotel in Idianapolis and posted here about it a few months ago. I travel frequently for work with my laptop and have to get online and dial into my home network as all documents are banked there for everyone to access. My dial up number is a toll free 1-800 number! For some reason I checked out of the Radisson and had a $150 charge for use of online connection and internet fee. Explain that to me! Anyway I obviously inquired about it at check out and was told it was posted in the book as well. I didn't sit there and argue about as I didn't have time. I wasn't paying personally though for the the hotel bill, my company was. funny thing is they never blinked an eye and if they weren't going to wast e their time pursuing it I wasn't either, though had I had to pay personally I probably would have attempted to pursue it. At any rate, I guess I'm not sure if there is any recourse but I will tell you I search the book now for hidden fees before jumping online!
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 09:57 AM
  #7
Ginny
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Most local libraries have free internet access.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 10:01 AM
  #8
Rachel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Every phone call made from a hotel phone costs money, regardless of whether it's a toll-free number.

What did you expect? If you made a 30-minute long distance phone call from the hotel, it's going to cost you the same as making a 30-minute connection to the Internet, if you're using a long distance number.

You can buy an antenna for your computer that allows you to connect to the Internet without using phone lines. I don't know the particulars, just that our tech guys use it when they need to help us at a client location.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 10:42 AM
  #9
carol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
what i expected is what the hotels in boston and nyc charged us for the same usage: $1.50-$2 per hour.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 10:46 AM
  #10
Beth
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I understand that even toll free numbers have a charge at some hotels! However toll free numbers are usually a use fee not charged by the minute like a long distance call!
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 11:05 AM
  #11
xxx
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
While i sincerely sympathize w/Carol ($250--yikes) I agree with most of the other posters that ther reqlly isn't any recourse. Just as I wouldn't think of using anything from the hotel minibars without checking prices, I think that hotel phone charges (including for toll-free numbers) have long since joined the ranks of too expensive for me to use. I have seen phone charges , especially for long use (say over an hour) of toll free numbers go sky high over the past almost 2 years. After all, though they certainly don't have too charge so much, I concur with Rachel that it is costing the hotel money and they have the right to charge for it. They know full well that people are using toll free numbers for both internet access as well as to use phone cards for cheaper calls and they want to get in on the action.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 12:04 PM
  #12
Patrick
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
"Surf for hours for a few bucks" at Kinko's? I used Kinkos in several cities this summer and the going rate seemed to be $12 per hour. I tried libraries in several cities, and they always had waiting lists to use the internet access computers, although the non access ones were usually available. I haven't travelled with a laptop partly because I know about these excessive charges. I was amused that the Summerfield Suites in LA where we stayed for a month has high speed access available in each room for "only $10 a day" which sounds good, but that's $310 for the month! When I checked out, however, I joined Wyndham Preferred (Summerfield is part of Wyndham). Along with other perks, members receive free 800 calls and free high speed access at all their hotels. Now that's what I call a perk! Hope other hotel clubs will follow their lead. I'm not aware of this on any of my other hotel member groups.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 12:09 PM
  #13
Huh?
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
OK, I'll ask the obvious question. If you were on a leisure trip, why on earth would you sit in your hotel and surf the net instead of getting out and enjoying yourself?
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 01:33 PM
  #14
carol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
first of all, thank you to all who wrote with helpful comments. the comment about rural areas was esp interesting, as our other cities were all big cities. yes, it was an expensive lesson and we won't make that mistake again.

in spite of that, maine was glorious and the leaves were beautiful and the restaurants and shopping were all that we had hoped for.

i usually write our grown children (and parents) when we travel to let them know what we have done and seen. it is usually a great- and previously inexpensive- way to keep in touch with each of them. i probably wouldn't take the time to go to an internet cafe or library while leisure traveling; it's so much easier to use the laptop in our room at night. BUT i will be aware of all phone charges in the future. again, thank you for your input and suggestions.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 03:44 PM
  #15
KenCT
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
After spending $250 on phone charges in Ogunquit, I hestitate to tell you this, but the Ogunquit Public Library, located on Shore Road, easily walkable from most hotels, offeres free Internet access. I spend a week in Ogunquit at the height of the summer season and checked my email there every day. Rarely did I have to wait more than an hour, during which I read the paper or chatted with the locals.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 05:30 PM
  #16
Kenny
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I am Carol's sig other and it was I that hooked up to AOL in Ogunquit, Me. When I put in the area code, It gave me several numbers to use for dial-up connection. There was never a mention that the call would be long distance or a toll call, or anything other than a local call. I figured we would be charged for each call, but not by the minute. I understand long distance calls are expensive and would have written and received our mail by "flash". I still feel ripped and maybe I blame AOL.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 29th, 2001, 05:44 PM
  #17
Joanne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Kenny, don't blame AOL, they have no way of knowing what type of service your hotel has and what it will be charged (or charge you) for a given call. The problem in sparsely-settled areas is that a huge area can be served by one area code.

For future reference, AOL does have 800 numbers you can use anywhere. They do charge a per-minute connection fee for this (which I think amounts to $6 or $10 per hour), and you would have to check with the hotel about their fees for connecting to 800 numbers.
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 30th, 2001, 03:12 AM
  #18
joan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Significant other, thanks for the explanation. So...it doesn't matter whether you have the right area code. You still have to check and see (with the front desk maybe?) whether the exchanges being offered (the next three digits of the phone number) are toll or local calls. Then, you still have to check the per-minute charge from the hotel....makes me think we should all go back to good old-fashioned postcards!
 
Reply With Quote
Oct 30th, 2001, 04:10 AM
  #19
Joanne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
joan, in many cities there are numbers with a different area code that would still be a local call, so don't rule them out.
 
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:16 AM.