Help! How to Avoid Erroneous Minibar Charges?

Oct 9th, 2006, 07:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,682
No name is correct about the clear liquid scam. I took a small bottle of water out of the mini-bar and noticed that the factory seal was already removed from the cap. I ended up drinking a larger bottle of water after carefully inspecting the seal. At check out, I explained the situation and the clerk couldn't have been more courteous and helpful. She didn't even raise an eyebrow and promptly credited my account for the tampered bottle and only charged me half price for the large bottle I consumed. More importantly, if you do take something from the mini-bar make sure it is still sealed.

wtm003 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,987
Ick...but it reminds me of a fun weekend I had at the hotel a couple of weeks ago...!

TX A&M and Army were playing each other in San Antonio a couple weekends ago and Army was staying in my husband's hotel. When the group was contracted, no one was aware of the fact that it was an 8:45 night game, and that Army would not be checking out until late Saturday...unfortunately on a day there was a huge check-in as well. Army would not be out of their rooms until 6 PM and there were a lot of them between the team, sponsors and cheerleaders, most all double doubles. To stem the problem DH closed off sales of double doubles as soon as they realized the problem (weeks before) and all division heads (as well as my DH) were going to work as teams with maids (4 managers per maid) to get the rooms turned as quickly as possible. I faced the prospect of a Saturday nite alone anyway, so volunteered to work in a team as well.

What a HUGE eyeopener it was for a maid's job, I'll tell you. Each team had ten rooms to turn and that's the hardest I've ever worked. All the words I've read here were running through my mind as I did it hair on the bathroom floor...lawsy don't let a hair decide to fall, spot on the duvet, sheets coming untucked, dust, what have you. I thought of all those things and worried so much it wouldn't be perfect and that I'd read about it here later.

Anyway, I was not the team this happened to fortunately, but another team. This particular team had gone into a room and as soon as they opened the door the smell of vomit hit them. The twosome who had occupied it was just leaving and came across the hall to tell them she was so sorry, but she had gotten sick. Well, she'd gotten sick alright, the bed then twice more on the floor. Gross...and this is an adult! Kids have that sort of accident, but a grown-up??? My guess is there was too much fun on the river the night before. The room was going to have to be deep cleaned, mattress as well, but I'm certain no mention was made of any cleaning fee. That's really unusual.

Anyway...I knew there would be a time I could tell my story of playing Maid for a Day, but didn't think it'd be over vomit. It takes a lot to get a cleaning surcharge tacked on...really serious stuff, not just getting sick so I don't know if there was more to the other story or not.
Back to the check-out/in problem, they were so concerend about people being upset about not being able to get into their rooms they had a hospitality area set up with drinks and refreshments, and were offering the rooms for $100 less/night if they agreed not to get check in until after 7:30. Plenty took that offer, happily--as would I!

The one we had in Tampa, the hotel actually called police after the maids came into the room and they had to track the man down (an atty from across the state) then force him to produce his partner because they were concerned there'd been a crime committed in the room. Yuck. There's some stuff I'd just as soon not know about how and why people lead their lives the way they do, and when I do hear, I realize I live (and most of us do) in a pretty sheltered little world!

OO is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,203
I stay in LOTS of hotels... maybe 30 upscale properties a year. Most of the hotels I stay at are NOT Hyatt, Marriott and Starwood brands. I never stay at Hilton and have only stayed at one Radisson in 5 years.
Of all the hotels I stay at, I would guess that about 1/4 have gone to the automated billing minibars.
I regularly see items used and carefully placed back in the bar. Partially eaten Pringles and Reeses (in the old folded wrapper) were also common.
I don't do anything special and rarely have billing issues. If I do, I simply dispute them at check out. No problem.
I have had a few charges appear after the fact and have never had problems resolving those either.
If you are worried about it, I would simply refuse the key and make a note of it on your check in document (where you sign).
All the suggestions here are good... I have been lucky, I guess.
TxTravelPro is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 09:14 AM
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Great stories OO!

I can so relate!
Oct 9th, 2006, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 24,541
We just stayed at the Westin in Providence RI where we were warned at check-in that moving an item in the mini bar would incur a charge. Apparently this has been enough of a problem with the automatic systems that they warn guests at check-in.
dfrostnh is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,137
Personally, I would love for hotels to do away with mini bars!!! They are WAY to over priced,and even if I was a a billionaire(I wish), I would not purchase any. I use the fridge to cool my wine and water. This automated stuff is going to put a cabash on my chilled pinot grigio .
Judyrem is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 05:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 53
We travel, mostly to golf resorts, monthly and I've never heard (or been told by a hotel) of automated minibars. Some minibars, also, don't have keys. The only way we open a minibar is if the minibar is the only refrigerator in the room. Then we certainly might try to put something in. In any event, it's a good question to ask at check-in & we will certainly do so. Thanks again for all the replies. We're leaving Wednesday so will let you know if anything "untoward" happens.
golfette is offline  
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