And here we go again…

As I have said numerous times, sometimes life feels like a collection of efforts to ensure you are not walked all over.  And so it is again today.  I looked at my credit card statement and discovered we had incurred a $250.00 charge from the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee where we stayed the weekend of August 20 to join my family for Irish Fest and other fun times.  Assuming that the charge was a mistake — as I had prepaid for the room weeks earlier — I called the hotel to tell them so.  Not so, says the Hyatt Regency.  The hotel — and a particular woman named Nancy — insist that Aaron and I were smoking in the room and the $250.00 is a fine for that abhorrent behavior.  Despite all of my pleadings and rantings that no such thing happened and that no such thing was even possible, Nancy told me she “stood by” her accusation and had the pictures to prove it!  Now knowing that it was impossible that she had pictures that would show that we were smoking — since it never happened — I asked her if she would email me the pictures.  She stated that she would not, but that I could subpoena them from her.

Here’s the thing.  Neither Aaron nor I smoked in that room.  It just didn’t happen.  It.  Did.  Not.  Happen.  Could a cigarette butt somehow have found its way into the room on a shoe or something?  I suppose that’s possible, but unlikely.  And even if that’s what happened, there still was no smoking in the room so the $250.00 fine is absurd.  Additionally, how do I know that these pictures — I can only guess that they are pictures of a cigarette — are of my room and were taken immediately upon me checking out?  How does Nancy know that?  The charges were placed on my card on August 24 — two days after we had left Milwaukee.  Why did it take two days? 

So angry.  So angry.  So angry.

So my letter writing campaign has begun again.  Letters to the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee , the Hyatt Corp in Chicago, the Federal Trade Commission and the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection have been drafted and are about to be in the mail.  I spent 30 minutes on the telephone with Capital One to start the dispute process.  [I was told it would be difficult because I don’t have any evidence that I was not smoking.  True, of course, but really?]

If this route doesn’t work, I guess I’ll be filing a complaint in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.  Thankfully, I already have several lawyers on hand to assist me.  And, me being one myself shouldn’t hurt. 

So, here we go again.  Whatever happens, I will never stay at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee again and I hope you will not either.  Absurd. 

Addendum:  This article is more than two years old but is spot-on.  And infuriating since I pleaded my innocence and was met with hostility and because the hotel did not inform me of the charge in any way.  I am SO ANGRY.  I will never stay at a Hyatt again. 

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11 Responses to “And here we go again…”


  1. 1 Sara H August 31, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    WTF?????!!!!???? OK, if they have proof, they had better let you see it at the MINIMUM! How ridiculous! Make sure you tell them that you’re telling your friends about this gross injustice and that they are responding by stating they will never stay at a Hyatt again. I mean, really, that is totally egregious. I almost can’t believe it, it’s so egregious. What kind of a company does that????

    It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t a Hilton, or there would be some sort of joke about “evidence” and cocaine to at least laugh at.

  2. 2 kateandgracie August 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I am sooooooooooooooooooooo angry. My teeth have been clenched for hours now. I can’t believe this is how they treat customers.

  3. 3 gwendolyngarden August 31, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Well, I can guarantee that I won’t stay there now either. I’ve had erroneous charges on hotel bills before (not for $250!) and the hotels I’ve stayed at just take them off. I can’t believe that they would disbelieve you.

    Who wants to have to “prove that you weren’t smoking”: umm- let me give you a hair sample so you can test my nicotine levels. Or would you prefer a blood draw of some kind?

    Photos. And “you can subpoena them.” Are you kidding me? I’m glad you’re calling DATCP on this- maybe it will get referred back to us at DOJ.

  4. 4 Terry August 31, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Oh Kate. Without a doubt this is the most outlandish hotel anecdote I have ever heard of..and as you well know, I have quite a few, as do my colleagues. Face to face contact can sometimes break through this kind of nincompoop (sp?) behavior. But since it sometimes doesn’t work, I would only suggest it (in addition to your other methods for resolution) if you are going to want a trip to Milwaukee anyway. Good heavens. This may change my mind about Milwaukee if you can’t find a sane and courteous Hyatt manager to make things right. I am so sorry–what a dreadful experience. T

  5. 5 gretchen August 31, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    How outrageous! I had a similar thing happen to me at a rental home in the Outer Banks. The rental agency absolutely insisted that I used the fireplace and left ash and soot stains in the carpet. Now being terrified of fire, I can absolutely state, without a doubt, that I did not use that fireplace. If there were stains, they were already there and I certainly didn’t notice them! But the bitchy lady who ran the company (Sun Realty — never again!) called me a liar and said they were keeping my entire deposit. It was only some time later, after I contacted a local attorney, that they suddenly refunded the deposit. She said that she still knew it had been me, but they had been able to get the stains out after all.

    I have no doubt that smoke, stains, etc. are a problem in the hotel/rental property business, but do they honestly think that accusing innocent customers with absolutely no proof is the way to go about it? I still hate Sun Realty and now I will add Hyatt to my list.

    You get ’em, Kate!

  6. 6 satcla August 31, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Uch! I’m so sorry it has taken me this long to comment! I’m absolutely livid. Subpoena? Come on! And may I say, while it’s ridiculous that you would have to attempt to prove you weren’t smoking, what the hell evidence could the have that would prove you were? It makes no sense! Even a stupid unlikely cigarette butt on a floor would prove nothing other than a person who smoked entered the room. They don’t have pictures of you smoking because you weren’t. So they can just say you were smoking and bam, charge you? Infuriating, to say the least.
    That’s exactly why they won’t send you the “evidence,” without a subpoena because it isn’t
    evidence at all. Little do they know you will not take this crap sitting down.

  7. 7 Mary September 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    that is the most insane thing I have ever heard about a hotel policy. I would insist on a meeting with an exec of Hyatt. And I do not believe Nancy! I’m sure she planted the cigarette and took a picture to get some reward. I too will never stay at a Hyatt and will tell all my friends about this.

  8. 8 kateandgracie September 2, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I just got off the phone with Hyatt Corporate, which was even less helpful than I imagined a company could be. He claims that the hotel is claiming that the room smelled like smoke and cigarette butts were found. This is insane. After pleading with him for 15 minutes, proclaiming my innocence, asking what happened to the customer is always right, informing him that he was essentially calling me a liar, I asked to speak to someone with some power. He said there was no one. I asked to speak to his manager and I was told he could give me her voicemail because she was not there. I asked him where she was, he said that “she had stepped away from her desk and was in a conference.” I asked her which one it was, he told me it was both. I left a message. I am sure that Hyatt will not drop this. And I am livid.

  9. 9 satcla September 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I’m livid with you. I’m appalled that this seems to be their customer service throughout. It’s incensing that they can get away with this and your only recourse is taking them to court. What?! This is exactly the problem with major corporations. There are so many people you have to go through, if they even respond to you, that ultimately no one has to really deal with the situation while you are left with this unfair charge no one cares about. The room smelled like smoke? COME ON! They literally made this up and get $250 from you?

    It’s like if I stayed there and canceled my card so they couldn’t charge it, then said, “Well, there was a ghost in my room and I can prove it, so I’m not paying for it. Oh, and the ghost sexually assaulted me- and I can prove that too. Go ahead, subpoena my damn evidence.”

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, and while you’re planning the wedding to boot. It’s wrong, and unfair and absolutely disgusting.

  10. 10 Mentoria January 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    This just happened to me too at a Hyatt in Hyatt Regency Suites Atlanta
    Northwest 2999 Windy Hill Road, Marietta, GA 30067 (just outside of Atlanta, GA). I took my husband there for a quick getaway for his birthday. I paid for my package online and everything was done that way. I checked my account a few days later and low and behold there was a charge of $250.00. I called the hotel to find out what the charge was about and they told me that they found evidence of smoking in my room. They claim we put ashes in the tub. Well, WE DON’T SMOKE AT ALL! To start, what moron would throw ashes in the tub? I’m offended that they would even attempt to play on my intelligence in such a way!!! They were very nonchalant and didn’t offer any other assistance and basically told me that I was lying and the charge will stand. This just happened today and now I’m about to contact an attorney to see what my options are in this case. I will NEVER stay at another HYATT hotel as long as I live and will make sure that I spread the word about them and their services!!

  11. 11 kateandgracie January 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that. I had no luck with the Hyatt I actually stayed at or with Hyatt corporate. It was only when the newspaper got involved, as well asWisconsin’s consumer protection department that the hotel refunded my money. Even then, though, they still continued to insist they had “evidence” we had smoked. I will NEVER stay at a Hyatt again. Even two years later, I cringe when I see one. Terrible, shameful behavior. Good luck to you.


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