Overcharged by a hotel? Here’s how to get your money back

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If you’re an avid credit card user, you already know that you need to be vigilant about checking your financial statements. It’s not only the fact that criminals are out there trying to steal your money, financial institutions and merchants make mistakes sometimes.

The hotel industry, which cycles millions of people in and out of rooms on a daily basis, is no exception. What happens when you reserve a room for a certain number of days and you’re charged an additional day or more?

How to file a complaint or dispute your hotel bill

Believe it or not, this happens to people on a regular basis. That’s why it’s always good to check your final hotel bill  with a fine-tooth comb, whether it was slipped under your door or sent to your email.

Sometimes it may be a day or two (or more) before you realize that the hotel overcharged you. At that point, you have some options for getting your money back.

Call the hotel

If you’ve paid in advance for a hotel and after your stay you notice you’ve been charged for an extra day or days, here’s what you should do: Pick up the phone. “Call the hotel direct,” money expert Clark Howard says.

This may sound like an open-and-shut case, but sometimes managers and supervisors are good at dodging calls about a customer complaint. That’s why you may have to ratchet things up a bit…

Remain calm

If you have to contact customer service, you want to keep your composure at all times. You may reason that if you show how upset the situation has made you, they will respond, but that may well backfire. Show respect and you’re likely to get some in return.

Use social media

“The thing to know is that if you have a dispute with anything involving travel, they’re e-monitoring social media like crazy,” Clark says. “I’d post on social media.”

Not only does corresponding with the company on social media often gets results, but this makes your complaint a public event, something that the company has incentive to remedy as quickly as possible.

Dispute a partial charge

Clark says few consumers realize that if they’ve been overcharged or expectations for something fell short in some way, they can dispute it for a partial charge.

“If you paid with a credit card, dispute a partial charge,” he says. “Because you’re not disputing the whole thing, you can dispute the part that you have a problem with and get some of your money back.”

Why you should NEVER switch the form of payment

Clark says when it comes to paying the final balance on a hotel stay it’s very important to use the same form of payment you used when you reserved the room. “Never use a different form of payment,” he says. “If you want to get double-billed, do use a different form of payment.”

Also, Clark says you should never pay a hotel in cash: “Someone may put that money in their pocket and you have no proof.”
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