"Incidentals" charges at check inBack to Forum
So, I’m currently on a month long tour in Asia, more or less half way through, most of it business but some pleasure thrown in too. (Cambodia for a wee break and loved it).
So, have just arrived at Grand Hyatt in KL and as I check in she wants to charge 1800 Ringgit to my DEBIT card (£340.00), I’m like “nah love”, she then asks about a credit card. Now, I do have one but it is in my luggage which is with the bellboy, and I am in a club room so as likely as not won’t charge anything to my room, so we have a mild disagreement about their right to charge me for “incidentals” when I haven’t incurred any.
Because I am a cantankerous old git, I said I didn’t have a credit card, so she asked for 1000 Ringgit cash! I then asked for a duty manager and told her to not have an account on my room and that I’d charge everything to my cash / personal card. Then they have a chat about removing the mini-bar, I understand Asia very well and their rule following impresses and frustrates me in equal measure, anyhoos, the upshot of it is that I told them to cancel my room if they didn’t have a solution and I’d wander over to the Mandarin Oriental and check in there instead.
They relented and I’m in my room now. But, and this chaffs my clams, why do hotels have the right to charge me for stuff I’ve not bought? It is tantamount to extortion! I even said to them to take a copy of my card, as they’d done with my passport and that should I empty the mini bar and rack up charges back to the room they’d have a copy of my card for safekeeping.
I know it is common practice now for hotels to cover their arses by opening a line of credit on cards, but to charge debit cards is a piss take and I think we’ve all become complicit in allowing them to do this.
And, I am a cantankerous old git – but that aside, surely they have no legal right to charge for something which they’ve not provided?
AOTG.27 Sep 2016
@aotg, I have some sympathy with your take on it. I can also see the hotels side who don’t want to be stuffed by people bolting through the door prior to settling up. I too am a cantankerous old git, so well done you for making a stand on your principles, albeit not one I would make a fuss about. I have other fish to fry…..like hotels washing up the room cups and saucers in the toilet. At three hotels I have been given an apology and a promise they will change.27 Sep 2016
I wonder if it is a case of FFS (fat finger syndrome) rather than an intended report?
There is nothing that causes me offence in your post.
Back to topic, debit cards are problematic for deposits, as they work in a different way to credit cards where the card is pre-authorised for a certain sum, so the hotel can charge against that. With debit cards, the money is physically taken and then re-credited after some delay – not great.
For this reason, I always let the hotel pre-authorise my credit card, then settle by my company debit card on check out.27 Sep 2016
there are so many inconsistencies with what hotels want or don’t, even if you are a top tier (e.g. IHG Spire), some won’t take anything whilst others will argue they want room plus authorised.27 Sep 2016
I never let my debit card see the light of day under any circumstances, bank accounts can be emptied in an instant and no matter who wants a debit card it’s a risk I’m not willing to take.
I will allow a small hold on a credit card, I usually start at 20% of what they ask for as I don’t use mini bars either and actually I wish they would just remove them. The 20% covers the odd bit of laundry I might have done but that’s where my use of hotel extras ends. I insist on seeing the hold cleared before I leave and I stand at reception until it’s done – no matter how many people are cursing behind me.
Well done AOTG, I’m an apprentice of Victor Meldrew when it comes to things like this!27 Sep 2016
“I never let my debit card see the light of day under any circumstances” – the way I work my banking, especially when overseas, is only one of my 3 accounts at my main bank has a debit card attached. That is called my cash account. I keep no more than a couple of hundred pounds in that account. The other accounts at the same bank, have NO debit card.
Armed with an ipod touch and a banking app, it is very easy & quick to move money into the cash/debit card account on an as needed basis.
Without a debut or credit card attached to an account, far more difficult for fraud to take place..27 Sep 2016
That all sounds too complicated for me Martyn!
I find it much easier to settle one credit card account each month. I usually use the once attached to my German or Swiss account so at least I’m not getting hit by the woeful rates on sterling at the moment.27 Sep 2016
Almost everywhere I have been in Asia from 3 to 5 star hotels run a guarantee check for incidentals upfront with credit card or cash. Knowing how its common practice for residents to steal everything right down to the hair from the shower drain no matter what demographic of customer they are then I see why they do it. The Grand Hyatt in Taipei even has a sales brochure in the room covering everything including the curtain rings, of course it’s “if you like you can buy”, translated to if you steal they will charge. I have no issue at all with upfront guarantee.
A couple of times it has been awkward though, staying at the intercontinental Shenzhen I had a 2000 RMB guarantee, went to pay for dinner and it went way over the limit, I had no cash or card with me in the restaurant. I had to pull a DKNWIA with the poor waiter to get me the ambassador rep who dutifully sorted it. As an example of hotels policy I was staying at some so called 5 star in Shanghai when I went to check out they said something is missing from the room and they would charge my card. Asking what it was they said it was the disposable plastic laundry bag cost about 2p……. apparently only free if you use the hotel laundry service. So I emptied my undies and socks at reception, screwed the pack up and gave it back to them.
And I never travel with my debit card, only credit cards and cash28 Sep 2016
John, and Martyn – thanks for the reminder about debit cards. Though blindingly obvious it had just never occurred to me how vulnerable they could make me and from now on I’m never letting them out of my hands.
While it is a bit annoying that hotels pre-authorize charges on my credit card, I really do understand it. No doubt they have lost loads of money in the past (perhaps followed by guilty parties disputing/ refusing to pay the justified credit card bill. I am sorry if this sounds cynical).28 Sep 2016
LOL Steve scoots, did you leave your undies there?
If possible, I pay in advance and travel with a wad of cash to cover extras, which I don’t mind handing over. In fact, I feel much more relaxed travelling with cash and, like you AOTG, often claim I don’t have my credit card with me. Hotels never refuse in my experience.
I have had too many nightmares when my debit/credit card doesn’t work.
Must change bank!28 Sep 2016
I have had too many nightmares when my debit/credit card doesn’t work.
Must change bank!
Don’t get me started. Had to call RBS last night as my business account card has stopped working, I spoke with some half-witted computer-says-no “customer service” agent who tells me I’d put the wrong pin no in three times. No matter how many times I told him that I hadn’t, he’d not relent and the net result is I can no longer use my card in Asia and am now using personal funds.
If there is one institution I loathe, and I do choose that term wisely, it is the Royal Bank of Scotland.
I’m mid-change to BoS actually, they look after my personal banking and do it all so much better.
Oh, I asked to speak to a customer services manager, put on hold then told by the same dork that she could only tell me the same thing and the next step was to send a complaint. No wonder they’ve been on the brink of bankruptcy more times than my card has stopped working.
AOTG.28 Sep 2016
AOTG – I have had cards stopped whilst in the Far East on two occasions in the past few years. On both occasions I needed to make long overseas phone calls.
Making a complaint is worthwhile if only to have the call costs and time spent on call refunded.28 Sep 2016
AOTG, we bailed from RBS several years ago now on the grounds of their incompetence. Naturally though in their eyes it was us who were wrong.
No bank is perfect but we’ve had an almost trouble free life with HSBC for UK banking and compared to what went before they are a pure joy to deal with.28 Sep 2016
I’ve found my UK cards blocked when you can’t be in two places at once. I was in Sri Lanka and five minutes after I withdrew cash from a machine the Holiday Inn in Paris I had booked a nonrefundable room rate five days earlier tried to take the money. Card blocked, 90 minutes to get through due to Car phone warehouse issue. Barclays did give me £147 for call cost and £50 compensation.
Be careful with VPN’s too. I made the mistake of booking a flight on Saudia then watchi a to program on iplayer with VPN, then tried to make a booking on BA, card blocked!28 Sep 2016