Help us fight price gouging in a natural disaster
February 21, 2011 7:42 PM Subscribe
How should we address an incident of price gouging at the motel we're staying at? (Longish, despicable details below).
posted by tangram1 to law & government (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Thousands of homes in our town will be without power for days and we had no way to keep warm apart from going to a motel. The first night, when we called to see if a room was available, a friendly young woman quoted a rate of $71 per night "because we're local." The normal rate for this room is $89. At check-in we asked whether the room would be available for additional nights should we need them and the clerk told us it would. When in the morning we told the day manager of our intention to extend our stay he balked. By this time many others in town wanted rooms and we sensed that he hoped to rent them at a greater rate. We told him of the night clerk's indication that we could extend our stay and he promised to "work something out." We went out to breakfast and called before returning and a fourth staff member, Steve, told us we had been extended but our rate had increased to $109 per night. When we explained about the other quote he told us that $139 is the usual rate. An easy search shows that our room type has never been listed for more than $89. When we returned and passed-by the lobby the the day manager told us our rate would be $129 per night.
What recourse do we have when we check out in a couple of days? Should we pay the higher rate and take it up with the national chain office later (It's a Best Western)? We don't want to say something now and be turned out on our ears. We have a pet to think about, too. (We asked whether our pet would be welcome when we first called to see about a room and the nice young woman gave us a resounding "yes." No additional rate was discussed. We would be happy to pay a pet fee if that's what it really is. This might be a factor as the day manager said at our first meeting, before any rate increase, that there might be a pet fee.