Surprised at bill for call from hotel

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During the latter part of October ’03 we visited London and stayed at the hotel De Vere Cavendish St. James’s, located just behind Fortnum and Mason. In general, we were very pleased with our hotel stay. . . until we received the final billing.

On the third day of our stay we decided to spend the afternoon in our hotel room. After we had been in the room for about two hours, a message was pushed under the room door. This message indicated that a phone call from our niece had been received by the hotel just minutes previously. The message did not indicate why this phone call had not been transferred to our room. It did list the telephone number of our niece, however, and we self-dialed a local call to reply to the message. Our call lasted less than five minutes.

When we checked our bill at the time of departure, we were dismayed and infuriated to find that we had been billed £29.26 (billed to our credit card as almost $50) for this call. We were told that this charge was the standard hotel charge for a call to a “mobile phone.” We were told also that these phone charges were “posted” in our room. We checked the room and found only fire escape instructions posted.

A charge of $50 for a self-dialed call of less than five minutes to a local cell phone less than two miles away is, to say the least, unreasonable.

We advise any travelers who might be staying at De Vere Hotels in Britain to be wary of added charges and to avoid using the telephone in the hotel for any reason.

WILLIAM M. EASSON

New Orleans, LA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to the De Vere Cavendish St. James’s and received this reply.

Thank you for forwarding a copy of Mr Easson’s letter regarding his recent stay with us here in London. I was pleased to read that he was generally happy with his stay but most concerned to note that an issue over telephone charges caused disappointment upon his departure.

We would not fail intentionally to put a call through to a room and I therefore have to regrettably assume that the call was mistakenly put through to the wrong room and hence no reply.

The subsequent call Mr. Easson made was, according to our records, in fact over 13 minutes long to a mobile phone number. In every room there is a Hotel Directory and within this is a detailed breakdown of all call charges, including those to a mobile.

We go to great lengths to remain competitive and we therefore ensure that all our charges for services are in line with other hotels in this area. I do not believe our charges are in any way excessive in comparison to similar hotels in this city.

The question remains over whether an error on our part resulted in the call having to be made in the first place. On that basis, as a gesture of goodwill, I will happily refund the cost to Mr. Easson.

ANDREW D. CONEY, General Manager, De Vere Cavendish St. James’s, 81 Jermyn Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6JF, U.K.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

During the latter part of October ’03 we visited London and stayed at the hotel De Vere Cavendish St. James’s, located just behind Fortnum and Mason. In general, we were very pleased with our hotel stay. . . until we received the final billing.

On the third day of our stay we decided to spend the afternoon in our hotel room. After we had been in the room for about two hours, a message was pushed under the room door. This message indicated that a phone call from our niece had been received by the hotel just minutes previously. The message did not indicate why this phone call had not been transferred to our room. It did list the telephone number of our niece, however, and we self-dialed a local call to reply to the message. Our call lasted less than five minutes.

When we checked our bill at the time of departure, we were dismayed and infuriated to find that we had been billed £29.26 (billed to our credit card as almost $50) for this call. We were told that this charge was the standard hotel charge for a call to a “mobile phone.” We were told also that these phone charges were “posted” in our room. We checked the room and found only fire escape instructions posted.

A charge of $50 for a self-dialed call of less than five minutes to a local cell phone less than two miles away is, to say the least, unreasonable.

We advise any travelers who might be staying at De Vere Hotels in Britain to be wary of added charges and to avoid using the telephone in the hotel for any reason.

WILLIAM M. EASSON

New Orleans, LA

ITN sent a copy of the above letter to the De Vere Cavendish St. James’s and received this reply.

Thank you for forwarding a copy of Mr Easson’s letter regarding his recent stay with us here in London. I was pleased to read that he was generally happy with his stay but most concerned to note that an issue over telephone charges caused disappointment upon his departure.

We would not fail intentionally to put a call through to a room and I therefore have to regrettably assume that the call was mistakenly put through to the wrong room and hence no reply.

The subsequent call Mr. Easson made was, according to our records, in fact over 13 minutes long to a mobile phone number. In every room there is a Hotel Directory and within this is a detailed breakdown of all call charges, including those to a mobile.

We go to great lengths to remain competitive and we therefore ensure that all our charges for services are in line with other hotels in this area. I do not believe our charges are in any way excessive in comparison to similar hotels in this city.

The question remains over whether an error on our part resulted in the call having to be made in the first place. On that basis, as a gesture of goodwill, I will happily refund the cost to Mr. Easson.

ANDREW D. CONEY, General Manager, De Vere Cavendish St. James’s, 81 Jermyn Street, St. James’s, London SW1Y 6JF, U.K.