I'm a 100 percent disabled Army vet who lives on the West Coast of Florida. I am in my late 50's. I was in Orlando, Fl over the weekend and felt sick, so I made reservations with a Comfort Inn, a franchise of Choice Hotels. My wife went to the front desk, mentioned that we had reservations and said several times that we were using reward points to pay for the room. The clerk looked at her identification and a credit card and gave her a room key. There did not seem to be a problem. We asked for a 7 a.m. wake-up call and retired. Just after 1 a.m. the phone rang several times. We didn't answer, we just assumed that the clerk had set the wake-up ring for the wrong time or that kids were playing pranks as they do in family style hotels quite often. Then, at just after 2 a.m. there was a knock on the door. Again, people often mistake the wrong room for theirs, particularly just after the bars close at 2 a.m.. The knocking got louder until it sounded as if a fully grown elephant was bashing on the door. They did not identify themselves.
My son opened the door to 2 Orange county Sheriff's deputies. One was going to invade the room, while the other just asked for i.d. There was a big hassle, but for brevity, it turned out that someone with our same first and last names had made reservations paying by credit card, for that night and we had been given their room. The desk clerk had panicked and called her manager who told her to call the cops. I got about 2 hours sleep after the cops left and the next morning at 7 a.m. the desk clerk was calling us wanting to know how we were paying for the room. They then charged us full price, over $120.00 for the room and we left.
What is the best course of action. Would a lawsuit be useless? I hired lawyers over a decade ago to assist with a family dispute and that $350 per hour plus expenses added up fast. I want redress, but am not sure what is the best course of action. Lawsuit? BBB?
The next morning, the desk clerk, after telling us a dozen times earlier that she, at her manager's orders, had called the sheriff's office, claimed that no, it had been the other customer who had called them.
2 Answers from Attorneys
It doesn't sound as if you have any grounds for a lawsuit. You had a bad night's stay in the hotel. If you write a letter to the company that owns the hotel, or to Choice Hotels, possibly they might refund the charges for the room, or give you some sort of credit for a future stay.
The invasion of your privacy may justify a claim, but the value of the claim likely does not justify the pursuit of a lawsuit. the costs associated with it and the damages you sustained mitigate against it. That said, you can certainly hire an attorney to send a demand letter to the hotel seeking damages for their poor handling of the situation. Permanent damages are usually the measure of the value of a lawsuit for your information.