Legal Question in Consumer Law in California

I recently stayed at a local motel in my area. My family and I were unable to stay at our home. I made a reservation with a credit card early in the morning and we checked in that evening around 6-6:30. At check-in, owner was rude and threatened to charge my card $100 if I smoked in the room, I reserved a non-smoking room and assured her that there would be no smoking. She continued to make threats throughout check-in. We went to our room and found it clean and comfortable. The only issue we had that night, was that a security camera above our door was causing interference with our phones. But we did not complain. We checked out that morning around 10:30. Upon returning home, we found that we would have to stay at the motel for 2 more nights. We again made a reservation with a credit card. This time it was in my husbands name. 2 queens non-smoking micro/fridge. It was very hot that day. Temps in the 90's. We did some shopping and got something to eat to kill time before we went back to motel. Reservation stated check-in was at 2pm. My 4yr. old son is disabled and has particular needs and a special diet. He cannot and will not eat food that he cannot see being prepared. After being out and about for hours, he became distraught and we knew it was time to go home. Home was not available to us, so the motel was where we went. We checked in around 2:45 pm. Owner of motel issued us the same room we had the night before. Because of the phone issue the night before, we asked for a different room and she told us none were available. We did not press the issue and went to our room. My son was hungry and hot and tired. When we got to our room, we found that it had not been cleaned or serviced at all. Beds not changed or made, towels were still dirty and garbage still in room. My husband went back to the office to inform the owner and asked for a new room. Owner was not happy to issue us a new room but she did. We went to our 2nd room and found it had not been cleaned either. There were beer cans stacked on the sink, beds were not made, and alot of garbage was scattered around the floor. We went back to office and this time I talked to woman. I wanted a clean room. I told her that she already had our money and that we deserved to be provided with what we had paid for. A clean room 2 queens non-smoking micro/fridge. She proceeded to tell me that I should have waited until later to check in because the girls had just returned from lunch and they needed more time to finish the rooms. It is well after 3pm at this point. She tells me someone is cleaning it now and that we could go and wait it would only take a few minutes. We went back to room and there was a maid cleaning it. After about 20 min. of waiting, I asked if she was almost done and the maid responded "just a little bit longer". My son was acting up. He wanted to go into the room, He had to go to the bathroom. Maid would not let him in because she had chemicals on toilet. I decided to take him to a nearby fast food place. We stayed gone for about 30 min. I wanted the maid to be done when we got back. She was not done. After telling my son over and over that he could go in as soon as we returned, he became very distraught when he was not allowed. My son is Autistic, he has issues. He worked hisself into a meltdown and vomited in the parking lot. Maid still would not let us in after we told her that the room was fine. We sat out in the heat for another 20 mins. before she let us in. Inside the room, we found that there was no micro/fridge. I could not feed my child because I needed the microwave to cook his food. I did not ask for my family's special needs to be catered to, I simply wanted what I had paid for. I went to the office and the owner told me that they did not advertise a micro/fridge. It was advertised when I made my reservation and it clearly says micro/fridge in my reservation. Owner was rude and I did not want to argue with her. I went to my home got my microwave and an ice-chest and returned to the room. We were to be there for the next 2 days. I needed these amenities. I later asked the owner for a small discount, $6 per night, the price for an extra adult. She refused. I called corporate office and they offered me a free night which I have not received. I asked this question a few days ago, but it was very brief. The answers I got stated that I had not incurred any damages. I do not agree. Are companies allowed to do this to consumers without having any repercussions? I feel that my family was treated very wrong and I strongly believe that it was because we are local residents.

Asked on 8/14/13, 2:48 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

The answer is the same this time. You did not incur any financial damages and the discomfort and inconvenience you suffered does not even begin to rise to the level of what the law considers "severe emotional distress." Technically you are entitled to the difference between what the room was as represented to you and the value of the same room as you received it. If you want to take the hotel to small claims over that, knock yourself out, but your award will be considerably less than one night's stay.

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Answered on 8/14/13, 9:14 am

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