Howard Johnson's Hotels - Howard Johnson's Hotels took my money wrongfully, admitted it, and still hasn't given it back!

Posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 3:44pm CDT by 88653a64

Product: National Reservations and Beaumont Texas Property

Company: Howard Johnson's Hotels

Location: US


Category: Other

Howard Johnson took my money wrongfully, they have admitted that they took my money wrongfully, but they wont give it back and have since cost me even more money. Some people might call that theft. I call it blatant inexcusable incompetence. Here's the story, you decide.

On June 08, 2010, I booked a hotel reservation online at for a reservation at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Beaumont Texas on June 14th. I received an email confirmation of the reservation and also printed the online reservation confirmation at the time I made the booking. On the day of scheduled arrival, June 14, I called the Howard Johnson hotel in Beaumont Texas a half-dozen times beginning around 2pm to attempt to cancel the reservation before the 6pm cancellation deadline specified on my reservation confirmation email and receipt. Their phone rang repeatedly, off the hook, nobody ever answered at the property. I finally called Howard Johnson's national reservations to cancel around 5pm, I received a valid cancellation number at that time as well as had an immediate email confirmation of the cancellation sent to my email address for my records.

On June 18th, four days after the cancelled reservation, my credit card was charged a cancellation fee by the Howard Johnson Hotel in Beaumont Texas. I called the hotel immediately that morning, but was informed by the hotel they needed to wait for the general manager to arrive and he would call us. I called the hotel back repeatedly until approximately 2pm, at which time I finally reached the General Manager. The General Manager proceeded to YELL at me, talking over my attempts at communicating, yelling that it was the reservation center's fault, we needed to call that number, that he did not charge us the cancelation charge, that he could not refund us the cancellation charge, that he had been a GM "for 31 years" and that I did not understand how his business worked.

So, I called Howard Johnson national reservation service. This was still on June 18. I was told that their computer reservation system showed both my reservation and by valid cancellation number, but that a refund of my money would take 3 business days to "research" before refund could be processed. I requested and finally spoke to a "Supervisor", who had zero supervisory authority to do anything other than apologize and re-iterate that it would take 3 days to research. (Supervisor name was Jennifer, who also transferred us to voice mailbox of her "Supervisor" to leave a message to call us back - a Mrs. Emory, maybe first name was Charlotte). I never did receive that call back.

Because of this unforeseen and unauthorized charge to my bank account, my account was overdrawn and I experienced $90 in overdraft fees - all for a $80 room reservation that I cancelled properly and even received a valid cancellation notice for.

At no point, has anyone from Howard Johnson ever called me. They sent me an electronic "please tell us about your stay" guest questionnaire, in which I documented everything I've documented here. Still, haven't heard a thing. All I've experienced is finger-pointing and no willingness to accept accountability or authority to try and be of genuine service.

As of today, June 24th, we have still not received the refund, although we have been told repeatedly we would. A call placed to Howard Johnson about :30 minutes ago was met by yet another very rude person, who informs us that their internal processing procedures mean that it will be another 4 business days before we receive the refund even though there is no question that it is due to us.

Somehow I have the feeling 4 business days will come and go and we still will have no refund, but if they do what they say - for a change - our refund should be received on June 30th, fully twelve days after they took our money from us, costing us $90 in additional overdraft charges to date.

In the meantime, I'm sharing this experience everywhere I possibly can.

1 Comment

88653a64, 2010-07-09, 02:36PM CDT

I posted the original - just an update. July 09th, and I've still received no refund. I just called, and was told "the check's in the mail". Upon digging, I was told the check was sent from New Jersey on July 01 - but apparently the check goes from New Jersey to South Dakota before being sent to me. Nobody can confirm if it was received in South Dakota yet. The response Hojo gives me (3 weeks after taking my money) - "That's why we normally allow 10 to 14 days.".

I'm happy for them that my complaint falls within what they "normally allow". I wonder how many other peoples money they take - maybe to sit on the interest accumulated until they get around to processing a refund - within the contexts of "what they normally alllow".

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