Smart Money: Dispute with hotel may go to court
DEAR BRUCE >> I stayed at a Los Angeles hotel July 10 to July 13. I booked the room for $84 per night. When I noticed the hotel charged me $140 per night, I told them I would pay only $84 and to present me with a bill for that rate. They refused, and I refused to sign the charge receipt and left the hotel.
Someone at the hotel signed an illegible name to the receipt and sent it to Discover for the $140 rate. The receipt that went to Discover was dated July 6. I reported this as fraud to the police department and to Discover. Discover says I must pay them and take the hotel to small claims court. I say it is illegal, under FTC rules, for Discover to make me pay a fraudulent bill. Would you pay a fraudulent bill?
DEAR READER >> I don't understand on what basis the hotel suddenly charged you $140 for a room you had booked at $84 a night. I would have paid only the $84 when the bill was presented and put the rest into dispute.
Your position is clear. If you can demonstrate that you had booked the room with a reservation for $84 a night, then the hotel has no ability to raise it to $140. On the other hand, if you've nothing to prove the reservation (a quote or guarantee), you may have a problem.
In the meantime, I would tell Discover that you intend to pay only the $84 until such time as this is settled.
DEAR BRUCE >> I just exercised my 500 stock option shares with my current employer. I was granted them five years ago and had three to five years to exercise them.
When I exercised the options, they asked if it is my intent to remain with the company for a year. If I were to leave the company during the next 12 months, can they really do anything?
DEAR P.O. >> You can certainly inquire to the company about what would happen should you leave in less than a year, just for information alone. And you should tell the company you have every intention of staying, whether that turns out to be the case or not.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.