Thursday, July 19, 2012

The hotel water scam


Apparently this scam has been around for some time, but I did not encounter it and (almost) fall victim to it until earlier this year.

This is what happens: You rent a hotel room. In my case I rented a hotel room at Two Trees Inn at Foxwoods, which is a pretty good hotel. The hotel leaves a bottle of water in your room. The bottle has a tag on it (shown above.) The mark thirstily drinks the water, not reading the fine print on the water bottle’s tag:

“This bottle of Aquafina is proved as a service to our guests. If consumed, $3.99 will be billed to your room. For your convenience, our staff will replenish daily.”

I had two free hotel stay at Foxwoods, so I was surprised when I got charged eight dollars when I checked out. The staff person curtly told me that this was for the water left in my room that I had drunk. Didn’t I read – or is the fine print too small for my aged eyes to see?

These water bottles are fat, and I could not easily fit them into a pocket, so I did not drink them. I had jammed them into my suitcase for later consumption. I was given a refund when I requested to return the bottles to them, but first there was a short interrogation:  “Are they opened?!”

The staffer seemed disappointed. What kind of person stuffs unopened water bottle into his suitcase? (The same type of person who brings an entire case of generic BJ’s water bottles to the hotel with him in case he gets thirsty, because he doesn’t want to drink the $3.00 water bottles from the hotel vending machines.)

It took me a few minutes to remove their waters from my suitcase, as I had locked the suitcase, and my key doesn’t fit the padlock very well, and one must really jiggle the key to get it to open. I probably made the staff very unhappy; I probably made the poor people behind me trying to check out very unhappy.

I stayed at Two Trees a few months later. As far as I know, they didn’t try the water scam. They did leave two puny but normal hotel-sized water bottles, marked generically as “Foxwoods.” This time, having the fear of God put into me by hotel scams, I did not dare drink the water. I didn’t even take home the pen.

I cannot say that the hotel water scam is good for customer relations. People don’t want to be on their guard for cons as they rest in a hotel room, especially when they are in a casino and probably giving money to the people who own the hotel.

As much as I was put off by Two Trees and would like to tell you to stay away from the scamming bastards, Two Trees is cleaner and better than the modestly priced hotels you will find in the Groton, Connecticut area. I have had some not-so-happy experiences with these hotels as well. At Foxwoods, Grand Pequot is the nicest hotel. Great Cedar, while more expensive than Two Trees and having the advantage of being connected to the casino, was a not-so-happy experience, as a lot of stuff didn’t work properly, such as lights and toilets that didn’t flush properly.

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