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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bait and Switch means trouble

As is normal for my wife and I during one of our many road trips, my wife selected a hotel for an overnight from a hotel guide. She called ahead and obtained an unsolicited price quote that was a few dollars less than the guide stated. Upon confirming the reservation and offering a credit card the clerk told her it was unnecessary as they had plenty of rooms available.

When we arrived the same clerk told her the price was 50% higher than he quoted on the phone an hour earlier. A heated discussion was then under way. As we were tired, I suggested we pay the higher rate and took obvious note of the clerk’s name tag. When he saw that move on my part he closed his computer screen and stated that “we will not have any room available for you now.”  He went on to state that he has a “right to select who to do business with.” We were agreeing to his raised price, but he was refusing service. He never said the hotel was filled or there were no available rooms. It was obvious he had been caught attempting to implement a bait and switch and was going to be reported.

We drove across the street to another hotel for the evening. Wrote a letter to the hotel chain corporate management and copied the BBB in the area, in each case identifying the clerk by name and suggesting that he be fired. Hopefully the firm did just that. In any event, we will not stop at that hotel again and we will let our friends know of it at well.

What would you do in a similar situation? How would your business react?


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


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