Hotel Riviera, an upscale hotel in England, recently sought to collect $1,850 from a woman even though she’d cancelled her visit weeks in advance due to her mother’s death.
The woman, Rebecca Wagstafee, had planned a five day visit to the hotel as a last vacation for her mother. But when her mother, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, saw her health take a turn for the worst, she cancelled the visit.
The visit was scheduled for June 22-27. Wagstaffe cancelled the visit around May 10, and her mother passed away on May 31.
But almost a month after her mother’s passing, Wagstaffe received a bill from the hotel in the mail. The bill had a letter attached.
“The cancellation in this matter was entirely beyond the hotel’s control and yet you expect the hotel to bear the loss of $1,946.75 arising from the customer’s decision not to follow the very sensible advice provided at the outset,” the letter said.
The “sensible advice” referred to in the letter was for Wagstaffe to purchase travel insurance. The hotel then backtracked from their demands, but not entirely. Hotel Riviera agreed to drop the $1,946.75 bill and refund her $230.53 deposit, but only on one condition. Wagstaffe had to, according to the hotel, “withdraw entries and complaints, such as to travel website Trip Advisor.”
But rather than agree to Hotel Riviera’s terms, Wagstaffe is deciding she wants some money of her own out of the issue.
“They are threatening me,” she said. “They are obviously embarrassed and ashamed about their business practices and they don’t want it communicated any further.
“In the memory of my mother I will continue to fight them until I get an apology because this is unacceptable.”
Wagstaffe is seeking compensation because she said she had to take several days off of work to deal with the matter.
Hotel Riviera released a brief statement, emphasizing their sympathy for Wagstaffe’s situation.
The statement reads:
"It is standard practice across the industry to invoice and recover cancellation charges.
"A polite and sympathetic request was sent to Mrs Wagstaffe by the hotel and subsequently by the hotel's solicitors without success.
"Whilst the hotel is entirely sympathetic to the very sad circumstances surrounding this matter, the hotel can do nothing more than to offer a full refund and is very disappointed this has not been accepted."