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    • Hi all my wife has today been accused of shoplifting a few weeks ago at John Lewis. Police called today and said an allegation has been made after viewing cctv. My wife has been invited in for interview to clear things up (there words) I asked how her how they knew how to find her, she admitted she had been caught before in Waitrose in 2018 and banned from them and JL. I can’t begin to tell you how shocked I am but I need to support her and don’t know where to turn. She has confessed to me that she has stolen the odd thing over the past year from JL and is now worried that they will look back and charge here for stealing all the items. The police say the allegation is for two small items of clothing. My wife of 40yrs  I know like the back of my hand has been through hell and has lost all her family over the past few years, she has serious health issues and is on strong medication. I can only put this down to this being a big factor. I really need to know what to do to help her, if she admits,  will it be dealt with on the spot or will courts be involved. Should she seek immediate legal advice or see the solicitor at the police station(that’s what they have offered) Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks for reading and I hope it’s easy to understand 
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Infringement of privacy in IHG Hotel


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I am requesting your assistance to how I should go about a serious breach of my privacy that occurred during my stay at one of IHG’s hotel on Ma 2023.

Having previously had items taken from my hotel room elsewhere I take the added precaution of using a security camera app on my device whenever I stay in a hotel room. The recordings are date and time stamped and it cannot be adjusted by the end user.

On this particular occasion I discovered evidence from my personal security camera recordings of a spy camera had been placed underneath my door, and can be seen moving along the base of the door for approximately 15 seconds.

The spy camera is in fact marketed as an inspection device of drains primarily but is known to be used in observing spaces difficult to enter. It is a usb endoscopic camera that has a length flexible cable that is semi rigid and can negotiate any obstruction by bending. The operator can be up to 3-4 metres away.

infuriated as I had previously stayed with them in 2022 for 3 months at £260 per night that they would seek to question my honesty and invade my privacy.

I immediately called reception and asked why they would do such a thing and if they had any concerns they were welcome to inspect my room and go through my personal belongings and ask me anything they wanted to. I was sleeping for the best part of my stay and was alone throughout.

I sent the recordings to the receptionist within the hour of finding them and I asked to speak to the manager of the hotel who I was told wasn’t present.

I tried to have face to face meetings with him but he instead wrote to me denying the recordings were made at their hotel stating that they didn’t observe anyone in the corridor at the time of the recordings and that they don’t have a metal bar at the interface of the tile and carpet which corresponds to the overlying door.

I rejected that statement on the grounds the video doesn’t show a bar but a reflection of light on the tile and you wouldn’t see a person outside my door because the cable is black and runs along the floor. If you don’t look for this you won’t see it. The matter was passed up to the area manager and he also denied the allegation. This is where the matter ends as far as IHG are concerned.

Leading a busy work and family life I let the matter go but I found myself back at the same hotel a year later. I booked for 2 nights and was given a room facing the lobby door that led to the lifts. Unfortunately, from the hours of 3am I was woken up by the noise of the door opening and closing but also noticed shadows of a person standing in front of my door.

At first I took no notice and put this down to a guest waiting for someone but the person or persons returned several times, standing outside my door for up to several minutes. I called the hotel reception and asked if there was an issue on my floor and they said they would come up to check. They never said they would check the CCTV and as the incidents continued to happen up to 8am I called them 6 times.

Given my past experience I didn’t think they took security as serious a# her establishments and made them observe the Cctv and let me know. The explanation I was given was that they could see residents there but they were heading down to breakfast. The time that I had noticed these feet by door was from 3am and breakfast started at 6.30am. It also didn’t explain why they would stand by my door for anything longer than 10seconds and if they were waiting for someone how likely is it that this scenario is played out 6 times when there was only 12 rooms per floor.

Later that morning when I went down for breakfast the manager said he would move me to a room at the end of the corridor and asked me what my plans were for the day, essentially when would I be in the hotel. I stated that for the day I was out. He then said that all his staff were uncomfortable about me being a guest and said that I was not welcome there anymore.

I had paid for the two nights but when it came to the end of the day I didn’t feel that I would be able to rest at the hotel given the hostility I returned the next day to collect my remaining belongings, namely items of clothing, an iPhone charging cable and plug, and toiletries. Checkout was at 2pm and I was at the hotel at 3pm. All my belongings were gone and they couldn’t locate the items. 

I plan to report the incident of the spy camera to the police, as well as the theft, and write to the hotel emphasising that this breach of privacy is unacceptable and the hotel's failure to properly investigate and address the issue is deeply concerning. The fact that I requested security checks to ensure my safety in the early hours was reasonable, yet their response to ban from the premises was excessive and even possibly discriminatory as I had revealed to them that I had been a victim of a hate crime given my sexuality. .

I am seeking compensation for the infringement of my privacy, the lack of proper investigation, and the being humiliated and made to feel like an undesirable. I will request a full refund of my two-night stay totalling £390. Additionally, I will request compensation for the cost of my previous stay when the infringement occurred, which was £220.

I am also considering damages for the infringement of my privacy but at a loss as to what this would equate to. I will close the letter giving them a 14 day timeframe to respond. 

Is there anything you feel i need to consider here?

Many thanks 

 

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No doubt the hotel will have security cameras on the floor you were staying to confirm or deny the allegation??

 

The only compensation you will probably get, which will be discretionary as a goodwill gesture, will be a credit voucher for the entire hotel group. Very much doubt anything more than that as you have not substantiated, the hotel committed the transgression 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You must definitely report the incident to the police. That is the right thing to do, since breaking and entering, theft, and peeping cameras are a criminal matter. You should let the police handle the investigation. They will be able to request for CCTV footage.

There doesn't seem to be much point dealing with the hotel. They seem to have told you in clear terms that you are banned from their premises? They must suspect your accusations of being false for some reason.

Please always use the bolt to secure the door when you stay at a hotel.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The spy cam I mentioned is one used to detect cracks in drains and is operated metres away from the actual site so in this case, of course no-one will be seen in the corridor but it is important they understood what it was they were looking for - a black bendy cable leading to any door. All the hotel said was that there was no-one at my door or in the corridor. I'm waiting to hear back from the police as to their investigation.

Why has the hotel banned me? Because I questioned their security on a recent visit and they said they had no time for these sort of questions. They allowed me to stay for there 2 nights but I left as they were so righteous and rude. 

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Hello, so the type of camera you are refering to is an endoscopic camera and there have indeed been used in peeping Tom incidents if you believe the news (For example https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=637245664411317)

However I am pretty sure that these camera do not permit someone to remote manually from a room, into a corridor, then into another room, without being seen. They are designed to be inserted through a single hole, but not a series of obstacles. That said I really have no idea, and I'm not sure what any of us CAGgers can do to help you, asside recommend doing all your dealings in writing always. Hence when you ever deal with hotels again in the future, make sure all your enquiries about security are done via email so you have a record. 

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