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Advice on embarrassing '£100 deodorisation charge'!!! **SORTED**


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I would be interested to know if anyone has any experience or advice regarding a rather embarrassing charge that I have incurred.

I stayed in a hotel recently and only after booking in and entering my room did I realise that every room was ‘non-smoking’. I didn’t think too much about it at the time but, late at night, and gagging for a cigarette, I decided to go into the bathroom rather than get dressed and go down to the bar. I shut the bedroom door behind me, opened the sash window as wide as I could and leaned out the window to have a cigarette.

Now – I know this is wrong, anti-social, filthy, etc., etc., but it was an old hotel, not overly clean and still sporting cigarette burns on the bedroom carpet from the days before it was non-smoking. Again, I know this is irrelevant, but, given, the overall décor and condition of the room, I also felt it was hugely over-priced at £70 per night.

Anyway, a day or so I received notification that I had incurred a £100 deodorisation charge for having smoked in the room! I was too embarrassed to argue further at that point but I did ask what the charge was for and was told talking down all curtains, cleaning all soft furnishings, etc.

Now, fair enough, I was in the wrong to have smoked in the bathroom (where, incidentally, there were no soft furnishings and the door was kept shut during my entire stay!) but ONE HUINDRED POUNDS!!!! (For clarification purposes, I should explain that I ran the cigarette end under the tap and put it in the bin).

A couple of points have occurred to me since discovering this charge (and blowing my nose and wiping my eyes):

a) The website I booked through did not mention that all rooms were non-smoking or that smelly charges would be levied;

b) I don’t recall seeing this charge mentioned in the folder in the room (although I could be wrong and I may just have missed it) or anywhere else in the hotel;

c) Does this charge need to be justified in the same way as OFT have criticised ‘unfair bank charges’? In other words, could the charge have been £1000 or £10000?

d) Having left the cigarette end in the bin I am not in a position to deny my actions but the room was on the first floor of a busy city centre road. There was no air conditioning and huge sash windows and during the rush hour on a hot summer day, would I have been entitled to a smelly rebate?

Any advice or comments welcome – as I say, I do realise that I am on rather ‘dodgy ground’ here – to top it all, the irony is that I don’t even smoke (or allow other people to smoke) in my own home!!!!!

Many thanks

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First Direct - £330 reclaimed

MBNA2 (OH) – £275 reclaimed

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Hiya Smelly. ( :D Only kidding).

 

That's unfortunate. I don't know what the legal position would be. I would think that as it is a penalty charge, the hotel would be entitled to charge what it actually cost them to deodorise the room and no more.

Ask them to supply you with a written breakdown of the costs to prove that it is a reasonable charge.

 

As a smoker, you probably don't reallise just how strong the smell of tobacco smoke is to a non-smoker. As an ex-smoker I don't have a problem with it, myself but a lot of non-smokers find the smell offensive.

My wife can actually smell the smoke on my clothes, transferred from the clothes of people that I work with.

 

I used to smoke forty a day until my heart failure knocked it on the head.

Since giving up, I have found all sorts of benefits to my health.

Not knocking you. I think that you have as much right to smoke as I have not to. If you want a fag, then have one and enjoy it..... just be more careful about where you smoke it. It could save you money.:D :D :D

 

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Thanks Crackberry _ i don't know what a charge back is - but I will call my bank todAY. Thanks also Rooster you are absolutely right of course, I know that in my heart - and a big pat on the back - I wish I had your will power!!!

Halifax - £3533.02 reclaimed

MBNA1 - £150 reclaimed

 

First Direct - £330 reclaimed

MBNA2 (OH) – £275 reclaimed

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Have you got an invoice with this charge on?

 

If so, I would imagine you have them bang to rights - if no luck with the bank, send them a prelim in the same business like manner you'd approach the banks

 

I have to say, I hate smoking (wife smokes) - mainly through the amount of people I know that have passed awway due to it - but I still totally condemn this action

 

Bang out of order :-x - fight back - you will win!:cool:

omnia praesumuntur legitime facta donec probetur in contrarium

 

 

Please note: I am not a member of the legal profession, all advice given is purely my opinion, if in doubt consult a professional

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Thing is as they employ people already its not like they will have to hire outside cleaners so they may be able to just state 2 people for 8 hours each taking the room apart, cleaning and putting back together. However if there was no mention of not smoking in your contract you may be able to find a way out there as you haven't breeched the contract or any contractual agreements.

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Surley if it is not advertised as a non smoking hotel, and there are no signs in the room to say there will be £100 fine, then they are just having you on.

 

There is no way they would take down the curtains to clean them. And if you shut your self in the bathroom and sprayed after AND hung out of the window, there shouldnt of been much smell by the next day.

I bet they saw the but in the bin and decided to come after you!!

 

Maybe you should just send a febreeze sample. :D

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I worked for a large hotel chain as a chamber maid and believe me it would not cost £100 for the cleaning of soft furnishings.

 

Ask them for a reciept from the cleaning company they used and a breakdown of their costs.

 

Whenever we came accross a "smelly" residant we were simlpy told to open the windows and spray the soft furnishings with a well known deodoriser.

 

£100 my foot.

 

hope this helps,

 

Brecken xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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I think the moral of this story is to throw the fag butt out of the window when youve finished next time!!

 

Seems to me their yanking your chain.

Kick the shAbbey Habit

 

Where were you? Next time please

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi

Thanks for all your replies and a quick update.

 

I sent a request for various bits of paperwork and received a 'blah blah get lost' response.

 

I was going to let this one go but I was feeling in a grumpy mood yesterday and bashed out a request for a refund. I really have no idea on the legal issues with a charge like this but I thought the underlying issue might be similar to when deposits are unfairly withheld by landlords (there is an excellent letter template on this site for challenging this).

 

I've pasted the letter below and if anyone thinks I'm barking up the wrong tree completely - please let me know!

 

Many thanks

Bubble

 

Request for repayment of £100 deodorisation charge

Dear Mr xxx

Thank you for the documents enclosed with your letter (undated).

By way of clarification, I should point out that I did not see or sign the registration form. You will note that this was completed by my friend, xxx. I have to admit that I failed to notice the information

signs by the lift or in the corridors. I would be grateful if you could provide me with the dimensions of the sign on the first floor and a copy of the text on the sign.

My main concern, however, is that you have ignored my request to provide any documentation to account for what the £100 charge was for. You have failed to supply receipts or invoices for the deodorisation to be carried out or estimates or quotes for the work and, as such, the amount you have charged me cannot be not accounted for in any way.

If you are unable to provide this documentation I request that you refund this charge. If you do not respond within 14 days with either a full refund, or the appropriate documentation to account for this charge, I will send you a letter before action giving you a further 14 days to comply with my request. After that, there will be no further communication from me and I will instigate court proceedings.

Yours sincerely

Halifax - £3533.02 reclaimed

MBNA1 - £150 reclaimed

 

First Direct - £330 reclaimed

MBNA2 (OH) – £275 reclaimed

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There's no way that much work is needed to clear the smoke from one cigarette. I'm a non-smoker but I occasionally let people smoke in my house: all it takes is to open the windows and spray a bit of air freshener. It's not a nuclear spillage.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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It does make you wonder - "deodourisation" charges because you left the room in a "smelly" condition. Now, supposing you had a serious case of BO, or even some other ailment such as extreme flatulence, that left the room in an equally "smelly" state - would they charge you £100 to deodourise the room? Do they have big signs up saying "all rooms are strictly non-farting..."

 

Like everyone else here I think they are having you on. If there were signs that stated no-smoking then they have you bang to rights. However, in the absence of these signs I think they are trying to shame you into paying up...don't let them get away with it...

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All advice and opinions given by Spiceskull are personal, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Taxis have clear signs in re "soiling" charges - I've never seen one in a hotel (and have been in many and worked in one).

 

What another poster said above is correct - if someone smoked in a non-smoking room, windows would be opened, and then candles / air freshener used. If really that bad and hotel was quite room would be left unoccupied for a day or so.

 

It's really not £100!

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LOL Bispers... leaving a room unoccupied for a day or so could lose a hotel anywhere from £150 to £600!!! Especially when you consider the food that the guest would have eaten and drinks he would have bought. A "Barely reasonable" hotel in Basingstoke was costing me £110 per night plus about £80 a day in food. No - I think they'd go with the old air freshener and open windows approach...

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Love the bit about flatulence - the way this nanny state government is going, they'll be banning that as well.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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Love the bit about flatulence - the way this nanny state government is going, they'll be banning that as well.
Not so bizarre when you consider the evidence: environmentalists cite farting cows as a major factor in the destruction of the ozone layer...cows are (generally) incapable of responsibility for their actions...we, however, are fully responsible...so there will no doubt be licensing for farting. I expect that habitual farters may get "fartinelle" on the NHS, whilst businesses, much like they do with carbon trading quotas, will probably engage in fart trading options...which will also find their way onto some financial/futures exchange somewhere or other...

Alecto, Magaera et Tisiphone: Nemesis on Earth is come.

 

All advice and opinions given by Spiceskull are personal, and are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Hi

Thanks for all your replies and a quick update.

 

I sent a request for various bits of paperwork and received a 'blah blah get lost' response.

 

I was going to let this one go but I was feeling in a grumpy mood yesterday and bashed out a request for a refund. I really have no idea on the legal issues with a charge like this but I thought the underlying issue might be similar to when deposits are unfairly withheld by landlords (there is an excellent letter template on this site for challenging this).

 

I've pasted the letter below and if anyone thinks I'm barking up the wrong tree completely - please let me know!

 

Many thanks

Bubble

 

 

Request for repayment of £100 deodorisation charge

 

 

Dear Mr xxx

Thank you for the documents enclosed with your letter (undated).

 

By way of clarification, I should point out that I did not see or sign the registration form. You will note that this was completed by my friend, xxx. I have to admit that I failed to notice the information

signs by the lift or in the corridors. I would be grateful if you could provide me with the dimensions of the sign on the first floor and a copy of the text on the sign.

 

My main concern, however, is that you have ignored my request to provide any documentation to account for what the £100 charge was for. You have failed to supply receipts or invoices for the deodorisation to be carried out or estimates or quotes for the work and, as such, the amount you have charged me cannot be not accounted for in any way.

 

If you are unable to provide this documentation I request that you refund this charge. If you do not respond within 14 days with either a full refund, or the appropriate documentation to account for this charge, I will send you a letter before action giving you a further 14 days to comply with my request. After that, there will be no further communication from me and I will instigate court proceedings.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Moving away from The_Phoenix's novel idea of branching off for British Gas, I think the main problem with your letter is that you are conceding points in it. Admit nothing.

 

If it were me, I would send a much shorter letter, on the lines of:

I have asked you to provide me proof of the costs incurred in the alleged smoking incident of xx date, and you have so far failed to do so. Please note that as of now, I am considering this as an unfair term and a penalty, and that unless you can substantiate the £100 charge, I shall seek repayment of it, thought the courts if necessary.

Yours, etc...

 

Meanwhile, do some research, do they have a website, where their T&Cs would be listed? That could prove very useful, and I would do that asap, in case they change things.

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LOL Bispers... leaving a room unoccupied for a day or so could lose a hotel anywhere from £150 to £600!!! Especially when you consider the food that the guest would have eaten and drinks he would have bought. A "Barely reasonable" hotel in Basingstoke was costing me £110 per night plus about £80 a day in food. No - I think they'd go with the old air freshener and open windows approach...

 

No...the hotel I worked in charged higher prices than you have quoted above. The point is this - a hotel rarely occupates at 100% occupancy all week, month, year etc....at the weekend the windows open and air freshener approach would be open - during the week when quieter (the hotel I worked in was a spa hotel and busier at weekends, not a business hotel) quite often you would be able to move in the incoming occupants.

 

Trust me - been there, done that, worked there - it can be possible. If a room isn't booked out anyway, the hotel's not losing any money. Nowhere am I suggesting the bumping off regime...

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You should have mentioned that:

 

a) There was no CCTV footage or photos to suggest that YOU were smoking

 

b) You wasnt caught by a member of staff smoking neither

 

c) Just because they found a cig butt in a bin doesnt necessary suggest you smoked indoors, you may have for some bizarre reason kept it to discard in a bin at the hotel rather then throwing it on the ground outside (i.e. if you are responsible and care for the environment and a bin wasnt in close range)

 

d) I doubt they would smell it, one fag with the window open.... door shut. Even so, if they could smell smoke then how could they prove that it werent you breathing out the smell from a fag you smoked, say outside, its infamous that smokers have bad breath - smell like an ashtray - some times for hours from a single fag...

 

 

 

Shame you didnt take that "prove it" route.

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You should have mentioned that:

 

its infamous that smokers have bad breath - smell like an ashtray - some times for hours from a single fag...

 

 

Thank you MD

 

You really have made me feel super-duper gorgeous!!!

 

Next time I certainly will try and prove that I smell absolutely repulsive :rolleyes:

Halifax - £3533.02 reclaimed

MBNA1 - £150 reclaimed

 

First Direct - £330 reclaimed

MBNA2 (OH) – £275 reclaimed

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If there were signs that stated no-smoking then they have you bang to rights.

 

Possibly. I have seen signs saying smoking is not allowed in a hotel bedroom but do not recall ever seeing one about smoking in the bathroom.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Quick update!!

 

Thanks to all the supportive posts I have received. They definitely gave me the confidence to 'brazen' it out!

 

Yesterday the hotel deposited £100 in my current account!!!

 

I am so pleased...but, I promise...I have learned my lesson!

 

Thanks again

 

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Halifax - £3533.02 reclaimed

MBNA1 - £150 reclaimed

 

First Direct - £330 reclaimed

MBNA2 (OH) – £275 reclaimed

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