Compensation Clinic: Sheraton Brussels Customer Service & SPG Executive Consumer Affairs Issues

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This week the Compensation Clinic-case comes from now closed Sheraton Brussels that was recently closed abruptly due to asbestos and bankruptcy related issues (read more here and here).

Compensation Clinic Sheraton Brussels

Remember that you can always email us, send us a Facebook message or Tweet about the issues you have with hotels, airlines and other travel providers. We’ll feature one new Compensation Clinic each week.

Here’s the email from the reader:

As a regular follower and reader of Loyaltylobby.com , I once again welcome your expert advice. On this occasion my experience is with the customer service of should I say Lack of that I am currently experiencing from SPG. I’d equally be happy for you to share my experience in your compensation clinic or via any other article on Loyalty lobby if you believe it may be of interest to other readers.

As an HH Diamond member ,my normal lodging choice is with Hilton, however when travelling to Brussels I had a previous dreadful experience at Hilton Brussels City so for the last few years have stayed in either the Renaissance or the Sheraton.

In Mid December, I tried to make a reservation online for a two night stay in January  but could find no availability at all. I therefore phoned  Starwood reservations who advised me that the hotel was sold out on the dates that I was trying to book and tried to offer me the Sheraton Brussels airport which I declined. I found it difficult to grasp why a hotel as large as the Sheraton should be fully sold out for two nights in Jan when there appeared to be plenty of availability at other propertys in the city, so I phoned the hotel direct.

I received a very hostile welcome from a rude reservations agent who shouted at me ” No No, we do not take any more guests” I was professional and polite and asked why stating I was an SPG member and wished to make a reservation. She then started shouting down the phone at me in French!!! I politely asked her not to shout at me and asked that my call be diverted to the duty manager. She responded , he has been sacked now F*** off! and put the phone down on me.

I Immediately made a formal complaint to SPG who explained that two days after this incident the hotel went bankrupt and closed. They said it had been kept very low profile and probably just announced to the staff that day. I told them that the way that I had spoken to resulted in verbal abuse and I felt it would be appropriate to compensate me with 10,000 starpoints for the shocking treatment that I had received.

on Dec 22nd I received the following email from  Mr Richard B, Senior Specialist in Executive consumer affairs department-:

“Dear Mr F,

Thank you for taking the time to connect with Sheraton hotels and resorts worldwide through our internal channels, your customer service file has been brought to our attention. Please accept our apology.

Your experience is not the warm and welcoming one we want you to have at Sheraton. As you may know by now the Sheraton Brussels hotel has now closed, hence the reason you are not able to book in the new year.

Understanding you may have already taken further action, I would like to extend a onetime Goodwill Gesture  of the 10,000 starpoints you requested to bring this to a close.

Upon your acceptance and receiving the attached standard release, we will have the starpoints available for your access within seven to ten business days”
Richard B
Consumeraffairs@starwoodhotels.com

I contacted My B the following day to accept and return the release form (which also contained a confidentiality clause), having waited 10 business days taking into consideration the Christmas holidays the points that were offered had not posted on my SPG account!

I have now sent 2 emails to Mr B who has chosen to ignore them both. I have also sent two further emails to SPG Customer service, 1 of which was attempting to open another file and all the emails that I have sent have simply been ignored. 18 working days later, still the points have not been credited to my account.

I don’t know how to take this further. would you recommend I now progress this to the executive office. My whole experience of Starwood and their customer service has been absolutely shocking. Should the points ever arrive, I will simply transfer them to my Marriott rewards account and will be very reluctant to ever stay in a starwood property again.

And after I was in touch with the reader:

I have infact just received a email from Starwood executive consumer affairs offering an apology for ignoring my emails, stating that Richard B the  consumer affairs officer who had been dealing with my case, left his post at Christmas,, hence nothing has been actioned. They once again apologised for the situation stating that I phoned the hotel just after the announcement had been made to staff and have offered me a further 2,000 starpoints for the delay in resolving the issue.

They have assured me that 12,000 points will be deposited in my SPG account within 24 to 48 hours! I will be checking!!!

Conclusion

This reader’s case back from January came to my mind when I was looking at earlier today the now gone Sheraton from the Crowne Plaza hotel in Brussels. They have removed the Sheraton name from the one side but the round Sheraton logo with the S is still in place on the other site where the THON hotel is (wonder if this THON doesn’t have any of the asbestos issues?).

I haven’t actually dealt with Starwood related compensation issue for a very long time, but this consumeraffairs-email address is the right one to use if something need escalated.

Seems that someone at the hotel was bit hysterical and dealt with the reader in a very unprofessional manner. It didn’t help that the person handling the reader’s case left or was dismissed before the points were posted to his account. Good that it was eventually solved, however.

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  • Ian MacKenzie

    Questions here around the ‘standard release’ which contains a confidentiality clause.
    Agreed the service received from both hotel (possibly understandable given the circumstances but not acceptable nonetheless) and Starwood (definitely not acceptable) were poor.
    However, could the reader complain if SPG terminated his membership (or worse) for breach of confidentiality ??

  • Chris

    Requesting 10.000 SPG points as compensation for being told to “fuck off” by somebody having received notification of immediate closure of the property and thus being unemployed from next day on seems very surprising !!! And then making all a fuss about it as if it was the worst thing ever… well, some people really have nothing better to do in their life then focus on non-events !!! Not worth an article on this website as it only shows that some people have no consideration for hotel employees that lost their job from one day to another…. Stay with HH and “fuck off” 😉

    • The person on the phone could have handled it professionally:

      The hotel is closing and we don’t take any reservation without telling the reader to f off.

  • jeah

    I would love to be told to fuck off if it earns me 12000 points each time.