This week the Compensation Clinic-case comes from a reader that found a bed bug at a Holiday Inn Express hotel in Indianapolis.
You can access Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis NW – Park 100 website here.
Here’s the original email from the reader:
What do you think is a fair compensation/resolution for the following situation? I had 2 issues with my stay May 11th at Holiday Inn Express Park 100 in Indianapolis.
1st issue; I booked a room at the HIE Park 100 in Indianapolis. This hotel was on the IHG summer points breaks list so I booked a stay for 2 nights at 5k a night. I had read some bad advice (can’t remember where) suggesting it was OK to book more nights than needed and you could cancel the unneeded nights. When I tried to do that I was told it would be a new reservation and I would not get the 5k a night price because they were all gone. I chatted online with IHG and they said there was no way around it. I then called the hotel and told the clerk about this and she said she could cancel the Wednesday night and still keep the Thursday night and the confirmation number stayed the same. I had her do that. This was 4 days in advance. I called again Wednesday to make sure they had cancelled the reservation for that night but we still had the reservation for the next day (Thursday) and they confirmed this. It looks like I did not get my points returned for the Wednesday night stay (which was cancelled 4 days in advance). If I lose the 5k price, then I might as well keep it for 2 nights and pay 10k instead of a new reservation for 15k. But I am hoping to get my 5k points back for the unused night. But maybe it takes a week or so to show? Should I wait 2 weeks before asking? Should I call the hotel instead of IHG to see if they can fix this? I am thinking calling the hotel might be best. Should I wait to see what happens with the issue below before asking about this issue?
The second issue is I found a live bedbug on one of the beds. I found it in the crease/ fold of the pillow-top mattress on 1 of the two beds in the room. I had checked 2 corners on 1 bed and 1 corner on the 2nd bed and found this on the 4th corner check. There were dark spots only near the bug, nowhere else. So I am hoping it might have come from the previous guest, instead of an infestation. I did take a short video of the bug just in case they claimed it was not there (video link at end of this). Not sure if the light colored item in the video might be a shell or nymph. I wondered if they might think I planted it, but there were 4 dark spots on the mattress near the bug, and this was discovered and reported in less than 5 minutes of us getting to the room. I put the sheet and comforter back over the bug area and turned off the light, hoping it would still be there when they arrived to see it (that worked). They did send 2 people up to see the bug. While I waited I did a google search and found out this was an adult male bedbug, matched the photos perfectly. It looked like maybe a manager and a maintenance type worker, the worker person did find and captured the bug. The manager looking person never said a word to me. I was moved to a different room. At first they tried to move me 2 rooms away but I insisted I get a room far away from that one. I very thoroughly inspected both mattresses (2 queen beds), all seams and folds, and found no dark spots or evidence of bugs. I was very tired and stressed after taking off the sheets from both beds and inspecting all the edges and seams all the way around both beds, and then putting the sheets back on the beds. But felt relieved that I found no evidence of bugs. I was hot, sweaty and agitated, but after about 2 hours I felt better. They did move me to a different room, but the management never said a word about this to us. Maybe that is the policy, but you would think they would have at least apologized or offered some sort of compensation for our inconvenience and stress. My husband answered the phone while I was taking a shower and said they just asked if everything was ok with the room and he said yes, and that was it. The room was booked using my husband’s points and he has no status, just Club. I have the IHG credit card so I have Platinum. We were both staying at the hotel together, and I was the one who found the bug and handled the issue with the staff. I did fill out a form with this info to IHG quality or service concern web page a few days later. The sad thing is I used to check 2 diagonal corners on each bed, but from now on I will be ripping the sheets off and checking the entire mattress(s) on every hotel stay from now on. It has made me very paranoid since I sure don’t want to bring these home! I do have this same hotel booked in June – still with the points breaks price under my husband’s account. And I have it booked for July on points breaks price using my account. So I don’t want to “burn my bridges” there. But I do think it was rude to not even offer a sincere apology, let alone maybe some points for my stress and inconvenience.
I decided to forward this case to the IHG spokesperson that got back to me about a week later letting me know that the issue was resolved.
Here’s an update from the reader:
I received an email from IHG corporate saying they credited back the 5k IHG points for the night that I cancelled. It is labeled “goodwill” on my husband’s IHG account.
I received a separate email May 19th from IHG corporate liaison stating they contacted the Holiday Inn Express Park 100. The Park 100 manager emailed a few minutes later and apologized for our trouble, although they claimed to find no evidence of bugs. The manager then called and apologized to my husband when I was not home. This all would have been fine, but the manager told my husband that they had the bug analyzed in a lab and the lab said the bed bug had been dead for quite a while. I was livid when I heard this. I took a video that clearly shows the bug moving.
My husband said the manager told him they were giving us a credit for 25k IHG points which was much more generous than I was expecting. I waited until I saw the points post ( 1 week) and then sent the email copied below to the manager and to the IHG Liason. I will consider this done, but I was very angry that the manager said the bug had been dead for some time. I felt like the manager called me a liar and I was offended. I do not believe the manager would have done anything if they had not been contacted by IHG corporate, so I again thank you for your kind assistance. I also copied the follow-up email from IHG below, and the email from the Holiday Inn Express Park 100 manager below that.
Here’s what the IHG wrote back to the reader:
Thank you for contacting the IHG Executive Office regarding your experience with the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis NW – Park 100. I certainly appreciate your time in bringing this to our attention and sincerely apologize your experience did not meet your expectations.
I’ve forwarded your comments to Ms. REMOVED, General Manager of this franchised property. Ms. Frye took your comments seriously and advised they had already contacted their pest control company to come and inspect the room. The results of the inspection showed no evidence of any insects. Ms. REMOVED also advised she had called Mr.REMOVED to apologize and advise of the results of the inspection, however as a gesture of goodwill she would deposit 25,000 points into his IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite account. Should you wish to discuss further please contact Ms. REMOVED at 317-290-1212.
In regards to the PointBreaks cancellation for the night of May 10th, I’ve confirmed the 5,000 points for the first night of the two night reservation were returned to Mr. REMOVED IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite account. These points, along with the 25,000 points issued by Ms. REMOVED, are in his account now. I know you would’ve preferred to have had a seamless and positive experience during your time in Indianapolis, as opposed to the goodwill issued, and for that I apologize.
Once again, I really appreciate you sharing your comments with us. I know you have many choices when it comes to hotels, and I hope you’ll continue to choose IHG in the future.
And here’s what the property wrote back:
Thank you for choosing Holiday Inn Express and for taking the time to provide feedback about your experience at Holiday Inn Express INDIANAPOLIS NW – PARK 100.
I would like to start by apologizing to you for the inconveniences you faced during your stay.
We did have the room inspected by a professional company and there were no findings in the first room that you stayed in. The 2 black dots that were seen on the side of the mattress was verified as ink marks as well. We also use the same company to come in and inspect 20 rooms per month for any bug issues.
We strive to make each stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible, and we appreciate that you brought your experience to our attention. We take feedback seriously and will coach our team to make the necessary changes so we can provide a better experience in the future.
I hope you will give us a chance by staying with us again to show you that your unsatisfactory stay was an exception.
Here’s what the reader wrote back to the property:
And below is the email I sent to the Park 100 manager, after receiving the follow-up email from the IHG corporate liaison. I know writing that was a waste of my time, but I was truly offended that they would say the bug was dead and just felt the need to express that.
Let me start by saying I am not someone who was trying to scam a free room. My husband and I have stayed at quite a few IHG hotels in the past 2 years. You can look over both our accounts and see that we do not make a habit of complaining and we have not received any points for complaining about hotel rooms. My husband has to get medical treatments once a month in Indy and it requires a night at a hotel. I have this hotel booked for his June and July appointments. So I do not want to “burn my bridges” and not be welcome to return. Other than the bug, I was very happy with the hotel. If you are wondering why you are hearing from me instead of REMOVED, it is because he is dealing with serious health issues and cannot deal with any other stress. He just does not have the energy.
I thought I behaved quite well in this situation. I was polite when I called the front desk to say I found a bug on my bed. There were other guests in the hallway when I tossed my bags in the hallway and I could have told them I found a bed bug in my room, but I did not. I could have made a scene at the front desk when I had to go back there to get a new room, but I did not. I could have been rude or complained loudly to the staff, but I did not do that. I was polite and respectful through this whole situation. The only time I made any remark that could be considered even close to rude is I refused to take a different room that was only 2 doors away from this one. I did insist I get one far away from this and they changed it and I said thank you. I later stopped at the front desk and asked for a recommendation for a place to go for supper. After supper I stopped by and thanked the desk clerk for the recommendation and told her we really enjoyed our meal. I still rated the hotel highly in my IHG review, because everything else was good, even though I found a bed bug. The front desk clerk was polite and helpful, and the man at the breakfast buffet was very nice and helpful as well.
My husband said you called Friday night when I was not home. He said that in the phone conversation that you told him you had the bug analyzed in a lab and they said it had been dead for quite a while. That is absolutely not true. I thought it was just a few spots until I saw one of them move. It was definitely alive and I took a video with my cell phone of the bug once I saw it moving and I will include a link to it. I was really surprised at how flat the bug was, and just thought it was a spot until it moved.
It seems wrong that I had not heard one word of apology for my inconvenience and emotional stress. It seems wrong that I had to email IHG about this to prompt any reply from you. I was very respectful and polite and did not cause a scene or say anything to other guests. I would have felt better that you called as well as emailed to apologize. But now I am angry that you would tell my husband that the bedbug “had been dead for quite a while”. Did you not look at it after the guy captured it in the cup? I cannot understand why you said that. I see that Rich was credited points to his IHG account as compensation for the inconvenience. I will consider this done. But I wanted you to know that I found it extremely offensive and disrespectful that you would say the bed bug had been dead for quite a while. I would like you to watch my video and tell me how this bug is moving while it is supposedly dead.
This is a screen shot from the video showing the bug and what looks like a molted shell.
This link is to my video where I just have 16 seconds of the bug.
This link is the full unedited video where I where I forgot to turn off the camera. I was putting the bedding back over the bug and turning off the light and then grabbing my bags to get them out of that room. This shows bits of the phone, bed, carpet, table, etc. which helps to show it did come from that room.
I was extremely angry last Friday night when I heard you said the bug was dead when we found it. I decided I needed to wait several days to calm down before sending this email. I have spent a good amount of time trying to politely express myself, and I thank you for taking the time to read this email.
Sometimes a nudge from the corporate gets the property to reply to an open issue such as the one reader had over here.
These bed bugs are borderline unavoidable at hotels and they are more of a nuisance than anything else. Obviously nobody wants to bring them back to their home. Very difficult to get rid off. At least the bug here was alive based on the video that the reader took.