View Full Version : Agreeing to disagree...

12-27-2014, 06:35 PM
This was actually one that New Front Office Manager (FOM) dealt with, but I witnessed the entire train wreck. Unfortunately, I was too busy with my own line of guests to attempt to throw him a life ring.

The guests were one one of those pre-paid rates (the kind you buy like a month in advance with no possibility of a refund thing). So their room and tax was pre-paid when they booked.

Their billed showed the amount they pre-paid, the room charges (which equaled said amount), several spa and restaurant charges, and the amount they were charged at check-out which equaled said spa and restaurant charges. And then at the very bottom was the total, inclusive of the whole thing, which totaled what they prepaid plus what they paid for the additional charges at check-out.

Does that make sense?

Because it made no sense for these guests. They thought we were charging that bottom total on top of what they prepaid, even though if they looked up at the actual bill they would see their prepayment and the checkout payment were two separate payments adding up to the final total.

SC: "I don't get this. You're charging me too much! I prepaid!"
FOM: "Yes, you did. And that shows up right here!"
SC: "Then why are you charging me $7XX! That can't be right!"
FOM: "You are just being charged $4XX. See right here? This is for all the additional charges you accrued during your stay."
SC: "But where is this $7XX coming from?"
FOM: "That includes your pre-payment."
SC: "But see, I feel like you are over-charging me."

SC went out and got his wife, who came in and also did not get it. SC's wife made FOM go line-by-line with her.

SC's Wife: "Okay, so on this day there's this charge for dinner and this charge for drinks, and that's $XX."
FOM: "Yes."
SC's Wife: "So, we both agree this is all we had on the first night."
FOM: "Yes."

So they went through like that, line by line and day by day, until they got to the total of their incidental charges. This process took a solid 15 minutes.

SC's Wife: "Okay, so we both agree that the amount we should be charged at check-out is $4XX, right?"
FOM: "Yes, that is correct."
SC's Wife: "So why are we being charged $7XX?"
FOM: "That is your total that includes your pre-payment. See, this line here with today's date is the $4XX for the charges we just added up. That is all we are charging your card for today. This line up here with [date from over a month ago] is your pre-payment for $3XX."
SC's Wife: "So why does it say $7XX down there? It says you're charging us $7XX but we should only be paying $4XX!"

At that point I heard a crackle that was either the sterno for our hot apple cider we serve flaring up or FOM's soul shattering.

I felt bad. If I hadn't been so swamped with my own line of guests and phone calls, I may have been able to save him, since there's a way to split apart the bill to show the prepaid room charges and incidentals in separate sections, creating two nice little subtotals before the final total. FOM has only been with us a few weeks and probably forgot he could do that in the system. Though these SC's were so not understanding something that seemed so simple, perhaps re-arranging their bill may have only made things worse.

FOM did somehow manage to get them to leave after about 40 minutes of back-and-forth, though they still didn't seem too convinced when they left. I finished up my guest just as they walked out. FOM just stood there looking exasperated, and as soon as the doors closed and they were out of earshot, he exclaimed, "Oh..my...god....did that just really happen?"

12-27-2014, 07:52 PM
not to side with the SCs, but the bill does sound confusing- would it be difficult to add a section to the bill saying:
Total Charges: XXX
Prepaid amount: YYY
Still to pay: ZZZ

where ZZZ is XXX-YYY?

because then you could just point to that line, explaining that that is the amount charged at checkout.

Still, this seems to be the most amusing argument when both sides are arguing for the same end result ( a charge for $4XX) I've seen.

12-27-2014, 08:58 PM
not to side with the SCs, but the bill does sound confusing- would it be difficult to add a section to the bill saying:...

They SHOULD have gotten that bill under their door with XXX showing as the total and ZZZ amount due. But when they got the final FINAL bill after they paid, it still showed the XXX total and the "amount to pay" (ZZZ) was then $0. This was the paper they had and what they were arguing over, even though the line item where they paid their incidentals was clearly marked right above it in the bill. (They didn't seem confused during checkout until after their zero-balance receipt printed and they thought they were over-charged.)

12-27-2014, 10:24 PM
Once you charged them for the additional stuff like the spa, etc., wouldn't they have a receipt showing that they amount they just paid was only the $4XX? (whatever the amount was).

12-28-2014, 03:09 AM
Luckily my computer system gives me ability to separate charges onto separate bills for things like this... all the prepay stuff on one paper & print. All the new stuff on another paper & print. Otherwise I'm sure I would have had conversations just like this one. I can even think of a few specific people...

12-28-2014, 02:01 PM
Once you charged them for the additional stuff like the spa, etc., wouldn't they have a receipt showing that they amount they just paid was only the $4XX? (whatever the amount was).

They did, on the line right above. The receipt showed both payments with their respective dates. Which was pointed out many, many times.

Basically it read something like this:

300BCE or whenever: VISA XXXX1234 -- $3XX
Dec 27 or whatever: Room charge
Dec 27 or whatever: Room tax
Dec 28 or whatever: Room charge
Dec 28 or whatever: Room tax
Dec 27 or whatever: Foods
Dec 27 or whatever: Moar foods
Dec 27 or whatever: Foods
Dec 28 or whatever: Moar foods
Dec 28 or whatever: All the foods!
Dec 28 or whatever: Holy crap even moar foods
Dec 28 or whatever: VISA XXXX1234 -- $4XX
Total Charges: $7XX Total Paid: $7XX Amount Due: $0

Luckily my computer system gives me ability to separate charges onto separate bills for things like this...

This is what New FOM apparently didn't think or forgot how to do. Our system can separate them out, and if I had checked them out it is what I would have done. Unfortunately New FOM didn't think of it and I couldn't get a break in my own line of customers to try and suggest it, leaving him to flounder on his own.

12-28-2014, 02:07 PM
As an invoice that might be a little confusing, but as a receipt it makes perfect sense. Even in the case of initial confusing it should only take about 8 seconds to explain how it works, the customers in the OP were a little off I think.

12-30-2014, 03:06 PM
It made perfect sense to me, even before you broke out the charges. Some people just don't get it. We have a thing in my store where if you use your charge or reward card, and accumulate enough points, you get a $25 certificate. Which is a method of payment, NOT a discount. And, if you use it to purchase, you get it back in the form of a store credit, NOT an additional credit to however you paid the balance.

I get its confusing since some stores use the reward thingys as a discount, and others as a form of payment, but many of our customers are old-timers, so they really should know better. But I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to them a. the reward comes off the total amount due, NOT each item, like a discount, and b. when returning items, i cannot put each #25 reward back onto your cc or give it back ot you in cash. i MUST give you a store credit.

12-31-2014, 01:19 AM
big yellow campground where i work in the summers does pretty much the same thing.. you must make a deposit by credit card to make a reservation, and it shows up on the receipt as "deposit honored" after the "amount due" line, and i can't tell you how many times i've had to reassure people that i wasn't billing their card again for their one night stay