Welcome to the bungle? Sleepless night in a car after Guns N’ Roses

Pricewatch: A reader who booked a hotel to stay in after Slane was left out in the cold

Guns N’ Roses at Slane Castle. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Guns N’ Roses at Slane Castle. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Helena O’Dwyer booked two rooms in an Ibis Hotel in Dublin last January for the night of the recent Guns N’ Roses concert in Slane. “We booked at a rate of €118 per room,” her mail starts.

A couple of weeks before the concert she requested an early check-in through booking.com as the group were hoping to get a bus from Dublin to Slane at about noon on the day of the concert. “I received an email back on May 15th stating that it would cost €25 to check in early. As we were not going to be using the room we decided that we would rather not pay the €25 just to check in. So I declined and telephoned the hotel to ask them would it be possible to check in after the concert and I was told that this would not be a problem.”

On the big day, the gang of four arrived at the hotel at about 11.30am and went to reception to inform them that “we would be back after the concert to check in, and we also offered to pay for the rooms there and then. Our offer was declined by the lady on reception and we were told that payment would not be necessary, and that we could pay later. She also stated that it did not matter what time we were back as there would be someone on reception all night. We then asked for a taxi to be ordered and we had a drink in the bar while we waited for the taxi.”

The group went to the concert and arrived back at the hotel close to midnight. “We went to reception to check in and we were told that our rooms had been cancelled and that we should have received an email informing us. I then checked my emails and I had received an email at 16.29pm that day informing that I needed to update my card details. The email stated that I had 24 hours to update my card. I then received another email at 18.01pm, stating that our rooms had been cancelled. We explained to the man on reception that we were at a concert and had not checked our emails so were unaware that there was a problem with my card.

“If the hotel had telephoned me or texted me, I would have seen these and could have made a payment over the phone. The man on reception then got the manager on the phone and my partner spoke to him. The manager stated that they had sent us an email to inform us of the issue with our payment. My partner then stated that we were at a concert and had not checked our emails and that we had offered to pay for the rooms earlier that day and our offer was declined. The manager then commented that what we do in our spare time was none of his business.”

She was left with the distinct impression that the staff did not appear to “give a damn that we were four people who had been at a concert all day and had been drinking so were unable to drive home and had nowhere to stay for the night.”

The group asked them to find them a room in a nearby hotel and they wouldn’t. “They just left us stranded in Dublin. They really didn’t care. So we ended up sitting in our car until it was safe for us to drive home. Considering that I had booked these rooms four months in advance to avoid having to drive too early, it’s just ridiculous that we ended up having to do just that.”

She went on to the Ibis website and filled out a complaint form on May 29th and received no feedback. “I have also left reviews on Tripadvisor and Facebook and no feedback either. This could easily have been a group of young girls attending a concert and left stranded. The hotel’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired.”

We contacted the hotel and the general manager said that, because the booking was made through booking.com, its policies governed how the situation unfolded. He said that when booking.com had checked the credit card on the day of the stay, there were insufficient funds to cover the rooms, which prompted the automated mail to be sent out.

The hotel, recognising there was an issue, then attempted to call our reader, the manager said, but the number she supplied was not in service so there was no way to make contact with the guests. Booking. com – not the hotel – then sold the rooms. He sympathised with their situation and said it was the hotel’s policy to do whatever it could to facilitate guests even in extreme circumstances. He said the night staff had tried to find the group alternative accommodation but had been unsuccessful and said that the hotel would be willing to offer them a free night’s accommodation to make up for what was a pretty miserable situation.

A tip to do with tablets

We love a good money-saving tip, and we got one from a reader named Mary Cheasty. “I am emailing you regarding prescription drug prices and think this is something people are not aware of,” she starts. “I am on blood-pressure medication, which costs me €14.61 per month. I recently requested and got a six-month supply, which cost me €47.08, saving me €40.58 over six months. I said it to the shop assistant I was paying, wondering if it was a mistake, but no, she said most people are not aware of the saving that can be made. Obviously medication like night sedation, sedatives or pain killers wouldn’t be safe to prescribe for six months. Over a year I will save €80 on one medication – as will the Government, seeing as I won’t be claiming as much on the Med 1 form.”
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