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How Do I Escalate an Issue?

Question asked by thearchitect on Jan 10, 2019
Latest reply on Jan 11, 2019 by brightlybob

There is a $562.50 charge on my credit card statement from Marriott Rewards, and there are three things wrong with it:

 

  1. I was not told about the charge in advance or after it was charged. I only know it’s for a 45K Marriott points purchase because I called and inquired about the charge when it posted to my credit card.
  2. I did not authorize the charge – not verbally, electronically, via written means, etc. I was not asked my consent for the purchase.
  3. It has been a nightmare getting Marriott Rewards to review the recording of the phone call that prompted the purchase, even though I’ve been told three times (first on December 26, again on January 2, and lastly on January 7) that the tapes would be reviewed “within 2 business days”.

 

I believe I should be refunded in full for the charge, because I did not authorize it in any way.

 

In the four calls I’ve had with Marriott Rewards representatives and supervisors since the initial call, I’ve been told repeatedly that the charge was for a points purchase to cover the reservation I placed via phone call with a Marriott Rewards representative for a 6-night stay at the Marriott hotel in Naples, Italy. However, during my phone call with the representative who booked the reservation, there was no mention of additional points needed to cover the stay and certainly no mention of a $562.50 charge to cover the purchase of said points. That is the primary issue, and it is the reason I should be refunded in full for the points purchase, despite the fact that the points were used for a reservation which has now passed. I booked the reservation because the representative (through omission of pertinent information) led me to believe the 6-night stay would be covered by my preexisting Marriott points plus an additional cash rate purchase of 2 nights paid out of pocket by me. I acted on that information when I asked the representative to make the reservation.  I would not have done so if the representative had communicated to me that I’d be charged $562.50 for 45K points needed to complete the stay.

 

No reasonable, thinking adult would authorize a $562.50 charge, plus an additional ~$400 (for the 2 nights out of pocket at the cash rate), plus the depletion of ~96K Marriott points for a 6-night hotel stay that would cost less than $800 total out of pocket at the cash rate. I can think of no reason that anyone would do that.

 

Furthermore, because the 45K points purchase brought my balance to 140K points, I should have had 5 nights covered by points (using the 5th night free benefit) and should have only been charged the cash rate for 1 night at the property. Instead, 140K points were taken from me (45K of which were the result of the unauthorized purchase), and I was charged the cash rate for 2 nights. Either way it may be viewed, I was overcharged.


I have spent hours of my time trying to rectify the problem, but I should not have had to go through this trouble. I’ve
had to wrestle with automated systems that take up to 5 prompts to put me in touch with a human being, mysteriously dropped phone calls, 20-30 minute holds, scanty notes tied to my case number, and representatives who are insensitive to the fact that a purchase was made without my consent. Each of the past three representatives I spoke with spent the exorbitant amount of time I was on hold trying to calculate what my points balance must have been on the day I called to make the reservation, in a poor attempt to justify the 45K points purchase to which I did not consent.

 

In conclusion, I believe all of the following should have happened on the initial call:

  1. I should have been notified that additional points would have to be purchased in order to make the reservation I was requesting.
  2. I should have been told what that purchase amount would be.
  3. I should have been asked for my consent to make the purchase.

 

None of these things happened, but I was charged! Furthermore, I should not have had to call Marriott Rewards 4 times in the past 2 weeks only to find myself back at “we’ll review the tapes and get back to you via e-mail in 2 business days”.  This is the worst customer service experience I’ve ever had, and I believe at the very least I should be refunded in full for the portion of the charges ($562.50) to which I did not consent.  

 

Anyone know the proper way to escalate this?  My next thought is to reach out to Senior VP of Customer Engagement at Marriott International...

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