A Heartless Inn

Denise

A Heartless Inn

Denise
money-619019_640In June, my parents shared plans with me to return to an inn, Village Green Lodge, in Door County, Wisconsin, with another couple for a four-day getaway. Oh, my, I thought, how are they going to drive the five hours to get there?

I shared my concerns and offered two suggestions: I drive them to their friends' home so they can carpool. Or, I drive them up to Door County and stay either at the same property or another one nearby. I suggested if I drive them up that my niece, Kate, join us.

My parents loved the idea that Kate and I would join them. So, I made a reservation for the same days (check in on August 25 and check out on August 28) as my parents at Village Green Lodge.

My dad was hospitalized on July 1 for 24 hours. My mom went into the hospital on July 11 and remains there. My dad went back into hospital for a night on July 30. Obviously, our planned getaway cannot happen.

My dad began fretting about this trip a few days after my mom's hospitalization. He asked me about it, he asked the doctor about it, and finally he just cancelled. He cancelled his reservation several days before July 25, which would be 30 days prior to our scheduled arrival.

The inn's cancellation policy reads as:

In the event you must cancel your reservation; with a 21 day or longer notice, we will refund your deposit minus a $20.00 processing fee. If less than 21 days, but more than 7 days notice is given, no refund will be made unless the room is re-rented. If cancelling within 7 days of arrival date, you will be responsible to pay for your entire stay, unless the room is rented as reserved. We ask for your understanding that a reservation is a contract. We honor that contract by guaranteeing that we will have a room available for you. In return, you guarantee that you will honor your reservation with us. Please see our website, www.villagegreenlodge.com for directions, rates and policy information.


When my dad told me he cancelled his reservation, he said, "And, we're not getting charged for anything."

I finally cancelled my reservation on July 31, calling from my mom's hospital room at 5:37 p.m. When I called, I explained I had to cancel because my mom has been in the hospital since July 11 and that my dad had also recently been hospitalized. I also shared that my dad had cancelled his reservation, too.

On Saturday, August 1, I received this email from Village Green:
August 1, 2015
Dear Denise Brown,
We are sorry that you needed to cancel your reservation with us. We have issued a credit in the amount of $129.85 to the credit card we have on file which represents your deposit in the amount of $149.85, less the $20.00 cancellation fee. Thank you for choosing us for your vacation getaway plans. We sincerely hope you will be able to join us in the near future to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere awaiting you at the Village Green Lodge in beautiful Door County. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you and kindest regards,
Sue and Steve Sherman
Village Green Lodge
PO Box 21 - 10013 Poplar Street
Ephraim, Wisconsin 54211

Hmm, I thought. Well, they must not understand my circumstances. So, I wrote back:
Is there any way you can also waive the cancellation fee?

I booked a room to be available for my parents, who need some help. My mom was admitted to the hospital three weeks ago with internal bleeding and is still hospitalized. Unfortunately, my dad went into the hospital this week.

My dad had canceled their reservation a few weeks ago.

My intent was to cancel earlier but I've been so busy taking care of both of them that it's been tough to get an extra minute.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

Best,
Denise

I received this reply a few hours later:
Hello and thank you very much for your email. Please find below our cancellation policy. Your father was also charged the $20.00 fees.

"In the event you must cancel your reservation; with a 21 day or longer notice, we will refund your deposit minus a $20.00 processing
fee. If less than 21 days, but more than 7 days notice is given, no refund will be made unless the room is re-rented. If cancelling within 7 days of arrival date, you will be responsible to pay for your entire stay, unless the room is rented as reserved. We ask for your understanding that a reservation is a contract. We honor that contract by guaranteeing that we will have a room available for you.
In return, you guarantee that you will honor your reservation with us. Please see our website, www.villagegreenlodge.com for directions,
rates and policy information."

Kindest regards,
Laura Dobre
Village Green Lodge

Well, now I'm not wondering if they misunderstood. I'm furious they understand our circumstances and will still charge us $40! It just can't believe they are actually going to charge my dad. I don't believe he understands he was dinged $20.

So, I write back:
Wow. That's just cold.

I can guarantee that I will make sure my colleagues, family and friends who visit Door County regularly and ask me for accommodation recommendations aware of your cancellation fee.

I also will share this in my online reviews of your property.

All for the sake of $40. Shameful.

And, I receive this reply a few hours later:
Dear Denice,
Our cancellation policy is described in detail on the phone with every reservation. It is also reiterated in the e-mail or letter that we send out to confirm your reservation. We are simply passing on the charges that we get from the credit card services so that we are able to at least break even and not take a loss. I'm sorry that you are unhappy, but if you investigate, I'm sure you will find that most, if not all lodging properties in Door County have similar policies. Once again I apologize if there was some confusion regarding our policy and I hope you will keep us in mind for your next visit to Door County.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Steve Sherman
Owner
Village Green Lodge

By this time I can barely see straight I'm so mad. I decide to give myself time to cool down before replying. I cooled down enough to send my reply this morning:
My name is Denise (not Denice).

You're missing my point. Just because other properties have a similar cancellation policy does not make it right to charge us a $20 cancellation fee. It's heartless to be so concerned about collecting your $40 ($20 from me, $20 from my parents) during a time that my father would probably say is one of the most difficult times of his life.

I don't care why you are charging me $20 because no reason makes it right. (And, I think it's insane that you think I will believe that your credit card processing company charges you $20 for a $149.85 charge and refund.)

That you have the nerve to speak of your loss when we're facing life's greatest loss is incredibly and unbelievably insensitive.

My parents stayed at your property last summer. They brought friends with them. This summer, they looked forward to their return with their friends and with me. Their ill health (and my mom's ill health has been critical at various times) makes it impossible to do so.

My parents were your repeat business. They also brought you business--their friends and me.

We cancelled as soon as we could. My father actually gave you more than 30 days notice! In the midst of this wife's critical condition, he called to cancel. Your insistence that it's okay to charge us $20 ($40 in total) is just bad busines.

I also note that none of your correspondence to me expresses any sympathy about the ill health of my parents.

Obviously, I will not consider staying at your property again.

So, I just wanted to make sure that anyone considering a visit to Door County (which really is a must-visit) avoids a stay at Village Green Lodge.