The Marriott revisted (sic) & the value of persistence

November 28, 2009

An interesting supplement to my earlier post on the Marriott in San Jose and a related issue with Vodafone. Readers will remember that I failed to get loyalty card credit for my recent stay, and that raising the issue with Marriott centrally produced a poor and negative response. The reason for the lack of credit being that the room charge was paid directly by the conference organisers. Now as it happens I received an on line survey after I left. I filled that in, generally with high scores (its a good hotel) but with a negative overall and a comment about the loyalty card issue. Today the front of desk manager emailed me to say that she had credited the missing points and also had told her conference organisers to make sure people were aware of the rules in future. Now that is a civilised response, and she has evidently done everything within her power to restore my good opinion – and has done so. I emailed back a thanks, but with a suggestion that the policy itself needed to change. OK if I know in advance that I have to pay the bill to get the credit then I know what I am getting into, but I would in all probability avoid the inconvenience of having to invoice and stay elsewhere. For the sake of record, overall the Marriott is a better hotel than the Hilton in San Jose, but its not that much better.

It does show the value of polite persistence though, and the many advantages afforded to a consumer by the digital age. I had a similar saga with Vodafone recently. My daughter’s phone (which I pay for) broke and she took it in for repair. The fault was intermittent so she didn’t take it in immediately. We were then advised that the insurance conditions invalidated any claim if the fault was not reported in seven days (other vodafone users please note). Either way I raised a protest about this, and also suggested it was an unfair contract given that we were not made aware of the draconian condition (which is hidden in the small print). Now it took three attempts to get them to even answer the question. They already had the phone but I kept getting form letters asking for me to take it in for assessment. When I finally got them to respond they thanked me for admitting that I was at fault, and told me that my request for leniency was denied! Oh, and they did use the word “leniency”.

Given that I had explicitly said I was not at fault, and that in my opinion they were playing fast and loose with the small print I was shall we say, unhappy. I responded in a firm manner. The end result was a new phone in return for an eight month contract extension which is a reasonable deal. The saga was still not over mind you. I have one contract with a Blackberry Storm and my other daughter has one with a Blackberry Bold. All combinations of replacements and phone numbers were executed before they finally got it right (well hopefully, my daughter’s new phone I am told will be with her Wednesday). I also have a new phone (a Bold) and can now choose to return it with my current contract intact, or take it with an eight month extension. Not sure about that as the iPhone is my long term plan if the overseas use cost reduces. I love the Storm’s screen, but hate it’s battery life and the fact that every now and then the battery fully discharges when switched off. The latest example being the flight from Singapore overnight which left me unable to phone home for a lift from the station. Still thinking about that one.

PS: the physical placement of logos on the picture is not specific to the individuals in the film

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