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Thread: New York woman gets WABC-TV (ABC 7) to shame Aria into refunding over $1700 in bogus hotel charges

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    New York woman gets WABC-TV (ABC 7) to shame Aria into refunding over $1700 in bogus hotel charges

    Still trying to fully understand this story, but here it is:

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1187217328905379840


    From what I can tell, Marguerite Spagnuolo and her boyfriend/husband stayed 10 consecutive nights at the Aria during the 2019 WSOP. They got the 10 consecutive nights by pulling a check in/check out trick, where they would first use his comps, and then when those nights ran out, they'd check out and she'd check in on her comps (or vice-versa, it's not clear).

    Marguerite had the foresight to go down and secretly record herself asking the front desk employee if everything was comped, and getting an affirmative answer. Making such secret recordings is legal in Nevada, as it's what's known as a "one party consent state".

    Anyway, what happened from that point is unclear, but upon checkout they got a bill initially for like $2300, and ended up ultimately being charged over $1700, despite the promise that the rooms were comped.

    She attempted to complain to various people at the hotel, including her host, and got nowhere. Eventually she took this to ABC 7, for their "7 On Your Side" segment (where they basically go to bat for screwed consumers), and Aria was shamed into giving them a "courtesy comp" and refunding the money.

    However, I still didn't understand how all of this occurred in the first place.

    I reached out to her on Twitter, and asked how this happened, and she told me this:

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1187288548971569152

    This still wasn't very clear to me, so I asked her to DM me more information, but she's apparently sleeping right now and hasn't received the message yet.

    It does appear that the hotel stay was in her partner's name, and not hers.

    In the meantime, I looked at some of the texts they flashed during the ABC 7 report.

    One clearly shows the casino host texting, "The room only, the rest depends upon your play", which indeed would strongly imply that his room was comped regardless of how much he played.

    However, another text from the host after the bill came stated, "They are investigating with the girl on front desk to see where did she read that all stay is comp, it was a note that per me only 3 nights are comps and I told you in the text the same thing, please look at previous texts."

    So here the host is claiming that only 3 of the 10 nights were comped, and that previous texts indicated that. He seems to be insisting that the girl at the front desk simply got confused.

    I am going to need more info here before deciding who was right and wrong in this matter.

    I will say that it is highly unusual for a property to give someone 10 consecutive days of comp rooms without attaching it to play requirements. Usually the most you'll get promised is 5 nights. However, she did say that she was able to extend that by using her partner's comps followed by hers, which is actually allowed and not against hotel policy. However, for whatever reason, the Aria seemed to believe that only 3 of the 10 nights were comped, and there doesn't seem to be any kind of mid-stay checkout on the bill, so it really does appear that somehow Marguerite's partner believed he had all 10 nights comped.

    Very confusing, and I'm still trying to figure it out.

    In Aria's defense, I will say that you aren't entitled to 7 extra comp nights just because a front desk rep gets confused and accidentally agrees that you're getting that, if all other communication indicated 3 nights.

    I need to see more information to determine what really happened here.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you should not count on hosts to fix hotel billing issues. While you can get them to correct comp errors, once they refuse, the host is unlikely to help you, as they are not working in hotel customer service, and any "fix it" comps have to be play-justified to their boss.

    Therefore, when shit like this happens, you need to reach the hotel general manager, NOT your host. Many players make this mistake, figuring that the host is their point of contact and the person who "takes care" of them.

    I'll post more info as I get it. Maybe I'll even have her on radio if she wants to come on later today.

  2. #2
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I will say that hosts are often unnecessarily difficult regarding room comps and play, wanting you to bilndly play and ask them to comp you later, rather than having some sort of agreement that X amount of play would justify Y number of nights comped.

    I ran into this insanity at a certain casino about 3 years ago.

    Like Marguerite, I wanted to stay 10 nights.

    I was actually planning to play heavily, so I wasn't just using them for free rooms. I told the host my expected amount of play, and he laughably only offered to guarantee me 4 of the 10 nights, with the other 6 coming at his discretion. This was absolutely insane because I already had a hotel offer for 5 nights with no strings attached, so he was actually offering me LESS than the existing offer I had. He couldn't explain why he was doing that, even when I told him that I would have no problem with him revoking my comps if I didn't play the amount I promised I would.

    Finally I got someone higher up at the casino to reluctantly agree to give me 8 nights, still leaving me in the lurch for the other 2. I figured I would just play what I said I would, and then they'd surely give me those final 2 nights.

    Nope!

    I encountered one obnoxious host after another, repeatedly claiming that my play "wasn't enough" (it totally should have been, especially during a dead weeknight period), and told me that they weren't comping me anything past those 8 nights.

    I was pissed about this, but noticed I had another comp offer for 2 nights. However, usually reservations would not book a 2-night stay back-to-back with an existing 8-night stay.

    I decided to take a shot anyway and attempted to make a reservation for 2 nights immediately following my 8 night stay. The reservations person didn't look carefully enough and did it for me. Sweet!

    But I still had the issue that I had to somehow combine the two reservations without anyone asking too many questions. I had recalled that we just had a power failure on the property, and had to eventually switch rooms because they couldn't fix mine. So I went down to the front desk and asked, "Yeah, I just got my room switched because of the power failure, but I have a feeling maybe my back-to-back reservation wasn't transferred over properly. Can you make sure it was?" The front desk person said, "Oh yeah, looks like it wasn't. Let me fix that for you..."

    GREAT SUCCESS!

    So I had my 10 night comp stay, and nobody was the wiser. But in all honesty, I deserved it anyway because I did play a lot. The hosts were just being a pain in the ass because they had me over a barrel and wanted to extract even more play.

  3. #3
    Yes I saw on TV she got a program On your Side and they reimbursed her bill of 17oo in full

  4. #4
    I thought I remembered that name...Marguerite was one of the contestants who entered the competition to become PokerNews' next new presenter a little over 5 years ago. Druff even had a segment on it IIRC where the peoples' fave (and srslysrs' girl) Sarah was snubbed in favor of someone assumed to have been picked beforehand...

    Anyway, no video, but here's that cached page from the Wayback Machine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20131004...resenter-hunt/

    Yeah, kinda random, but this is PFA and you wanted to know.

  5. #5
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Wars View Post
    I thought I remembered that name...Marguerite was one of the contestants who entered the competition to become PokerNews' next new presenter a little over 5 years ago. Druff even had a segment on it IIRC where the peoples' fave (and srslysrs' girl) Sarah was snubbed in favor of someone assumed to have been picked beforehand...

    Anyway, no video, but here's that cached page from the Wayback Machine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20131004...resenter-hunt/

    Yeah, kinda random, but this is PFA and you wanted to know.
    Yeah that contest was a super trainwreck. What a rigged mess. Can't hate too much on Pokernews overall, though. They've been pretty good to me since PFA started, and they have given this site some exposure through link backs to our stories.

    That Sarah video was hilarious though. Here it is: https://web.archive.org/web/20130930...nt/video/8.htm

    Contained all kinds of passive-aggressive jabs against people in poker, too. LOL

     
    Comments
      
      Forum Wars: pure srsly goodness in that video

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Well, I think I've come up with a reasonable sequence of events to explain this. Obviously this is all just a guess, but here goes...

    - Marguerite's husband tries to get 10 nights comped in advance. Host says, "Not fucking happening, I'll give you three, and then I'll evaluate your play at that point and see what you've earned beyond that."

    - Marguerite's husband plays some at the Aria and wonders how much he's earned. As night 3 is ending, he sends her down to the front desk to ask what they're showing as far as how many nights they're going to have to pay for.

    - Marguerite shows the front desk woman her ID, and the woman looks her up. The woman sees no charges on Marguerite's account, nor does she see any future charges scheduled to hit. This is because it's not Marguerite's room (it's her husband's), and she's just a secondary guest, with a separate folio (this happens sometimes -- I've seen it this way!) The woman doesn't bother to notice that Marguerite isn't the primary person on the room, and simply says something like, "I see you're checking out in 7 days, and I don't see any charges scheduled to hit."

    - Marguerite is shocked, as this is far better than she was expecting. She isn't aware that the woman is simply neglecting to look at the primary folio on the room, and really thinks she's getting 7 more nights. Marguerite quickly whips out her phone and induces the woman to say the same thing again, just in case this somehow changes later. (This is why the video shown on WABC seems to start in the middle of a conversation.)

    - Marguerite and her husband stay for 7 more days and don't bother to play much because they think they've already qualified for all 10 comp nights.

    - They check out, get the bill, and see the bad news, with 7 nights on the bill charged. They text the host who basically says, "WTF is your problem? I already told you that I was giving you 3, not 10, and would evaluate your play, which you did very little, so you're still only getting 3." Marguerite explains what the front desk person told her, and sends him the video. The host explains that it was a mistake because the woman read the secondary folio and simply saw it blank. He refuses to do anything to help, because her husband seems to have avoided going to him to verify they really got those extra nights, and instead just took the word of a front desk employee who was confused. Also, they barely played, so he feels he doesn't owe them anything.

    - Marguerite feels they got misled into staying those 7 nights at a normal rate, being told they were comped by the confused woman at the desk. She files a dispute with the credit card company, which fails.

    - She takes the story to WABC-TV, who shames Aria into wiping it all off.


    Provided this is what happened (and I think I'm pretty close), I think both sides were at fault here. Marguerite and her husband probably knew that the 7 extra "comp" nights were possibly not real, and avoided talking to the host so he wouldn't dispel their plausible story. They figured it was better to just say nothing until checkout, and then present the video of the front desk woman if anything was charged. So they seem to have tried to take advantage of this confusion, even if they didn't realize how it happened at the time.

    At the same time, it was an Aria employee who got confused and told her the wrong thing, so they have to take at least partial responsibility for this.

    I think a fair resolution would be something like paying 30% of the bill, and Aria eating the other 70%, or something thereabouts.

    I feel that Marguerite is BSing on Twitter about having a text from the host promising 10 nights in advance. Otherwise that would have been presented both to WABC and on Twitter, as the smoking gun. Instead, we never saw such a thing. In fact, one text briefly shown on TV has the host instructing her to "check previous texts" to verify that he had only promised three nights.

    Additionally, the whole existence of that mid-stay video of the front desk employee was weird. Why would she have taken that, unless she thought something might be wrong with her "comped nights" and was afraid it might be revoked later?

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    You think Aria will hold this against them in the future?

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duped_samaritan View Post
    You think Aria will hold this against them in the future?
    The host definitely will.

    I imagine they're otherwise in good standing to visit there.

    BTW, I went back and forth with her a bit on Twitter, even linked this thread. She's definitely holding details back, and can't explain how she got 10 straight comp nights guaranteed, when they won't do that for anyone except whales.

    I asked for her to post the texts, and she posted two split shots of texts days apart with a bunch of shit missing in the middle, and claimed there were "too many" texts to show me the rest.

    She claims that my theory as to what occurred is "totally incorrect", but I don't believe her.

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