I’m pretty certain that many of you like to score a ‘deal’ just like me. Whether it comes in the form of a 2 for 1 at your favorite restaurant or a 50% off sale at the department store, getting a deal just makes you feel like a winner. Time and time again as I give you ‘smart money moves’ tips, I’ll notice little things in life that can make a difference in your wallet when you pay attention to your purchases. Several months ago, I gave you my thoughts on the whole ‘additional tip’ line when it comes to guaranteed gratuity/ additional gratuity and how it is presented with your dinner bill. This past weekend, the Hampton Inn gave me some blogging fodder for the week as I reviewed my check out bill.
My daughter is part of a swimming club in North Georgia. At periodic times during the year, they have an interstate meet at an overnight destination. The meet this past week was held at Baylor Prep School in Chattanooga, TN. The club was kind enough to secure a discounted block of rooms at the Hampton Inn in downtown Chattanooga. As a side note, be prepared to save up some bucks if you want your child to go to Baylor Prep. Pretty nice digs and looks like a college campus! When we checked into the Hampton Inn, I asked the manager at the desk about parking. He shared with me that if I used my hotel card, it would act as a swiping instrument to the attached parking garage where I could leave my car overnight.
As I reviewed the attached checkout bill on Sunday morning, I noticed first the litany of taxes on the bill: state tax, county tax, sales tax, city tax, etc. I’ll bet if they added a ‘Hampton Inn tax’ most people wouldn’t even recognize the difference. Then my eyes quickly scanned over to the next additional line item that called itself self-parking for $8.00. For the two evenings we stayed at the Hampton Inn, the total parking cost was $16.00. First of all, I don’t know why they categorize the cost as self-parking. Have you ever valet parked at a Hampton Inn? That being said, no other options or costs were discussed with me at the check in counter, so you can imagine I was perplexed as to how this fee got added to my bill. If I never read the bill, how could I even go about challenging the line item?
After I shared my grievance with the front desk person, they quickly realized the miscommunication on their part (after being helped along with a little prodding), and reversed the $16.00 charge. While this might not seem like a lot of money to fight over, $16 could buy you a decent lunch, help to partially fill up your gas tank, or over the course of year could represent over $800 of saved money. It all adds up, and as the CEO of your family finances you should expect what you inspect. Companies today just figure you are too busy to read your bills, so they will add line items of additional cost knowing that most of you on vacation will pay it without a second thought. The lesson learned here is that if you take the time to examine the checkout bill on your vacations, you too might end up with a souvenir that is worth taking home!
CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Editor in Chief of Your Smart Money Moves
Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc – The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice and Services
Ted Jenkin is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.
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