The Shadiest Hotel Scams People Really Fell For

June 05, 2019

Even when you’re traveling for business, staying at a hotel should be a relaxing experience. You’re away from home, in need of a bit of R&R. So, when your home-away-from-home tries to pull one over on you, it’s infuriating. Unfortunately, hotels pull scams and blatantly upset their customers on the regular, and luckily, those who get wrapped up in the B.S. have the wherewithal to document it and share it with the rest of us. There’s nothing we like better than being salty on behalf of our internet friends.

Perhaps you’ve gotten pulled into similar hotel scams and schemes before. For example, maybe you’ve been charged for water bottles or using the mini-fridge. Or perhaps you’ve been assigned to a room that is definitely worse than the pictures online. And you’ve definitely dealt with online booking sites that double, triple, and sometimes quadruple, the price of a room with fees and taxes. All of these things make us want to pull our hair out and lessen the enjoyability of our traveling experience.

So, let’s get mad together, folks. Let’s get steamed about all the hotel horror stories out there on the web. And let’s do our best to call the shadiness to attention so others don’t have to fall into these traps again.

1. No — not the children!

Of course the hotel has to lay snare traps for the kids in the middle of the happiest place on earth. She’s 10, and still got caught. from mildlyinfuriating

Honestly, this hotel has reached the lowest of lows by trying to make money tricking kids into opening up Donald and Goofy Evian water (each one costs a whopping $5 a pop, by the way).

We guess being happy at “The Happiest Place On Earth” ain’t cheap, honey. Pay up, buttercup!

2. Beware the front desk call.

A Warning from a Hotel Employee from Scams

To be fair, this definitely wasn’t the front desk employee’s fault. We wouldn’t expect to be an accessory to a scam while on the job, either. But now we know to handle all of our hotel-related business in-person when actually at the hotel. Lesson learned.

We just hope this person was allowed to keep their job.

3. Now wait a minute…

I just got an AirBnB advertisement for my own house and it is not $20! I don’t want to trick people into booking with me. from assholedesign

As clarified in the comments on this Reddit post, this person is renting out their space on Airbnb. However, they’re certainly charging more than the $20 per night that Airbnb is advertising. We get that Airbnb is trying to do their renters a solid by helping them rent their spaces, but this is shady AF.

Sus…very sus.

4. Just when you thought it was your lucky day.

Really? from assholedesign

Look, honey — it looks like the cleaning staff left us a tip for being such great, considerate guests. Oh, wait. Never mind. The hotel just kind of used counterfeit money to pull one over on us. Awesome.

Nothing like experiencing the crushing blow of disappointment while on vacation, right? Love it.

5. Oh, you’re not in the club?

On the topic of ads that make you feel bad… from assholedesign

Huh. Sorry, but two free bottles of water with every stay is a perk for Hilton club members only. What do you think we are — a giant chain of hotels with enough money that we can just hand out bottles of water? Think again, friend.

Sucks to suck, we guess.

6. Oh, you are a member?

Wow, the perks of being a member with Hyatt. Identical searches were performed for a hotel stay on the Hyatt app (logged in, on phone) and a browser (not logged in, on computer). Being a loyal member with Hyatt gives you the privilege of paying 25% more per night than the general public. from assholedesign

Well, then you won’t mind you support our business ~a little bit~ more by paying ~a little bit extra~ for your stay. The more money you give us, the more rewards you get. Some say it’s a lose-lose situation, but we say…it’s not.

It turns it out it also sucks to suck.

7. Hotel fees, plus some other fees, plus taxes…

Asshole hotel pricing from assholedesign

We’ve never understood why the “hotel fee” is a separate thing from the fees included in the “taxes and fees” charge. What are the two sets of fees for? What is our additional $200 going toward?! Oh, you don’t know? Sorry for yelling at you. We’re all in this together.

8. But! BUT!

My Hotel offers a kettle and glasses to use – but has a folder in a drawer with rules. One of them says you have to pay a fine if you use the kettle. from assholedesign

We feel like there’s a much easier solution to this problem than just leaving a scary warning in “rules folder,” such as take the kettle out of the room, or simply let the guests use the kettle.

But…we’re not going to tell the hotel that because we’ll probably get fined if we do.

9. All we wanted was pizza.

Hotel Room Pizza Shop Menu & Credit Card Scam from Scams

This is actually a very important post to pay attention to. If you can avoid giving your credit card information to a small, perhaps questionable, business over the phone, then avoid it at all costs. Cash is king, baby.

But wow — if you can’t trust the local pizza shop, who can you trust?

10. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Braille numbering on a bumpy surface. from CrappyDesign

Then again, perhaps it’s the lack of thought that got us here. Just imagine a visually disabled person lost in this hotel, on the phone with his friend, trying to explain which corridor of the hotel he ended up in.

“I think I’m near room 326719029. No, wait — room 45298768. That can’t be right.”

11. So, do you want to buy a Chevy now, or…?

My Chinese "Smart TV" plays a 15 second Chevrolete commercial every time I turn it on. from assholedesign

Do you? Do you?! Because if you act now — yes, right now — we can offer you a brand new Chevy Cruze for the low, low price of just $200 per month. Come in and test drive now — yes! Right now!

Okay, the gig is up. How much did Chevy pay this TV manufacturer to pull this kind if ish?

12. Come again?

I get it’s supposed to be clever, but it’s gibberish to me… from CrappyDesign

If anyone out there can, upon first glance, figure out what this advertisement is trying to say, we will give you some sort of reward. We felt like we were having a nervous breakdown as we tried to work our way through this mess.

“Hotels.com needs an editor.” — Captain Obvious.

13. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I have to pay them to take the mini bar out of my room… from assholedesign

Basically, if you want anything out of the minibar, you get charged. If you want to use the minibar to store your own food, you get charged. If you want the entire thing taken out of the room, so not to be tempted to get charged, you get charged!

If you even so much as look at that mini bar, you’re getting charged, buckaroo. Don’t even think about it!

14. Um…Should we call someone?

What kind of operation is this hotel running?? from CrappyDesign

Hey, um…What does this mean, exactly? Why are kids involved in the room-cleaning process? Are minors the ones cleaning our rooms? Is it up to us to protect them from the hotel’s child labor activity? Is this some sort of cryptic SOS?

What is going on? We are coming to save you, children! We will give you a safe night!

15. Is this supposed to be funny?

I was looking for my room for 5 minutes because my hotel room was number 606 and I went left from CrappyDesign

It turns out the hotel owner is actually just running a giant human experiment to see how observant we all really are. Although, with a test this tricky, everyone who goes up against it will ultimately fail.

It’s just not fair. Not fair at all. Cut us some slack, man.

16. Let’s scare everyone to death!

The pillowcases at our hotel have a "palm tree" stitched on… from CrappyDesign

Imagine the shock and awe this poor person must have gone through before realizing that *thing* was actually a palm tree stitched onto the pillowcase. We would have just straight-up left. What do we say to death? Not today.

Palm tree or spider? Nope. We wouldn’t even want to know, TBH.

17. Sorry, we don’t cater to the colorblind.

Walking around a Hotel floor designed like a ‘T’ attempting to find our room (402) from CrappyDesign

This must be the same hotel owner from #15. This new test is to weed out the colorblind customers. We’re not sure why this hotel owner is so cruel, but we can only guess he must get some sort of enjoyment out of putting people in a confused state.

Can’t see red? Not our problem.

19. We did the bad thing, and we did a bad job at it.

This is literally a bad thing! They’re advertising that they did a bad thing! from CrappyDesign

But — you can’t. This is some sort of colonization ish. We don’t like it! We don’t like it one bit! This is nothing to feel special about, Alt Hotels. You are villains! Villains, we say!

Have you been tricked by a hotel scam during a recent stay? We’d love to hear all about it and share your frustration and rage.