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Holiday Inn Expresscar broken into in parking lot, no help from management/corporate

Je Florida City, FL Review updated:

while posing for bridesmaid pictures inside the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in Florida City, $3, 000 of property was stolen from my car. My car was parked less than 300 feet from the hotel entrance and it was 4 p.m. in the afternoon.

The stolen property, while possibly unimportant to you, was quite important to me and the other two bridesmaids (victims). And it was in my car for just 10 minutes, signaling that my car was not picked randomly. Rather, the burglars watched us load my car and waited until we entered the lobby to rummage through, making what was ours theirs.

We are 24-year-olds. Two of us are just beginning our careers. The other is months away from a grad school degree.

This is what was ours:

* $2, 000 digital camera (used for at-home business)
* $600 iPhone
* Several credit cards
* One purse (packed with the usual wallet, cell phone, makeup, etc.)
* Luggage bag full of clothing

The Initial Response

We noticed the theft minutes before the ceremony, giving us enough time to cancel cards and suspend cell phone services. And barely enough time to switch our thoughts from our losses to our soon-to-be-wed childhood friend’s gains.

After smiling for standard, post-ceremony photo opps, we rushed back to our hotel.

We called the police and while we waited, we told the front clerk about our “inconvenience.”

She told us she could do nothing and that the General Manager would not be in until the following morning. He does not come in on weekends. He would not even speak to us on the phone.

And so, after relaying the bad news, the front desk clerk retreated to the back, leaving both the quiet front desk and the angry customers unattended.

We filed our police report, holding back emotions about the hotel’s reponse thus far as the police officer nonchalantly took our names, item descriptions and contact information.

“Would you like my credit card number so you can track where they are?” I asked.

“No, you can call and cancel those, ” the officer responded.

She would call us if they found anything.

They wouldn’t of course.

We asked the officer if the surveillance tapes would help them find the burglars.

Sure they would, but we’d have to get them from the hotel.

“Can you override the hotel, since the general manager won’t come open the safe?” We begged.

She could not. And so, with that, I decided to give the hotel one more shot to do things right.

I asked the front desk clerk if she could offer me a free night’s stay so that I would not have to drive home at night (through the area where people rob cars in daylight) without a cell phone or a credit card.

No, she could not.

The Corporate Response

Unconfident that anything would be resolved on the local level; I found a contact form online for Holiday Inn Express’ Customer Service. I recapped the day’s events and pressed send.

The next evening, I received a standard response, thanking me for my concerns and notifying me that the General Manager would receive my email and would contact me shortly.

The General Manger’s Response

Two days after the incident and with no phone call from the General Manager, I called during my lunch break.

I received a demeaning and insensitive response, furthering my disgust with my stay and further degrading my opinion of Holiday Inn’s appreciation for its visitors’ safety and concerns.

I told him that $3, 000 worth of belongings were stolen from my car outside of his lobby in daylight this weekend, to which he responded,

“I am sorry about that, but there’s really nothing I can do.See the Top 10 Worst Complaints in Florida City, FL

I told him that someone could have helped us get the surveillance tapes for the police. Instead of responding, “Yes, I’m sorry no one could do that this weekend, would you like me to do that for you now?”

He responded, “Those tapes don’t show the area where your car was, so they wouldn’t do any good anyway.”

I told him, they may not have showed my car but they could have shown people in the area carrying a bright pink luggage bag and two purses.

He told me that the people never came in the building. This analysis was not made after watching the tapes, rather, it was a judgment made about a situation that he could not be bothered to deal with this weekend.

I told him I was disgusted that no one would even allow me to have a free night’s stay. He responded that that is not the Holiday Inn’s policy.

Just as an f.y.i., my policy on being a hotel visitor is not to have $3, 000 worth of property stolen from my car. Just in case that needs to be clarified.

I told him I would find someone else to speak with since it was obvious he was not willing to help me resolve the issue and that at this point, I will never stay at a Holiday Inn Express again.

He replied, “Go ahead, call corporate. Tell them you spoke with me. What do you want me to do? Find the person who stole your stuff? Would that make you happy?”

Why I Will Not Stay at a Holiday Inn Express Again

I don’t care about the iPhone anymore.

And to be honest, I don’t really want a free room anymore either. Unless they’d like to provide me with a bodyguard to watch my car while I sleep.

What I care about is being treated like a human. And not being mocked by the General Manager of one of their midgrade hotels. Not being told, in a condescending tone to feel free to contact corporate, delivering the message, “They will care less about your problems than I do.” Not having insult added to monetary injury.

That’s what I care about.

Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are the in-betweens in the hotel world.

They aren’t the Bellagio and they aren’t the Motel 8. But just because they offer average rooms for average prices, does not mean they have to treat their customers as such.

The hotel industry has one of the toughest jobs, I give them that. They are tasked with mimicking the safety and comfort people feel at home.

They provide countless toothbrushes and razors to forgetful visitors to radiate this sentiment.

They provide extra towels.

They serve mediocre breakfasts.

No problem, they are there to serve you.

But when your car is broken into, you are told that it is a courtesy to park in their lots. They are not responsible.

You should have seen the signs warning you to bring all of your belongings inside. The signs that are posted at all entrances other than the front entrance. These signs are your protection. Because doors and an unmanned reception desk will stop burglars who are watching you transfer the things they want from your car to your room.

All of a sudden, that free toothbrush isn’t so great.

Those extra towels have lost their luster.

And that breakfast, well you’d rather stop by McDonald’s anyway.

What matters most, is not the “things.”

It’s the treatment.

It’s being treated like a human. With understanding and maybe even a little compassion.

And maybe it takes a few more dollars to get that.

Maybe instead of the midgrade, you have to fill up with the premium.

I’m not entirely certain on that point. But what I am certain about, is that my friends and I deserve apologies for the treatment we received.

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Comments

  • Er
      Jun 03, 2009

    >>Just as an f.y.i., my policy on being a hotel visitor is not to have $3, 000 worth of property stolen from my car. Just in case that needs to be clarified.

    my policy is to keep my items worth $3000 in the hotels safe
    or in my alarm-secured car

    it certainly isnt to leave an unlocked car outside of a hotel with my valuables in it!! what were you thinking??

    An expensive lesson learned.

    0 Votes
  • Je
      Jun 03, 2009

    Thanks, definitely my fault that someone broke into my car during the 10 minutes I wasn't next to it.

    You completely overlooked the entire point of this complaint.

    Not only did the hotel do nothing to help me or my friends with our situation, they did nothing to ensure that other visitors would not experience the same issue with burglars in the area.

    Do you work for Holiday Inn Ereka?

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  •   Jun 04, 2009

    This is standard hotel policy in almost every US state we've visited.

    We lost everything, including our clothing, on our way home from a long vacation. We were parked right at the window of our room. The truck was locked too. We went home with nothing. We lost...kid's christmas gifts, electronics, groceries...even our underwear. We weren't very happy, and the hotel commiserated with us and called the police, but even the cops said it was unlikely anything anything could be done. The police didn't do much of anything except take a report and provide us with a number so we could get a copy for our insurance.

    The staff in the hotel (Days Inn jut off the highway in Columbus, Ohio) was very solicitous and did their best to help us, but they are certainly not responsible for the theft, and we didn't consider them so. We also didn't ask them for anything, but they did provide us with a free dinner at a restaurant nearby (a nice one).

    The fact is, it doesn't matter how nice staff is or whether anyone can do anything or not. You are still angry and frustrated, and the feeling of violation never goes away. We won't ever stay in that hotel again...not because the staff weren't kind, not because they couldn't prevent a theft, not because it wasn't a decent hotel...just because we're afraid to stay in that location again. We don't want to revisit a problem.

    The hotel has a sign posted, at the desk and in the rooms that they are not responsible for loss, inside the hotel, or from the parking area. Since then, we have checked at nearly every hotel we've stayed at...some rather expensive ones, and the policy is pretty much the same. I can't think of a hotel we've stayed at in the last few years that doesn't have a sign posted. Haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn though. We've got one here in town, and they have signs posted.

    The one thing I'd suggest for Holiday Inn is that they give their staff a seminar on empathy, along with their customer service.

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  • Je
      Jun 14, 2009

    I agree. They could definitely use a lesson on empathy. And serving customers.

    My biggest complaint is that I was unable to reach the general manager.

    It is even more troublesome to think of how a larger situation such as as a fire or an armed robbery would have been handled - since no one with the ability to make decisions can be reached on the weekend (when I would assume the visitors peak).

    I reached out to corporate and was sent to the general manager, who gave me the response I described. I notified corporate again, who then sent me back to the g.m. I responded that I would not be contacting him again to be mocked.

    Here is the last response I received, 3 weeks after the incident;

    Thank you for your most recent contact to Guest Relations. I appreciate the opportunity to further assist.

    We have received your information and have forwarded your additional comments to the appropriate parties. We have also addressed this with the hotel. Your comments have generated a permanent documentation of your experience in this office. This information will be utilized when the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Florida City, FL location is inspected, both in regularly scheduled inspections as well as any surprise inspections that may occur.

    Once again, we appreciate you taking the time to share your comments with us. We know you have many choices when it comes to lodging and hope you will continue to choose IHG for your future travel needs.

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  • Je
      Jun 14, 2009

    Where does marriage come into this?

    You're right, I staged this so that I could spend $150 to get a phone that does 1/10 of what my other phone did. That is brilliant.

    And my friend helped me stage it so she and her husband could work for another year to buy the same camera she had stolen from my trunk (that they use for their home business).

    Your intelligence really shines through in your response.

    I asked for a free night's stay because my belongings were stolen from my car during the 10 minutes it was parked outside of the lobby and I did not want to drive home on the Turnpike for an hour and a half at night without a cell phone. THAT is why I asked for a free night's stay. Oh, and I probably would have just gotten a room, except that MY DEBIT CARD AND CREDIT CARD WERE STOLEN TOO.

    THAT is why I asked for a free night's stay. A free night's stay, which would have cost the hotel absolutely nothing. And likely would have been enough for me to shut up. But instead I'll just keep posting my complaint on sites like this, even though doing so requires me to respond to intelligent folks like yourself who skip every other word when reading my complaint and then make incoherent stabs at my age, responsibility and my marital status.

    Try again.

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  •   Jun 14, 2009

    The manager was lacking in empathy, but they are not responsible for items left in cars, especially unlocked cars.

    The police will file it, as your belongings are probably in another state now.

    Sorry this happened, but maybe next time, you will set the alarm on your car if you have one.

    No hotel will give you a free room because you didn't follow rules for your own safety. Why would you want a free room anyway? I'd have left there and gone to the next motel on the strip, where you might have been attacked personally instead.

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  •   Jun 14, 2009

    Hold on a sec, you're telling us it only took 10 minutes to pose for pictures? Come on, we weren't born yesterday. It takes 10 minutes just for you to get your giggles over with to settle down and pose. Pictures, at least professional ones, take more than 30 minutes. Your car was unlocked, I presume? All they had to do was push a button for the trunk to open.

    Since you are all 24, you all learned a lesson here. Don't leave your belongings unattended in a parking lot that says, take valuables with you, we are not responsible.

    Too bad she decided to take a $2000 camera on her honeymoon. Hope she had it insured, I would for that price. I also hope she saved her receipt and presented the loss of her belongings to her insurance company. Most people leave those in a safe at home. I guess many 24 yr olds wouldn't consider insuring a $2, 000 camera, but you live and learn. Her insurance would have covered it with a police report. Same for your $600 IPod. Boy you kids have lots of discretionary income!

    You can get a better digital for less than $300 for an at-home (maybe online) business. Planes if they were taking one are notorious for lost luggage.

    Such a tale of woe to tell on a people's complaints board. We can't do a thing for you.

    0 Votes
  • Je
      Jun 14, 2009

    I didn't ask them to replace my things. Never once.

    I've explained the free night's stay twice now.

    THIS IS WHY I WANTED A FREE NIGHT'S STAY (for all other commenters):
    1. It was evening time.
    2. I had no cell phone (it was stolen) and needed to drive more than an hour on the Turnpike to get home
    3. I had no means to pay for a hotel room ANYWHERE because my cards were stolen
    4. As you mentioned in your snarky conclusion, I did not want to be personally attacked should I get a flat tire or have any other car issue on the way home

    Yes, the police did file it.

    My major issue was that no one from the hotel would assist me. I didn't ask them to run out and buy a new phone or camera, I asked them to provide the police with the surveillance tapes.

    Maybe my entry was too long, as it appears none of the righteous commenters actually read through the entire piece before making a judgment and telling me I'm stupid because my things were stolen.

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  •   Jun 14, 2009

    Don't pay any attention to Jason Tillo, our resident troll. He's just barely 17 years old, is in high school and lives with mom and maybe dad. He's inexperienced in everything, except his wonderful spelling and reading comprehension. LOL (As you can see, he can't spell or understand what he reads, imagine a junior in high school who can't spell or comprehend the written language and they're pushing him through based on what? his looks?) This is what's going to run our country eventually, kids like him. God Help US!

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  • Je
      Jun 14, 2009

    Hahaha... thank you shoelady200. I appreciate the laugh. Back to weeping about my phone and being irresponsible. That guy won't be running anything.

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  •   Jun 14, 2009

    No one said you were stupid *at least I didn't*.. no one said you asked for any of those things. It took you half a day to get through to your point. By the time we reached the end of your novella, your point was lost in the jumble of your thoughts.

    Honey, before cell phones, we drove cross country and to Canada. There are call boxes all along the Florida thruway and I75 for that matter. We never had cell phones when we were your age. We had a quarter for a phone call. Don't be so melodramatic. You planned to stay for your friend's wedding anyway, you just wanted a free room out of it. If you have a flat, change it yourself. Didn't driver's ed teach you how? If you need police, put your hood up and stay locked in the car. If you don't unlock yourself, no one can attack you.

    You were kind of negligent, okay? You didn't lock your car or set the alarm (assuming you drive other than a 1950 Chevy).. You girls also were not aware of your surroundings, which is the first thing I taught my children. Be aware of who is around you before you leave your car. Your parents should have taught you this long ago, when you were just a kid.

    I for one suggest you grow up and be more responsible about your valuables. Florida City is not the nicest place in America. To shift your blame to the hotel manager, then us, is just childish. I got your point. You felt you weren't treated as a human. He didn't offer you a bone did he?

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  • Je
      Jun 14, 2009

    The wedding wasn't at the hotel. They took 5-10 shots of the bride inside. The "leaving the hotel" shots.

    $600 is what an iPhone costs without a contract.

    There is no insurance for iPhones or I gladly would have purchased it.

    But again, we're digressing to things I mentioned only because I am a writer and thought it important to give full details.

    And my discretionary income is really none of your concern.

    Find something to do, I am.

    My side of the story is as well presented as it can get. Sure, there is some woe in the tail. How could there not be?

    Unfortunately, it seems that most people fail at reading comprehension.

    I'm not some little rich kid ### about her stuff.

    I wasn't the one who left my car unlocked. But I didn't think it necessary to point that out.

    The point is that my car was not targeted randomly. There were people loitering in the lot watching us. YES, we were in the lobby for 10 minutes. We were putting our stuff in during part of the few minutes that my friend had her bride-to-be pictures taken. For half of the time, we were actually outside of the lobby in eye-view of my car taking quick-pre-ceremony pictures.

    I'm not defending that my car was unlocked. That's my fault, got it.

    My point is to show that a) this is a dangerous area, b) given that, you have no support and no one behind the counter who can help you if it's a weekend day, c) when you inquire about surveillance tapes, you will be mocked by the general manager.

    With that, I'm signing off from responding. I have other ways to spend my afternoon than to correct people who read part of my complaint, latch on to some minute detail about my age or how much my phone costs, and make a snarky, irrelevant comment.

    I should have just written "HOLIDAY INN SUCKS YOOOO"

    0 Votes
  •   Jun 14, 2009

    I doubt your going to get anything back, sweetie, but to the police, it's just another piece of paper. Maybe you could check pawn shops in the area yourself to see if you can find the camera at least. The rest is long gone, sold for drugs, etc. Just cancel the cards and chalk it up as one of life's hardest lessons. Learn from it.

    (You know it didn't take just 10 minutes for wedding photos, though... :))

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  •   Jun 14, 2009

    First you say you were not the one to leave it unlocked, then you say you left it unlocked. See? Your story is inconsistent. Do you have a good proofreader when you write? I sure hope so.

    I was referring to the $2, 000 camera first. Then the $600 phone and if you're going to ### at my comment about having discretionary income, I never said you were rich. Most of us can't afford a $600 cell phone! I said the camera should have been insured, but since you mentioned the IPod, they do offer insurance on cell phones you know. I have it on mine.

    Since you knew it was a dangerous area and saw people loitering, you should have been more careful. Ergo you just said it was your fault. You have no complaints then. Have a nice life now that you learned a lesson, I HOPE. I doubt it though, you are too up there to read what we actually said.

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  •   Jun 14, 2009

    ^ not IPod, IPhone.. sorry..

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  • Je
      Jun 14, 2009

    God Jason...you are so annoying!!

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  •   Jun 15, 2009

    No, I didn't overlook the point of the complaint. You must have missed the last line of my post.

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  • Dl
      Jul 10, 2009

    $3000 worth of property left in car. Owner doesnt lock the car. Owners belongings are stolen. Owner wants free room at hotel...No I dont think so.

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  • Dl
      Jul 10, 2009

    Oh and if there is an armed robbery.. you dont the manager, you call the cops...duh

    0 Votes
  • Su
      Jul 31, 2009

    Next time, keep a .45 handy. Ventilate the ### and take your stuff back from the gore-covered corpses.

    0 Votes
  • Li
      Aug 02, 2009

    By the way, you ARE capable of driving an hour and a half in the dark without a cell phone. I don't even have a cell phone and I still make it through my day. Let me guess, you're one of those little turds that stands in the grocery store line, chatting to her "bestie" about the "absolutely horrific" date you had last night while the cashier is desperately trying to get your attention so she can keep the line moving, but you're convinced that your conversation on your cell phone is too important to bother with piddly things such as getting your butt out of the way. Yep, I think I see the picture now.

    0 Votes
  • Ti
      Oct 04, 2009

    Lets go over what this would be like if you weren't at a hotel, shall we:

    Your posing for pictures at your own house. Your car gets broken into, wait do you call it "broken in to" when you leave it unlocked? They did really have to break into it did they?

    Ok back on track. Pictures. Your cars been "broken into". Wait in your neighborhood? Wow, maybe because even "good neighborhoods" can have vandals and theifs. There just not so apparent.

    Then you going to contact who??? Oh the police! Right... because thats who you contact when things get stolen.

    You file a police report and then get on with your life!!! You don't ask your landlord for a free month of rent because it happened on his/her property.

    Thank you so much for making my generation look like inexeperienced silver spooners who can't even imagine changing a tire or living without cell phones. Stop blaming other people for your problems and suck it up.

    When I was 16 I bought my first car for $800 dollars. It was a POS Ford Escort with 180, 000 miles on it but you bet your ### I locked those doors every time I got out of that car. And even though I locked my keys in there about 8 times, and heard "Why do you always lock the doors? No one wants this piece of crap." I did not regret it. Because I paid for that car and I paid for everything in it and I cared for my things and took responsibility for them. I drove that car for four years until I saved enough money to buy a new car. I suggest you take this as a lesson, and not forget it.

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  • Sa
      Sep 06, 2010

    Hello there, as a hotel employee I would like to explain to you how it does indeed cost the hotel money for you to stay in that free room since you seem to think it doesnt cost the hotel anything. First of all, your using the water and electricity in the room, then there is the matter of paying the employees to clean the room the next day and thats if you decide not to eat the breakfast. Im sorry your stuff was stolen but you had no claim to getting a free room and the fact that you even expected it and were upset when it wasnt given is missplaced anger.

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