Hotels.com — economy inn of watsonville, ca
717 La Homa Drive
Napa, CA 94558
August 7, 2018
To All It May Concern:
The purpose of this letter is to describe the circumstances of the evening of August 4, 2018 which led to my decision to decline the lodging I had reserved at the Economy Inn of Watsonville, CA, 95076.
By way of background, I am a retired Naval Officer, Defense Department contractor and a 90% Disabled American Veteran. I am also a veteran of two combat tours in the Vietnam War, and a Senior Citizen (age70). My wife is protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) due to Low Vision; is in fact blind in one eye and suffering the effects of Stargardt's Disease in the other. My mother-in-law who was with my wife and me speaks no English and always needs my wife to interpret for her.
When we arrived at the Economy Inn Watsonville at approximately 9:30 P.M. the evening of the 4th, I first noted that the access street leading up to the Inn was almost completely dark, but the Inn was visible, so I proceeded onto the property. I was taken back by the scene in the Inn parking lot; my first impression was that some sort of event was in progress. People were standing, walking and running about from the walkway along the sidewalk access to the rooms to the western edge of the property. I chose to drive past the office, through the parking lot to assess what was going on. I estimate that there were about 30 people present, mostly gathered in groups of various sizes and I observed many drinking beer, talking loudly, and I noted the smell of (now completely legal) marijuana. A 25 - 30-foot motor home was parked in a room parking space, obstructing approximately half of the parking lot's width. As I made my way slowly to the north end of the parking lot driving my full-size white 4-door sedan, two young adult men glanced in our direction and turned and ran at full speed out of the parking lot into the darkness. I noted no security personnel present on the property and when I passed the Inn reception office, I saw no one present there. The accommodation room doors open directly onto the parking lot, the only exterior lights for the area (at least the only ones lighted) were low-brightness amber in color, and provided very limited visibility at any distance beyond the immediate door area.
With these impressions noted, I made my decision that it would be unsafe for my family and me to spend the night at the Inn. I informed the desk attendant on duty of my safety concerns and that I did not want to place my family at risk by staying there. She offered to call the police. Concerned for the probability of my being connected with police arriving at the property, I declined the offer of police intervention and asked the attendant to cancel my reservation without penalty. She indicated that was not possible because of the hour. I told her that I would file a formal complaint of the situation to appropriate agencies and she excused herself and went into an adjoining room for guidance. When she returned, she reiterated that the reservation would not be cancelled and that I would be charged for the 2 rooms I had reserved. As I made my way back to my car, 8 young men and women ran onto the property laughing and talking loudly, climbed into two parked cars and sped out of the parking lot.
I left the property, and drove to a relative's home in another city, where we spent the night sleeping in makeshift arrangements.
I notified Motels.com, through whom I made the reservations, and contested the $381.20 charges made to my debit card for these rooms. My position is that I was offered an accommodation that did not provide a safe environment for my family and me; physical and language limitations notwithstanding.
William J. Harris, LCDR, USN (Ret.)
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