A Georgia grandmother and her six-year-old granddaughter were apparently booted out of their hotel room one evening after rating the business as three out of five stars on a review website.
Susan Leger, 63, and her granddaughter were going to bed on the first night of a planned three-night stay in September at the Baymont Inn & Suites in the resort town of Helen, Georgia, local news channel WXIA reported.
Leger said at 8.40 p.m., her cell phone rang, and Danny Vyas, the hotel manager, was on the line, saying he had called the police and that they had to leave the room.
“The man is screaming at me. He was saying, ‘You get out now. I call the police,'” Leger told the Atlanta-based news channel. “My granddaughter’s like clinging to my leg and crying so hard. This was scary. This was just horrifying.”
Vyas had called the police after his customer responded to an email at Hotels.com asking how her stay was. Leger gave the hotel three out of five stars, saying: “Rundown. Pool’s not open. Toilet doesn’t flush well.”
On the 911 call, Vyas told the dispatcher: “We are getting ready to refund because they have reviewed that the room is dirty and the place is rundown,” WXIA reported.
Commenting on his call, Leger told the news channel: “He was basically saying, ‘You get out… You lie. You gave me bad review.’ And I’m just sitting there going, ‘Oh my gosh, is this a prank call?'”
Shortly after Vyas told Leger and her granddaughter to leave, police came to her hotel room to remove her from the hotel.
“‘They can truly kick me out for giving a review of three out of five?’ And he says, ‘Yes, ma’am. It’s within the law,'” Leger said.
The officer then helped her and her granddaughter find another place to stay.
The police report says Vyas wanted to remove the two from their room because “Leger had given the motel a bad review,” but the hotel manager denies this was the reason.
“At the end of the 911 call, I said she’s not happy with the room. That’s why we had to let her go. She can find a better place,” Vyas told WXIA.
He said that the hotel had to remove Leger because she complained about the business several times.
“We let her know lots of times to stop calling us. If you’re not happy, change the room or leave the place,” Vyas said. “They called me at least 10, 11 times in maybe one hour… Everything is not right.”
Vyas told police they would refund Leger, who had paid for the three months in advance, but the grandmother didn’t receive the money back for months.
Hotels.com (the website she booked the hotel through) told her refunds were not allowed, even though she was kicked out. However, after WXIA contacted the booking site two months after the incident, it provided Leger with a full refund.
Most businesses, including hotels, are allowed to ask customers to leave for almost any reason. If customers refuse, they can be arrested for trespassing. Vyas told police that Leger refused to leave, but the grandmother said she never said that.
A spokesperson for Hotels.com told Newsweek: “Hotels.com has a zero-tolerance policy regarding retaliation and we will remove any guests, hosts and/or properties from our website who exhibit or promote such behavior in-stay or offline. We have temporarily removed this property from our sites while we conduct an investigation to determine the appropriate next steps.”
A spokesperson for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts said: “We are deeply troubled by this incident, which is in no way reflective of our brand values or our expectations of franchisees. While this location is independently owned and operated as a franchise, we take this matter seriously and are addressing directly with the hotel’s owner.”
Update 11/24/21 6:30 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include comments from Hotels.com and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.