Valet parking fiascoes involving unfair treatment are ripe material for television news stations.
On April 18th a couple paid $45 to valet park their car at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Manhattan. When they got the car back, they noticed damage and immediately went about filling out a damage claim form. The valet manager indicated that compensation would be paid.
But when the $800 repair estimate was submitted to the hotel, the hotel said it wasn't their responsibility, since they subbed out the valet parking department to an outside company. And the couple made a very good point, which was "No, we paid you."
A MONTH LATER, the valet company denied the claim, saying the damage was pre-existing.
Isn't that something?
If you get a hotel room and find a roach in your room, are they going to say it's not their responsibility since they sub-out their pest exterminator needs? If there is hair on your sheets are they going to tell you it's not their problem because they use an outside linen service? Come on...
But this is the logic most hotels use when there is an issue with their valet parking department.
The valet parking company's response was typical, which is to drag out the ordeal and then find a way to squirm out of paying.
But Peter and Melanie Behson didn't give up. They got a television news station consumer reporter involved and things turned around quickly. The HOTEL cut them a check, (not the valet company).
If a hotel is in the news about screwing over a customer this way, that's a lot of heat. The bad press can be damaging. Few aggrieved consumers take it that far. But sometimes this is what it takes to get fair treatment.
There are ways to better defend your car from these sorts of problems. One thing you can do is use the video camera on your smartphone to document the condition of your car at the very moment you are about to hand your key over to a valet service.
I have numerous other good suggestions on how to intelligently make use of valet parking services. You can find the article HERE.