HELEN, Ga. (WXIA) - A Georgia grandmother and her 6-year-old granddaughter were kicked out of their hotel room in the middle of the night after providing a three-star review, out of five, of the business.
Susan Leger, 63, and her 6-year-old granddaughter were ready for bed on the first night of what was supposed to be a three-night stay in September at the Baymont Inn & Suites in the resort town of Helen, Georgia.
At 8:40 p.m., her cell phone rang. It was the hotel manager, Danny Vyas, saying he had called police and they had to leave the room.
“The man is screaming at me. He was saying, ‘You get out now. I call the police,’” Leger said. “My granddaughter’s like clinging to my leg and crying so hard. This was scary. This was just horrifying.”
Vyas called 911 after Leger responded to an email from Hotels.com asking how she was enjoying her room. The grandmother gave the hotel three stars out of five and listed some complaints, writing, “Rundown. Pool’s not open. Toilet doesn’t flush well.”
During the 911 call, Vyas can be heard telling the dispatcher, “We are getting ready to refund because they have reviewed that the room is dirty and the place is rundown.”
“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?’” Leger said.
But Leger soon received a knock on her door from an officer with the Helen Police Department. He told her she and her granddaughter had to leave.
“‘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 helped Leger and her granddaughter find another room at the nearby Fairfield Hotel. The two had to walk down the street in their pajamas to the other hotel.
The police report listed the reason Vyas wanted the two out as “Leger had given the motel a bad review.”
But Vyas denies that was his 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,” he said.
During a September phone call, Vyas said the problem was that Leger never reported the problems to him or his staff. Two months later, he says the problem was actually that Leger called with complaints multiple times.
“We let her know lots of times to stop calling us. If you’re not happy, change the room or leave the place,” he said. “They called me at least 10, 11 times in maybe one hour… Everything is not right.”
Despite Vyas telling 911 they would refund Leger, who had paid for three nights in advance through Hotels.com, the grandmother didn’t receive her money back for months. The booking site told her refunds are not allowed, even though she was kicked out.
“They couldn’t give me a refund, but they offered me some coupon towards a future thing. It’s like, ‘Forget it,’” Leger said.
However, when WXIA contacted Hotels.com for comment on the story, the booking site provided Leger with a full refund, two months after the incident.
Leger believes Hotels.com bears responsibility for her expulsion from the room. The booking site prompts guests to rate their room after checking in, a review that’s sent to management while you’re still in the hotel.
“So, the only way to keep the room in my mind is not to have answered Hotels.com’s request,” Leger said. “If you don’t want to be walking in your pajamas with your 6-year-old granddaughter, don’t leave a review if you’re currently still at the place.”
Most businesses, including hotels, are allowed to ask customers to leave for virtually any reason. If they refuse, customers can be arrested for trespassing. Vyas told 911 that Leger refused to leave, but Leger says she never said that.
Georgia has a special law requiring sufficient notice to hotel guests before kicking them out, but there is an exception for “cause, such as failure to pay sums due, failure to abide by rules of occupancy, failure to have or maintain reservations, or other action by a guest.”
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