Dec 14, 2009

What would you do?

My friend and her boyfriend, I'll call them Jessica and Dave, belong to a vacation club where they get a certain amount of points per year. They can either bank the points and roll them over to the next year, or cash them out in gift cards to use at hotels. Jessica is rolling in debt, but the whole vacation club is paid for by her boyfriend (which later turned out to be a big problem.)

I invited Jessica to go to a party with me in the city one evening earlier this month. She mentioned that she had all these gift cards left that were going to expire soon, so she decided to book us a hotel for the night so we could really have fun at the party. Personally, I thought it was kind of silly to book a hotel room for the evening when we live about 45 minutes away (I've done the sober up and drive home later in the night thing plenty of times) but she insisted that we might as well, since she had over $1500 in gift cards left that expire in February. So I said sure, why not.

She drove us to the city and wanted to get valet at the hotel for her car. That was $50 for the night. I suggested we put the car in a cheaper garage and she said it was no big deal because she would just pay for it with her points, so I said fine.

When we arrived to check in, I stood next to her and found out that she couldn't use her gift card at check in because they need a credit card in case there are any damages to the room or other expenses that go beyond the gift card amount. So she gave them her credit card but it was denied. So I offered to put the room on my card for the time being. My friend assured me my card wouldn't be charged and that she could use the gift card when she checked out. She had used the cards before with no problem at other hotels.

We went to the party and had a pretty good time. Drank a lot so it was nice to have a hotel room in the city. We didn't stay at just any hotel, we stayed at the swanky hotel where the party was with a room that cost $270 a night after tax. But it was all going to be covered by Jessica's gift card that she had to use up anyway. Or so I thought.

The next morning when we tried to check out, there was a problem. Because Jessica's boyfriend's name was on the gift cards, the woman at the front desk wouldn't let us use the card. My friend begged and pleaded to no avail. Apparently she used the card without Dave around before and at another hotel they accepted it. But here, they wouldn't. So after too long standing there and hoping the card would be accepted, we gave up. And the $330 charge went on my credit card.

My friend told me that she'd ask her boyfriend for the money and that he'd pay me back. The really awful part was that she couldn't use the card to reimburse us because you have to use it at a hotel. I told her that it would be worth calling the vacation club right away and say the card was denied. She doesn't have to tell them why, but if she can get her boyfriend on the phone maybe they would reimburse her. I kind of felt like an asshole trying to get her to do this since I also stayed in the hotel room for the night, but I didn't think her boyfriend should have to pay an extra $330 for something he didn't even get to experience. I know my friend Jessica isn't the best with money and is so much in debt that she can't afford the room either, so I offered to split the charge with her. So $175 down the drain for a night at a hotel that I didn't need.

That was last week. I keep asking my friend to call the vacation club company but she hasn't yet. Or she says she tries but they are busy. I don't think she's really trying. I'm sure her boyfriend will give her money for her half of the hotel room and eventually I'll get that back, but I'm a little peeved.

Question is, do I have a right to be peeved? I accepted the hotel room offer even though I knew it would be expensive, as my friend said she needed to use up her vacation points and this was a small percentage of the ones she had left. She didn't purposefully get the hotel and have the points not work, she didn't realize that her boyfriend had to be there for the cards to be valid. On the other hand, why didn't she realize that? And shouldn't she make an effort to call her vacation card company right away to see if they would be willing to reimburse her from her gift card? What would you do?



8 comments:

eemusings said...

Oh man, that really bites for you! You DEFINITELY have the right to be POed. I might hazard a guess that she's pretty embarrassed about the whole thing and thus isn't really making a big effort to sort the mess out (not logical, but people aren't logical when emotions are involved).

Hedder02 said...

Well, Yes, she shouldve had all of the rules & regulations in her hand before planning the night & trying to use the cards. However, her debt and not calling the vacation place is not your problem. You getting mad at her is not going to change the sitch. Once you get paid back, you are out of it. Of cousrse, you care about your friend and her wellbeing but really - she is the only one who can help herself. You can force her to call the vacation club or straighten this out for her.

krystalatwork said...

OMG I would have been so angry to have to spend $175 when it was completely unnecessary. If I were your friend, I'd be mortified and try to do everything I could to fix it and get a refund. And if I couldn't, I'd pay for the whole expense.

When my boyfriend and I are redeeming points, or we do anything that one of us is paying for and the other might have to claim/check in (like a hotel room or car rental), we always call to make sure that it's okay.

her every cent counts said...

@Hedder yes, it's not my fault, but thus far I have to pay for it. She kind of offered to have her boyfriend pay for the whole thing but I feel really bad asking her to ask him to do that. That's their business, but I really wonder if I'll ever see any of the money that I spent.

@krystal my friend is not the smartest when it comes to money. She also complains about being in debt and not being able to afford anything and then her boyfriend buys her tons of luxuries. Then she complains he isn't a good boyfriend. Granted, I think he isn't a good boyfriend in being there emotionally for her, but he's given her so much, financially, that it's hard to empathize.

My friend is trying to get the money back, but I don't think she's doing all she can to get in touch with the vacation club. That's not saying getting in touch with them will do anything, but there is a chance she will get the money back. In the mean time she's offered to pay me back $100 for now and later on another $100 when she gets her pay check. I feel so bad asking her for this because I have an emergency fund (so it's not the end of the world for me) and she has, like, just debt.

Mrs. Micah said...

Yes, you have the right to be peeved and to get her to call the vacation club. If they can't fix it after she's made an effort, then it's time to move on and learn from the past without harboring a grudge (better to break off a friendship than carry a long-term grudge).

But until she makes a reasonable effort, you have every right to be upset. And it sucks, I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

For starters I would have never put this on my credit card because I think this is just predictable. She is not responsible enough to make sure the points are valid and you know she has a lot of debt so this wasn't a surprising scenario. But since you are in this position I would press the friend to get your money ASAP and possibly get the boyfriend to call the credit card company to see if they can work something out there. Sorry you're in this positino but now you know what to expect from this friend.

Hedder02 said...

Got it. I thought you were 100% getting paid back so yes, i would be mad I spent $175 too. Unfortunately, it sounds like you learned a lesson with her that you have to spell everything out before you do anything with her and make sure she triple checks things like points. It is sad to see someone sabbotage themselves :-(

Sallie's Niece said...

Oh yes I would be so mad! That's an awkward situation though. I hate mixing friends and money. She should have called the hotel first to verify that she could use the card. My fiance has used his hotel points for other people before but he always calls and clears it with the front desk. That just sucks all around.

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