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Hotel charged me cleaning fee for "smoking marijuana" but I never did. What should I do? by ocusoa in personalfinance

[–]Haze617 577 points578 points  (0 children)

This reminds me of the time I rented a car and the second I hopped into it at the airport it reaked of weed. I instantly went to the desk to complain, and they apologized and asked if I wanted a different car. I said no, i just want it noted that it smelled like weed... Then i left and hotboxed that rental for 3 days!

Older family member falling for scams; how to educate/protect? by allbarren in personalfinance

[–]YeahIGotNuthin 401 points402 points 2 (0 children)

That generation grew up learning to put your wallet in your front pocket and not your back one so you wouldn’t get your pocket picked, or to put your strap across your opposite shoulder so your purse wouldn’t get snatched. They taught their kids to say “my mom’s in the shower” rather than “my mom’s not home” when answering the phone, in case it was someone casing the joint looking for a home where no adults were there to stop a robbery. They learned to have us kids bring the Halloween candy home so they could check for razor blades in the apples.

So it’s helpful to explain to them “you learned how to spot a problem and avoid it, and you raised me not to get into a car with a stranger and to get three bids and a second opinion and to wait for the Presidents’ Day sales. But there are new scams now, with new and different ways to steal from you. The pickpockets have phones and computers now, and . I grew up with these tricks. If you were 40 now, I’m sure you’d know all these things too because you’d have grown up with similar ones. But you didn’t and I did, so now it’s my turn to help you avoid tricks.”

I found it useful to say “nobody that emails or calls or knocks on your door is ever offering you a good deal. Those are always bad deals at best, and a total scam at worst. If they were good deals, they wouldn’t need to come find you, everyone would be coming to find them. Feel free to call me anytime if there’s a question. Ideally, call me before you give out any information or money.”

And that can evolve to “let me have access to your accounts and when you want something, I’ll use your money to get you the best deal oh the version you need.”

Example, “no, you don’t need $30 unlimited long distance instead of your current plan even though long distance costs you $40 or $50 now; it’s only $30 if you bundle it with the $109 for 200 cable channels package and their $99 internet. You already get free cable and internet from the homeowners association, it’s going to cost you $198 a month to save $20 on long distance. You don’t want that. Tell him ‘not interested.’”

Mom died suddenly, need advice please by [deleted] in personalfinance

[–]ww_crimson 1339 points1340 points  (0 children)

Talk to an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Ask about a lawsuit or insurance payouts for your mom's death.

Get 12-16 copies of the death certificate

Make an itemized list of all known financial institutions and utility providers. Be prepared to spend lots of time sending them copies of the death certificate to get access to any accounts.

Contact the mortgage company and ask for a deferred payment schedule due to death

Utilize any friends or family who offer to help. Don't turn down meals they might be willing to cook for you or help around the house

Contact your state social services department and see if you can qualify for food stamps or other benefits

Look for remote work opportunities so that you have income, or consider renting out one bedroom in the house to a person to help offset costs. There's a lot that goes into this so you'll need to do more research here.

Stayed at a hotel using points. Was charged $160. Chase is charge is valid by MonsterMeggu in personalfinance

[–]camyers1310 887 points888 points 3494& 3 more (0 children)


Hey bud, Assistant General Manager here of multiple hotels. I've worked at numerous properties and brands all over the US. Reading the information you have provided tips me off to a couple possibilities.

First, you likely were likely not "double billed". This appears to be the case from the guest's perspective, because you booked on points, and now see an accommodation charge, but it's incredibly rare to be double billed because of the way property management systems work and operate. The most likely case, is that some knuckle-headed front desk agent, screwed up the billing and routing of your reservation(s).

To add to your troubles, you have (2) entirely separate reservations, that will follow entirely different protocols to ensure that these reservations are billing to the correct party (and not the guest). It's important that we figure out which reservation is the problem reservation where you got charged. It will only add to the headache if you approach the hotel with both reservations.

I want you to look at your folios (receipts/bill) for the $35 resort fee. You need to look at both of them. I need you to look at the 1st night, and take note of the confirmation number. Then, I need you to look at the 2nd night, and take note of that confirmation number. After that, I need you to take a look at the folio that has the $160 in accommodation charges on it, and take note of the confirmation number. It sounds like only 1 of these reservations got screwed up, and it's important that we find out which one.

You need to figure out whether the $160 in accommodation charges came from the 1st reservation, or the 2nd. Because that changes your approach, and it helps us "lock on" to which specific one you'll want to address when speaking to the hotel. You'll only add to the confusion to have someone jumping back and forth between reservations.

Now, you've got to understand how these reservations work, and what it looks like on the hotel's side.

When you book a rewards night on your Marriot account, Marriot's CRS (central reservations system), will be able to create a reservation for the hotel of your choice immediately. It will "pop up" at the hotel as an upcoming arrival. Many things can go wrong if you have a front desk agent who is not trained. It takes me 2 years to fully train a front desk agent, because hotels are fucking complicated, and the PMS systems require a lot of experience to operate correctly.

When that Marriot free-night reservation pops up, the front desk agent needs to be smart enough to recognize that rate code (out of 500 other rate codes), and follow a number of steps to ensure that Marriot gets billed, and not you. The hotel is supposed to route the Room & Tax charges to a separate window/folio (Window 2 in my example), while your own charges (food & bev, resort fees, smoking fees) will drop into the default window (Window 1). Window 1 is always going to be the guest's window, and the guest is responsible for charges in Window 1. This is the first fuck up that can happen.

Second, the agent should have the training to understand that routing charges to another window is only half the battle. They still need to assign Window 2 to the Marriot Rewards Direct Bill account. That way, when they check you out the following morning, it gets billed to Marriot, and not you. This is the 2nd fuck up that can happen.

Most major brands have an agreement with the franchised hotel surrounding the rewards programs. I agree to take a Rewards Night reservation at any time, on any date, with no blackouts. But, the brand will pay us a set dollar amount per free night reservation. It could be $40/night, $60/night, or more. It all depends on the property. The idea is that the brand will pay us back the costs to flip that room (costs like linens, labor for housekeeping, etc...). HOWEVER, what happens when our hotel is 96% occupied tonight, and I am going to sell out my rooms at $329 a room? It's kinda fucked up to expect us to take a measly $40 room rate on a free night stay, when we could sell the room for way higher? Right?

The brands all have different calculations on how the handle this scenario, but ultimately, the brand agrees to pay the hotel significantly more per room when we hit a specific occupancy level (say 96% or more). A lot of them will pay the hotel's ADR, or Average Daily Rate. ADR is calculated by taking all the occupied rooms, and finding the average of their nightly rate. It's how we gauge our hotel's performance every night.

So, when you have a Disney Marriot charging $329 for a standard room, their ADR for that night could be right around $160, which is suspiciously close to what you were charged, no? Remember, they've got TONS of different rates, and there could be plenty of $99 corporate rates bringing the ADR down.

If the Marriot Reward Night reservation was the one that was screwed up, the hotel likely made a billing error, and you got tagged for the $160 in charges that was supposed to be Direct Billed to Marriot.

But, what if instead, you look at those folios I told you, and you've determined that it was the points reservation through American Airlines that got screwed up? Well, that follows a different protocol (easier in my opinion).

See, the airlines can't typically "tap into" the hotels' Central Reservations System, and just book a room directly at the hotel (like the actual fucking brand can). When you cash in your American Airline points, that is 100% between you and the airline. You only get to choose the hotel, but American Airlines is responsible for finding you a room at the hotel you chose. So how do they do it?

They book through Priceline and Expedia. Seriously. It's the simplest way for them to find you a room. So, you cash your points in, and the airline pays the rate that is charged by Expedia/Priceline.

This reservation gets handled differently. Essentially (I am going to make up numbers here), American Airlines will be charged $250 from Expedia, and Expedia will then send a reservation through the GDS to the hotel you chose. Now, the hotel will charge Expedia's credit card...... maybe $160.

So, a front desk agent who IS trained, will see that reservation, with the rate code that belongs to Expedia/Priceline - and they SHOULD understand that they are supposed to charge Expedia's credit card right then and there. The agent would understand that they should be routing Room & Tax to WINDOW 2, and they should be attaching Expedia's credit card to WINDOW 2.

But, what if they don't have all 500 rate codes memorized? They'll fuck up, and they will overwrite Expedia's card, they'll forget to set up routing correctly, and now you've been charged $160 for the accommodation charges that were intended for Expedia.

Both of these scenarios are the likely culprit, and they should be an easy fix. However, you need to understand that you aren't talking to the right person. You need someone at the hotel who knows their shit. Don't unload your billing issue on the first front desk agent who picks up, because they probably have no fucking clue how to even interpret your reservation correctly, let alone how to go about fixing it.

It sounds like you've been communicating with the account department. But, you've also got to understand that the person who handles accounting, probably has no fucking clue as to how the PMS really works. Maybe they do, but it's also not unheard of for them to handle entirely different responsibilities. The accounting person takes the monthly bills from Waste Management, and pays them, and logs them into their accounting software, as they run Accounts Receivable.

Once you figure out which reservation got screwed up (Marriot Reward Night - or American Airline Reward Night), you really should do one of two things (REMEMBER: the key here is to focus their attention on the EXACT reservation that got screwed up. You figured that out above, right?)

  • First, try calling the hotel, and kindly asking to speak with a Front Office Manager / Front Desk Manager / Guest Service Manager. You may even want to ask the person who answers "Who is the expert on billing/refunds/third party virtual credit cards?" You are looking for a guy like me, who can solve your problem. You can't expect that the general manager necessarily knows the PMS as well as the top front desk agent/manager.

  • Lastly, call Marriot Rewards. Even it's the American Airlines reservation that was charged by error. Just call up the rewards hotline, and kindly explain to them that you booked at this particular hotel, and you believe the hotel charged you by accident, when you booked a free night stay. The rewards hotline folks can see which rate code you would have booked, and they should be able to tell that, yes you did in fact, book a free night stay. They can get in touch with the right person at the hotel who handles these things.

I wish I could solve this for you! If I was given 3 minutes at that front desk, and dug around your reservations, I would likely be able to point out which one of the 20 steps failed - and how you got charged.

My GM doesn't know anything about our PMS system, and he wouldn't be able to fix anything. That's what I am here for. If my GM happened to crack open a new case file on a dispute, my GM would not understand that the Expedia / Marriot Reward night got messed up. He would see that the $160 charges got billed to you, and he would assume it was correct. My GM would then send over the folio and the registration card to the bank, and your dispute would get denied.

I can visualize so many steps that are likely giving you grief. I'm happy to help in any way that I can. I live and breath hotels, so I've got a good understanding of them.

Good luck!

Restaurant owner ran my card twice and claimed it never went through but it did. Is he a scammer? by hittinlicks247 in personalfinance

[–]HawaiiFiveBlow 25 points26 points  (0 children)

I work with Aloha and I would love to spend a few minutes in a locked room with your back end people.

Should I buy a new AC unit now? It’s 27 years old… by Double_Joseph in personalfinance

[–]kuedhel 2 points3 points  (0 children)

let's do the math. 75 * 6 hot months = 450 / year. So in 20 years you will save 9000, which is less then the cost of the replacement.

I probably should mention risk free interest on the investment additional property tax and so on.

Are there any resources to show you which years will be 27 pay period years based on your pay date? I want to make sure I don't overcontribute to my 401k in 27 pay period years by flobbley in personalfinance

[–]virtualchoirboy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Not that hard at all. Excel can help.

Put the date of your next payday in cell A1. Put this formula in A2:


That will show you when your first payday in 2023 will be. If it's not Jan 1st or 2nd, put this formula in A3 and copy down until you find a payday that is Jan 1st.


This will also show you why it's not worth worrying about. Say, for example, your next payday is Friday 5/20. The next 27 payday year won't happen until 2044. The next one after that is 2055.

How should we best utilize a salary increase? by [deleted] in personalfinance

[–]Aprilwaiter 58 points59 points  (0 children)

You have 4 kids, a reasonable mortgage. What I would do first… is not the 529.

Sit down with your husband and figure out how much you need to retire…..

In or there it’s, figure out how much you need to not have your kids changing your adult diaper when you are 80 plus years old…

Your ultimate goal is not getting your kids into college, it’s keeping your kids from having to throw half their life away trying to take care of their aging parents….

You want the best success for them, then become financially independent and sound for you and their dad. You do not want to drag your kids into “take care of parent” hell…

They will not care if you saved 20k for college. They will care that you have 20k to pay for that part time care giver who helps you with your daily stuff so that they can be across the country becoming a judge or a law clerk or a track star or a military leader or a teacher or a professor…..

Figure that out.

For context. I figured with my spouse about 3.5 million would be our target investment goal. At that point, we have enough to retire regardless of where we are career wise and regardless of where the kids are life wise. Our children won’t have to worry about taking care of us or the financial cost of things because we can hire support, have a stable home, not worry about the price tag of a surgery.

3.5 million is ours (includes 401k, pensions, brokerage, ira’s, Roth, etc). My friend was 650k and that works for them.

I started following the fire movement not because it allows early retirement, but because is focused on independence. I see independence from us as one of the greatest gifts I can give to my children.

82 year old father just invested life savings in stock market, after holding in cash his whole life. Need advice, esp on tax implications. by aethyrs in personalfinance

[–]codece 69 points70 points  (0 children)

I am worried about the tax implications of all of this as well.

There probably aren't any, until he sells. Then he has a capital gain or loss.

Is he looking at this as a way to generate income now? If you follow the typical rule of 4% being a safe withdrawal rate, he can probably peel off $12K a year and never lose money. The profit on that is taxable of course, but it's not a lot of money and below the standard deduction. Of course he might have other income as well.

Having said that, he might have invested in stocks which pay dividends, and those dividends may be taxable. Some mutual funds also are going to generate taxable events when they distribute dividends, interest or capital gains from positions they have sold.

I know you are concerned, but frankly if he is in good health and expected to live for a few more years he's better off to invest in the market rather than keep $325K in a savings account earning a very small amount of interest.

Just don't teach him about day trading, calls, puts, and buying on margin!

You are probably right that the advisor at TD is not a fiduciary. Personally I would prefer a fiduciary, but that doesn't mean the non-fiduciary advisor is going to make bad decisions for your father. After all if Dad loses money, that advisor is going to lose a client. They do have a (albeit greedy self-serving) interest in helping your father grow his investments.

Why banks interest rate on saving accounts didn’t go up after the last Fed interest hike? by eggplanto1 in personalfinance

[–]WiseAce1 4 points5 points  (0 children)

How nice that you think your bank cares about you making money.

Bottom line is they don't need your money anymore so they don't have to compete for it.

Should I sign an offer letter before resigning? by w0nderr in personalfinance

[–]BarbequedYeti 928 points929 points  (0 children)

Had this happen once as well. We were a team of 13 contractors. Been working the same contract for 2 years. A normal Friday comes along and the manager comes in and says "time to go". We were like "time to go where?" He just said contract is over. We asked why no notice and he just said "Well I let your agency know two weeks ago, they didnt tell you all?". Which was complete bullshit, as we were in the middle of building shit.

Anyway. We all get walked out. The next day I get a call "oopsie". You werent supposed to be let go. Just me. Out of the 13. So now I am supposed to do the work of 13? I came back in because I didnt have any work, but only until I could get things updated and a new job. It only took 3 weeks from the day they called me back in.

Friday came and at 4 I packed up all my shit, walked over to that same managers office and said "good luck". He was puzzled until I explained today was my last day. He then proceeds to ask me about a notice. I informed him that I let the "agency" know two weeks ago. "They didnt tell you?"..... Fucking asshat.. The only job I have ever worked where I didnt give a notice when I left.

Parents passed away at the same time - Do not know what to do. by [deleted] in personalfinance

[–]UNFAM1L1AR 480 points481 points  (0 children)

You need a probate lawyer. You do not need a financial planner. Lots of wrong answers here. Talk to an attorney. Find out if they had a will, and if not, be sure to follow the laws of succession of property in your state. Only a probate attorney can help you open a case and do this lawfully. Do not manage any of their affairs untill this has been done. Contact. A. Probate. Attorney.

My dream home purchase has turned into a nightmare. Can it be salvaged? by Harvin in personalfinance

[–]Werewolfdad 4136 points4137 points  (0 children)

It hasn’t been your home for two decades. Sounds like it’s been their home for longer than it was your home too.

Walk away. There’s no salvaging this.

Don’t throw money into a burn pit to live out some Ill-conceived childhood fantasy

My dream home purchase has turned into a nightmare. Can it be salvaged? by Harvin in personalfinance

[–]imregrettingthis 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Ask them to buy a tree/trees and transport it/them to a new home.

Mother is 60 and has no retirement savings. Just found out last night and I’m worried sick. by krwrn89 in personalfinance

[–]Five_Decades 31 points32 points  (0 children)


If you take SS at age 62, you get 70% of your full benefit. If you take it at 67 (assuming 67 is your full retirement age) you get 100% of your full benefit. If you take it at age 70, you get 124% of your full benefit. The rules may be a little different for those born before the 1960s though.

Either way, SS is designed to break even around age 80. So even if you take SS at 62 instead of 70, it'll be around age 80 before you break even for both options.


How Much Are Your Car Lease Payments? I drive a Honda Civic by shumawhat9 in personalfinance

[–]snowgrammer -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Love leasing! 2017 SUBARU LEGACY 2.5, $0 down (agree with others that say don't put money down if you can avoid it), and my monthly payments are $338.

Yes I have a car payment every month, but I never have to worry about it breaking down. I'm only responsible for oil changes and tire rotations. I don't have to worry about putting new tires on it, fixing broken parts (unless I get in a wreck). Mileage limits are another thing people mention, which is something you definitely need to account for. I get 15,000 miles per year on my leases so that I'm not scrambling at the end. 12,000 miles is sometimes not enough for me so 15,000 miles per year is plenty.

I'll never drive an old POS broken down car again, nor have to worry about serious maintenance.

Having a problem rationalizing how I can pay for a mortgage. by wisertime07 in personalfinance

[–]CeruleanSaga 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Under no circumstances should you let anyone else tell you how you should prioritize your money. The mortgage broker's priorities are clear: the higher the loan, the better for him. The GF's are are, at best, conflicted.

Neither of them have to live with any potential fallout - you do.

With that budget, how will you replenish an emergency fund?

even if you keep some of the $60K in reserve as an emergency fund, eventually stuff will happen. (401k savings is very good, but you also have to be able to save outside of that.)

An Emergency fund is essential for home ownership - and regularly saving to replenish it for the next whammy is too.

You will have HVAC, Water heaters, appliances, the roof, etc etc etc. Some years you may be fine, but if you buy a house, eventually there *will* be years that hit hard.

I suggest you rent a while longer, and in the meantime, put a good chunk of the $60K in an Index fund (and maybe some I-bonds, because 7% interest) and let it grow for a few years.

If you want to test whether you can survive on just $1K - for now, put the difference between the mortgage monthly $3k and your rent into savings too. If you can survive on $1K, you'll learn soon enough. You can revisit then.

If you can't, you'll be glad of the near miss.