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Couple says hotel in Albany canceled reservation for eclipse without telling them

John Appleyard says he and his wife made a reservation at the Econo Lodge in Albany in January for two nights in August for the eclipse.

A Washington couple told KATU a hotel in Albany canceled their reservation for the Aug. 21 eclipse without telling them.

And they said they're not happy with the hotel chain's response.

"I feel bad and I just feel really disheartened because I know it's not just us," said John Appleyard, of Sumner, Washington. "It's heartbreaking and sickening."

Oregon's Department of Justice (ODOJ) said John and his wife, Tobi Appleyard, are not alone.

An ODOJ spokeswoman said the state has taken action on their consumer complaint and 27 others filed against a dozen hotels in and around the path of totality of the eclipse.

John Appleyard said he and Tobi are getting ready to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary in August.

In January, they won a radio contest.

"We had won a set of tickets for a Seahawks game," Appleyard explained, "and for a train ride with the Cascade Amtrak so we could go anywhere we wanted."

And Appleyard said they wanted to come to Oregon, where he was born, to see the eclipse, so they booked their free train tickets and made a reservation at what was then called the Albany Inn.

The price tag for their room with taxes was about $200 for two nights.

"In January, we got everything set, had it all booked," Appleyard said. "We even ordered the special glasses (online), $20 a piece for glasses to see the eclipse."

But in May, after seeing news reports about people having trouble with hotel reservations, Appleyard decided to call and check on his.

"And when we called down there we were told by the hotel desk clerk that on March 25 that a corporate office ... told them to dump all the reservations they had made and to re-book them at a higher price," Appleyard said.

The hotel had a new owner and a new name, Econo Lodge Inn and Suites.

Sarah Lee, the public relations director for Choice Hotels International, sent KATU a statement saying in part:

"The reservation at issue was booked prior to the property entering our franchise system. Questions should be directed to the ownership as the hotels in our system are independently owned and operated. We tried to work with the guest to find an acceptable alternative arrangement."

The hotel's assistant manager told a KATU reporter the owner has no comment.

And Appleyard said the chain's offer was not acceptable.

"The only thing they wanted to offer us was two rooms down in Eugene," Applyeard said. "They would pay for $109 a night for that hotel but that room was now going for $700 a night."

Appleyard filed a consumer complaint with ODOJ along with another Econo Lodge customer.

On July 12, the agency sent the hotel a letter saying, in part:

"Based on the information we have gathered, the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites failed to make any attempt to contact consumers with existing reservations to advise them of new ownership and provide an opportunity to maintain a booking or make alternative arrangements. The Econo Lodge has failed and refused to provide reservation records received from the prior owners to demonstrate which consumers had existing reservations at the time Econo Lodge purchased the hotel."

ODOJ is asking the hotel to either make good on its reservations or pay Appleyard and another complainant $500 each along with a $200 fine to the state ($100 per alleged violation).

"The burden is ultimately on the hotel to make good on the reservation no matter how it was made," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum told KATU on Monday. “You don’t have to have put the money down if you, in fact, have a reservation and you can confirm that.”

She said the hotels in the path of totality facing complaints could be fined as much as $25,000 per alleged violation, plus attorney fees and investigative costs.

"We hope that that would not be necessary," Rosenblum explained, "but we'll go after them if they're not making good on these offers."

The complaints involving the Econo Lodge in Albany are still under investigation and the hotel has 30 days from the date of the letter sent to them from ODOJ to respond.

Regarding all of the eclipse-related complaints filed against hotels, Rosenblum said, "“It looks like maybe about half of them have been resolved satisfactorily to the consumers.”

She suggested consumers check on existing reservations to make sure they haven't been canceled or the prices haven't been changed. If consumers do have concerns, they're encouraged to file a complaint through ODOJ's consumer hotline by calling 877-877-9392 or by filing a complaint online.

Below is a list of the 12 hotels that have been the subject of eclipse-related consumer complaints according to ODOJ spokeswoman, Kristina Edmunson. Under each hotel's name and location is the outcome of complaints as listed on ODOJ's website:

1) America's Best Inn & Suites, Lincoln City

A) Case Status: C

Date Open: 4/10/2017 Date Closed: 6/22/2017

Respondent: AMERICA'S BEST INN & SUITES

Address Line 1: 1014 NE HWY 101

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF2338-17


2) Cascade Lodging, Bend

-No resolution listed


3) Econo Lodge, Albany

-No resolution listed


4) Liberty Inn, Lincoln City

A) Case Status: C

Date Open: 5/17/2017 Date Closed: 6/19/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Consumer withdrew complaint

Reference # FF3211-17

B) Case Status: C

Date Open: 4/5/2017 Date Closed: 6/26/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Resolved as part of a master settlement with DOJ

Reference # FF2303-17

C) Case Status: C

Date Open: 4/4/2017 Date Closed: 4/27/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Information Only

Reference # FF2287-17

D) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/31/2017 Date Closed: 3/31/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Service quality lower than what the complainant ordered or expected

Closing Description: Information Only

Reference # FF2193-17

E) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/28/2017 Date Closed: 4/28/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Resolved as part of a master settlement with DOJ

Reference # FF2075-17

F) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/24/2017 Date Closed: 4/28/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Resolved as part of a master settlement with DOJ

Reference # FF2030-17

G) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/24/2017 Date Closed: 6/26/2017

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Resolved as part of a master settlement with DOJ

Reference # FF2040-17

H) Case Status: C

Date Open: 9/9/2016 Date Closed: 11/21/2016

Respondent: LIBERTY INN

Address Line 1: 4990 NE LOGAN RD

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: False or misleading offering price

Closing Description: Complainant Did Not Maintain Contact with DOJ

Reference # FF5379-16


5) Motel 6 Madras, Madras

A) Case Status: C

Date Open: 4/6/2017 Date Closed: 4/6/2017

Respondent: MOTEL 6 MADRAS

Address Line 1: 1539 US HWY 97

Address Line 2:

City: MADRAS

State: OR

Zip: 97741

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Consumer Did Not Request Action

Reference # FF2321-17


6) Palace Inn and Suites, Lincoln City

-No resolution listed


7) Quality Suites Hotel, Keizer

A) Case Status: C

Date Open: 7/11/2017 Date Closed: 7/11/2017

Respondent: QUALITY SUITES HOTEL

Address Line 1: 5188 WITTENBERG LN NE

Address Line 2:

City: KEIZER

State: OR

Zip: 97303

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Participated in unlawful restraint of trade

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF4352-17

B) Case Status: C

Date Open: 4/20/2017 Date Closed: 5/11/2017

Respondent: QUALITY SUITES HOTEL

Address Line 1: 5188 WITTENBERG LN NE

Address Line 2:

City: KEIZER

State: OR

Zip: 97303

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF2668-17

C) Case Status: C

Date Open: 4/13/2017 Date Closed: 4/13/2017

Respondent: QUALITY SUITES HOTEL

Address Line 1: 5188 WITTENBERG LN NE

Address Line 2:

City: KEIZER

State: OR

Zip: 97303

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Acted unconscionably during collection activity

Closing Description: Referred Complainant Elsewhere

Reference # FF2531-17

D) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/29/2017 Date Closed: 5/11/2017

Respondent: QUALITY SUITES HOTEL

Address Line 1: 5188 WITTENBERG LN NE

Address Line 2:

City: KEIZER

State: OR

Zip: 97303

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF2100-17

E) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/28/2017 Date Closed: 5/24/2017

Respondent: QUALITY SUITES HOTEL

Address Line 1: 5188 WITTENBERG LN NE

Address Line 2:

City: KEIZER

State: OR

Zip: 97303

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF2090-17

F) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/23/2017 Date Closed: 5/1/2017

Respondent: QUALITY SUITES HOTEL

Address Line 1: 5188 WITTENBERG LN NE

Address Line 2:

City: KEIZER

State: OR

Zip: 97303

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF1937-17


8) Rodeway Inn, Sublimity

-No resolution listed


9) Sailor Jack Oceanfront Motel, Lincoln City

A) Case Status: C

Date Open: 3/27/2017 Date Closed: 5/12/2017

Respondent: SAILOR JACK OCEANFRONT MOTEL, INC

Address Line 1: 1035 NW HARBOR AVE

Address Line 2:

City: LINCOLN CITY

State: OR

Zip: 97367

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Voluntarily Resolved

Reference # FF2061-17


10) Stafford Inn, Prineville

-No resolution listed


11) Super 8 Motel. Baker City

-No resolution listed


12) The Grand Hotel. Salem

A) Case Status: C

Date Open: 11/16/2016 Date Closed: 12/27/2016

Respondent: GRAND HOTEL IN SALEM

Address Line 1: 201 LIBERTY ST

Address Line 2:

City: SALEM

State: OR

Zip: 97301

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Consumer Did Not Request Action

Reference # FF6934-16

B)Case Status: C

Date Open: 11/14/2016 Date Closed: 12/23/2016

Respondent: GRAND HOTEL IN SALEM

Address Line 1: 201 LIBERTY ST

Address Line 2:

City: SALEM

State: OR

Zip: 97301

Business Description: Travel: Hotels (exe Casino Hotels) & Motels

Complaint Description: Charging an excessive price

Closing Description: Insufficient evidence to prove violation of law

Reference # FF6838-16







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