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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wyndham's reply regarding the Screenshot Controversy

After the screenshot controversy broke a couple of weeks ago, I sent an email off to Wyndham asking for an explanation of the changes and what would now be accepted as proof of a lower rate's existence.

Late last week, I recieved this email from Dawn Lilly, one of the customer care supervisors at Wyndham's Guaranteed Best Available Rate department:

Dear Best Rate Guarantee Blog Team,

Thank you for your inquiry. It is has always been our policy not to accept screen prints as proof of a lower rate found; it appears this process was circumvented for a small time period. It is our policy that all claims must be independently validated by our Customer Care team prior to issuing the free night award. Screen shots can be manipulated by Customers, and we do not accept them as independent verification of a Customer claim.

Dawn Lilly
Customer Care Supervisor
Wyndham Hotel Group
1910 8th Avenue NE
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Evidently, screenshots were never OK'd by the management of this program - the claims staff just decided to start accepting them. That being said, they were accepted for my entire BRG lifetime, so this "small time period" could be debated. Nevertheless, no recourse seems to be the current policy - the claim must be independently verified by the Wyndham staff, or no go. Luck of the draw, plain and simple.

Good luck to us all.


Blue said...

anyone had any luck with the idea posted by someone on last question post of booking on both sites, then sending in reservation number or confirmation or whatever.... with the common sense argument that if you booked it, it was available? then cancel extra one not needed.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

I personally think that they wouldn't care either way. It's worth a shot but I wouldn't get too optomistic about your chances using that method.

Brandon said...

I was denied using that method. Basically at the time they review your claim, the lower rate must exist, otherwise it's no go.

Anne said...

I was denied comparing to the 24 hour sale as well. Of course, by the time they reviewed it, the sale was over.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

Certainly they wouldn't be ignoring 24 hour sale claims until they are over, would they? :)

These claims staff must have a chip on their shoulders...

BearlyAmusing said...

I don't know that it's so much that they "have a chip on their shoulder" but rather the upper rank mucky-mucks finally looking into the day-to-day details of the program. Having spent way too much time in a corporate bureaucracy, I know that often the low-level minions plug away, thinking they are doing things the "right way". Then a problem surfaces. And slowly it escalates up the ladder until someone finally screams "We ae doing WHAT?!", after which a quick mandate slams down to "correct" the process.

I think this is exactly what haooened with BRGs. They were a small component of the WR business, then all heck broke loose on several bulletin boards and several property owners became fed up and started squealing like little piggies to WR senior management.

That led to the "one claim per month", "24-hour review period", and other changes in late summer. As the approvals continued -- on a much smaller pace, no doubt, the "doctoring" of claims probably became pretty obvious.

I have never understood why they ever even accepted the screenshots. I don't photoshop, but I have worked with dozens of folks who could recreate or amend just about any website out there. I am hardly part of the "hacker" community, but it seemed pretty obvious that a screenshot could be
"fixed" to show a lower available rate.

A bit of detective work on the part of anyone a few more steps up the WR corporate ladder would have figured out that a few were fraudulaently gaming the system.

Further, I can envision a staff meeting with all parties wherein the front line minions mention the weekly "24-hour sales". And then a mucky-muck saying, "Well, our T+C is 24 hours, so let's just leae them in the queue until the sale is over." Yea, it's nasty, but I can already hear a bean counter saying "well, we are meeting our service leel agreement, so the customer really has no claim".

I always tend to file my 24-hour sale claims as early as they are posted on TUESDAY night. Sometimes they are online as early as 6PM PT. That seems to increase the odds of approval, since they willbe in the "queue" the next afternoon.

All speculation, but seems on target.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

That sounds about right, BearlyAmusing.

I also agree, Tuesday night is the best time to get BRGs out. The main problem is that by the time we look into the opportunities, filter out the ones that work and won't, its usually 2AM or even Wednesday morning (or sometimes, not at all, if we're unavailable). So, relying on this blog for the 24 hour sale opportunities is a bad idea. I encourage everyone to follow BearlyAmusing's lead and be proactive with the 24 hour sale opportunities, finding them and locating them on your own as early as possible!

Anonymous said...

That's really crazy that they wrote such an email about 'Screenshot Policy'. If you see in their terms & conditions, they still have this advice for people to submit screenshot:

Rule#4: The competing rate must be confirmed as available. One way to confirm availability is to provide a screenshot of the Web site with the lower Internet rate that proves availability.

Dave @ The BRG Blog said...

Wow, good to know. At least for Wyndham BRGs, you can simply point them to their own T&C's. I doubt this would be the case for Wyndham Rewards claims, but for Wyndham, you're just following their own terms and conditions - how can they deny that?