Westin gave my car to someone else!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by monkeyninja, Feb 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hello - so the other day I was at the Westin Hotel in Houston (one of them (nameless for now)) - and as I went to pick up my car from the valet, I noticed it wasn't mine! They gave it to the wrong person (who of course didn't realize and drove off in it)!

    Now, I wouldn't have been so annoyed with situation if (1) I wasn't late for a meeting (2) the valet attendant hadn't honestly tried to tell me this was my car (!?) and (3) didn't really have a plan for getting my car back!!

    Has this insane situation happened to anyone else?? (Eventually tracked my car down 10 miles and 2 hours later!!!)...
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    A couple times valet parkers have tried to give me someone else's car, but I always realized it right away, even though it can be hard to remember what your current rental car is.

    I hope you're trying to talk to the manager ASAP, although valet parking is probably contracted out rather than being operated by the hotel. Note, also, that despite the signs and stuff printed on the ticket, valet parking services generally cannot waive responsibility so do not believe them if they try to tell you that they don't have to do much if anything about their mistake. You might want to contact your insurance company very soon as well as the police.
     
  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    A call to the police would probably have one of my first reactions. At the very least that might have inspired them to take the issue seriously.

    Valet companies have a very simple job. Take a car, park it, and return it to the right person. Handing over a $20+ thousand item to the wrong person is a really big #fail.

    OP, how did you track your car down?
     
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  4. MSPeconomist
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    Having uniformed police officers on site will also inspire the hotel to take the issue more seriously and put pressure on the valet parking folks to do something. Hotels believe that police presence gives the property a bad reputation.
     
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  5. Ah - well they certainly took it seriously after I started barking at them - about 30 minutes later they tracked down the person who'd taken my car (it was a similar colored rental), and then ultimately drove me back to my car in his rental car! It was likely an honest mistake, but you'd think they'd actually check that valet tag before they let a complete stranger drive off in it!

    The sad irony is that the other guy had no idea he took the wrong car! :confused:
     
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  6. TRAVELSIG
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    This happens quite frequently, particularly at busy hotels/convention centres/etc. Good news is you got the car back without any problems.
     
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  7. Gaucho
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    I know a person that always ties a large and hard not to see ribbon close to the rear view mirror on his rental car.... he does this exactly for the reason that started this thread.
     
  8. Randy Petersen
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    Yes, happened to me as well at the Westin Diplomat/FL. They did not give it to someone else, but rather lost it. I was late to meeting but they provided a private car to where I needed to go and voided the valet charges. Slight inconvenience and by the next day did find my car but agree it was a strange and weird incident.

    At first I was not a happy camper but put on the happy face when chauffeured around the area and realized I saved money by not having to pay valet at the places I went. Yep, drank lemonade when the hotel gave me lemons.

    Still, how the heck do you lose a car?
     
  9. sobore
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    We may all need to apply the checked bag rule to our cars. If there is something you will in the near future, grab it before turning the car over to the valet. You may not see your car for several hours!:eek:
     
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  10. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    A worse situation is what I call "pseudo valets", who don't work for the hotels, but "park" cars for the hotel's customers.

    DTWBOB
     
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  11. cennas
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    Reminds me of the incident I had at a Grand Hyatt last summer, although it was I who was given the wrong car, a much nicer car. I actually wanted to drive away in it, but my gf loved her old Escape a bit too much so we didn't.

    No, seriously, when we realized they were loading our bags into the boot of a car that wasn't ours, we immediately barked at them. The manager comped our valet charge on that stay and again on the next one.
     
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  12. MSPeconomist
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    At least in the USA, most hotel valet parkers are not employees. The hotels generally contract out this service. You also do not earn points on valet parking charges in most places.
     
  13. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    That's *not* what I meant -- I meant they take the car and never return it

    Bob H.
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    Even official valet parkers have been known to borrow hot cars for nice long and fast joyrides, especially when they're planning to quit the job anyway.
     
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  15. autolycus

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    Sadly, it's true.

    And especially when it's a 1961 Ferarri 250GT California Spider... sorry, couldn't resist.
     
  16. MSPeconomist
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    True confessions of a valet parker? Or a frustrated but proud owner?
     
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  17. autolycus

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    My agreement with you is based on reading enough news articles, blotter reports, etc. to know that departing valet company employees have taken liberties that are generally frowned upon.

    The 1961 Ferarri 250 GT is a reference to Ferris Beuller's Day Off and was added for some humor. For those who haven't seen the movie, it's the car that Ferris Beuller and his friends Cameron and Sloan "borrow" from Cameron's dad. It is, in turn, "borrowed" from them by a pair of valets who enjoy a joy ride.
     
  18. yaychemistry

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  19. HaveMilesWillTravel
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  20. kyunbit
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    The incident seems not uncommon. I wonder what would have happened if the other person was stopped by a cop. He/She didnt have the permission to drive it. He/She wouldnt have any idea why. The cops could have arrested him/her!
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Or what would have happened if the other driver was a foreign tourist who started his two week tour of the American west... with no cellphone or address to track him down?
     
  22. MSPeconomist
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    Probably not arrest if it was an obvious mistake, like similar looking rental cars, but I assume it could be felony grand theft if the car obviously did not belong to the driver, for instance arriving by Honda and driving away in a Mercedes S class.
     
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  23. kyunbit
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    I am saying this because I have very poor memory. In an instance last year, I had booked a compact and was 'upgraded' to SUV. After parking it for the first time and going to visit a spot, I totally forgot that and was looking for a compact chevy aveo in the parking lot.
     
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  24. MSPeconomist
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    I think it would be the person who thinks, "oh goody, I can just drive off in this wonderful car that I know isn't mine" who could get in trouble. In your example, you would have a reasonable explanation in terms of your rental reservation or usual pattern of rental vehicles. However, certain especially extremely expensive or distinctive cars would be noticed by even a very absent minded driver and here is where I could imagine a crime of opportunity leading to legal trouble.
     
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  25. Gaucho
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    I wonder if any of these valets lose their jobs after such blunders.... imagine someone drives off with the wrong car and is involved in an accident..... wonder if there are any legal & insurance ramifications...?
     
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