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Who’s to Blame When the Concierge Is Wrong?

In planning our big trip to Thailand, one of the top adventures on our list was having bespoke suits made for my husband. He really needs a new suit, but we live in California, the land of every day Casual Friday so we can never bring ourselves to fork over the princely sum. Having suits made in Thailand seemed like the perfect solution. I studied Holly’s post and read about it in my Lonely Planet guidebook, and the one thing I concluded was: it’s easy to get scammed by disreputable tailors.

Savvy traveler that I am, I swore this wasn’t going to happen to me. Oh no! Not clever, insider me! I decided the best way to avoid this was to secure a recommendation from the concierge at our resort. Granted, I knew concierges can be paid off, but we were staying at a high-end, American-owned hotel chain that is known for its customer service and integrity.

Needless to say, I still got scammed. The hotel strongly recommended a tailor and arranged for them to pick us up at the hotel. We were in a rush that morning so I didn’t take the time to Google their recommendation, believing that as locals they knew the good tailors from the bad.

At the shop, we were a little uneasy, but I chalked it up to cultural differences and paid the costly deposit. When we returned to the hotel later, my husband, still feeling uneasy, did a quick search on the Internet and found hundreds of posts by travelers warning this place was a scam. People talked of sleeves falling off when you tried on the shirts, seams glued together, and worse.

First I called the tailor and tried to cancel our order. They were irate on the phone and refused to refund my deposit. Then, I called my credit card company long distance. They felt confident they could fight the charge and get my money back. And they advised me to never go back and just deal with the dispute when I returned. I hung up the phone feeling better. I figured even if my credit card couldn’t get my money back, surely the hotel would do something to make it right.

How wrong I was. After returning from my trip, my credit card company changed their story and claimed they were unable to help me. Then I approached the hotel chain and they were unwilling to make it right too. I recognized that they weren’t going to write me a check, but I thought some compensation was in order, perhaps credit for a future stay.

All in all, I am out a lot of money, and no one is willing to accept responsibility for the mistake. Plus, I’m really frustrated. I knew in advance that you could get scammed by tailors and I worked hard to avoid this trap. Yes, I should have double-checked their recommendation, but shouldn’t the hotel stand behind their own advice?

Who’s to blame when the concierge is wrong?


My name: Alison Presley

Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.

How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!

What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.

Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.


Nothing But Bonfires

Alison, I’m so sorry this happened to you! What a horrible story. In my opinion, the hotel is totally in the wrong: when you stay at a reputable chain, you expect a reputable concierge and it seems to me that you were the victim of “hey, come to my brother’s shop syndrome,” which, sure, you might expect from a budget guest house on Kho San Road, but which I’d NEVER think possible in a high-end American-owned hotel chain with a good reputation for customer service.

The way I see it, when you use a concierge—particularly in a foreign country, and doubly so in one where stories of scammed tourists are widespread—you like to think you’re handing over the research to someone else who has a whole lot more impartial insider knowledge than you; basically, relieving yourself of the Googling duties. That’s why it seems absolutely execrable to me that you weren’t directed to a quality tailor from the one person whose recommendations should have been unbiased enough for you to trust—and why it’s absolutely awful that this hotel (and its concierge) isn’t now taking responsibility for the information it gave you and helping to back you up.

Camels & Chocolate

Ali, I had no idea this happened to you! I would use your travel writer pull and badmouth that hotel all over the Internets! I might expect that from a small local-run hotel, but not a big American chain! I think everyone but you is in the wrong in this situation.


I think the hotel is definitely to blame when the concierge is wrong! It’s one thing to recommend a restaurant that’s not so great; it’s another to recommend and arrange a scam, or anything that makes the guest feel uncomfortable. Your request for a tailor seems like a question they would get very frequently, so they should have had a long list of reputable options for you. The hotel should absolutely take responsibility and compensate you in some way—at the very least they owe you an apology and a free stay.

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