We are a retired couple from Montreal, Canada with extensive travel experience around the world. We never encountered such an unpleasant situation until we met the owner of :
Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany
I will take the necessary time to describe our adventure so you may avoid the same horrific situation.
We had a reservation for 2 nights, Sunday September 20th and Monday September 21st, 2009. We were never told that there was a no cancellation policy. We arrived around 2 pm on Sunday afternoon. Later on, my wife told the owner’s wife that we had revised our trip schedule and that we would only stay 1 night instead of 2. The owner’s wife first agreed with it then later on, after talking to her husband, she revised her position and said that we would be charged for 2 nights.
My wife went upstairs to tell me we would be charged for 2 nights instead of 1.
We then went downstairs. I asked the owner if I could talked to his wife. His answer was: “No. I am the boss here. What do you want?”.
I then explained that we had revised our trip schedule and had decided to stay one night only. He said “No, you will be charged for 2 nights because we held your reservation for 2 nights and had to refuse customers”. (We will prove later on that was a false statement).
I said that in absence of a specific policy, a 24-hour notice is generally an acceptable norm around the world.
He said “I make my own policies here...you will pay for 2 nights”.
I then replied that “In this case, I will have to advise Visa not to accept the transaction”.
The man went suddenly berserk. He started to yell and scream at my wife and I. “I want you out of my house immediately....I want you out, out, out. Now”. The man had lost total control of himself and was suddenly behaving in the most unprofessional manner (we are polite) never seen anywhere else.
We calmly went upstairs to pack up. He then rushed upstairs and said “You have used the room. You must pay”. I said: “How much?”. He said “20 euros”. I said: “no”. Then he said “I will call the police”. He was so surprised when I said “Please call the police” that I had to repeat twice before he acted. When the 2 policemen came along, they first had a discussion with the owner. We could clearly see that he was trying to convince them that I had to pay for 2 nights. We could also clearly see that the policeman in charge told him 3 times that he had no right to do so.
The proof is that when the policeman came to us, they never even mentioned once the fact that we had to pay for 2 nights not even 1 night which was the original cause of the disagreement, they strictly limited their discussion to the fact that 20 euros for the room clean up was a reasonable price. I agreed to pay the 20 euros and we left.
We stopped at 3 different places, including the main hotel downtown. They all had room available at that time in the season and the sign Zimmer Frei (vacancy) was everywhere.
Fortunately for our first night in Germany we found a very nice room closer to the pedestrian part of the city and met very nice people.
Needless to say, if you visit Garmisch Partenkirchen which by the way is a pretty little town, avoid by all means the owner of Gastehaus Reiter, 55 Burgstrasse, unless of course you enjoy having to deal with the police to settle a situation which should not have taken place or unless you enjoy being screamed at by a man totally out of control.