If you book a hotel through an online travel site, do they have an obligation to tell you if the workers at that hotel are on strike? You'd think so. But apparently Expedia doesn't. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
The Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino in Atlantic City will be closing after September 5 (Labour Day in the US). But that might be for the best, given hotel management's failures at every turn. A curious document obtained by Gizmodo makes it sound like an absolutely disgusting place for guests to stay. The workers at the Taj Mahal went on strike and management brought in temporary workers, commonly called scabs. And they clearly did not care.
The Trump Taj Mahal spent the better part of this winter fighting with its workers over health and pension benefits. The hotel was opened in 1990 by Donald Trump and still has his name on it, but was sold to billionaire Carl Icahn, a man rumoured to be in the running for Secretary of the Treasury should Trump win the presidency in November.
The 3000 workers were fighting for the same benefits that every other hotel employee in Atlantic City had. But Icahn, attempting to squeeze every last nickel out of the place after it had declared bankruptcy, wouldn't give in. He brought in scab workers, and judging by one complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), those workers were overworked and didn't have time to care about how filthy the entire hotel had gotten.
From the perspective of the person filing the complaint, it's actually pretty sad. This person had saved up for a week-long holiday in Atlantic City to celebrate their birthday. When they arrived, they were greeted by yelling protesters and a filthy hotel from top to bottom. When the person got to their room, it was covered in dust, the carpet was stained and there was no housekeeper around.
But most of all, the person was upset with Expedia for not telling them about the strike. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me. I've reached out to Expedia for comment, but have yet to hear back.
The complaint is below. A couple of minor spelling errors have been corrected. The redactions were made by the FTC.
I booked a room at Trump's Taj Mahal Casino & Hotel for 6 nights to celebrate my [redacted] birthday in, Atlantic City on [redacted]. The room and flight was booked through Expedia. The booking agent failed to disclose to me that the workers were on strike at the Hotel. When I arrived at the Taj Mahal, I saw hundreds of employees outside of the hotel striking. The strike started on July 1st. I was afraid and intimidated, when I saw the workers marching around the hotel carrying strike signs and screaming, not to go in to the Taj Mahal Casino. There were over 1,000 workers on strike. I wondered why the booking agent did not inform me of the strike. I would not have booked the room there. I could have booked at another hotel. I paid over $US1200.00 ($1,576) dollars for to stay for 6 nights. After I checked in and arrived at my room. It had dust balls around the lamps bases, on the headboard of the bed, the dresser top, desk top, the counter, the refrigerator, the window sills, the telephones, etc. The carpet was stained and need steam cleaning. The bathroom was not much better dust was everywhere, the phone, hair dryer was covered with dust. The housekeeper worker had left for the night. I called the supervisor the next morning, at 5:30 A.M. she did not arrive until 3 hours later. When I tried to explain the complaint to her she was very rude and did not listen. I showed her the dust. I told her that I had asthma and am allergic to dust. She stated that she came from some place else meaning that she was a replacement worker and was not concerned about resolving my problem. I took her name and decided that when I returned home I would write a complaint to Expedia. I ended up cleaning my entire room. The housekeeper who was assigned to the floor had 20 rooms to clean and was not familiar with the hotel cleaning routine. Very often she would be pulled off of the floor and had to perform additional duties. Most of the restaurants were closed. I have a disability and had to travel two blocks away to a convenience store for meals which were high in sodium, fats, and sugar. I lost 2kg due to not being able to purchase healthier meals in the hotel. I had to eat all meals in this manner. I was exhausted every day from trying to get food. The entire interior of the hotel's glass, mirrors, chrome in the hallways of the hotel were dirty, smudged and elevators, was overdue for cleaning. Service was very poor whenever I called guest services, or the front desk. Staff answered with promises of sending help with issues or they did not respond at all. This was the worst birthday celebration that I have ever experienced. Expedia were dishonest and unfair to book me into a hotel that was on strike. They knowingly charged me for a hotel that was on strike and ruined my birthday vacation. I am living on a fixed income and do not have money to pay for services that I did not receive. I have been ripped. I am requesting that Expedia refund me $US1,210.00 ($1,589) for the services that I did not receive. This act is wrong and unfair.
Out of curiosity, I just tried to book a couple of nights at the Trump Taj Mahal from September 1 until September 3. There's absolutely no mention of a strike, as far as I can tell, let alone the fact that this hotel is going to be closed soon. But it looks like Expedia is still more than happy to take my $US552.12 ($725).