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Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Randy Quaid hotel bill: time to use billback

The jailing this week of actor Randy Quaid (famous for being the drunken crop-sprayer in Independence Day and sheep farmer Joe Aguirre in Brokeback Mountain) and his wife shows just how expensive it can be if you fail to pay your bill when you leave a hotel. Expensive for hoteliers if you do a bunk and expensive for guests if they are subsequently caught.

The couple stayed at the exclusive San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California last year, and it is alleged that they used an invalid credit card when paying the $10,000 tab. A standard room at the ranch, where Chris Martin of Coldplay and actress Gwyneth Paltrow got married, costs from around $545 a night. The Kennedy Suite, where JFK and Jackie spent their 1963 honeymoon, is a little pricier – $3,000 a night.

The Quaids were jailed not because of the bill itself – which has apparently been paid since - but because of their failure to turn up at court hearings. The judge was fed up with their no-shows and ordered them to be put behind bars. They got out four hours later after raising bail for a second time. Earlier bail payments of $40,000 have been forfeited, making it one very expensive hotel stay.

The couple wouldn’t have been in such a mess if they had been using the Conferma Settlement Plan system. The system uses virtual credit cards to make a payment on behalf of a travel management company, meaning that hotel guests do not use their own personal cards when they leave the hotel.

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