Hotel bed bugs take a bite out of man's back

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Edward Zanders frequents the Rodeway Inn in Phenix City every year during the Fountain City Classic festivities in Columbus in November.

This year, his experience was less than pleasant for himself and several others with a group of 30 people who normally come along for the annual tailgating and football game between Fort Valley State University and Albany State University.

"We pulled the sheets back and noticed brown streaks and burnt marks. So we asked for fresh linen. We were told they only change the linen every other day and after check-out by housekeeping."

Zanders said he couldn't believe his ears. He then took his complaint to the hotel's owner. Zanders claims the owner told him to leave. But his complaint wasn't just with the bed begs. He's says others in his party found a crack pipe, soiled personal hygiene items and bloody tissue that someone used to blow their nose under the bed.

His list of complaints grew after he returned home to Americus following the weekend trip.  "Not only did I receive horrible service, but I was charged three times on my credit card. "  Zanders added he was charged once on the card he used to hold the reservation and twice on the card he used to pay for the room during check-out.

Zanders didn't stop there. He then called the Russell County Health Department to report his findings.  We followed up with a phone call to the health department to verify his complaint.

The Environmental Division conducts at least two inspections a year on hotels and restaurants in Phenix City. The last regular inspection on Rodeway Inn was completed in December, 2009.  The results were favorable with a 90 rating on a 100-point scale.

We also found Zanders' November complaint, but that wasn't the only one. Another customer filed a report of bed bugs in May, 2010.

"We went to inspect the hotel and found bed bugs on a mattress. We instructed the owner to get the hotel sprayed for pests. He called the exterminators and provided us with a copy of the invoice. He was very cooperative," said Johnny Burell, Environmentalist.

Burell said inspectors went again in November and required the same pest treatment. They will follow up with another announced visit in the next year.  "The bugs are a nuisance but they do not pose a health problem, according to documents I've seen from the Centers for Disease Control."

Zanders even went a step further…He also called Choice Hotels International, Rodeway Inn's franchisor. They sent a letter to me via email thanking me for the comments and said they would look into the matter"

We also called Choice Hotels and they confirmed; they indeed received a complaint from Zanders. Choice Hotels reiterated that Rodeway Inn is independently owned and operated and are responsible for responding to the customer.  However, they stressed they are concerned about customer complaints and filed a formal complaint against Rodeway Inn after receiving notice from Zanders.

News Leader 9 also received an email from Choice Hotels after our initial conversation stating they would respond again to Zanders to see how they can better resolve his issue.

The owner of Rodeway Inn could not be reached for comment. The manager says told us he is out of the country in India.

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