Foxwoods Resort Casino in Southeastern Connecticut may be the biggest casino in North America, but it may want to learn a lesson from the way they treated John Duquette, a handicapped person who went to the casino with his wife Joyce on May 31.
Joyce and John Duquette of Bristol, wrote to me last month after they received their credit card statement. They weren’t upset about losing money at the slots, they were outraged by the charges for damage a scooter caused and by the way they were treated by security personnel.
They said John rented a scooter at the casino that morning because he has trouble walking and were chased down later in the afternoon by a security guard.
“Around 3:30 p.m. a security person approached my husband and asked his name. He replied and was then asked if he had been at the MGM in the morning. He said he had been. He was asked to accompany a security guard back to the MGM hotel,” they wrote me.
They said both security people told them they had no idea why they were wanted.
“Upon arriving at MGM we were directed to a security supervisor, whose name I don’t think was ever given. My husband was asked by her, in an accusing tone of voice, if he remembered hitting a panel on the perimeter of the casino. He said he did remember bumping one with the scooter as he tried to maneuver out of a tight area,” they wrote me.
“This supervisor angrily stated that he had cracked the panel and he would need to pay for a replacement. She told us “Engineering” informed her it would cost $800. In her next breath she asked if he would be paying cash or with a credit card. We were stunned. The supervisors attitude was very angry and unprofessional. She made us feel like we were criminals,” they wrote me.
They said they were “so upset and embarrassed” that they turned over a credit card, paying $800 for the alleged damages plus a $43.99 fee to use the credit card.
On top of that, their credit card charged them an additional $33.75 because the casino had put the transaction through as a cash advance.
“When we returned the scooter, my husband told a gentleman from Scooter A Long, what had happened. He did inform my husband that when he signed for the scooter he had accepted responsibility for any damages. This is new and was required by Foxwoods. I don’t feel his signature entitled Foxwoods to belittle and treat him like a criminal that had committed a heinous crime,” their letter said.
“She was just nasty,” Joyce told me in a phone interview. “There was no reason for it.”
“Our primary objective is to provide our guests with the best entertainment experience available anywhere, and we strive to create a positive & welcoming environment for all. Our policies – including those relating to property damage and reimbursement – are designed to ensure the comfort and safety of our patrons,” responded Tara Gregson, vice president of branding for Foxwoods in a written payment sent by Nicole Morales, the casino’s public relations representative.
There was no response to the specific claims made by the couple, and getting even the one sentence response took effort on my part.
I sent Morales an email containing the allegations on July 19. After not getting any response I called Morales and left a voice mail on Aug. 5. It took a second call to another public relations person at her firm on Aug. 8 before I did receive a response.
If John caused damage at the casino he should definitely pay for it. But the way Foxwoods handled it was sleazy. They should have presented the couple with an invoice detailing the damage and the cost of repair. They should also have let the couple make arrangements to pay for the repairs without having to pay extra credit card fees.
And if the security manager’s actions were accurate described, the casino should have apologized. And if the manager was professional, the casino should say that. Otherwise they leave themselves open to the following claim, which the couple used as the last paragraph in their complaint:
“Handicapped – Beware at Foxwoods. Don’t let what should be a day of fun and freedom become one of fear, embarrassment and belittling.”
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