INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — The Better Business Bureau of Greater Cleveland said weekend complaints from customers at the Ramada Inn in Independence serve as a reminder of rules to follow before booking a hotel.
More than a dozen customers complained Saturday that they arrived at the hotel and found filthy rooms.
Management blamed the issues on a shortage of housekeeping staff.
But a check of online reviews showed complaints about cleanliness go back at least one year at the hotel.
It's why the BBB's director of operations said it's important for customers to do their research by reading reviews.
"Price is important, obviously," said Ericka Dilworth of the BBB, "but the location is important and the cleanliness of the room is obviously most important."
If there is a problem, Dilworth suggested customers make management aware of the problem and give the hotel a chance to fix it.
If a solution can't be found, she said it's important travelers understand that different hotels may have varying refund policies.
"Any hotel can have any policy that they want," said Dilworth, "no refund no matter what, you have to cancel within 24 hours, whatever it is, their policy has to be clear to the consumer. But you also have to know what you agree to when you call and make that reservation."
Dilworth also suggests using a credit card when paying. She said that provides customers with the chance to dispute the charge if there are problems.
She also recommends documenting any problems with the room by taking pictures so it's not your word against the hotel's.
If a solution can't be worked out and a customer does plan to ask for their money back, Dilworth said it's important to keep something else in mind.
"Certainly don't stay," said Dilworth, "because it's going to be more difficult for you to get a refund if you stay the night and then you go back and saying 'Oh my gosh, that room was terrible.' Well, you stayed. You took advantage of the service."
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said it received one complaint Monday about conditions at the hotel.
A spokesman said the health department would coordinate with the city of Independence to see how to proceed.