DENVER– Have you ever booked a hotel without checking the reviews first?
That’s what a Canon City man did this weekend, while visiting his son in Denver—and paid the price.
Rick Ratzlaff learned a valuable lesson this past weekend.
“It’s not always better to get a better deal on a room,” he told FOX31.
Ratzlaff says he paid about $85 for a room at the Star Motel on Saturday, in Denver, with his CDL discount.
“I planned on having my son the next day for five hours. And I figured the more money I saved, the more I could spend on him and do more family things,” he explained.
He and his daughter got to the room around 4 p.m. on Saturday, set their bags down, and left right away to meet Ratzlaff’s son for dinner.
It wasn’t until they returned hours later, that they made a shocking discovery inside the room.
“My daughter sat down on the bed—and right away, bugs were coming out of it. And they were on the wall. And I was like, ‘oh my god.’”
Ratzlaff says that’s when they went online to check the motel’s reviews.
“It was just comment after comment after comment of negativity.”
One woman posted a Yelp review, with pictures of red bumps on her upper chest—claiming to have been bitten by bed bugs.
Another reviewer wrote on TripAdvisor that they had found black mold in the bathroom.
FOX31 reached out to Star Motel for a comment on Monday, but were told the owner was not available.
Ratzlaff says the woman at the front desk refused to give them a refund.
“And I even showed the lady and said, ‘would you sleep on this?’ And she’s like, ‘yeah, yeah.’ And I’m like, ‘no you wouldn’t!’ Inmates don’t even sleep on things like that,” he recalled
Both Ratzlaff and the woman called the police.
While he waited, Ratzlaff decided to give the Star Motel his own version of a bad review.
“A couple families had pulled up and I said, ‘hey I’m going to show these people what is here—in the bed, and the bed bugs, and what the bed looked like.”
Ratzlaff says three of the families decided to leave.
“I showed them and they were like, ‘heck no, we’re not staying here. Thanks for helping us because we’d be in the same boat as you not getting our money back and fighting with her.”
Ratzlaff and his daughter went to a different hotel for the night.
He returned to the Star Motel the next morning, threatening to give more “in person” reviews, and says they finally agreed to refund his money.
Ratzlaff tells FOX31 a simple online search could have saved him the headache.
“Look at the room before you pay—and look at the review. It’s well worth checking.”