Meet Dave Howell. Not to be confused with … Dave Howell.

The first Dave Howell lives in England, where he works as a manager for an export company. But when he checked into the Denver Marriott City Center, he found that the hotel had confused him with another guest that happened to share his name.

First, he was issued the keys to a room on the executive floor that was already occupied, presumably by the other Howell. He was reassigned to another room, eventually. When he checked out, he was surprised to discover someone else would cover his stay. “The bill was made out to a David Howell from New York and was to be charged to his American Express card,” he recalls.

Billing snafus like Howell’s have been happening since there have been hotels, of course. A vast majority of inaccurate bills, also called folios in hotel-speak, are innocent mistakes — a wrong room number, sloppy handwriting or a computer glitch. But some aren’t. Who can forget the 1985 comedy “Fletch” in which Chevy Chase tells his server to “Put it on Underhill’s” bill?

The difference is that in this awful economy, hotels are far more reluctant to fix the mistake unless they can find the guilty party.

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  • Elliott

    Christopher Elliott has been called one of the world’s leading travel experts. But his focus isn’t on the destination, or ev…

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