Extended Stay America & Innflux WiFi – "Free WiFi" Scam

Extended Stay America & Innflux WiFi - "Free WiFi" Scam

Extended Stay America & Innflux WiFi – “Free WiFi” Scam

Summary of the Extended Stay America & Innflux WiFi – “Free WiFi” Scam – Bait & Switch

This “Extended Stay America” hotel in Chandler, AZ advertised that “Free WiFi” was included.  I call BS.  I expect WiFi to be at least 1mbps to be called WiFi.

Some principles from a Jackson Hole Wyoming firm checked into this hotel for a 9-day “hide-a-way” to get work done away from distractions.  Internet connectivity was important, and the person booking selected this hotel based on the offering of included WiFi.  As it turns out, they offer “free” Internet bait, but slow it down SOOOO much that it isn’t usable for a modern businessperson… this bait is then switched with a promised higher speed offer.  Needing internet that is actually usable, folks must then spend more $$$$.

Clever swindle, this Extended Stay America and Innflux partnership!  Clever.

Disgraceful, but clever.

Our Extended Stay America & Innflux WiFi – The “Free WiFi” Scam story:

The speed tested at .76mbps download speed and didn’t even ping an upload speed.  I tried again and got .70mbps.  .At 5:17pm, after 20+ minutes of frustration logging in to the “free” version provided by Innflux, I then attempted to pay the $14.99 for 7 days of “up to 2.5X” faster speeds, but did not get a confirmation for my purchase.  Internet was still so slow that I had to try the Speed Test twice before I got another result, .61mbps this time.  I tried contacting Innflux via their online chat, but nope.  See the top popup … it timed out without getting a response.

Extended Stay America & Innflux WiFi - The "Free WiFi" Scam

I called the front desk, and the wonderful gentleman Cameron kindly agreed to have their tech support call me back.  I had not heard back by 5:40 so I returned to the front desk and despite a long line of people waiting, Cameron multi-tasked & called the Innflux Tech Support, who agreed to speak with me.  I returned to my room and at 5:57 David from Innflux called.  He did not show that my payment had gone thru.  He told me that at most Extended Stay America locations, basic internet speed was .76 to .83 and that at my location in Chandler the upgrade would be to 2.76m.  I know that this is substandard for 2016, but I realized the smart scam!

What I think they are doing is this.  Innflux squeezes speeds down to below .8, which most people will not be satisfied with.  Extended Stay America knows this, and Innflux REALLY knows this.  I suspect that a good number of people “choose” to “upgrade” and get a slightly higher speed.  $4 for one night, $15 for 7 days and $20 for 30 days.  Most folks probably opt for the $4 option, and next most popular is the 7-day option.  I don’t know the numbers like Howard Weissman would, but if 600 locations each had only 100 rooms each, and if only 10 rooms at each location choose even the 1-day option each night for even 300 nights each year, assuming Extended Stay America gets a 25% commission from Innflux, this translates to $1,795,500 that Extended Stay America makes each year while Innflux grosses $5,386,500.  (This corporate relationship is pure speculation on my part, but it is probably not far off)

Obviously, I rounded the above estimates down, much more money is actually being made.  Also, I don’t know that Extended Stay America hotels are getting a 25% commission on sales, it might be 50%, 10% or perhaps a trade at some percentage level for the provision of Internet to their guests.  There is probably some other more sophisticated vehicle by which value is transfered to Extended Stay America.  Know also, that it is likely that if Extended Stay America thought their guests would be willing to pay for it, they could probably select a better option.

I LOVE business folks making profits!  I am a 100% capitalist, I love it!!!   I want a third party HSIA company to make good money, and I want the hotel to make good money.  The costs of nice stuff need to be paid by the end user, I get it.  What I do NOT want or love is the dishonesty Extended Stay America and Innflux use to make this money.  The Extended Stay America & Innflux HSIA WiFi – “Free WiFi” Scam is NOT a good example of corporate responsibility.  It is a classic Bait & Switch scam.  Legal?  Yes.  Respectable?  Nope.

Imagine if a “free breakfast” was offered, and upon arrival, after the guest budgeted their trip with the expectation of having a free breakfast, the guest discovered that the breakfast consisted of a single flake of raisin bran.  Imagine then that the hotel then said, “For those of you that want more breakfast, pay us $10 and we will give you a full breakfast.”  Legal?  Yes.  Respectable?  Nope.

I took a break from my quest to get connected and went for a wonderful dinner.  Afterward, I followed up on David’s directions to call Innflux and a lady helped me log out (quite the process) and also help my wife log out.  We needed 9 days of Internet, and the 7 day package was $15, and 2 additional days would have been $8 more, so we bought the 30-day pack for $20 each.  now the Internet speeds were at 2.0 which is workable.  The addition $2 & change each day is not my issue … the bait and switch scam is my issue.  We should have known ahead of time about the need to upgrade to get REAL Internet.

I looked online and noticed that many other people also experienced this.  Following are some links to Trip Advisor that span the country and the years.

free wifi = false advertising

The WiFi is a pathetic Rip-off!

2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2010 – Credit- TripAdvisor

The hotel was affordable and clean, however, their WiFi is slow and a total waste of money. I was working out of the hotel room and connected to my office network usin a VPN connection when my connection broke. Their service said I was connected to the internet, so me and my company’s IT HelpDesk spent two days trying to figure out the problem. It turns out that ,although I was connected to Extended Stay America’s WiFi router, their IT folks were blocking my computer from accessing the internet. (They later said I was hogging the bandwidth and arbitrarily blocked me without telling me.) I lost two days of work and it wasn’t until I walked across the parking lot to Starbucks did I realize the problem was with the hotel. BTW, Starbucks transmissions rate was 54 Mbps, Extended Stay America’s was a lame 11 Mbps and they have about 120 rooms.

four walls and bait and switch wifi upgrade

The manager at this location responded, making it seem as though there was a communication problem that led to the unhappy guest to being unsatisfied.

Manager_11525, General Manager at Extended Stay America – Las Vegas – Valley View, responded to this review, January 14, 2014

….. As well, our Wi-Fi is free with an optional upgrade to a faster speed. This is communicated to our guests at check-in and in their rooms. I am sorry if this message was not conveyed to you properly and will work with the staff to ensure it is done so better in the future…”  In truth, the problem was indeed failed communication, and the failure was in Extended Stay America’s intentional bait & switch tactics.  It would appear that Ames Flynn has put into place an effective strategy of ignoring guests problems while making them feel warm and fuzzy.

At our family & employee owned business, we take great pride in providing a premium service at a premium price.  What you see is what you get.  We have “add ons” but we do not ever suggest that they are included in our packages.  Like all businesses, we appreciate cross-selling and up-selling.  We sleep well each night knowing that we have been above board in all our dealings with our guests.

…we wound up getting the highest speed available, $40 for my wife & I, and this is what we get:

 speed test wifi scam extended stay america

it only worked sporadically, huge problems last night, but after another lengthy call with Innflux tech support this morning, it began working again and worked well until almost 630pm this evening.  Two more calls to tech support and another 30 minutes of my life wasted, and we are back up and going.  Tech support says it is a problem with our entire Chandler AZ Extended Stay America hotel.  It is my hope that Tom Bardenett will soon have time to review the chain’s contract with Innflux, and upgrade the package to one that is not so bad.

extended stay america chandler wifi
Every single day of our week-long stay has included problems with internet.

extended stay america chandler wifi