January 19, 2016 | by Marshanna Hester | CBS58 Milwaukee
GERMANTOWN – The pictures are hard to look at.
“I ended up with a total of 63 bites over my face, neck, arms and primarily torso,” said Kelly Mathieu.
Mathieu said the bites are from bed bugs. It’s a traumatic experience she said has scarred her for life.
“I hope they understand, although I’m just another guest to them, this was difficult to go through,” she said.
Over Christmas, Mathieu and her fiancee stayed two nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel near the Mall of America. When they got back home in Germantown, she knew something was wrong. A visit to the doctor showed she was treated for insect bites.
Mathieu then contacted the hotel who she said told her, they’d reimburse her and take care of the bug problem.
“Please forward me any pictures you’ve taken of the marks that you feel will be relevant for my report,” she read from an email.
Now, more then two weeks later, the hotel said in a statement, “Our first priority is the safety and comfort of our guests. Upon hearing of this concern, the hotel immediately contacted their vendor Ecolab, who conducted a full inspection of the guestroom and adjoining guestrooms. Their findings concluded there were no bed bugs in the rooms.”
“Someone who’s bringing a claim has a burden of proving the landlord, or owner of a property, either knew or should’ve known there was a problem there,” said attorney Jonathan Safran.
Safran said that’s what makes cases like this, slip and falls or food poisoning hard.
He said the minimal damages aren’t worth hiring a lawyer, but you still have the right to file a claim and should report it to the health department.
“You may find out others have filed a complaint,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mathieu is holding out hope she’ll be compensated for her trouble.
“For the items, probably about $500, for the emotional, that’s priceless,” she said.
The hotel is working on a resolution with Mathieu. But, she said the hotel is still going to refund her room fee, and pay for medical bills and luggage she threw away when she got home.
So how do you keep something like this from impacting your next hotel stay? We spoke with a pest control expert about the first thing you should do when you enter your room.
“You know, an inspection of the bed. I’m not saying take it all apart, you know, pull the sheets back, take a look,” said Randy Allen with Will-Kill Pest Control. “Kind of inspect the environment. If there’s anything you see and it kind of triggers something, let hotel staff know.”
Allen said you should look in the crevices of the bed for any potential bugs. Most will be no larger than an apple seed.
He said people react differently to bites, so it may be several days before you realize you have been bitten.
Allen also said the most effective way to kill the bugs is heat. To reduce the chances of bringing the unwanted guests home with you, throw your clothes into the dryer on high heat the first thing you get back.