Couple still billed after fleeing bedbugs at motel

A very special family reunion brought the couple to a suburb in Minnesota, but their first night turned frantic when they thought they were under attack from tiny biting critters. The little bugs have terrorized travelers all over the world. They are hard to avoid and very hard to get rid of.

"I was afraid to lay down," Richard Strong said. "I was terrified." He said it happened when he and his wife were in Minnesota to see their granddaughter's graduation. They were tucking into bed at a local motel when Richard saw something move. "I said, 'Sweetie, what is this?' I said, 'Oh man, this looked like...' and I hit one with my finger," he recalled.

The couple took pictures with their camera phone that show the spot Richard says is the one he killed. "I said, 'Ah man, we got bedbugs,' and I caught one. I tried to catch two. I could only catch one. I put him in the cup," Richard said. They took a picture of the bug in that cup then called the front desk. "'We have bedbugs up here,' I said. 'Yeah and I have one in a plastic cup,'" Richard told them.

The couple bundled their clothes in plastic bags and tore out of the hotel a little too fast. "My wife is so nervous that we get pulled over by the highway patrol," Richard recalled. He told the officer about the bedbugs and the cop let him go but for weeks, the couple worried bugs may have hitched a ride on their clothes. "You feel these things crawling on you and you don't know, and you wake up in the middle of the night," said.

But what really frosted them? The couple actually received a bill for that night at that motel. "We weren't there three hours and they want to charge us for the whole night," Richard said. He says they asked for a refund but got nowhere. They contacted 7 On Your Side and we called the motel, the Americ-Inn near Minneapolis.

Manager Raj Bhakta said he called in a pest control company which found no bugs in that room. "I don't know what they saw but when we had it inspected, there were no bedbugs in there. I know bedbugs is an epidemic across the nation, but we've also had cases where we've proven the guest wrong, trying to get a refund when they stayed the night," he said.

However, the Strongs didn't stay the night and after our inquiry, the motel did refund the full $63 room charge.

A check of finds fairly good ratings for the Americ-Inn Motel. The manager says he has the rooms inspected once every month to make sure they're clean. Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side thank the motel for stepping up to refund their money.

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