About 80 percent of budget hotels inspected by the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) failed at least one item, a committee report showed.
As more hostels and capsule hotels, where travelers rent a bed in a shared dormitory or individual capsule and share a bathroom and public spaces with other travelers, are becoming popular in Taiwan, the committee conducted a random inspection of 25 hostels in six cities and counties and found that 20 had at least one inspection item that failed to pass.
The inspection included construction safety, fire safety, hotel operation and management and standard contracts.
Nine of the hostels (36 percent) failed in construction safety, including five where objects had been stacked in front of emergency staircases or inadequate emergency escape equipment.
Eight hostels (32 percent) failed a fire safety inspection, mostly for failing to follow legal requirements on fireproof furniture, and eight failed for reasons of operation and management, most for not having public liability insurance.
Eighteen hostels (72 percent) failed the standard contract inspection, including 14 that had deposit and refund policies that failed to meet legal standards.
Two hostels failed all four inspection items — The Light Hostel’s (承億輕旅) Tainan branch and the Taipei Travelers International Hostel (台北旅人國際青年旅館) in New Taipei City, consumer ombudsman Wang Te-ming (王德明) said.
“The Light Hostel’s Tainan branch erected a compartment in its basement which blocked the emergency exit and seriously affected the escape route for people in the basement,” Wang said.
The Light Hostel was fined NT$110,000 while the Taipei Travelers International Hostel was fined NT$60,000, he said.
Light Hostel’s public relations manager, surnamed Chien (簡), said its management knows about the problems and would review operations at all its branches and make any necessary improvements.
The committee urged the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of the Interior to help hostels make improvements, Wang said
It also urged consumers to pay attention to a hostel’s deposit and refund policies before booking and doublecheck escape routes after checking in, Wang said.
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