A blind woman and her guide dog were allegedly thrown out of a Premier Inn hotel late at night after she was allegedly accused of lying about her disability. Staff at the London-based hotel insisted the animal was “fake” and that she “did not look blind”.
Angharad Paget-Jones from Port Talbot in South Wales revealed her experience via a Twitter post. Confirming that she was awoken in the middle of the night and asked for proof that Tudor was a registered assistance dog. Ms. Paget-Jones claims staff then barged into her room in the middle of the night using a master key.
The 29-year-old said she provided the relevant information to security staff, such as a Guide Dogs ID booklet. Ms. Paget-Jones claimed staff rubbished her documentation and accused her of having a “fake” guide dog.
By law, it is illegal to refuse access to disabled people with guide dogs. Premier Inn said it was “shocked and appalled” when it first became aware of the allegations and aretaking Ms Paget-Jones’ claims seriously and will urgently investigate the incident at their Enfield hotel.
The data analyst and disability activist checked into her room smoothly at 8pm on Saturday evening (November 6) but the situation worsened when her boyfriend took the dog for a walk. After being asked to provide information, staff made their way into the room while Ms Paget-Jones was “half-asleep” and demanded proof that they later claimed was insufficient.
She said: “No one was telling me what was going on so I asked a manager to help resolve the situation. I closed the door for my own modesty as I was just in a T-shirt and underwear, but the staff continued to demand evidence that Tudor was a guide dog.”
“I showed them the yellow book which outlines a guide dog and Tudor’s harness, which has Guide Dogs branding on, but they said this wasn’t sufficient evidence and told us to leave. My partner ended up calling the police, but they did nothing, and we got thrown out.”
A spokesperson for Premier Inn said: “An urgent investigation is already under way with that site to find out exactly what’s happened, and we’ve reached out to the Twitter user to fully understand the circumstances of what has taken place and apologise for the upset caused." The spokesperson also stressed Premier Inn has "a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination", and "all team members receive disability awareness training".
According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, displaying an ID booklet for guide dogs is not a legal requirement and that their users should not be refused service due to not being able to provide the appropriate documentation. Angharad Paget-Jones has said she intends to begin legal proceedings against Premier Inn following the incident.