I've had this question on my mind for a while now because I've never understood how this works. I began traveling two years ago for personal reasons and sometimes I've stayed in various hotels for the night. Some of those hotels had mini-bar service in the room but I've never taken anything from them since all the products inside them are overpriced compared to the nearest supermarket and for this reason I've always bought what I needed from the supermarket to save money.
But after a few stays I started to think: "How could the hotel know if one customer took something from the mini-bar during the night if he was checking out the day after he checked in? And he checks out even before the room is cleaned and/or someone goes to check the mini-bar"?
I thought that the hotel would check the mini-bar after the customer checks out and then charge all the products to his credit card registered during the check-in. But what if the customer used a prepaid card?
Can you please explain to me what the mini-bar policy is for a one-night stay in a hotel?