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First complaint
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Perran



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 22
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:03 am    Post subject: First complaint Reply with quote

We have had a self catering apartment for a few years and have never had a major complaint, we take some booking through an agent.

About two weeks ago the agent sent an email from the guests with a complaint of no toilet rolls, bin bags or tea towels, only two dishwasher tablets etc. The cleaner was sent the following day to put things right but this did not resolve the problems and the complaints continued.

The guests asked for money back at the end of their stay which I refused as we had tried to put things right.

They have now emailed the agent again with a major list of complaints including we have no crockery, utensils and pans of quality most bought in Wilkinsons which is not true. We did buy some items from there but have items from John Lewis and House of Fraser also.

They now say they will complain to Visit England as we are assessed as four star and post negative reviews on TripAdvisor unless we give them compensation.


My question is this what is the best way to handle this, to go through all of their complaints and deal with every one of them or just send an email saying we tried our best to remedy the situation but could not satisfy them. I think the person is really not going to be satisfied with whatever we say.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 634
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:48 am    Post subject: Re: First complaint Reply with quote

Perran wrote:

They now say they will complain to Visit England as we are assessed as four star and post negative reviews on TripAdvisor unless we give them compensation.


Yes, I would address their complaints, they hardly seem cause for outrage.
But, if you have the above in writing it is a direct threat of blackmail & therefore wouldn't or shouldn't make it past any review moderator.
You'd have to ask yourself if any of the complaints are valid & act only upon that, not under threat of punitive action.
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Ecosse



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 666
Location: Saint Gervais les Bains, France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big smell of serial compensation seekers about this one - their complaints are petty and, quite frankly, daft for a self catered property - bog roll and dishwasher tabs for the week? You're not a hotel! Our guests get 2 courtesy tabs and 2 rolls per bathroom as a 'just in case you haven't got to the shops' measure.

Forward Visit England and TA their threat and they should block these people from leaving a review. After all, blackmail is illegal.

As far as responding to their complaints, I wouldn't go into great detail - perhaps point out that you were sorry that they didn't enjoy their holiday, that they may have misunderstood the term self catering and that you've never had any complaints before. I would finish by saying that it is unfortunate that they have chosen to use the threat of a bad review to secure compensation, and that you've forwarded their threat to VE and TA who take these threats seriously.

... and pour yourself a tipple of your choice while you remind yourself that the vast majority of guests are lovely... and karma will get these ones eventually!
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 835
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They sound like they're trying it on and coming up with as many things as they can think of to make it sound terrible. I certainly wouldn't address every single item. Apologise for the items that were missing when they arrived, remind them you had them replaced the next day and point out that Visit England have independently assessed the property as 4 star therefore you are confident that it is 4 star quality.

Focus on the facts: some consumables were missing. You sorted it out the next day. Worst case - if they arrived late at night, there was no toilet roll and nowhere local to buy any that could be a problem. Could that have happened?

Have they raised any other genuine issues? Was there enough crockery, pans etc. for the number of guests you accommodate?

Are the other complaints more about quality? Which is very subjective.

Are you or your agent making any misleading claims in your advertising? You have to be careful with words like 'luxury' which can mean different things to different people.

From the way you've described them I'm thinking they're professional complainers. Especially if this is the first time you've had this sort of complaint in several years of letting.

My inclination is to offer them nothing, but, you could consider a small 'goodwill gesture' for the items that were missing on the day they arrived. Perhaps use how much it would have cost them to buy those items as a guide for the amount.

If they don't accept that (I'm guessing they might not) then withdraw your offer and let them do their worst. A bad review on TA is not necessarily a major problem - you'll get lots of advice on here for how to respond in a positive way.

And maybe someone else could tell you how to warn TA about the bad review threat, assuming you've got it in writing.
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Cymraes



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 293
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Provided that the vast majority of their complaints were unjustified I probably wouldn't respond to them at all on the basis that whatever I said wouldn't make any difference.

If they have identified any genuine weaknesses then deal with them asap.

If they do post a bad review on a public site then try and get it taken down but if you respond calmly and rationally most people won't hold one poor review against you. It's when you get a string of bad ones all highlighting the same issue that it becomes damaging
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Sam V



Joined: 20 Nov 2009
Posts: 1610
Location: Villa in Gale, Algarve, Portugal. At home in Fetcham, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they've sealed their fate by the mentioned review blackmail.
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Sanchisimo



Joined: 03 Apr 2010
Posts: 106
Location: Andalucía, Spain

PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I basically agree with everything people have said. It seems they are determined to get some compo from you whatever so no amount of detail will placate them. Then they issued a straightforward blackmail threat. We had something like this about 6 years ago (the long, long, list included that they found a dead wasp on the windowsill during their stay Shocked ). It was through an agent and I send the agent a fairly detailed reply. We stood firm even though the person booking worked for a major Sunday newspaper.

The agent also needs to step up to the plate - they should know how to deal with the blackmail threat (and that is exactly what it is) and head them off with a "your blackmail threat will/has been reported to Tripadvisor".

You have our sympathy, these people come along very rarely in our experience. But they do.
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 210
Location: Hornsea

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I basically agree with everything people have said.

Stick to your guns, don't give in and no refund.

I wasn't threatened but I have had one very bad review amongst many excellent reviews and it has had absolutely no effect on bookings at all whatsoever so I wouldn't worry too much.

I think that those that do read reviews will read many or several at least and if you have many good ones and just one bad one the vast majority will ignore it.

My situation was when a mother and son arrived complete with cardboard boxes full of Desktop PC's and everything that comes with it all to play serious online games!!!!!!!!!!

My internet connection is as fast as it's possible to get where it is and wasn't fast enough for them and they left a very bad review complaining about just about everything they could including slow internet. The place was damp, cold, dirty unfit for children and dogs and much more.

Never give in to blackmail.
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Perran



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 22
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:47 pm    Post subject: Thank you for your comments Reply with quote

Many thanks to all who have commented. The guest has now posted a very bad review on TripAdvisor. We have two excellent reviews and I hope this will make up for it to some extent.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 729
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't be put off writing a carefully worded reply to the review.
Make it up beat and mention that they had "promised" a bad review if they didn't get compensation.

Don't let them get you down.
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molliekitty



Joined: 29 Oct 2016
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you log into your Trip Advisor page (like Ecosse advised earlier), as soon as the blackmail started, to say you were being blackmailed? They want a name, brief details of problem and, if possible, their email address.
Trip Advisor are surprisingly good at halting publication and kicking it out so it is not printed. I had this and they even notified me to say when it actually came through at the pending stage and they just deleted it and it never went live.
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Perran



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 22
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Review Reply with quote

I have emailed TripAdvisor and asked them to remove the review.

I hope they will but if they don't I think I will need to consider carefully my response.
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joddle



Joined: 22 Feb 2010
Posts: 654
Location: Valencia

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:50 am    Post subject: Re: Review Reply with quote

Perran wrote:
I have emailed TripAdvisor and asked them to remove the review. I hope they will but if they don't I think I will need to consider carefully my response.


Simply asking them to remove the review is not really enough - if you haven't done so already (which is not clear from your answer) you need to do as advised above and inform them in detail of the blackmail attempt giving as much information as possible and the email of the person concerned - and when they look into it and see it is correct they will consider removing the remark.
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molliekitty



Joined: 29 Oct 2016
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trip Advisor are not so good at removing a bad review once it is up. They take into account that the poster will be upset if it is removed. You might get lucky but I would be surprised if they take it down.

If you get someone blackmailing you again you must act fast. There is a section that you can log into on your Trip Advisor page. It can be tricky to find as they don't make it easy for you, of course, but it is there and is marked 'fraud' . It has happened to me on two different occasions with two different guests and situations and both times they have kicked the review out at the pending stage and even kindly emailed me to say they saw it come through and that it was now deleted.

You can always message me for help in finding the section or explore your Trip Advisor page on a rainy day to learn where to find it so that you are always prepared!
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Perran



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 22
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:36 pm    Post subject: Latest update Reply with quote

The review has now been removed.

This was after I called TripAdvisor and spoke to Customer Support. They asked me to send them full details including copies of emails. I listed everything that had happened. They treat blackmail seriously and will remove reviews, provided the evidence is valid.

I should say the last two posts made me pick up the phone and speak to them. So again thanks for your advice.

It has been a stressful experience glad it is now over.
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