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First booking - am I being scammed?

 
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emmavix



Joined: 08 Jan 2016
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: First booking - am I being scammed? Reply with quote

I posted earlier on this forum about my first booking. They contacted me directly after enquiring via one of the listing sites & asked to pay directly via bank transfer. I agreed & they have signed my booking conditions. They are a group of 14, a large Asian family. They negotiated a bargain price of 850, we have also posted before about offering low prices because some of our rooms are locked off as they are still being refurbished, as is the outside of the cottage & the neighbouring building which we own.

Before they booked, I explained that we had already discounted our prices significantly & would accept their offer on the basis that they knew they were our first booking & should come to us with any concerns so that we could change anything we needed to.

They arrived late last night & had a few quibbles. One was about why they only had 5 bedrooms - we'd agreed this in writing as for 850 I said they could have 5 bedrooms which sleep 14 (2 family rooms) or for 6 bedrooms there would be an extra charge of 150.

Today they have said that their children don't really like the house and they'd like to leave. Apparently there are lots of other houses that sleep 14 people nearby that cost just a little more (I have searched a lot & most houses sleeping that many in North Devon/Somerset cost 400+ per night!). I've explained that our T&Cs say that if they cancel within 6 weeks of booking they can only get a refund if we can relet so if they want to confirm they are leaving I will see if I can relet. (We are currently only set up for week long bookings from Fridays so it will take me a bit of work to change this just for next week & we have a provisional booking from next Friday). My electrician was here today (fixing a light switch that they asked to be fixed) and said that they are pulling a fast one & trying to get me to reduce the rent.

I have pointed out that, for that price, the nearest alternative is a 6 bed room in a bunkhouse (actually that costs about 200 more/week) and that we can't cancel because children don't like it.

Any words of advice?!

Em
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7273
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stand your ground. I'm sorry that you've had to experience this as your 1st booking. ... but it has been commented on here time and again that bargain hunters rarely value the property and often continue to look for discounts.

If you can say hand on heart that you were honest with what they would get....then ignore all pleas for a refund. Answer their concerns factually one by one and leave it at that. I doubt you'd want them back.

I'm sure others will be along with further advice.. .but sadly this is part of letting these days.

Mouse
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e-richard



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 5007
Location: Algarve, Portugal

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its very rare that I can add or improve on any advice given by Mousie here. She has hit the nail on the head.

IF, and I stress IF you really need to answer any of their complaints, I suggest you write it down. Sit on it for at least 2 hours. Rewrite it much shorter. Sit on it again and see if you can shorten it even more. The less you say, the less they have to argue with. Stick to your original statement of NO REFUND

(unless you genuinely believe that you have been negligent)
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They say we learn from our mistakes. That makes me a genius !
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Marks



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 2889
Location: Costa Blanca

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mouse wrote:
Stand your ground. I'm sorry that you've had to experience this as your 1st booking. ... but it has been commented on here time and again that bargain hunters rarely value the property and often continue to look for discounts.

If you can say hand on heart that you were honest with what they would get....then ignore all pleas for a refund. Answer their concerns factually one by one and leave it at that. I doubt you'd want them back.

I'm sure others will be along with further advice.. .but sadly this is part of letting these days.

Mouse
x

+1

It will be tough and we are old hands at this but as long as you believe you are in the right hold firm. If they leave don't even bother trying to re-let, they are entitled to nothing.
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farley



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 147
Location: Poitou Charentes

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear you've had such a difficult start to your letting adventure. Your future guests are going to be fine in comparison, it's the law of averages:)
Agree with advice given by other LMHers . Be firm and fair .
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kg1



Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 2347

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stand firm. They know you are new to this and are taking advantage. They will soon be gone. Did you take a damages deposit? If you did, under no circumstances refund on departure. Get bank details and refund after house has been fully inspected.
99.9% of guests are lovely. You've had a baptism by fire but it will soon be over. Unfortunately as you are close by it's easy for them to complain. Good luck.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 1195
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with all the above posts.
You are running a business, and bartering at this point is not acceptable (to be honest, I have leant to walk away from anyone who tries to negotiate a reduction, but that is not helpful for you to hear now).

If they want to leave, let them go but absolutely no refund.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 795
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As above.
No use to you right now, but worth bearing in mind for the future. Huge discounts rarely lead to the type of guests you'd want to attract. It just devalues your product from point of sale.
A tough start but things will get better.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 410
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

emmavix, so sorry you have had a baptism by fire. In 18 years of letting I have only had one bad booking, again a discounted last minute booking with a full house + baby.

Say very little, promise nothing, just let them go, check the house as they are leaving. Then have a lovely glass of wine and look to the future. These type of guests are rare. Good luck.
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Ecosse



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 809
Location: Saint Gervais les Bains, France

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't much to add to the advice given except my sympathies. You'll find over time that most guests are lovely and these are the exception. To get them for your first ever rental is rotten luck. As you go on, you'll also feel increasingly confident with what you offer, making it easier to spot these types and nip this sort of behaviour in the bud.

During our first summer, we had an odd couple-not-couple stay who booked 2 separate rooms and expected 5 star treatment for (our then ridiculously low price) of 40 a night. We gave them the nicest, newly renovated rooms... they had to share a toilet (we were slowly getting round to making everything en suite but hey, we are a gite, and that's far from unusual) but as a couple, or friends, or whatever they were, we didn't think that would be a problem. They told us on the second morning that they were leaving, giving a whole list of negatives, including that it was 'illegal to have shared toilets'. At the time it upset me and made me worried about what we were offering, but now I know they were just unreasonable.

Here's hoping your next guests, and all future ones will be far nicer.
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FaithfulTravels



Joined: 30 Jan 2017
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much that I can add to all of this great advice. I'm sorry that your first is so difficult. It can only go up from here!
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emmavix



Joined: 08 Jan 2016
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone. Nice to feel supported. Yes luckily I did take a security deposit (they said they'd never been asked for one before but paid it). They haven't asked me to relist the cottage so I think they must be staying!

Really struggling to find the right price though. I'm trying to finish our website & will ask advice about the description & pricing when I do that & see what people think.
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