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Perceived lack of cleanliness causes guest to walk out
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aloneifly



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 64
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:14 pm    Post subject: Perceived lack of cleanliness causes guest to walk out Reply with quote

Hi. I hope I am not going into useless detail here before I get to my question Smile
I have a studio apartment as well as larger 1 bedroom apartments.
On 22nd August a client who are a company confirmed and paid for a four and a half week stay amounting to 1700 for one of their employees.
He actually wanted the bigger apartment which at the time wasnt available as it also had a corporate client from another company staying there. So the booking was actually for the studio.
However come arrival day which was yesterday the larger apartment was available so when my customer arrived at the studio I offered him his preferred choice. However he preferred the location of the studio so I agreed he could as originally booked stay there.

He seemed fine with it and I left. I hadnt even made the 15 minute journey home before he called me to complain about some cleanliness issues. The apartment had just been cleaned that morning so I didnt agree that he had any issue though I didnt say so to him. Instead I listened and said I would replace some of the items he deemed weren't clean enough and that I would organise a professional cleaning agency to come in and give it a thorough clean (my cleaner had just gone on holiday)
He seemed ok with this.
However a few hours later I received an email saying that things had got worse and that he had found excrement at the bottom of the WC bowl and a few what he called pubic hairs on a placemat on a bedside table. As a result he decided to leave and left the keys in accordance with my departure instructions. He sent photos of the WC and placemat and instructed me to liaise with his company to arrange a full refund as he wouldnt be staying there.
I countered by email that the WC was just a stain due to hard water build up and that the hairs were unfortunate but certainly not pubic (curlies get everythere - you just need to see 3 in a bed to know that!)
I again offered further cleaning services but he ignored my email.

Today I have received a mail from the employee who arranged his stay saying that due to cleanliness issues he would not be staying and would I please arrange a full refund.

I have had the apartment blocked off until October 5th from mid August for this stay. I do not believe he was justified in saying there were cleanliness issues and I did offer to rectify any complaint with cleanliness or equipment that he may have had (even if I didnt think they were warranted)

Unfortunately this booking was done by email and I didnt send out any terms for the booking. The co simply paid me by bank transfer.

Am I obliged to refund in full 1700 simply because he thinks the apartment was not clean enough? I have never had complaints from any past customers whether they stayed 2 days or 2 months.
In the time that I had this as provisional and confirmed I turned down other enquiries so I am going to be 1700 down if I give in to his request with little chance now of selling the September dates.
I was thinking of agreeing to a refund in accordance with any bookings I may get between now and the date he was supposed to be there.

Any guidance anyone. My worry is I am up against a company who will likely pursue this one way or another.
Sorry its so long

Thanks
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1703
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that probably you will have to refund. I'm sure you will get other bookings.
Badly stained toilets are not really acceptable. Higher standards are required for company lets.
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teba18



Joined: 31 Jan 2008
Posts: 275
Location: Algarve

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to say I agree with newtimber. Hard water stains can be removed quite easily with a good limescale product (I don't know what the 'excrement' was) and hairs on a placemat - wherever they came from - would suggest that unfortunately your cleaner let you down on this occasion, possibly in other areas too.
As he was there for a month and you offered for a professional cleaning agency to go in, he could - and probably should - have given you an opportunity to put things right, but - as you say - you're dealing with a company here rather than an individual and it's almost certain they will put up a fight until they get their money back.
Sorry aloneifly
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 815
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think in normal circumstances of a rental we would consider the guest a bit unreasonable by not allowing you in to clean it to his satisfaction etc. But, as said above, he wasn't paying so just upped and left.

If you value future business with the company then you are going to have to refund their money but you should point out what you tried to do to rectify the situation and send them a copy of your Ts&Cs when you do so that they know your terms of business for the future. And, you might beef up your Ts&Cs for them to avoid this in the future.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1441
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Perceived lack of cleanliness causes guest to walk out Reply with quote

aloneifly wrote:
Am I obliged to refund in full 1700 simply because he thinks the apartment was not clean enough? I have never had complaints from any past customers whether they stayed 2 days or 2 months.

Actually, I don't think you are "obliged" to refund anything, and cleanliness is a subjective thing - what seems clean enough for some might appear most unsatisfactory to others. I have to say I fall into the latter category and so might the judgement of a court. I think the company might well sue you to recover their money. £1700 is not a small sum, although if they sued successfully, I doubt they would recover the full amount.

I don't think the company would make a case in 'contract', so your terms and conditions, even if they had a clause relevant to this situation, would not come into it. I guess their case would be one based on your supposed 'negligence'.

I don't believe that saying that you have never had a previous complaint would cut any ice, but saying that you would be out of pocket by giving a full refund, because of the lack of time to find an alternative tenant, just might.

If this happened to me, I would not initiate any contact with the company. If they did make the first move, I would offer a generous refund, but not the full amount, making it clear that the payment would be made "ex gratia" and without admission of liability to the company, or personally to the man who came intending to stay.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1703
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Perceived lack of cleanliness causes guest to walk out Reply with quote

AndrewH wrote:
cleanliness is a subjective thing - what seems clean enough for some might appear most unsatisfactory to others.


To turn the matter round the other way, if you were an employee and your employer had put you up in a room you considered dirty and even a few hours after your arrival, no cleaner had come despite your complaints, would you not feel that you would have a right to insist that your employer put you up in alternative accommodation?

And then if you are the employer, why should you expect to pay twice for your employee's accommodation?
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6097
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Call me a cynic but I do wonder if thereís a hidden subtext. Is the reason for the employee to stay in the area still valid, or has the contract/job vapourised - it happens.
It seems a very tenuous reason to abandon booked accommodation if there are no other factors in play, but it may be genuine.
Worth checking?
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1703
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greenbarn wrote:
Call me a cynic but I do wonder if thereís a hidden subtext. Is the reason for the employee to stay in the area still valid, or has the contract/job vapourised - it happens.


I really cannot see an employer paying their employee to drive miles and tell them to lie about the cleanliness of the property to defraud the owner in the hope of getting a refund.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6097
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

newtimber wrote:
greenbarn wrote:
Call me a cynic but I do wonder if thereís a hidden subtext. Is the reason for the employee to stay in the area still valid, or has the contract/job vapourised - it happens.


I really cannot see an employer paying their employee to drive miles and tell them to lie about the cleanliness of the property to defraud the owner in the hope of getting a refund.


Ah - but youíre not a cynic Wink
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aloneifly



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 64
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.
The employee is the VP of the company unfortunately. The contract is still running with the companies' client so it wasnt a walk out because the contract had suddenly been lost.

The company -well the poor girl stuck in the ,middle - has contacted me stating that the employee wont be coming back to any of my properties and could I arrange a full refund with her.

I am positive that whatever I do this company will not use me again.
I havent yet replied to her email of yesterday. Part of me wants to draw a line under it knowing they are a large company who may take legal action or in some way try to defame my business.
The other part of me wants to put up a fight and at least try and keep a percentage of the fee paid - perhaps offer 50% refund without claiming responsibility.
I suppose if I do they can only come back and threaten legal action without actually taking it if they dont agree with my proposal?
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1441
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aloneifly wrote:
The other part of me wants to put up a fight and at least try and keep a percentage of the fee paid - perhaps offer 50% refund without claiming responsibility.
I suppose if I do they can only come back and threaten legal action without actually taking it if they dont agree with my proposal?

Who knows how they would react to an offer of a 50% refund, but I think they would be wise to take it on the basis of "a bird in the hand". The prospect of taking you to court with the risk of you defending the case could lack appeal when they realize that their chief witness, the Vice President, is going to be cross-examined in detail about curlies on the bedside table. I think a good defence counsel would make a meal of that. Very Happy
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1441
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aloneifly wrote:
The other part of me wants to put up a fight and at least try and keep a percentage of the fee paid - perhaps offer 50% refund without claiming responsibility.
I suppose if I do they can only come back and threaten legal action without actually taking it if they dont agree with my proposal?

Who knows how they would react to an offer of a 50% refund, but I think they would be wise to take it on the basis of "a bird in the hand". The prospect of taking you to court with the risk of you defending the case could lack appeal when they realize that their chief witness, the Vice President, is going to be cross-examined in detail about curlies on the bedside table. I think a good defence counsel would make a meal of that. Very Happy
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Norfolk Canary



Joined: 07 Sep 2016
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assuming your description of the cleanliness issues is correct, I would write to the company stating that you instantly offered to rectify their issues, but the offer was refused. I am no lawyer, but I am pretty sure a court would say you should have been given an opportunity to address the problems. £1700 is a lot of money to you or I, but it isnít to a big company. I would offer a refund of the amount you will save by them not being there i.e an estimation of gas/electricity useage and costs of any interim cleans/linen changes you would have had to pay your cleaners and offer to refund further amounts if you obtain new bookings. I would be surprised if they didnít accept. I couldnít imagine them starting any proceedings over such a relatively small sum and subjective evidence.
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1703
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aloneifly wrote:
Thanks for the replies.


I think you'd do best to move on and not have the stress of fighting it.

It would probably have been better had you had turned around and gone back to see the guest in person to deal with their complaint. It would show to the guest that you care about cleanliness and if the complaints were minor you could have dealt with it yourself there and then.
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Norfolk Canary



Joined: 07 Sep 2016
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

newtimber wrote:
aloneifly wrote:
Thanks for the replies.


I think you'd do best to move on and not have the stress of fighting it.

It would probably have been better had you had turned around and gone back to see the guest in person to deal with their complaint. It would show to the guest that you care about cleanliness and if the complaints were minor you could have dealt with it yourself there and then.


Read the OP again. He had just upped and left.
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