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6354 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Apr 29, 2012 12:24 AM by tansy RSS
New Member 3 posts since
Jun 28, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 26, 2011 2:45 PM

Over the top guest, what to do?

Hello,

 

I have a guest in my Scottsdale condo that right from the jump has been very demanding. The first e mail that I received from them upon arrival was full of petty complaints. It was hard to find in the dark, I gave them clear instructions which are easy to follow, I had also allowed them to arrive a day early as they found that they made good time driving and this would save them an extra night cost of a hotel. I should have said no and this complaint would have not been received.

 

They also wanted to know how long the ice cubes have been in the ice maker in the fridge and when was the last time the fridge filter was changed. I really had no idea how long the ice had been there but told them that a renter had been there a few days earlier and likely they were fresh but simply toss them out and start new. They also complained that a light bulb was burnt out. There next complaint was that I did not have a PVR on the Television and that they needed one as they like to record shows while they are out. Nowhere in my listing did it state I had a PVR, and nowhere in our correspondence did it state that they needed one or asked i I had one. I had Cox Communication come and install one. They wanted me to allow them to make changes to my service as this would allow them to contact Cox themselves and make changes, I said no!  They were not happy about this.

When I was booking this stay they want to stay for two and a half months and I said I rented by full months only during the prime rental season so they reluctantly booked 3 months.  Last night I received an e mail with 3 complaints. One is the downstairs condo owner plays his TV too loud during the mornings and evenings. He gets up at about 9am and goes to bed at about 9pm so there is nothing I can do about this. I suggested that they knock on his door and ask him politely if he could turn down the volume. They next complaint was that they called 911 as they witnessed a traffic accident and spend two hours talking with the police??

 

Then another complaint was that an inattentive driver almost ran him down while going to disposed of trash in the garbage bin. Not sure what I could do about this as he needs to look both ways as we were all taught as young children.

 

The last complaint is that they stated that when they arrived back to the complex last evening that the police were there as there was case of domestic violence going on. They said that this is causing them to reconsider the last two weeks of their trip ( which is a month from now)........Really? Seems like a planed event.

 

The question is what would you d?  My rental agreement is clear, no refund for an early departure. I am concerned that if I do not comply they will write a bad review and this could cause me to lose future bookings. I really feel that complaints should be not posted unless there is some validity to the complaint, and if Home away allows such complaints I may consider a legal actions as I feel that we homeowners can be held for ransom without a valid reason, We as the paying costumer of Home Away deserve their support in help to clear up unfounded complaints.

  • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,350 posts since
    May 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2011 3:39 PM (in response to scottsdale)
    Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

    WHOA!  Hold on a second! Do these folks think they are on a cruise boat?

     

    As for finding the place in the dark-- they got a free night! They could have had to stay in a hotel, and then, in daylight, found your home.

     

    Ice cubes? Really? OMG.  Light bulbs? Well, I always have a few available to guests - just in case. Changing a light bulb is not hard to do.

     

    Being able to record their favorite shows: If they had specific requirements they have a responsibility to state those. I would NEVER upgrade my cable, etc. service for a particular guest- unless they want to pay for the upgrade!.  

     

    As for the noise, etc.: This is nuts. You have no responsibility (or control) over your neighbors, nor would any reasonable person expect you to. It would be a different matter if , say, you knew there was a crack house next door and didn't disclose . These folks sound like they have WAY to much time on their hands- or are just looking to nickle and dime you.

     

    I don't know your situation there, but you may be able to call the PD and ask if there was a response to a certain address. Many local PD's have this on record.

     

    Stick with your rental agreement. If they write a bad review you CAN respond, with factual info.

     

    In this day and age it seems a lot of "guests" don't have a clue as to what THEIR responsibilities are. 

     

    I guess I'd ask them to send you a detailed list of complaints. Then, go through them, step by step and see what ( if anything ) you were responsible for.

     

    Sounds like they may need to book thier next vacation in "Neverland".

     

    Best wishes to you! You sound like a great VR owner!

    Deb J

  • sophie Senior Contributor 955 posts since
    Mar 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 27, 2011 9:46 AM (in response to scottsdale)
    Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

    Wow! I'm feeling your pain right now. Stick to your guns, be polite and wish them well if they leave early.  Some people feel the need to complain about anything and everything.  They must be very unhappy people.

  • Contributor 28 posts since
    Jul 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 27, 2011 5:18 PM (in response to scottsdale)
    Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

    Wow, sorry to hear about this!  I'm in AZ also and I've probably had a combination of the complaints you've had, but not all with one guest.  It sounds like you went above and beyond already.  A free night?  Not unless they pay!  Tell them it's not a hotel and you don't make guarantees about the actions of other people.  I would also let them know that there are absolutely NO REFUNDS (because to me, it sounds like they started logging complaints from the beginning to make some kind of case).  Also, I have had some requests for cable and phone upgrades.  I've offered to put a phone in for longer term guests (3 months or more) AT THEIR EXPENSE.  They usually decide against it.  I did upgrade my basic cable to expanded cable, but I will not get the cable that includes the box because they can then order Pay Per View and On Demand services. It's a vacation - they can rent movies or something.  What if PVR service wasn't available in your area, then what would they do?  Your rental only comes with what is STATED in the listing and rental agreement.  I understand wanting to make them happy which is why I never say "no" but I state things in such a way that it's back on them.

     

    I logged into day to vent a little of my own - but your post made me realize my latest guest could be worse.  (Knock on wood because he just checked in!).  They called me in the middle of lunch with my family to say they could not get the door open. I have a keypad on the front door so I don't have to worry about keys.  No one has ever had a problem with the lock. I tried talking him through it and I could tell by what he was saying that the code was working but he wasn't opening the door correctly or something.  Finally I offered to drive over saying it would take 20 minutes to get there and he says rudely well it's already taken me that long to try to open the door!  So l left my family at the restaurant, walked a half mile home to get my own car (so my family could finish their lunch), drove there and wala, the door opened just fine as I described.  He had this look of disbelief on his face as if I had done something to make it work. I made him try it and he was like hmmm.  I then find out, he is not even the person who rented from me (nor signed the lease agreement).  Apparently that person (who I have talked to on the phone) had some kind of family emergency.  This makes me a bit nervous now because I don't have a lease agreement for these people in my house.  I probably should have said or done something, but I was already so annoyed, I wanted to leave.  The guy is from Canada and has no phone or laptop (he borrowed my neighbor's phone to call me) so I want to hope this means he won't be bothering me about stupid stuff while is here (less than a week, thank god!).  He was asking me about where things were, etc. I have all this information provided in a book, but he seemed to want a detailed map.  I'm not a tour guide!

     

    It's days like today that it doesn't seem worth it.  I get a lot of great guests, but the one or two sour ones really seem to take the wind out of my sails.  I'm not making any kind of profit off this - if anything, I'm probably in the red after paying all the expenses.  I do this because I am upside down on both of the properties I own and I don't want to have to take the hit trying to short sale them.  I keep them rented and it pays most of my expenses, but the abuse I take sometimes isn't worth it!

    • Active Contributor 295 posts since
      Jun 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 28, 2011 1:35 AM (in response to lauraps97)
      Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

      After reading Scottsdale’s travail with his/her renter, I tried to write an an iron clad statement that I can include in my Rental Agreement. I invite the community at large to read what I came up with and see if you can write it better, by all means please do. Any comments whether this is a good idea or not are welcome. Thank you in advance.

       

      DISCLAIMER regarding content of our website:


      The particulars, details, and visuals appearing in our website are intended to give a general idea of the rental property and as such are not to be relied upon as statements of fact. While such particulars and details were based at time of writing and has been prepared with utmost care and given in good faith, interested parties are invited to verify their factual correctness, and subsequent changes, if any. With regards to contents of rental property, if something is not specifically mentioned, please do not assume it is included. The contents are subject to change without prior notice and do not constitute a part of an offer or contract, and no representation or misrepresentation is being made.

      • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
        Feb 23, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 29, 2011 4:26 PM (in response to tfv)
        Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

        I wouldn't rent from you if you aren't going to stand behind YOUR own photos and listing. Your listing and photos should be 100% accurate and the burden is upon you to keep your advertisement up to date.

         

        If I were to rent from someone and the rental differed from the listing and photos, at the time of my booking, I would absolutely include this in my review for the property. Amenities missing or inaccurate photos would result in negative points in my review.

         

        The part about not assuming things that are not mentioned is spot on, however.

         

        I would guess that about 75% of renters don't actually read what they sign, but they all have the power to review.

         

        People who contact me about stupid things that are clearly not included do not get any simpathy from me. I am not adding services or refunding money to renters who do not read their contract.

        • Active Contributor 295 posts since
          Jun 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Nov 29, 2011 5:15 PM (in response to wiffle)
          Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

          Yeah, you are right. I think I'll exclude that part, but would like to mention something about "if something is not specifically mentioned, please do not assume it is included", or something along that line, so it will be easy to refuse any unreasonable request.

          • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
            Feb 23, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Nov 29, 2011 7:50 PM (in response to tfv)
            Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

            That makes much more sense. Of course, keep in mind that 75% of the people won't read the agreement before signing, but at least when they complain about a "missing" amenity, you can remind them that they signed an agreement reminding them not to ASSume anything.

             

            I had a renter contact me two days before arrival wanting the number to my rental home's landline and instructions for the answering machine. She had specifically initialed a section in my agreement that stated there is no landline and a cell phone is required to make calls. I called her out on this, and she replied she "forgot".

             

            I had another call from a renter telling me the cable was not working. I reminded him that the listing clearly states that there is no cable reception.

             

            I am proud of the honesty and thoroughness of my listing and rental agreement. I feel no need for apologies when a renter does not bother to read the agreement or listing. Of course on the flipside of the coin, if a promised amenity is not functioning, I am very quick to make things right.

            • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
              Aug 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Nov 30, 2011 2:48 PM (in response to wiffle)
              Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

              I'm with you, wiffle....I do the same. I give myself "pain" to be as thorough as possible  in my listing and on my website...and in my "offer" and rental agreement.  In case the guest has not read through my contract, I attach a copy of the contract to a printed out "Payment Receipt"...which I give them on arrival!  And, there is another copy of the agreement in my "house info. book", in the rentals.  But, I do check locks/keys,  equipment and kitchen machines before someone arrives....{they have to be cleaned anyway in between guests}....and if, by chance, anything breaks during the stay {usually by the renter's misuse}...and they tell me...I just remove the item. If it can not be fixed...I replace it....because if I stated that the accommodation would have it...then I believe that I must provide it.  My guests, who have broken things, have usually "confessed" to me....and we amicably dealt with it.  But,sometimes they just check out...and I find a broken item in the trash!  I hate that.  Sometimes people have told me something was broken when they arrived...and I KNOW they are lying to me...because I check everything myself before they arrive.  But, I am sorry to admit that I will not go to the length it would take to chase a guest to compensate me a few dollars for a broken item. ...it's just not worth the "bad reivew"....or even just the review "remarks"  I probably would get from that person, after they depart.  But, in the past, when something was "hidden" from me, and they guest wanted to return, I did not re-rent to them if they had done any damage that they tried to cover up...or not "fessed" up to.  I just had a couple that "disappeared" two brand new table place matts. They were the first guests to use them....and two matts are "GONE".   I couldn't imagine where they were after the departure...we've searched everywhere. But, I think I know what happened:  they picniced at the "beach parks" every day....there are wooden picnic tables there...and I think they took my beautiful place matts to the parks...and forgot them on the table.  They did not tell me before they left.  But, I always set our glass dinner tables with 4 place matts...even if only two guests are expected. I want them to use the matts on our glass tables to protect the glass.  Now, two are missing from the dinner table. {And, it says in my "cottage usage" guide NOT to remove any house items from my house to take to the beaches.}  I provide picnic items...plates and plastic flatware!  So, why am I missing TWO of  my brand new, quality, place matts?  I was going to email them...to ask...but then I decided to let it go.  And, when they got home they wrote a wonderful review of their stay in my home on VRBO. That is worth more to me than the $ I will spend to get another set of place matts to match.  It is in my rental agreement that they must tell me if something is damaged so that I can replace the item right away, or in good time...and especially before a new guest arrives, after their departure.  It doesn't always work ...but it's a good thing that most of m guests have been honest with me.

              • Contributor 28 posts since
                Jul 5, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Nov 30, 2011 2:55 PM (in response to anja)
                Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

                I'm glad I'm not the only one bothered by things that go missing.  They are usually low dollar items like towels.  Yesterday I walked through my property and found that an alarm clock was missing from the bedroom.  I could maybe see accidently taking a towel...but an alarm clock that was plugged into the wall?  I also looked everwhere thinking maybe they wanted to use it an a different room...but no.

                 

                I want to say something, but like you said, it's not the worth the bad blood.  This particular group was an older couple who were meeting up with college aged sons.  They told me they were leaving early in the morning and the sons were going to sleep in on the day of departure.  My bet is one of them took the clock, but I don't want to have the older couple who paid for the rental have to answer for it.  And it's maybe a $10 clock, so I'll just buy another one and move on.  But it's VERY annoying!

    • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
      Aug 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 30, 2011 2:20 PM (in response to lauraps97)
      Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

      Gee....I do understand how you were feeling when you had to go over there...and then found out the guy was not the person you have a rental agreement with. It is annoying...but honestly, don't you think you should drive over there again with a rental agreement in hand...made out specifically in his name...and wait for him to read through it....before you leave without it?  I'm just concerned, on your behalf, that something could go wrong during the week he stays in your home....and you have no contract with this person.  You will have no legal standing to defend yourself.  Think about it.

  • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
    Feb 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2011 8:05 PM (in response to scottsdale)
    Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

    How petty about the ice and filter. And as I stated, i would not add an amenity if it were not stated in the listing. You were more than nice to add it. If it were me, I would request that they communicate from this point on via email. Then you can just ignore it.

     

    If they leave a bad review, hopefully HomeAway will not allow it as the complaints (driver in alley, police coming to complex) do not relate to your unit or rental.

     

    If they opt to leave early, too bad.

     

    An intelligent renter can overlook a review if it is obviously written by an unreasonable person.

      • stjvilla Active Contributor 624 posts since
        May 27, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 30, 2011 8:57 AM (in response to scottsdale)
        Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

        Yikes!  These people remind me of a couple who rented our house.  They kept asking for more and more and criticizing everything.  (I won't go into all the details.)  We didn't give in to their demands (they also wanted to get into the locked bedroom pod which was not part of their rental) and finally, we said, you are welcome to leave as it seems you are not happy and they totally backed off and even left a nice note in our book!

         

        What they don't know is that they have been placed on the black list with all rental agents by our representative on our island.  Good luck!

        • Active Contributor 295 posts since
          Jun 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Nov 30, 2011 2:13 PM (in response to stjvilla)
          Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

          I've thought of adding the following in the Rental Agreement. If you can improve on this and share with us, by all means.

           

          INCLUSIVE FEES – Rates include a one-time linen & towel setup, access and use of the common amenities, one assigned parking, and anything that has been described in our website. Anything else not mentioned in our website or communications, please do not assume it is included. Prospective renters and interested parties are invited to ask questions and not to make assumptions as to what is included.

          • jan.stevens Community All-Star 250 posts since
            Aug 30, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Jan 2, 2012 4:17 PM (in response to tfv)
            Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

            Scottsdale,  If you do have a complaint it gives you the perfect platform to clarify the features and benefits of your property. You will be able to explain how you strive to create the perfect vacation experience for all of your guests. You get to look like the rational professional.  Most guests that complain reveal their irrational demands & expectations and other guests can easily see through their rant. 

             

            I just had a guest ( an actress) who emailed me a very long expressive and dramatic list of complaints including her remark about "the hole in the rubber dishwashing gloves."  I let her know that the gloves are an extra convenience that we supply and it is nice to know that the guests make use of them. I thanked her for letting me know and I would be sure to restock my rubber gloves on my next visit. Do all vacation rentals supply rubber gloves? Really? 

             

            The feedback from guests can be a real opportunity to improve our properties if possible but sometimes.....some guests are impossible to please even with a new set of rubber gloves.

            • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
              Aug 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Jan 2, 2012 5:07 PM (in response to jan.stevens)
              Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

              'jan.stevens:  I like your style, in responding to the "drama".  I would also respond in a non-defensive manner...and put a positive spin on it....anything to defuse the "drama".  A vacation is not ruined if there's a hole in a rubber glove!  Actually, it's a good thing that the actress 'emailed' ...and didn't "publicly express" herself in a "property review".  {I have rubber gloves in my accommodations, too.} And, I agree that some of the feedback does provide an opportunity for  "upgrades" to the property --- within reason, of course. As long as guests' remarks are well  meant, I don't mind if they tell me what I can improve upon. I actually ask them for that kind of feedback. But, I am also confident that I will not get "smacked down" because I am very accurate in my "offers"....and I methodically go through all items in both units, before arrivals. But, once in a while a guest will tell me they think new spatulas, or something else minor, would be nice. And... they'd be right!

              • jan.stevens Community All-Star 250 posts since
                Aug 30, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Jan 2, 2012 5:34 PM (in response to anja)
                Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

                Agreed!!! Like you I ask for feedback and most guests have to really think hard about what can be improved. One very good returning guest said, "well maybe if there was more storage space in the pantry." Boom, on my next visit I edited the appliances and stuff in the pantry and made more space.

                 

                Last January, a rather fussy guest with a list of complaints (most were petty) did leave me a nugget of a suggestion: "The walking space between the dresser and the end of the Murphy bed was too tight."  So, I had my handy man cut the dresser in half and put it in the closet. I got rid of the old analogue TV and installed a flat screen on the wall. And we added plumbing foam to the legs on the Murphy bed just in case one bumps their toes on the iron legs.

                 

                I appreciated that suggestion and made sure to promote our new flat screen TV  with all our other property improvements in our next direct email promotion. I also thanked the guest for her feed back and let her know directly how it resulted in a positive improvement.

                 

                http://www.LazyBowenHideaway.com

            • sophie Senior Contributor 955 posts since
              Mar 4, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Jan 3, 2012 10:00 PM (in response to jan.stevens)
              Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

              jan.stevens: Oh my gosh, this is so funny.  I just had a renter complain because although she appreciated the hot water, she was disappointed there were no rubber gloves to protect her hands.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Jan 2, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 6:42 PM (in response to scottsdale)
    Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

    I know how it feels!! I have a vineyard house in Oregon. I do all the rentals and cleaning myself . At the end of our 3rd summer (this October,in the middle of Harvest) we had the GUESTS FROM HELL. There was not one thing that made them happy and of course they waited untill the end of there stay to start the uproar. Long story short (After I calmed down) I wished there was a way to flag Nasty visitors. We keep the place basicly full and there have been a few questions and issues but these folks were over the top. I would happily have told all my fellow landlords about these folks. If this would have happened any time in the first few months I would have stopped instantly renting the place. Don't let them get under you skin, stick to your agreement and FLAG Nasty Renters.

  • tansy Active Contributor 395 posts since
    Feb 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 29, 2012 12:24 AM (in response to scottsdale)
    Re: Over the top guest, what to do?

    I've just found this thread...the comment 'wind out of my sails'  when you get a guest that deflates you is something I so understand.

     

    All our waking day is dominated by our rental properties, we pour our heart & souls into them and then someone turns up and all they seem interested in is finding what is wrong with it!

     

    Problem is we get so many great guests and enjoy meeting them and they become part of our place, we're sorry to see them go, when we get the non entities we are deflated and actually wonder why we are doing this for a living!

     

    At the moment we have a negative vibe around us...in fact we had 2 in at the same time...1 lot have gone and it's an immiment check out for the others...but last night it looks like we could have another negative set check into the beach house as they rang in as soon as they got there, the internet's not working...nothing along the lines of wow the house is great, the view is fantastic, haven't you gone to a lot of trouble to get it so beautifully ready for us...no - just, why isn't the internet not working as if I am an IT expert...the best of it they didn't even know we had internet when they **** well booked - it was only when I was handing the keys over & I said the code for the wifi is in the kitchen...oh wow internet said one of them...arggggggghhhhhh!!!

     

    Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs...

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