Just when you think you have heard it all...!! In 15 years of vacation renting we have never had anyone complain about our mattresses - we did try to buy the best, but tastes do vary. You certainly went above and beyond on this one. You may have spent the money on a pillow top which didn't suit them, but it could work for you in the future and you can't return it anyway - you can even mention it in your listing as an optional upgrade!
When the time comes for these special guests to leave, if they suggest leaving their mattresses and you paying for them, there is no reason not to point out it was their choice to buy them and decline. After all, one must draw the line somewhere!
I also just found out today that this guest took it upon himself (without consulting us) to call a garage door repair man because the garage door opener started to act up. The repairman repaired the unit that we had intended to replace in May when we will be in the area. We would have replaced rather than repair the unit had we know it broke down. The repair cost us as much as a brand new unit! I only found out about the problem when the repair man contacted me for payment!
I sent the guest a 'diplomatic' letter informing him that he does not have authorization to undertake and repairs, or hire anyone to do any repairs on our home. And that if he had any other items that he thought needed attending to that he was to contact us directly so that we can make arrangement to send someone from or team to assess the situation. I'm still stunned that he has managed to spend over $500.00 of our money in less than 48 hours!
It sure would be nice to have a 'beware of guest' list for owners. We should be able to post 'guest reviews' for other homeowners to avoid problem guests.
Wow! I would not, under any circumstances allow this. I would take this out of their security deposit and make them pay for it. Seriously, people actually think they can spend your money.They didn't even call you? Do you have a contract? If so, what does it say about repairs? Do you state that they can call for repairs and then be charged for something you didn't approve?
Are you saying they just got there 3 days ago??? If so, you may have even huger problems in the next month.
No they didn't call me, or attempt to call me, or my husband. They have all our contact information, of this I'm certain because they contact me several times the day before about the beds. Yes we have a contract, and it does state that guests are responsible for damages, breakage, stains or costs incurred for these related repairs - but it doesn't specify anything about them 'taking matters into their own hands'... who would have ever thought? I wouldn't expect them to pay for our garage door opener, but it should have been our choice to first of all hire someone we know and second of all have the option to either repair or replace it. Now we are stuck with an old refurbished unit, that may or may not be trust worthy! Our guest book does however specify that they are to contact us immediately should something need to be repaired. We don't state anywhere that anyone but us is authorized to call for repairs. I'm just blown away! I guess I'll be modifying the contract once again... it is constantly evolving.
Yes, this is day 3! As I said, could be a long month.
No, I would never expect for my renters to pay for something either......HOWEVER.....they called someone, they hired them, authorized the work and never told anyone. I also think that the garage door people have some culpability in this also. That is like saying I could call a landscaper to my neighbors house and have them re-do their sod because it died and then just tell the landscaper to send the bill to them.
They just show up and do repairs without an authorization from the owners. They SHOULD have called you to have the work authorized. I would seriously consider speaking to them about this.
Bottom line, I would either charge the renters or take it up with the garage door people.
This is just So bizarre! I can't imagine any professional business that would undertake such an expensive "repair" or installation without some form of payment, or promise of payment (credit card information, etc.).
Someone had to sign an authorization order for such work. I'd be asking to see the orginal, and be provided with a copy.
Let us know how this works out, please!
Sophie is absolutely right -- the repairman should never have made a repair without authorization from you. You should call the company and negotiate a significant reduction in the charge or, perhaps, a credit against a future replacement.
For that matter, wouldn't it be very satisfying to give the repair person the home address of your renter and suggest they seek payment from them? Ah, but then you risk getting a bad review from the renter later on, so probably that would not be a good idea.
My contract says:
[Renter] shall give prompt notice to Carol or her agent of any dangerous, defective, unsafe or emergency condition in or on the leased premises, said notice being by any suitable means. Carol or her agent shall repair and correct said conditions promptly upon receiving notice thereof.
Wow, maybe I should add something that says that the renter is not authorized to call repairpersons without first consulting with me.
The guest checked out this past Monday. He was very quiet after the first week of his stay and all ended well. He respected and understood my concerns when I confronted him, and refrained from undertaking any further repairs on his own. He donated his 2 purchased single mattresses to a local charity, which I thought was a nice thing for him to do, and returned the Master bed to the state that it was in before his arrival.
After much deliberation we decided to simply pay for the repairs to the garage door unit.... sometimes it best to just smile and nod. It really wasn't worth getting into an argument over, and although it wasn't our choice, we now have a newly refurbished garage door opener! They left the house in very good condition, which was our deciding factor.
One thing I did learn is that it is important to have a clear and precise rental agreement that covers everything and anything that could come up. Unfortunately, sometimes things come up that you would NEVER expect to have to deal with, which typically aren't yet in the agreement... we then add those issues to our agreement and hope that there will be no more surprises. At some point though, the rental agreement is going to become very burdensome!
Thank you for all your input.
You already paid or agreed to pay the repairman? I would not have done that.
Uhm, when my garage door acts up I just, you know, get out of my car and you know, open it. It's a little annoying but not life threatening.
If you did not call for and authorize the repair I don't think you should have to pay for it. Did the renters say they were renting or did they pose as the owners or did they say the owners authorized them to call? If so lies are involved. Do they have a signed work order? If they took you to court under any of these scenarios they would lose! Sorry for the repair company but that's how it works.
Do not agree to pay for their mattresses, if they should ask. And they will! By the way where is the mattress they replaced?
Also, don't mention that you were planning to replace the opener at your next opportunity. Too much information that is not needed!
thanks for sharing your story. There are a handful of unreasonable guests out there who will never be welcome back to our homes.
I second the opinion that you should get the garage door repair company to reduce their bill. You will need to be sure you are negotiating with the owner/manager, which may not be the person who performed the repair. Since it was a repair and not a replacement, I'm guessing most of the cost was labor, so the repariman should be able to cut the price substantially if threatened with the possibility of having to try to collect from the guest who had the "unauthorized" repair conducted. I do not suggest you follow-through with the bluff to pass the bill on to the guest, though. That is just asking for a negative review.
As for "beware of guest" lists, Airbnb does just that. You have the opportunity to review every guest, but not that they will be hounded to leave a review for you, too. That would not be a good idea in this situation! I think it would be nice if Homeway/VRBO would require inquirers to register and then allow us to review them - reviews of guests should not be publicly displayed, of course, but would be available to those whose listings that guest inquires about in the future.
Also, I would attempt to have a pleasant, but direct, conversation with the guest soon to 1) apologize for the beds not meeting their expectations, and let them know that you really want them to have an enjoyable stay, 2) to clarify that you are unable to pay anything towards their mattress purchase, especially after spending $200 on a pillowtop that did not meet their expectations, and lastly, 3) let them know that you would appreciate it if they would contact you FIRST if anything should need maintenance like the garage door.
Good luck in your dealings with this guest for the rest of the month.
At least things turned out well in the end with no damage to home or furnishings. Sounds like tenants were not used to vacation rentals and took it upon themselves to correct situations as they would in their own home.
We have a bulletin board in every kitchen with a list of vendors, plumber, electrician, handyman, cleaning, electric company, oil company, gas company, my cell, my office and my home numbers.
At the bottom of the list it says: these are our vendors. Please call them first and then call me. These are the only companies which you may use.
These vendors have worked on my homes over the last 11 years and are familiar with them. They can assess the situation and resolve the problem. Rule of thumb, if normal wear and tear, they send the bill to me. If the tenant causes the problem they need to be prepared to pay for the service At time of service. Tenants are also aware of the rules of the ball game, all listed on the bulletin board, reviewed during inquiry and in writing once rented.
As a non-practicing attorney who has been renting on HomeAway for 10 years, I have to say I take a hard line on these sorts of things. There is no end to possible crazy guest actions and no way any rental agreement, at least not any rental agreement anyone would want to sign, can foresee all possible bad behavior.
Odd guest expectations and complaints: we should provide a juicer, we should provide more serving bowls, more wine glasses for guests, one area is too hot, spiders outside, ants outside - you should spray the yard, flying inbsects - you should spray the air, beds too hard, beds too soft, area under bed has dust, one mini blind on the porch has a couple of broken slats, the towels were not soft enough (and these are not cheap thin towels) and more I can't even remember, thankfully. Now just so you know, we went out and bought the requested items (which from the looks of them on the shelves have never been used again). And you should know this is Florida and we are not going to attempt to eliminate all life in the yard and air around our rental. Also, this is a clean and comfortable place with every regular amenity in a great area but it is an 800 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, not a mansion. And one bedroom has a soft bed and one has a firm bed to avoid the complaint that started this thread.
But as a matter of professional pride, I don't accomodate completely out of line behavior. There is no way on earth I would have paid for the garage opener repair. It was unauthorized, period. In fact, the tenant wasn't authorized to make that kind of repair/alteration to the premises even if the tenant had paid for it! If the repair company didi it, too bad. Look to the tenant for payment. I would have gotten a new opener also and wouldn't be paying for a repair. As far as the pillow top, well good for you for trying to accomodate them. I guess it all depends on the price of the rental. If you got $5000, then maybe accomodating them is not a bad idea, but otherwise, forget it.
Our first and most extreme nightmare guest was back in 2003, before we had the advertising, experience, rate structure, etc. that we have now. Ulf from Sweden gave us a lowball offer for 35 days in December and January for about $1500 for a time period that would have been $2800 and we took it because it was getting late and we were anxious. So Ulf shows up and calls to tell us that he found a french fry under the seat cushion of the couch and it was so dirty he put the couch out of the house. Also that there was dust under the bed, and that the floors were dirty. This was back when we did our own cleaning and I had watched my wife scrub the floor with her hands right before the guests arrived. The dirt they were complaining about was dirt they tracked in when they dragged all of their luggage in. They also complained that the loveseat, under the high quality slipvcover, was shabby.
So we said we are sorry, moved the couch into the garage for the month, scrubbed the floor again, moved the bed and cleaned up the dust and said "Is that all, is there anything else?" They said no.
So they proceed to move the furniture around to set up dual desks in the living room and happily work away on the internet from two computers for the month. Then, on day 34, the day before they leave, we get a call from them. They say that we have cheated them, misrepresented the place on our website (because we said (among hundreds of other things) that it was comparable to the level of a Marriot - which we no say even though it was true) and they want their money back. I will leave my response to your imagination.
So about 15 minutes later, somebody calls and says he is their friend who lives in the area and we are terrible people who have exploited their friend Ulf and taken advantage of his limited english ability (did I mention that not only was their english fine, but the business they were doing at their computers was supposedly an ad agency?).
The point is that time and time again we see about one of every 200 guests has some extreme attitude. We ponder this. Ask ourselves "Is it a case of extreme feelings of entitlement?" "Is it a life strategy to always complain about every imperfection to get refunds (there is dust in the corners of the windowsills!)?" "Is it a matter of lack of self worth such that their identity is every item they come in contact with (We expected the kitchen cabinets to be more updated!) and anything less than sterile Disney perfection means they are accepting less for themselves?" We don't know. But when it happens, we do not apologize, we do not accomodate (except on minor matters) because it only validates and encourages more of the same. We take heart in our repeat guests, the other 199 of the 200 that think it is great, and the dozens of positive reviews we receive.
I feel everyone's pain about the Demanding Guest. Yes, it's the odd ones that stick in our brain, since we work so hard to provide for our guests.
And, yes, there's no way we can include all the little things in our contracts, unless we want to come off sounding odd ourselves. I think that is where a Welcome Book, etc. comes in handy.
We direct our guests to our Welcome book and ask that they read the Welcome letter/Cottage Etiquette pages, (the latter something I got from these forums ). In the Etiquette page we ask that they return any furntiure they've moved back to it's orginal location.
As a VRBO renter myself, on occasion I have moved small furnishings (a few chairs) around to accommodate a conversation. (We're big talkers, not big TV viewers), but would NEVER think of NOT returning things to the condition we found them.
After reading so many comments about strange things guests do to other's homes I've decide to print & nicely frame our Cottage Etiquette in a prominent spot in our home. Hotels have something similar located on the door, so I'm going to give it a try.
I love these forums. It's a great place to learn and help one another -- and to vent when we need to!
My Welcome page is basically just a 1 page that I send along with Directions & check in & out procedures to let them know ahead of time what to expect. It includes a few quirks abt. our home - "don't run the washer + both showers @ the same time", what we provide in terms of linens, kitchen amenities, TP, paper goods, etc. Also has info abt. outoddor lighting (on sensors), laundry & trash info, etc. Basic info stuff..
My Cottage Etiquette goes into DETAILS. Things like Quiet times, no wet clothes, towels on furniture, not removing TV,Stereo ,A/C remote controls away from the appliance, Energy savings tips, Security measures, Use of coolers & beach toys, etc. I've tried HARD to word this well-- lots of "please" and friendly terms... it took some time to put together & get it all on 1 page!! Most recent additon I made was THIS:
Contact Deb Jones, owner, IMMEDIATELY (XXX) if you encounter ANY problems. Under no circumstances attempt to mediate any problems on your own. We have a group of professionals that we contract with to address any unforeseen circumstance.
Agree with nokomis' approach: it's a fine line we walk with these rare difficult guests trying to do what we can to resolve the situation. We had a couple who were very demanding from the first moment they stepped into the house. We addressed their initial "concerns" and when they just kept pushing about everything, we politely said that if they weren't satisfied with the house it was clear they wouldn't be happy there; we understood and they were free to leave. They stayed and we never heard another complaint. They even left us a nice comment in our house book!
You just will run across an occasional person who feels Overly Entitled or is looking to get more for less. In your business you can use your own judgement in how to handle them without making yourself crazy!
I've had similar complaints and finally replaced my king size mattress. I was worried about a pillow top because they always get body impressions in six months and look terrible. I decided to go with a Simmons Beauty Rest "firm" mattress with no pillow top. Simmons has the best rating as far as the edges of the bed not collapsing when you get out of the bed and that's important. And if you just buy a firm mattress with good strong coils, it will hold up for a very long time. Then I just add a pillow top. That way all sizes, shapes, and weights, have good firm support under them. But then I added a nice pillow top that had memoryfoam on the bottom and gel on the top so it doesn't generate too much heat. Then put a nice fluffy mattress cover over that. NO MORE COMPLAINTS. It has the firmness for my extra large guests, and the softness for my sensitive guests that need a little more fluff. Everybody loves my bed now. And the best part is I can rotate the pillow top half way around so no body impressions build up. And I can toss the pillow top if it wears out and just get another one on sale. The firm mattress is enclosed in a zipper mite and bug bed proof cover so it will last formany years....
I don't know if this applies to the individual cases on this thread, but many people are not aware that as a rule, mattresses in hot and humid climates tend to run firmer than those used in cooler and dryer climates.
Soft mattresses and in particular "memory foam" mattresses,tend to envelope the sleeper inhibiting air circulation around the sleepers body, which is not good for cooling.
At our VR in St Thomas, an inch or two of memory foam in a "topper" atop a fairly firm mattress is not a problem, but I understand that a full ("real") memory foam mattress could be.