It was bound to happen as the saying goes, "You can't please everyone". As I have read on other posts here, potential renters who want a discount can be trouble. I think the reasoning is that they want a discount because they don't think your property is worth the rate you are asking and if you don't give them a discount and they rent anyway, they are arriving with a preconceived notion that they are not getting their money's worth and won't respect your property since they are being overcharged.
I had a lady who has inquired about my properties 4 or 5 times over the last year or two and has never booked. She recently inquired about a last minute booking (10 days or so out) and wanted a discount. I said no discount and she reluctantly booked anyway but sent me the following in an email:
"I must say, as a business owner myself, I’m a little confused as to why you would be adding on fees as opposed to offering ‘last minute booking’ deals/discounts/incentives given that you would get nothing if we were to not book (assuming it is rare that someone would book this late). Feels to me like you are not that interested in the business"
I explained reasoning that I work ******* the properties to constantly upgrade them and keep them maintained and I stay there myself when they are not rented. She said she understood and looked forward to the stay. I didn't communicate with her during her stay and didn't hear from her regarding any issues while she was there.
She had a late checkout at 5pm Sunday so the cleaner could not come till the next day Monday, but there was a snow storm that dropped 12" the night she left. Due to that and prior committment, the cleaner couldn't come till Wednesday morning. Usually not a big deal but this rental group left the oven on at 300 degrees! Cleaner said the house was very hot which was strange considering the snow outside, that's when she found the oven still on, 3 days later. Also found mildewed towels in the washer, toilet stopped up with feces in it, cigarette butts by the hot tub and a bunch of the pool tools were under the cover in the pool. I emailed the lady this:
"I just got a call from my cleaner/inspector. I'm a little dismayed. She walked in and the house was hot which seemed strange to her so she walked around and found that the oven was left on at 300 degrees! So the oven has been on since presumably Sunday at some point, the electric bill will certainly reflect a substantial increase from running an electric oven for 3 1/2 days. I can wait to get that electric bill and send you a copy prior to refunding your deposit or I can deduct $150 for what I presume will be additional cost incurred. I am just so thankful I didn't lose the house to a fire as I don't think anyone really knows what could happen if you leave an oven on unattended for 3 1/2 days. Normally she would have been there Monday, the day after due to your late checkout on Sunday but due to the snowstorm she didn't make it till this morning.
I just wanted to let you know some additional things my cleaner reported to me. She did not charge me extra to take care of them but I did want you to be aware of them so that you could pass on to whomever in the group was responsible that it very well could have incurred additional costs.
1) 13 cigarette butts by the hot tub between the sauna and tub. This is strange since there is a cigarette disposal right on the corner of the hot tub. She thinks perhaps someone was sneaking the cigarettes and didn't want to be seen putting them in the disposal.
2) Top of the stairs, make a left and in the bedroom at the end of the hall, someone left a clogged toilet with feces in it. There are plenty of plungers in the house and she obviously unclogged it but quite an unpleasant way to leave the toilet.
3) Pool toys were left in the pool under the cover. Not a big deal but she had to fish them out.
4) Towels left in the washing machine which mildewed and required 2 additional washings to remove smell
I'll wait to hear back from you on what you would like me to do regarding your deposit, whether you would like to wait till I receive the electric bill or receive $350 back today on your card.
She emailed back that she wanted to wait for the bill so she could have her accountant and attorney check to be sure she was not overcharged and that considering my email she had rethought her experience and would leave reviews to reflect that.
I got the review today and posted an owner's response. She stated I sent her a nasty email which I listed above.
I'm more than happy to take constructive criticism on how I emailed or responsed to the review from my fellow rental owners so definitely let me know what you think.
Here's the review:
Review Submitted May 13, 2012 Date of Stay April 20, 2012
Unfortunately, we won't be returning to this property, despite enjoying the amenities it had to offer. We booked this property at the last minute. Most rental agencies offer discounts for last minute bookings, but Rick would not. In addition to not offering a discount for renting less than a week out, he charged an additional $100 for a late check out, even though no one else was booked the next day nor the entire week after. On top of that he threw on a 3% credit card transaction fee. I couldn't pay by check to avoid the fee b/c there wasn't enough time to get him the check. Overall, our stay was nice, but the place does need some care. The outside furniture needs painted, at minimum, but really could use replacement. The walls are marked up and need new painting. The kitchen supplies need updated - knives don't cut, pans and pans are rusted and stained, and some of the dinnerware was chipped and cracked. None of these are major issues, but Rick's reason for not discounting the property was due to the amount of time and money he puts into its upkeep so I had expected more. Lastly, unfortunately, we had accidentally left the oven on at check out and Rick sent a nasty email about it and wanted to keep $150 of our security deposit even though there was no damage done. Included in the nasty email exchange, was an accusation of us leaving cigarette butts all over the yard. No one in our party smokes and we had actually noticed the cigarette butts upon check in. So, book with caution. The amenities are great, but not worth the hassle of dealing with the owner.
Edit your Response
Owner Response: It's unfortunate that I have my first unhappy customer considering the work I put into making the best property I can. This review is meant to hurt me out of spite but the only ones hurt are the 3 little girls who left me such thankful notes in my guest book about how much fun they had and a million thank you's, who won't be back to enjoy the property again. As you can see, she was very upset that I did not give her a discount and sent me an email stating that which I replied to and explained that I don't discount. She replied that she was fine with that and I did not contact her during her stay at all. My email to her after her stay was very innocuous and I simply let her know what was reported to me by the cleaner/inspector and that there would be NO charge for anything other than the oven being left on for the electricity it used for 3 days. I offered to accept $150 or wait till the electric bill arrived to see what the difference from last April was. She said she would wait for the bill so her attorney and CPA could verify she was not overcharged. So my being difficult to deal with was not prior, not during but only in an email letting her know what was reported to me and that no money would be deducted other than the oven being left on. They left a toilet stopped up with feces in it despite having 8 plungers in the house, pool toys left in the pool under the cover, Oven left on at 300 degrees for 3 days, a pile of cigarette butts by the hot tub and towels left in the washing machine that were mildewed and had to be washed multiple times. No charge for any of that other than the oven electricity but since I had the audacity to let her know what was reported to me, she said she had rethought her stay and would leave a bad review. She told me "Major Weeding" needs to be done and since I reminded her that there was a snowstorm the day she left, it was not feasible to weed this early in the season which goes for staining the outside deck furniture. I replaced the knives which were serrated and could not be sharpened after her stay with new fine edge cutlery. I checked the walls which were fine and the dinnerware which had 2 chipped plates out of 30. The pots and pans have a brand new set mixed with some prior pots that I did not throw away. I do feel bad for the next owner she rents from because if she was unhappy with my place, she will not be happy anywhere else... Feel free to contact me with any concerns you might have.