7 Replies Latest reply: May 29, 2012 1:02 AM by wiffle RSS

    Indecisive Renter

    New Member

      We had a case this year that has been on my mind for a while, so just wanted to share and see if anyone had thoughts on this.  This is the first rude booker we have had so far after many smooth calls and successful bookings.


      Basically, when the person originally called, they were friendly and described wanting to book a weekend (3 day) for a small family.  They already owned a place nearby so it would be for their visiting family.  Sounded great.  Familiar with the area, had a local contact, sounded nice.  Seemed to have fully read and viewed our listing and was familiar with the amenities.


      Then it began - several more calls, always a few more follow up questions.  My husband probably took 3 or 4 calls in one day from the same person answering "just one more question".  Ok, so maybe he is particular.  We are always friendly and professional.


      Then the booking was confirmed. Great.


      Then, the emails began - and always with an "oh, by the way" change.  There might be an extra person by the way.  There might be a couple pets by the way.  Wait - changes from the contract?  Why are we being informed about this instead of asked?


      So we give him a quick friendly call.  The main issue we wanted to clarify were the pets.  We do have a pet policy and just want to ask a few questions about the dogs, make sure we are comfortable with that.  Our contract clearly states we must also do a pet adendum and there is a pet fee.  So this was how we led in.


      The renter immediately turned into grumpy mode.  He was quite condescending and acted offended that we wanted to know more about who was renting the property (how many people ACTUALLY) and the pets.  We explained this is actually our second home, we love it, and we appreciate knowing who and what to expect.  It was intended to be a friendly yet important discussion.  He demanded to cancel.  And even though we were in our right to withhold the entire booking without refund (it was less than 30 days away), we said, "Yes, I think you are right. This is not a good fit and we wish you luck."  The refund was done right away, and canceled the booking.


      Personally, I felt red flags early with this caller.  But the last emails and calls were disturbing to me and I felt so uncomfortable about it.  I am hoping we aren't alone in dealing with an occassional crazy inquiry, just for my sake!  Did we do the right thing?

        • Re: Indecisive Renter
          Active Contributor

          We totally agree you did the right thing.  Once the contract was signed and the house booked, they had no right to change the agreement or make demands and get huffy when you questioned them.  Refunding the full amount was the best way out.  Sounds as though they would not have been honest with you about number of guests, dogs, etc., and you have to protect your house.  And your sanity!


          We have had only a couple of these situations in 15 years and are always more comfortable just cancelling.

          • Re: Indecisive Renter
            carol Premier Contributor

            Absolutely the right decision, and kudos to you for recognizing the red flags and acting decisively.  You will never know the trouble and heartache you've saved yourself.  


            Here's hoping you can fill that slot with more reasonable guests!

            • Re: Indecisive Renter
              lrbaldwin Active Contributor

              I would have returned all the money with the first red flag and put the house back on the rental market.  The reason would have been simply that we do not feel that they would be comfortable in our house.  I'll guess that 99% of renters that give you pause will give you MUCH TROUBLE if they actually stay at your house, just not worth it. 


              We had a new owner just 2 blocks away (who does not rent her home) call and tell me she was having a family reunion and would like to house 6 over 60 year old family members in our home.  That was the first red flag because we have not had good experiences with renters who are vacationing with people in additional homes.  They all tend to party here even if they're not actually sleeping here.  But I kept listening.  Yup, my gut was right. She said they would plan to serve all meals to the whole group here so the old folks could avoid going up and down 2 flights of stairs.  I thanked her for her honesty but said that our home would not be suitable for her situation.  She was very nice and said she understood, that she could not imagine the stress of renting her own vacation home out to strangers.



              • Re: Indecisive Renter
                anja Senior Contributor

                It's been bothering you because you know you've done nothing wrong ...you made an offer...you were welcoming them into your home...and you were confronted with rudeness, disregard and disrespect. It's great that you could avoid them staying!


                You are not alone in dealing with the occasional crazy situation and difficult people. And, you absolutely did right by letting this one go, with immediate and full refund.  Sometimes, it's just not a good fit. We often learn this with hindsight, regretfully. You did the right thing and you most likely saved yourself from a bad guest experience. I think, in those situations when it starts to feel "uncomfortable" we have to weigh the seriousness, and remind ourselves that we are at risk all the time of welcoming the wrong types  into our homes. Screened guests can also turn into nightmare guests. Sometimes, people are not forthcoming with their intentions.


                The overwhelmingly majority of my guests are great... very nice people...we are always happy to welcome them. I've honestly have had only one very "difficult" couple inhouse --- my guests from Hell.  But, I've had a couple of people who were rude to me --- in the inquiry !!! --- so why would I want them in my home?  And, I've dodged some potential bad guests who seemed to have "designs and ideas" for my house, e.g.,they had their own "terms & conditions".


                I have no worry passing up any opportunity that doesn't feel right. And,  I usually do this right away. But, sometimes it's too late --- they are already booked and we discover it's not feeling right, even before they arrive.  It goes with the territory.


                Last year, I had a similar experience as yours.  At first, the inquiry seemed fine {and it was a resident from my State, as well}. I became uncomfortable before their arrival. They seemed to not have "absorbed" my rental terms & conditions --- after confirming. Their follow up questions indicated to me either they never read the agreement they signed, didn't care about what they signed, or they were engaging in a ploy of "game changing" after the fact. Then, it became clear that they didn't think my terms should apply to them!  I was always courteous, I offered them a refund {early on} so they could find a bigger place when they asked me the square footage {it's in my ad and website and contract}. I had done my usual screening and asked the right questions, but they obviously were not "thorough" in their answers.  They wanted to keep the reservation, saying the place was "okay". {I wasn't thrilled to hear, "Forget it, it's okay."} Their questions and requests dripped in. All points were covered in the rental terms & conditions and included in the agreement. I always answered courteously, clarifying what was possible -- and what was not.  And, then the woman gave me a great reason to "release them" from their contract. She lost her temper on the phone. She was miffed that I was going to enforce my "occupany limit" because she said they should be "trusted" because they live here --- they were not "just tourists". They were residents on another island in my State where there has been a long history of rental strife between residents and "tourists" --- and her tone was clearly condescending towards "tourists" to our State. My specific island has been peaceful --- I've not ever experienced "resident-visitor strife" here.  Her island location is very over crowded but that's still no reason to abhore "tourists".  Afterall, when anyone  visits a place they do not live in, they are tourists, too!  I got a sense that she was among the residents, on her island,  that sympathized with resident groups and hotel lobbyists who wanted to restrict "tourists" to stay in hotel zones. I never discuss anything controversial with prospects and guests -- ever.  I let her sound off at me - just listened...waited to hear her full assault...and then I explained my "occupancy" policy --- calmly --- even though it was stated already. And, she turned on me personally. She accused me of being "unwelcoming" --- told me that I had "no aloha" --- called me a ***** and hung up.  She was not the person who I dealt with earlier.  I phoned the man who made the reservation, and he had taken on an air of self righteousness --- and no apology for how his "lady" friend spoke to me. It was only a couple weeks prior arrival --- I returned his money in full, by check, immediately...he had it in 24 hours.  And, he was "surprised" that they lost the reservation, in the end, when he received my refund. Go figure!   They were the awful, un-aloha-spirited people.

                  • Re: Indecisive Renter
                    Active Contributor

                    What a ghastly experience, anja!  Thank goodness these types of people are not the norm.  Most guests are great!

                      • Re: Indecisive Renter
                        anja Senior Contributor

                        Most guests are great!  Amen for that.


                        That experience shook me up, honestly.  That was the first and only direct exposure I have ever had with the attitude that fuels "resident/tourist" strife. The woman was a "hater"...and she herself was a "transplant" to the State, from the mainland. {Once upon a time she had been a tourist in my State.}  I was fairly inexperienced at the time, in my first year renting, and it upset me, a lot...for a long time after.  It upset me to know that there were people around that hated "tourists"....my State depends on the visitor industry.  Most tropical island nations do.


                        It really upset me because the culture of "aloha" is not a marketing strategy...it's a way of life...a beautiful cultural, living heritage among the vastly good people of Hawaii.  Haters are everywhere in this world....we just have to "feel" when it's right to weed them out of our homes.  So, those people were an eye opener. But, they made me aware...and it also helped me to shape my rental policy from then on.  I follow a local ordinance to the "T", aimed to respect my resident neighbors, protect them from any disruption to their lives so no one in my little spot here becomes offended by my business... while I  look after the interests of my guests....make them happy.... and protect myself.  It's a balance.

                      • Re: Indecisive Renter

                        I totally related to my fellow owners here!


                        I have been rather surprised by renters/prospective renters who do not think the agreement they signed applies apply to them. Or, those people who will say anything in order to rent the home.


                        It irks me no end to deal with people who have only their own best interest in mind, and have no respect for my rules and/or guidelines. I just fielded a request today from somone with too many people. Believe it or not, I do have a right to specify how many people, maximum, may stay in my home! I don't think he could comprehend that I was telling him "no."


                        To jsinex, I do not allow people to rent for other people. The actual people staying in the house are the ones who need to contact me and sign the agreement. I have had "locals" contact me requesting a "locals" rate for their wedding guests, etc. but I just tell them that the actual renter needs to contact me directly.


                        Also to jsinex, I think you were smart to refund the money and move on. From what you described, they were going to be trouble.


                        Last year, I had a glut of "discount seekers", usually with a sad story about being of some "noble" profession. A bigger bunch of flakes I have never seen. They were very nice when asking for lower rates but very bad at fulfilling their end of the bargain, i.e. paying on time. Some of them were outright liars. I finally got tired of it and simply returned a late payment back to the sender and said, "sorry, this was sent too late. You'll need to find another place." And, they were angry with ME.


                        As a side note, the discount seekers seem to have disappeared for this year. I haven't had a single one, hallelujah!


                        I am not sure if some of these people think that we are all hard up for every last dollar, or think that we are operating flophouses or what, but we really need to say NO to people who are not respectful of our properties.