Dealing with complaints by holiday-makers

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02 Sep 2014 15:26 by LindaLane Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

I own a holiday home in Spain and recently someone returned to the UK and sent a list of complaints about the house threatening to post a very negative review if we did not give them an unspecified amount of compensation. NB. All other holiday-makers have written very positive reviews and the complaints included things like the fact that they didn't like the fiesta.

The website on which we advertise has said that the threat to 'go public' if we don't give them money goes against their guidelines and if the person submits the review it will not be published because of the threat in the private email to us.

I think this is a worrying trend, though and very similar to what is going on on TripAdvisor. They even said how they could seriously damage our business...  

I just wondered whether any other holiday home owners have had similar experiences and how they have dealt with it.





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02 Sep 2014 17:15 by casperruby Star rating. 165 posts Send private message

This is a problem for all provider's of retail services,we have a restaurant and and a not so nice lady made very rude and offensive comments which were totally unfounded BUT we have no control over comments and if we answer a comment you could become paranoid and never get on with your life.

Having said that I did remember the person who wroth that I was rude because I told her son off ( he was easily mid twenties) to not pick salad items off tge salad bar with his fingers as its unhealthy for other customers and tongs are provided, so by telling him "off" I was in the wrong, then she went on to say the ladies toilets were to small (she was grossly overweight) but tge food was marvellous 8.5 out of 10. You just cant believe what turns some of the public on I now never look as its not worth tge hassle and like some actors never read reviews





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02 Sep 2014 17:19 by Tadd1966 Star rating in Los Montesinos. 1755 posts Send private message

I would take this email straight to the police as it is a clear case of blackmail / threat. I would also let them know you are taking their threat / blackmail to the police.

 

Link for help

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackmail#England_and_Wales

 

I would even guess that these people are regular reviewers!

 

Unfortunatley review websites are ruining a lot of businesses and there was TV programme about this last year involving restaurants.

Thankfully most people are sensible and ignore most reviews



_______________________
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge”



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02 Sep 2014 17:59 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5241 posts Send private message

Tadd:-     I would take this email straight to the police as it is a clear case of blackmail / threat. I would also let them know you are taking their threat / blackmail to the police.

 

(1) A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief:

  • (a) that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and
  • (b) that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand.

 I suspect that the police will not take action (as in bold above) as it would seem to amount to a business transaction and not a crime.

 

All the same,   Good Luck

 


This message was last edited by johnzx on 02/09/2014.



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02 Sep 2014 21:16 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Unfortunately, I think it is human nature to believe bad reviews. Mud sticks. So one bad review saying something like 'the pool was dirty' is pretty unverifiable, but will then sow the seed of doubt in potential holiday-makers reading the reviews.

Apart from the type of review done as a result of blackmail there is also the 'revenge bad review.' So we had a case where a guest left our house really filthy and the normal four hours we pay the cleaner wasn't enough. She spent an extra three hours on it, and we deducted this (3 x 8 euros per hour) from the deposit held (the first time we'd had to this in several years). Although the guest had said in an email that she had had a lovely time she was furious that money was then deducted and that aspersions had been cast on her cleanliness. So she then wrote us a bad review.

With hindsight we wouldn't have deducted the 24 euros - it wasn't worth it. But at the tiime we felt the principle was right that she should pay and we didn't realise she would then be proactive and give a glass half empty view of our house. And the website wouldn't retract it because there had been no threat in any previous email saying that she would do this if we didn't give her 'compensation'. Apparently, this was the only criterion they used to decide whether a review could stay or not.

It's pretty unfair as many service providers have discovered.

Another point: regarding compensation, I believe it is a mistake to give anything in most circumstances. With our UK rentals, there was once a case where water flooded under a student's floor, because of a neighbour. We made an insurance claim and I suggested to my husband that he offer the tenant £100 for the inconvenience - we had moved her to different accommodation for the week when building work had to be done. She asked for £250 - one month's rent - which he agreed to. The following month no rent appeared and then her father started arguing that we should give her three months rent for free. 

This type of scenario has happened to us more than once - if someone asks for compensation and you give them something, they are never satisfied and always want more. So my policy is give them nothing, generally.



_______________________

My account of moving to Spain.  http://www.eyeonspain.com/blogs/olives.aspx"><img

 




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03 Sep 2014 08:28 by Tadd1966 Star rating in Los Montesinos. 1755 posts Send private message

johnzx (or elaineg whatever you are using today!!!)

You may wish to look at the defintion of "menace" as defined in case history (take another look on wiki!!!)

No harm in going to the police and if they have made a threat / demand for compensation it could well be taken as a  blackmail or even extortion.

 

They have threatened to publish something that may affect someone's business unless compensation is made

 



_______________________
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge”



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03 Sep 2014 09:28 by baz1946 Star rating. 2196 posts Send private message

Unfortunatley review websites are ruining a lot of businesses and there was TV programme about this last year involving restaurants.

Thankfully most people are sensible and ignore most reviews

 

Tadd1966, I can back you up with this, two years ago I went to a family meal at a pub / restaurant many miles away from me, the pub was great, clean tidy, staff couldn't have been more helpful, we stayed all day from about 11am to late, bar and restaurant, next day someone mentioned that this place was on Trip Advisor, now I don't normally do or read these things but this time I did have a look, a certain chap who said he was in this pub on the same day as us completely downed the place, staff didn't care, next to no people in the place, empty seats, scruffy bar etc etc, the moaning list went on.

You had to read it a couple of times over to see if it was the same place, time and day as we all went to.

The person that complained about the holiday let is probably one of those that does this sort of thing all the time in the hope that the owners cave in and refund some money....

Advice to LindaLane is tell them to get stuffed and do your worst, any publicity is better then no publicity,  anyway LindaLane you can always respond that you went to your own house for a holiday, use a different name, report how great it was and make mention  (Name) the other person didn't know what they were talking about, bounce the threat back.





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03 Sep 2014 09:45 by scubamike Star rating in Murcia province . 220 posts Send private message

scubamike´s avatar

Trip Advisor now give owners an opportunity to reply to any comments 





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03 Sep 2014 10:03 by eggcup Star rating. 567 posts Send private message

Yes, scubamike. But the problem is that you can get into an ugly tit for tat. Although one is supposed to be professional, it feels very personal when people insult your business. I stayed in a lovely hotel called 'Latimer Place' near Amersham last week. I'd been there once before. It cost £49 for me, my daughter and her friend to share a room. Breakfast was extra at £8.50 each. The hotel is set in stunning grounds and the building is very historical, with some kind of building having been there since the 12th century. Now most of the buildings are Victorian, with a fabulous library, other lovely rooms, coffee, tea, biscuits etc on tap all day long, for free. It has a beautiful pool, sauna, gym, steam room etc. All just 35 minutes' train ride from London - my daughter loves London and I don't like it particularly, but the deal was that mornings were spent lounging in the hotel.

I go on about this, because it is such a lovely place with great staff too, and you're getting such luxury for such a low price, but you look at the reviews and people won't score it a 10. Even if they love it they score it an 8. Why is that? Why are people so loath to give it the 10 it deserves? They'll say they had to wait to be served in the bar once or that the room was too hot... Hopefully most of us are starting to realise that these reviews say more about the complainer than they do about the hotel/holiday home/restaurant...



_______________________

My account of moving to Spain.  http://www.eyeonspain.com/blogs/olives.aspx"><img

 




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03 Sep 2014 10:53 by scubamike Star rating in Murcia province . 220 posts Send private message

scubamike´s avatar

We book our breaks in Spain through Booking. com and although it is still open to abuse only people who have booked through them can make a review I know this is not possible when restaurants are involved but I do think you get a more accurate picture I sometimes read Trip Advisor but I do not rely too much on the information. I go away to relax and take in the local atmosphere I have met people (one who was a solicitor!) who start making notes as soon as they arrive 





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