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Problems with paying guests!

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am still very new at this, but I need to vent a little. Although my gite/holiday cottage is not quite ready for letting, it is very comfortable inside and now all that remains is for a patio and barbeque to be finished. But this weekend a friend of mine is getting married and her new husband is Dutch and many relatives are coming from Holland. She had to find places for them to stay, and asked me if I could help. So I have 8 adults and a 9 year old staying in the cottage - more really than it should take, but the circumstances are special. We agreed a really cheap price, and I was told to expect my visitors on Thursday evening.

I went to the market on Thursday morning and found the first car load in the driveway on my return, a bit miffed that I wasn't there. I apologised and said they were earlier than expected, but took them in and said I would bring round the tea and coffee etc that I had bought. While I was unpacking, the wife came banging on my door demanding the coffee as her husband was impatient. She then proceeded to tell me that my ponies were very unfriendly and that the 'tiny one' had kicked her daughter! Excuse me? What were they doing in the pony field, with strange horses and a small child? How did they get close enough to Tiffin to even touch him, let alone frighten him enough to do something like that? None of the ponies has ever tried to kick or bite me. They had to climb over the electric fence to get in and then must have backed him into a corner against the fence or something equally bad.

Since then they have broken the coffee machine, fused the electricity and complained that they can't keep their coffee hot (I gave them a percolator and a cafetiere instead of the broken filter machine). They also said that the price I was charging was too high - it is really nominal and only covers breakfast and laundry, as I said that I was not really in the commercial world yet with it.

I hope this is not a taste of things to come!
post #2 of 29
People like that can stink

When my parents moved to England, they were not sure how long they were going to stay so just rented our house in Ireland out, the people wrecked it, the plumbing which was never an issue for us was suddenly broken every couple of weeks and my dad kept calling a plumber (or whatever the problem was) until the plumber told them they had 'broken' a pipe in the bathroom but it looked like it was sawed in half.

My dad went back to Ireland to see what was up, they thought that the rent was too high so they were 'getting their moneys worth' but breaking stuff and forcing us to bring in trades to fix it.

The next people who moved in were great, so hopefully you get all great people from now on. I would put a few signs up on the pony field telling guests not to enter also, that way if they are stupid again and do get hurt you will not be liable for them.
post #3 of 29
Goodness! That's just horrible!

I hope and pray that future guest aren't like that.
post #4 of 29
Poor Jenny! I hope they are not going to be typical of your future guests - but there will be guests like that. They think you are there to wait on them hand and foot and don't seem to have any manners or concern for the owner's property. And they are teaching their kids the same lack of manners and concern. At etiquettehell.com they refer to them as "entitlement persons of unknown breeding".

Here's the hammer. Feel free to use it.
post #5 of 29
They sound just awful!
post #6 of 29
How totally rude. I hope they stop giving you trouble and that soon they are gone.
post #7 of 29
That is incredibly rude. Perhaps you should have a quiet word with the groom, so he can let them know that you took them in at a low price as a favor.
post #8 of 29
Oh honey, I hope it gets better. Maybe they were just grouchy because of their trip? But, that is no excuse for climbing the electric fence to get to YOUR ponies. Did they think you were running a petting zoo? How long are they staying?
post #9 of 29
If they complain about anything, I would tell them very nicely that you are doing them and the groom a favor more than anything else.

They are expecting too much because of friendships... paying strangers will probably not act like that. If they give any more problems, I'd tell them to get bent.

I hope you are going to charge them for any repairs or replacements for things they broke. You might want to put up a sign for future guests that the ponies are off-limits. I wish you lots of luck.
post #10 of 29
Oh no fun! I'm sorry they are being such pains in the everything! How awful! Paying or not you are still a guest and should mind your manners!!! I'd be so ashamed of myself if I behaved that way!
post #11 of 29
Oh my. Just.. oh my. Please do talk to your friend about it, and tell her they are going to be charged for all the things they break... make sure to include them in the bill.

Good luck with them!!! Maybe remove the breakables from the rooms when they're out?

And I'm so sorry about your ponies. :hug: What clueless people.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Perhaps you should have a quiet word with the groom, so he can let them know that you took them in at a low price as a favor.
Agreed. You are doing a favor and should not be treated like this.
post #13 of 29
If I were you, I'd tell them if they aren't happy they can go find a hotel somewhere nearby. I'd tell them I was only allowing them to rent the cottage as a favour, and that if they didn't like it, you'd be happy enough if they just left and found other accommodation's.
post #14 of 29
Good grief!

I would have a talk with your friend and her husband and tell them what ingrates these people have been and I would ask that they refund me the cost of the items that were broken.

Talk about cheek!!!!
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeHacker View Post
If I were you, I'd tell them if they aren't happy they can go find a hotel somewhere nearby. I'd tell them I was only allowing them to rent the cottage as a favour, and that if they didn't like it, you'd be happy enough if they just left and found other accommodation's.
I agree. That is ridiculous!!
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeHacker View Post
If I were you, I'd tell them if they aren't happy they can go find a hotel somewhere nearby. I'd tell them I was only allowing them to rent the cottage as a favour, and that if they didn't like it, you'd be happy enough if they just left and found other accommodation's.
exactly my thought, too! i'd say, very politely, "I'm so sorry the accomodations & services aren't up to your standards. You're welcome to find other accomodations that fit them, & I won't charge you a penalty for shortening your stay. I will, however, bill you for the broken items." then, simply turn & leave, ignoring anything s/he will scream at you - & s/he probably will scream at you, possibly obscenities. this type always does. they think the ruder, louder, more offensive they are, the better treatment they'll receive.
post #17 of 29
If they think the price is too high, then they should have not taken the accommodation. And yeah coz its for a friend people will always try take advantage.
post #18 of 29
Jenny, I'm sorry to hear this. I wouldn't spoil your friend's wedding by saying something now, but after she is back from her honeymoon and settled in, I would definitely let her know what happened.

I think you just got the wrong people for your first guests. There will be others that will more than make up for these folks. They are just rude and cheap and I doubt if they would even consider anything you could say to them at this point.

I agree with the other poster that in future you'll need to make sure you have rules about guests staying away from the animals (or have a sign posted to protect you from liability) unless you are with them.

Cheer up sweetie - all is going to be just fine once you are up and running. Just consider this one of those bumps in the road. Hugs!
post #19 of 29
You might keep a list of nearby hotels in your pocket to give to them the next time they complain about something. What a shame this is your introduction to innkeeping! I'm sure it won't always be like this.

Signs are a great idea, and also an attractive flyer that you can leave in the cottage with some basic information for guests -- including safety issues like the pony field. Poor Tiffin!
post #20 of 29
Make an itemized bill for the items they have broken and give it to them.
post #21 of 29
I do hope you have a written contract for future guests as to what/where they can or cannot go. And you need to make it clear on access to any of the ponies. You are right - they had NO business in the pony field without permission.

That's just plain rude. I hope these "guests" do not try and sue you for any injuries to their child! Plus I agree, give them a bill for damages. And make it clear in a contract that the guests are responsible for any damages to the house, property, or the contents in the house!
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Jenny, I'm sorry to hear this. I wouldn't spoil your friend's wedding by saying something now, but after she is back from her honeymoon and settled in, I would definitely let her know what happened.

I think you just got the wrong people for your first guests. There will be others that will more than make up for these folks. They are just rude and cheap and I doubt if they would even consider anything you could say to them at this point.

I agree with the other poster that in future you'll need to make sure you have rules about guests staying away from the animals (or have a sign posted to protect you from liability) unless you are with them.

Cheer up sweetie - all is going to be just fine once you are up and running. Just consider this one of those bumps in the road. Hugs!
What a total bummer, Jenny! I agree 1000% with what Linda has said.
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
They have all gone now, thank goodness. They claim the switch on the coffee machine didn't work when they arrived, but they made coffee in it the first day without problems, and it always worked for me. And now the switch is hanging off the side. After they had gone I discovered that a clock radio had been knocked off the bedside table and the case is cracked. And a curtain on the landing has been half pulled off its hooks - a small thing but careless. Yesterday they showed me some pix of the little girl on a pony, being led, and claimed she could ride. Then asked if they could give the ponies some leftover bread! I had to explain very gently why bread was very bad for them. But I don't want to upset my friend, so I am just going to write it off to experience. It is a good learning curve for me, and yes, I am going to put notices up on all this and other stuff, but I don't want it to become some kind of police state. It is essential for their own safety and my protection though.
post #24 of 29
With the way some people are "sue" happy, its worth having a contract and enforce it - for YOUR safety/sanity. And have a lawyer review the contract to be sure things can be enforced and you are not liable for certain things.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
I am going to put notices up on all this and other stuff, but I don't want it to become some kind of police state.
You're exactly right -- and it's all in the wording and the visual presentation. Communicating these things in a graceful manner not only keeps people from feeling put off, but also makes them more willing to accept the information.

I say this as a writer with long, long, looonnnnnng experience in trying to persuade.
post #26 of 29
Is there some type of local/regional association for people such as yourself that will be renting out part of your house?? What type of "service" do you plan on having?

Hear in the US we have lots of "bed and breakfast establishments. Basically you have a bedroom/bathroom in a private home. The homeowner will provide a breakfast ranging from cold foods to a really nice meal. They have have on hand information on local area attractions. There might be a common room area to be shared by all guests. There might also be an outside area to enjoy.

I would come up with a set of guidelines of what can and cannot be done on your property and what services you will provide.

It seems like these "clients/customers" took advantage of your home! I wouldn't like these type of people to come to my home. I hope this incident doesn't discourage you for future paying guests.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
This was all a bit special - what I hope to provide is a 'gite' or self-catering holiday cottage, with bedding and kitchen equipment provided, but people will 'do' for themselves. But this time, because they were wedding guests of my friend and I am not really open yet, it was more informal and I gave them breakfast foods etc. As an ex-journalist and someone who at one stage ran internal communication for an organisation of over 5000 people, I know what is and is not effective - so I will try and think of some gentle and humorous ways to make my points.
post #28 of 29
I wouldn't be surprised if those "guests" act like that whereever they go.
post #29 of 29
Glad they are gone.

Just think, things can only get better right?
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