An Unfortunate Week!

An Unfortunate Week!

Breezy Oak was a cosy, quiet villa with a nice view and tall trees which blocked out the sun making the inside of the home feel dark.

We discovered on our first night that the house manual had out of date information causing confusion and that the trash bin was full with nowhere to put our own trash.

The pool had a new system which had a faulty part preventing the pool heat reaching its desired temperature. No pool blanket was provided. Therefore the pool was cold for our first three days and could not be fixed until the 6th day of our holiday.

On the 4th day we decided to check-out due to not being able to use the pool for the duration of our holiday and for a few other miner problems including trash and the discovery of what we thought were web cams attached to the outside of the property.

Even though I have tried to reason with the owner, he ignored my plee to have our last four days refunded. We left after 3 nights with our own trash.

Overall this home needs updating with regards to TVs, pool furniture and beds.

  • Stars 1 out of 5
  • Property BOV
  • Stayed January 8, 2019
  • Submitted January 28, 2019
  • Posted To VRBO By Guest
  • Guest Susan B.
  • Home Location Beaminster, Dorset, UK
  • Reservation ID 601
  • Recommended for: No One!

My Response
Weather too cold for a swim the first two days, with nights around 40º, warming to 50º 1st day & 70º 2nd day. Guest adamant something wrong with the pool heater, despite the pool water reaching around 85º each day. Pool water was 88º 3rd day, (all independently verified) but the guest had already left that morning, claiming pool wasn’t usable.

This guest left because they can’t understand cold weather makes outdoor swimming uncomfortable, and refused to adjust their plans or activity in light of the weather.

They decided to leave without first consulting me, or without seeing what warmer weather the next day would produce. Then they requested/demanded a refund after the fact, as if we would be able to rent the nights to someone else with zero notice.

They jumped to wrong conclusions, made silly assumptions & bad choices, and want us to pay for it. When I refused, they posted this malicious review (in my opinion) in an attempt to extort a completely undeserved refund. Their issues were the result of cold weather only!
• Manual WAS out of date, but signs provided correct info.
• Home dark? See photos & virtual tour.
• 2 other containers for trash, but guest did not use them.
• Pool heater was working well despite the cold, but they know more than the tech who checked it.
• They saw liquid polymer pool blanket topped up for them, but refuse to understand.
• CCTV cameras monitor areas visible from street (front & sides only), but nowhere one would expect privacy. Guest acknowledged this prior to arrival, but tries now to paint a bad picture.
• 5 flat-screen TV’s, two less than 10 mos. old, & 300 Extreme HD TV channels delivered over FibreOptic Network. They never asked for help with the TV’s. Perhaps don’t know how to use?
• Why complain about pool furniture (they said) they never used (because too cold)? $700 teak loungers aren’t good enough?
• “The bedding was very comfortable!!” Quote from guest who left the day this one arrived.

Five days after leaving this guest wrote me (in part, documentation available):

“When we arrived at your home it felt cosy, well equipped, clean and comfortable and the view from the pool was lovely.”
“I understand that this was not your fault and was out of your control…”
“If you need to charge me an early check-out fee, I will be happy to pay it.”
“I would definitely recommend your home to anyone that was looking for a place to stay in the Disney area.”

That gets a 1-star review?

What would any reasonable person conclude?

Note from Robert:
Unfortunately, every once in a while we get a crazy guest, who gets upset about something that we simply can’t do anything about, nor would any reasonable person expect us to be able to.

The most common one is when guests encounter cold weather during their stay in the winter months. Yes, on occasion it will get cold in Orlando during the winter. It never lasts long when it happens, a couple of days at most, but the temperatures during the day may not get any warmer than 40º F! When this happens, it is not really conducive to being outside in the swimming pool, yet it is remarkable how many guests will then complain to us that the pool is cold!

Pool heating in most pools in Florida, will heat the water to around 15ºF above the ambient air temperature. We have large, oversize pool heaters for precisely this reason, and they can heat the water to 30ºF above the outside air temperature, but if it is a 40º day, that is only going to be 70º water, and it’s not going to be comfortable for swimming.

Complaining that the water is cold, or trying to claim that the pool heater is not working, when clearly it is because there is a huge difference between 40º water and 70º water (even though neither is acceptable for swimming) is pointless and ridiculous. The truth is, most Florida pool heaters are simply not designed to work in such temperatures, and many simply stop working due to the strain of trying to function in relative cold they are not used to.

Does pool heating still have value on these cold days? Yes, because it means that the water will be warm enough that when the cold snap ends, the water will be warm enough to be heated up to its normal target temperature. If it was left to just stay cold during the cold snap, it could take 3-4 days to warm back up once the warm air returns. In that kind of time frame, a guest staying for only one week may have left before they got a chance to experience the pool at its normally glorious temperature.

There is no point in taking out your frustrations on your hard-working vacation rental owner or manager because the weather turned bad during your stay. It happens sometimes unfortunately, and we all just need to relax, adjust out plans, and keep in mind that we can still have a great, interesting and restful vacation, even if the weather isn’t cooperating.

But being unreasonable, making up stories, and lying… all to to attempt to extract a refund on your vacation rental stay, is simply a waste of time. We have accurate, detailed logs of the performance of our pools, their heaters, and the weather. While we are accommodating in the rare circumstances where we’re not performing at our best, we certainly don’t give refunds, or accept complaints about the weather… or anything else we have no reasonable control over regarding your stay.

This particular last-minute guest turned out to be a customer from hell for us. Completely unreasonable, and refusing to adjust her expectations based on the actual weather, and then choosing to leave the morning of the day the weather turned, when it was back up to 80º that afternoon, and the pool water reached 90º. She could have enjoyed it, but was off and gone, likely making some other poor vacation rental owner miserable.

She was so anxious to find fault that she couldn’t understand the simplest things explained to her. The pool had a brand new heater which was only a few months old. In an attempt to appease the guest, and also provide good service by making sure that there was nothing wrong with the pool systems, we had a technician at the house to ensure the heater was functioning properly. While there, he replaced a part which had been a warranty upgrade mandated by the heater manufacturer. The heater was working, but the guest insisted on seizing on this part replacement to claim that something must have been wrong with the pool!

We don’t use old plastic blankets, we instead use modern liquid polymer blankets to stop evaporation and heat loss of the water. It is a compound added to the pool water, and the guest saw it being replenished to ensure it was working at its peak (which is 97% effective as old, messy plastic pool blankets which guests don’t like to use and thus don’t most of the time) but she refused to even acknowledge this. She complains about the ‘lack’ of a pool blanket in her review, even though she saw it being added herself.

The guest was at the villa during the shortest days of the year, when the sun is absolutely the lowest in the sky. It makes perfect sense that there won’t be as much sun light available to light the interior of the villa. But she must insist that it is dark because of “all the trees around”. Perhaps she would like them all cut down so the wonderful privacy of the pool can be lost? *Sigh*

The great tragedy of these types of guests is that their own miserable attitude is what really prevents them from enjoying themselves. And it is outside of the limits of their thinking and personality type to recognize that they themselves are the source of almost all of their problems. But of course, that is not something you can even suggest to them! Unfortunately, if one is in business as long as we have been, the chances of encountering this type of person increase. And because the online listing sites like VRBO do not allow proper guest interaction and vetting prior to arrival anymore, these types of bad guests will become more and more common.

Simply accepting bookings from anyone with a credit card is no more appropriate than booking the first vacation rental one sees without investigating if it will be suitable to your needs. But this is what the large online booking sites are trying to force the industry to conform to, destroying one of the true benefits of vacation rentals; a good relationship between the owner and guest.

Author description

BOV Host

About the author:Rob Peters is the Site Administrator, Blogger and Chief-Touble-Maker on BreezyOakVillas.com When not online, he is managing his terrific vacation rental properties in Florida, or admiring his three adult kids and loving his wife Donna.