December 28, 2014
Dear Karma Fairy,
I thought this might be a pretty good time to share some thoughts with you about the Year 2014.
No, no, don’t worry. I’m not gonna drag up a bunch of crap that I’ve already pounded like the proverbial dead horse. God knows everyone is sick of hearing me whinge about getting fired from a company I put on the map.
No, no, I’m moving on from that thanks and will get to just how I'm doing that in a moment.
What I’d like to bone-pick with you is just how this year has closed out vis-à-vis a particular rental company in Orlando, Florida.
You see, back in late September my family decided to go in with another one to share a house during our daughters’ important National League soccer tournament at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015. So, like a good, trusting, consumer of rental homes in a town lousy with said products I got online long about early October and located a company that had decent reviews online and, after a LOT of what I guess you could call
harassment “eager and earnest sales phone calls” once I made
the first email inquiry I decided to use this company to book our 2-family
vacation dream home.
I spoke with a salesperson for the better part of an hour and a half, poring over the somewhat thin inventory. You see, KF, this IS “the busiest week of the busiest season in Disney-Town,” or so I was told, repeatedly. But finally, we settled on their “deal” whereby I reserve a “house that will sleep 12 from Dec. 27-Jan. 4” on October 4, 2014. I paid a deposit, then the balance at the end of November. I did not hear a peep from this company all the way up until Monday, December 22. That was the day I decided to call and see if I could get the address. Here is how that conversation went:
“Oh, we will send you the exact address and lock box code on Dec. 24, no worries.”
“Ok, great,” I says, relieved. “So we are all set still, right?”
“Hang on and just let me confirm it for you.” (clicking noises) “Um, I need to put you on hold a moment. Thanks.”
No less than 30 (closer to 35 minutes later) I was told that the house I had rented for 2 families to use was “no longer available, due to circumstances beyond their control. Sorry.”
Yeah. So, let’s just review that a second. See, the soccer girls’ team HAD a very nice hotel (The Hyatt Grand Cypress) for a VERY excellent rate ($135 a night plus parking). I HAD a reservation that I CANCELLED once I paid the balance on the house because, you see, I believed that the company I paid would uphold their end of the contract.
I went a tad ballistic. I have not had a superior set of weeks leading up to this moment and had actually thought "well, at least there is the Florida vacation" about that time they put me on hold AGAIN and I had to hang up and call back using a different number so I wouldn't go straight to HOLD again....I kid you not.
Not only did they not honor anything resembling our contract, or notify me (I made the call, remember?) they honestly assumed that simply “refunding my money” would suffice. So I spent the better part of 2 and a half days before Christmas (after a fairly traumatic birthday week but that’ll be in the Liz Memoir never fear) frantically attempting to procure lodging because you see, we HAD to be in Orlando for soccer—never mind the other family’s dilemma and the fact that I had planned this for MONTHS (see above: doing my due diligence in OCTOBER as a consumer).
Now, I get it that shit happens. Really. I do. But we were treated to such unbelievably horrific service by this “company” I felt that lodging a formal complaint with you, Karma Fairy Who Has Not Looked Upon Me With Much Favor For the Past 12 Months. Because the person who was trying to “fix it “ for us, managed to find us 2 homes, (separate homes) she honestly expected us to thank her for “negotiating down” to DOUBLE what I was supposed to be paying for 1 house to house both families … oh and she could only manage it for 12/31-1/3. I (see previously arranged dates above which do imply tickets to theme parks for the other wenchlings as Christmas gifts). Which of course translates to booking hotel rooms in this town that is at its busiest week of the busiest season (so help me if I hear that again I will put my fist through a wall).
Needless to say, once our credit card company confirmed that NO REFUND HAD BEEN ISSUED For the original charge, we have taken steps (thanks to companies like Chase who do offer real customer service) to make sure that money gets back to us. And here I sit, at a perfectly nice hotel, staring down the barrel of double and a half the cost of getting rooms at the last minute, plus all the restaurant costs I had planned (in October, remember?) to defray by eating via shopping at a grocery for a few meals for all 5 of the Crowe family members. Oh and that team hotel with the great rate? Yeah. Full.
I’m going to be reporting this company to the Better Business Bureau and to the local television ombudsman/pain the the ass because Discount Vacation Rentals Online RUINED my vacation at the end of a year that honestly, I deserved a break. But that bit is between us, isn’t it, KF (wink,wink,nudge,nudge).
Here is their website: http://www.discountvacationrentalsonline.com
Here is their yelp site: http://www.yelp.com/biz/discount-vacation-rentals-online-orlando-2
Here is their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DiscountVacationRentalsOnlineOrlando?ref=br_tf
Here is their twitter feed: https://twitter.com/discountvc
Feel free to weigh in. In the meantime, NEVER USE THEM AND MAKE SURE YOU TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO NEVER USE THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE THE OPPOSITE OF RELIABLE OR CUSTOMER ORIENTED. And I’m pretty fucking easy to please, customer-service wise. Give me what I paid for and don’t say to me 4 days before I’m to receive my product “Nope, don’t got it no more. Good luck to ya!”
P.s. That whole “sorry but we’re fresh out of mini vans and SUVs, here’s car for your family of 5” thing I’ll over look IF and only IF you help Soccer Wenchling kick ASS at this tourney.
P.p.s. Oh, and killer sales for my new self published series The Love Brothers starting Jan. 5 would help too.
P.p.p.s. I'll be checking in with you come March when I'm back to using my Marketing Powers for the good of homeowners and home buyers in the Ann Arbor Area. Yep... she's (gonna be) baaaaaaaaack and better than ever!