The Customer is Always in the Wrong
Bear with me, this has been a difficult weekend?..
it was Easter, the sun was shining, my mother has cancer and we drove for seven hours to spend some quiet time with her before she has an operation on Friday.
Things didn?t go well for us at 1 Pines Cottage.
On the first morning the house was very cold and the heating was switching itself on and off repeatedly but there was no heat in the radiators. One would think that this would raise the question ?is there something wrong with the heating?? I should have known better.
Having slept under a pile of coats and cardigans due to the cold in the bedroom and the somewhat flimsy bed covering we were afforded, having no heating was a nuisance. But the sun was shining so we resolved to get on with our weekend.
On the second morning a text arrived to say there was a problem with the water pump and a bottle of water was left on the step. Presumably we were to wash in that and drink it as well. ? Bear with us? said the text,' thank you for your patience'.
Now I am usually a reasonably patient woman, however, once again there was no heating although we were again entertained by the heating repeatedly switching itself on and off for two hours. The house was still cold although the sun was shining but as I had already purchased a quilt cover to supplement the less than student standard bedding, at least I had had a warmer night than the first. I come from Yorkshire, I am of sturdy stock but no heating and now no water?
I texted the owner on morning number two asking her to sort out the heating as well as the water as we had neither. After telling me that the heating was on the temperature recommended by Sykes, a frosty silence descended and it was clear I had crossed a line. This was confirmed by my encounter with the owner on leaving the property to go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park - grubby because we had not had a wash and cold because there was no heating. The owner it seemed was too busy to talk to me about my concerns about minor things like heating and water, her livestock were her priority and we were clearly the dumb beasts to be ignored. Rude doesn?t quite describe that encounter, suffice to say this owner?s farm is her priority and it shows.
I contacted Sykes for help and was told I needed an urgent call back.
The call back I was told I needed from Sykes didn?t materialise by two pm - not sure what their non urgent call backs look like but after five hours I gave up waiting and rang them. Cathy the agent who tried her best but ended up digging a hole so big she couldn?t get out of it, told me that the owners in some of their cottages have the heating under lock and key as ?people go in and fiddle about with it??.which was not exactly the response I had hoped for. I tried again, - could the heating be fixed please.because it is switching itself on an off repeatedly which is irritating to say the least, we have had no heating since we arrived, the water is off and could I mention the pitiful bed linen?
I was then asked several times over by the lovely Cathy, what temperature I have my heating on at home, as if somehow the heating switching itself on and off all morning was about me living in a hothouse and making an unreasonable request. - I replied how would I know? I live in a warehouse in London with a central boiler, I have no idea what the temperature of my home is on a morning. I just wanted heating that heated, a thermostat that didn't repeatedly turn itself on and off for three hours every morning and some water to wash in. Cathy clearly had her script however and I was going off piste, could she bring me back to it please, If I couldn?t tell her what the temperature is in my home in the mornings, how could she help me? All efforts to explain that the issue was the heating switching itself on and off repeatedly were ignored, all concerns about lack of water were waved aside.
I tried then to address the bed linen problem - I stay in a lot of self catering homes, the bed linen is not good enough.....the house is cold and I was cold in the night. Cathy wasn?t interested or couldn?t understand that having to purchase a bed quilt for the rental home you have paid ?435 for isn?t ideal?.I eventually gave up on that one in despair.
The owner appeared on our return on the second night with what I can only call attitude. Fair do?s, I was waiting for a call from the States and just didn?t have time to have the circular argument again of ?what temperature is my home in the mornings??which is clearly the Sykes family line - I can see it written down at point 47 of the owners manual - 'if the buggers get shirty about the heating folks, just spin this line on them and they?ll soon be feeling as if they are the unreasonable one'? Suffice to say she wasn?t going to change that heating level for love nor money and anyway if the heating was switching itself on and off she would know. She was clearly clairvoyant and I was merely the customer who had been daft enough to hand over ?435 to be called a liar. Knowing when I am beaten, I simply gave up at that point.
Here is the complaint that I tried so hard to make someone understand
No Heating in the house.
The heating switches itself on and off repeatedly for two to three hours every morning.
No Water for a day.
No decent bed linen.
It should be so easy to understand but I felt as if I were speaking Swahili.
My mother came for lunch this afternoon, my daughter cooked a lovely meal and we made the best of a very bad job and even had a laugh about the way we had been treated. We are not difficult people, we are from Yorkshire and we like to get on with people, there?s nothing fancy about us but we like value for money. At least we like heating that heats, water to be available and not having to buy bed linen for the places we stay in. We enjoyed this part of our weekend. At least we got to spend that quiet time with my mum. Sadly even that couldn?t last.
As we were leaving and my mum was saying her goodbyes to her granddaughter and great grandson, the owner and her dog appeared around the corner with a face like thunder and stalked past us as if we weren't even there. I felt sorry for my mum and my daughter whose photograph I was taking at the time. My daughter may not see her grandmother again.
So I would like to thank you Sykes for your customer care, may your guidelines to your owners to put their heating under lock and key always give them the success Mrs 1 Pines Cottage achieved this weekend. And your way of making customers feel that they are asking for the moon when they are simply asking for assistance is second to none. I commend you for your excellent customer manipulation skills.
And to Mrs 1 Pines Cottage who I don?t think we shall ever forget, thank you for your grace, your kindness and your absolute determination to make us feel like unreasonable intruders getting in your way. We felt as welcome on your property as a dose of foot and mouth.
Our Easter holiday was spoiled but we still managed to laugh about it. If you don't have a sense of humour however, I recommend you go elsewhere.
We won?t be using Sykes again and nor will we visit Mrs 1 Pines Cottage who can rest easy in her conviction that the owner is always completely and utterly in the right.
(And please Sykes Cottages, before you try to re-enter the twilight zone of responding to this comment by telling everyone that you tried to help but you couldn?t because I couldn?t tell you what temperature I have my heating on at home?.read my complaint again which is listed above. I tried my darnedest to explain it to you but you couldn?t/wouldn?t listen properly, so please don?t try spinning it to make it all about me. It wasn?t me. It IS you).
Nice place but heating controls locked
Nice cottage. Friendly owners. Remote. Could do with larger fridge and freezer and more cooking utensils. Heating controls under lock and key. Owner did change when asked but would be far better to leave control with the guests so they can set time and temperature to suit their needs. Wouldn't want to spend Christmas there. Would recommend with riders. Not allowed to see cattle shown in Sykes pictures as a closed herd.
This Cottage was so spacious, it was so relaxing and the people so friendly. We all loved it and highly recommend, hope to return soon.
Nice spacious bungalow
This bungalow was lovely and spacious and very clean. Off a dirt track road so very quiet although it is in the same grounds as the owners farm house and is directly overlooked. The garden was small but adequate but again overlooked. The facilities were great with dishwasher and washing machine. However one thing we really took exception to was the fact that the central heating thermostat control was completely cased in and could only be opened by a key which the owner obviously had. When we asked about this and how we could put the heating on for an hour in the mornings as it was quite chilly we were told in no uncertain terms that it was warm enough and that was that! Not the way to treat a paying guest in my book. There was a log fire but you had to buy the logs. Such a pity really because it is very convenient for getting into York and surrounding areas however I really would not want to stay in winter and have the heating controlled for me.
Everything was amazing, a perfect getaway.