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Jo Taylor

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Everything posted by Jo Taylor

  1. Re paypal payments to/from family and friends - please Jo can you point me to where you found this on the paypal website as neither I nor my daughter can find it! As above - beat me to it! Just an addendum - and a bit off-topic - you shouldn't use this for goods as there's no seller or buyer protection attached.
  2. There are different ways of sending PayPal payments; different rules and fees apply according to whether they are personal payments, payments for services or payments for goods. If someone sends a payment for services or goods, fees apply (can't remember off the top of my head but it's approx 30p plus around 4%). There's also a 'cross-border' fee if it's between two different currencies, and not very good exchange rates. If you refund, the percentile is refunded, but not the standing fee of 30p (this latter came into effect a couple of months ago - before that the payment would be refunded in full). For personal payments (strictly speaking for family and friends) there's a small fee which can be paid by the sender or recipient. You can refund up to sixty days after the original payment by finding the transaction, clicking on 'details' - the 'refund' link is there.
  3. Also Jo taylors book has been invaluable. Aw, thank you!
  4. [:D] at the squirrels! It's the towels that haunt me - over the years I've gained more than I lose, but they don't MATCH!
  5. There is an advantage to NOT keeping availability calendars updated... [:D] A week ago I had an enquiry for two weeks in September, Sunday-to-Sunday. If my calendar had been up-to-date, they'd have looked elsewhere. As it happened, I phoned them and converted to two later weeks, with Saturday changeover.
  6. Depends what time of year, what size gite, its location... If it's not high season, and you don't need a huge place, 300€ per week should be plenty. Most people's changeover day is Saturday, but many will accommodate other requirements off-season. Why not simply find one in the right area and contact the owner - most people advertise their rental rates and specify changeover day.
  7. I don't take animals any more - due partly to: 1) A fluffy cat. Lovely fluffy cat. Lovely fluffy bedcovers. Lovely fluffy sofa and armchairs. Lovely fluffy carpets & rugs... 2) A female dog on heat. Stank the place out [+o(]. My male dog thought it was his birthday, but couldn't work out why he wasn't allowed his present and howled all week. 3) A poodle who wanted chicken for dinner. Our chickens.
  8. I just wanted to know what time they'd have liked their breakfast (not being over-enthusiastic on early rising myself)(and don't do it any more)(early rising or B&B). Between 8 and 10 were our suggested times. I can't count the times we heard "Oh, we're early birds, us, can we have it at 6.30?" - well, no. The boulangerie doesn't open until 7.30. They reluctantly agree to 8am. We make the effort. They appear at 10. "Eeh, we've never slept so well!" Yes, we'd have liked to, as well[:(].
  9. [quote user="dave21478"]Re the rubbish, very few places outside of cities in France have a refuse collection service as we know it in UK ie binmen going round the houses.[/quote] Ooo, we do [:)]. (Very rural Normandy.) When we first were here it was a tractor and trailer, once a fortnight. Upgraded to a pickup driven by a lady in full makeup and high heels, accompanied by a chap who threw the bags in the back. Now we have a proper bin lorry, once a week. What really p's me off, however, is that we pay two lots of rubbish disposal tax because of the gite. We put out a half-filled 50L bag each week due to recycling / burning, plus usually one not-full 100L bag each gite let for the weeks it's let - usually half the year. Yet one lot of neighbours (family of 3 adults, 2 children) put out 6 to 8 big bags every week. They pay half what we do for around 10 times the amount of refuse. Bah!
  10. Salt and pepper      No, no foodstuffs whatsoever - the agency we use actually instruct that any opened jars / packets etc. should be removed. I do, however, ask people if they'd like us to get anything in for them, and when they arrive I ask whether they have everything they need - teabags, coffee, milk etc.. And give them a nice bottle of wine. Bin Bags Yes, plenty. Along with instructions that all rubbish be left securely tied inside said bags.Also a couple of boxes for bottles / recyclable plastic. does that include toilet bin bags Yes, plenty, and sanitary disposal bags. I don't want to handle other people's rubbish or other things [+o(]. Washing up liquid Yes. Dishwasher powder No, no dishwasher. But I would if I did. Washing powder for clothes No, too many preferences and allergies. BBQ charcoal and firelighters Yes Plastic glasses for using round the pool No pool, but I usually leave some plastic glasses in there for garden use. Perhaps other consumables that I have not thought of Copious quantities of cleaning materials - it's to be encouraged! Lots of loo rolls - don't want imported Kleenex Velvet down my fosse. Foil & cling film & kitchen roll. Light bulbs, matches, candles, a torch. A couple of shopping bags now that most supermarkets don't supply them free.
  11. Oh, Cerise, I have also suffered the Dutch camping-cars. We held a meeting for H-Van owners here. Limited to 60, book in advance. Three days before the start date (when we had 'real' guests in the gite), two Dutch vans turned up, accompanied by two more campervans, at 8am (we weren't up). Our house, gite and barns are around a central courtyard with a lawn in the centre. They set up on the lawn, with tables, chairs, children playing games, shouting and shrieking. They hadn't booked for the meeting, and we sent them away to the nearest campsite. Fortunately the gite guests were collectable vehicle fans and were quite fascinated. Never saw that lot again, but on the start date the deluge began... The general idea was that people come in their H-Vans and camp INSIDE them, not bring supplementary campervans, tents, gazebos and shower tents. The English, German, French and assorted others managed this quite satisfactorily but the Dutch each managed to take up five designated spaces each. Had to ring our neighbour to extend into his field... and still they came. Never again - a group of Dutch children were found fishing in the kind neighbour's Koi carp pond (fortunately before they'd caught any), they kept trying to come into the house to use our bathroom, and one even had the temerity to have a heart attack... I have had some wonderful Dutch guests, and they're lovely people, but they are notoriously tight - in 2005 (the most recent figures I have handy) the Dutch made up 15.3& of arrivals in France, 12.9% of the overnight stays, but only 5.4% of receipts - here are the top three by arrivals (the table might not work): Country                        Arrivals         Overnight  Stays      Receipts   UK and Ireland             19.7%             18.7%                   15.5% Germany                        17.4%             17.6%                   11.2% Netherlands                      15.3%             12.9%                   5.4% The US, in contrast, are 3.6% of arrivals, 4.9% overnight stays and 13.4% of tourism expenditure!
  12. [I] < Look, there's another one! Aha, that's where I could put all the strangely-shaped tins that seem to have accumulated on my kitchen shelves!
  13. Ours today had "a problem following the directions". (They've worked for 19 years for people who can read.) The directions say to follow the D# to C****, then, opposite the church, turn onto road D##, direction B*****. The road passes straight through the town and the church is a big pointy building on this main road with just one road leading off opposite. But they evidently couldn't / didn't read, as Mr asked me if I'd be back next weekend to give them the deposit back. Erm, we live next door - the property description says so... And they have two teenage girls which always makes me fear for the septic tank. Those little computer thingies in cars don't do us any favours either - people either put in the name of our commune, and ring up from miles away (the written directions say DON'T go there, it's just part of the postal address) or they put in the name of the hamlet, there are dozens with the same name even in this department. And I had to change three of these today [I] [I] [I]. (Just wanted to use a smiley [:D].)
  14. [:D][quote user="cooperlola"] Funny all this because in all the years I've been renting property for holidays I have never been met on arrival by the owners!  This doesn't bother me at all so maybe it's the answer for all of you who have this problem.  Just leave a key somewhere pre-arranged and get on with your lives.   You can always pop round some time during the stay, maybe the next morning?[/quote] We all choose different ways of doing it. I prefer to meet the people - we're next door, the main house and gite being two of the buildings around a central courtyard. I don't want people turning up when I'm out, thinking our house is their holiday home*, or poking around in the other buildings, and I prefer to establish a rapport with them as they're going to be living next door for a week or two. I want them to know how things work - many haven't encountered double-locking doors, twisty window-openers, French pull-up waste thingies on the basin, weekly rubbish collections, etc. And, of course, the dire warnings about putting unsuitable items down the lav [+o(]. If I didn't do the guided tour I'd have to have notices stuck everywhere - not nice, and people often don't read anyway. *And, despite having seen photos of the property they're about to stay in, and, presumably, the booking having been made partly on the strength of its appearance (the first thing people respond to in an ad is the photograph), we had one family move into someone else's gite ½km down the road. They unpacked, put their food in the cupboards and fridge, started cooking, sat the kids down to watch TV, apparently not having noticed it was an entirely different cottage with a different number of bedrooms. When the 'real' occupants turned up an hour later there was a bit of an altercation (which we weren't aware of as we were patiently waiting...). So the first thing I do is check their name! [quote user="cooperlola"]You'd have to pay me a small fortune to persuade me to do it.[/quote] Oh, it's fine most of the time. We're just letting off steam amongst people with similar experience[:D] . [quote user="cooperlola"]Re mobile phones.  It costs a lot to use one abroad so maybe this is a factor in people not ringing if they're late.[/quote]  Not much compared to the overall expenditure, and it's far cheaper than it was a few years ago. Sorry, but that is the one thing that really riles me - all the others are simply 'grumpy old woman' moanings and funny stories. But not telling someone who's expecting you at a certain time that you're going to be four hours late is very bad manners, pure and simple.  
  15. [quote user="Labruyere53"]I haven't got a pin code & can't find a solution. Any ideas??? I have uninstalled & re-installed numerous times but still the same. Have asked on their answer & discussion pages but no replies, [/quote] I've never come across this problem (have been using TL1, TL2 since their inception, and MisterLister before that). Have you tried the TurboLister forum? http://forums.ebay.com/db1/forum.jspa?forumID=34 I can't find any entries searching 'pin code' on the forums - where did you post your query? - so it may be worthwhile your posting a topic there. On the other hand, it may be nothing to do with TL, but maybe the PayPal 6-digit security code - anything useful here? Have you set it up in your PP account? https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=xpt/cps/general/PayPalSecurityKey-outside
  16. [quote user="cassis"]You're lucky - makes a pleasant change from all the people with fouines in their attics. [/quote] [:D] You must not do that. It does disturb OH late at night when I guffaw loudly. [quote user="cerise"]Anyone know which bit of afternoon 10.00 am is.  Person arriving 'late afternoon' Monday has just informed be that she is arriving 10.00 am.[/quote] At least she took notice. Our arrival time is 4pm - 8pm. Had people say they'd arrive at 1.30pm. Told them no, 4pm - 8pm. They arrived at 2.15pm. I hid [6] (then continued sorting out / cleaning / bedmaking through the back door while they waited until 4pm out on the front lawn, aagh). [quote user="cassis"]So ... about this drunken barbecue ... do you really think that was a proper way for you to behave in front of the guests?[:-))][/quote] Yes, absolutely, it's the only way to cope sometimes [B]. It was a good night, though - we even had a gatecrasher, no mean feat in the backside of beyond. Chap staying in a house about 2 miles away heard us playing music and turned up with his guitar!
  17. [quote user="betoulle"] - why can't they ever phone to give you an idea as to when to expect them?????  If nothing else I would like to know when I can start drinking...[/quote] This is the one thing, in nearly twenty years of doing it, that still, to put it mildly, puzzles me. Does it not enter their heads that we're real people, who might possibly have a social life? (Well, not much of one, but if there's any, it tends to be Saturday evenings in the summer.) Contract states arrival between 4pm and 8pm, they phone a few days before arrival, they say 5.30pm, I say please let us know if you're going to be any later (or earlier), they roll up at 9.30pm saying "Oh, we thought we'd have something to eat on the way!". Yes, well, I haven't, because it's waiting on the table at my friend's house 15km away. And I've been sitting around near the front window in my best clothes for four hours when I could have been a) out enjoying myself; b) doing something useful; c) walking the dogs who are used to doing it a few hours earlier. There's no excuse nowadays, everyone has a mobile phone. Lee&nik, this is the forum section for gite owners. We like to moan amongst ourselves. We have things in common to moan about. We are also capable of pasting a big smile across our faces and doing business in a professional and friendly manner. When you own a gite, come and join in.
  18. Absolutely agree with the others above who said he's on the defensive. We had this a few years ago, from a couple who broke the door off the cooker. We didn't deduct anything, the cooker wasn't new, wear & tear (wish we had, after the ensuing correspondence). After their return they wrote the long letter on their return to the agency through whom we were letting, detailing everything that was wrong, the first being "the oven door was broken". They also said the windows were too small (it's a 17th century cottage, not a Costa del Sol apartment), there was no shower curtain (surprise, surprise, there's no shower!) and that a bed they did not use 'would have been uncomfortable' (???). When they arrived, they were arguing, we heard more arguments during the week, she had a face like a weasel sucking a wasp. Mr W. said: "I suppose all the restaurants are French, don't they do English food round here?" and upon hearing that my lawnmower was playing up: "I suppose it's a French lawnmower!" Mrs W. left a comment in the visitors' book "Depressing area". Truth was she'd been dragged to Normandy to view the D-Day beaches when she'd rather have been sunning herself on the aforesaid Costa del Sol (though I expect something would have been wrong with that, after all, it's Spanish), and they attempted to get a refund. What they got was a flea in the ear. Agencies are well-used to spotting 'professional complainers'; ours states in the contract that any issues should be reported to the owner/caretaker at the time (we live next door), if they can't contact them then to ring the regional rep. The 'professional complainers' never do this. Genuine problems will be brought to your attention when they occur. Ignore it - they can do nothing as long as your contract is sound. Take your deductions before returning the balance of deposit, that's what it's for.
  19. we have a large pile of sand in our garden for building work we are doing so we will call it a sand pit for these visitors Just be sure there's no cat crottes in it... (and that they don't spread it all over your yard so it's unusable...experience speaking). A moaning thread! I love moaning threads! *waits for all the affronted people who ask: 'Why do you do it if you hate your clients so?* When we did B&B we often had overspill from a lady who was far better situated for passing trade. One day she sent us a family of Italians. They arrived. They inspected all the rooms (3) thoroughly. Thye looked inside and under the beds and behind the wardrobe. They asked me to remove a small spider web. They all went to the lav. They all washed. They then got into their cars and said they were going out to eat. I insisted they leave their suitcases here. They stayed one night. I rang recommending-lady the next day - "Haha!" she said. "Fussy buggers, weren't they. I got fed up with them and sent them on to you!" On the other hand she once sent us a Dutch couple on a large motorbike for one night (she didn't fancy them, either). They stayed 10 nights, delightful people, and the lady even cleaned up someone else's sick after a rather alcoholic barbecue. But we all remember the problem ones...
  20. [quote user="Diana Middleton"]Can you remind me of the percentage and  should I add this on to my tariffs? [/quote] No, as the previous poster said, the very opposite - you must put "TVA non applicable"! You cannot charge TVA unless you are TVA-registered, and you cannot be TVA-registered without proper business registration. A TVA-registered business in turn cannot be registered under the micro-entreprise  tax regime, it must be régime réel (simplifié or normal). What you must do, however small the enterprise, is register with your local mairie. There are several other threads about this, the new rules came iin last year. Here's one: http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/1191626/ShowPost.aspx And here's another: http://www.completefrance.com/cs/forums/1208171/ShowPost.aspx
  21. Whether they're in the UK or France, they do have to be (should be) registered as letting agents when letting properties situated in France as agents; the law was tightened three or four years ago. For instance, thiis resullted in the Holiday Cottages Group (whose brands include French Country Cottages / Cottages 4 You / Blakes / Welcome Holidays / Chez Nous / Individual Travellers Company / French Life / Stillwells / EasyCottages etc.) creating a French umbrella company - Vacation Rentals SARL. These are all perfectly legal above-board agents. It's not legal for any agent to take more than a 25% deposit (on the price of the holiday or a holding guarantee deposit) any earlier than six months before the start of the holiday, so they'd be on a sticky wicket there, too, if they (the site discussed in the previous posts) are taking the whole amount in advance
  22. [quote user="cassis"] The first one, in the North, is called Rxxxxxxxt and costs £325 high season with this site; if you go to the personal site of the gite in question (a Clévacances gite) it is €300 (about £240-ish).  Nice commission! [:D] My initial questions would be do owners know what is happening and have they given permission for their photos to be used?  Because in the case I've quoted the images are identical to those on the owner's site. I can't see anywhere on the site where owners can apply, so I guess they have garnered the details from other sites.  [/quote] Blimey, what an eyesore of a site! If the owners don't know (have gone through those in my area but don't recognise any) I wonder how the booking process works? And whether the owners of the site (they are in Burnley, GB according to Whois) are registered as letting agents in France (which is a legal requirement when advertising and taking money for others' properties)?
  23. Well said, Callie [:)] Just an additional observation - in case anyone was wondering - it is absolutely legal to cash a deposit cheque. I can probably find the relevant bit of legislation if anyone really needs to know.
  24. Actually, I rarely bother. I usually find some reason to wander into the kitchen - if that's clean and tidy the rest is normally OK. I ask if anything's broken / been broken / not working. If I do check, I just scuttle off by myself (most guests are prepared for this, many having booked through an agency who state that an inspection will be carried out). If I think there might be 'issues' with the bedding, I whisk the covers back - "Just checking you've not left any little socks down the side - I'm always finding those!"   (I did find a dirty grey full-length corset once. In August [+o(]. Didn't contact them to send it back...)   I don't mind if the beds are stripped or not, it's a job that takes only a few seconds (and quicker to check if still on the beds.) I have mattress protectors, but also another cover over them under the bottom sheet, so it would be a bother for them to undo the whole lot just to remove the protectors.   I do tend to assess whether they might be the type to leave a mess (judgemental, I know, but you can usually tell if people are housetrained![:)]) - in the last three weeks, I've had one 60-ish couple with their similarly-aged female friend - foresaw no probs, they left it immaculate. Ditto the couple last week, 50-ish - she mentioned during a conversation that she works as a part-time cleaner in addition to her other job. Left immaculate again, plus a box of chocs [:D]. This week I have two younger couples with two very small children - so I will check round, children can be sticky!   Having said that I've very, very, rarely had a problem, but I am on-site and usually have a chat with guests during the week. I do have a 'Before you leave' checklist - not draconian, mostly reminders. Apart from: "Please ensure that the property is cleaned before leaving (as stated in your contract), paying particular attention to the bath, lavatory, basin, sink and cooker", most of it is things such as: ~ Check that you’ve not left a CD or cassette in the player. ~ Check behind doors and on pegs for coats and jackets. ~ Check the washing line, washing machine and garden for clothes and toys. Everyone works out their own way of doing things, and it also depends on the set-up - whether on-site or not, using an agency, using a caretaker, etc.
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