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Where do we stand ?


Pip

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This is by way of an sos to the Gite owners on the forum.  My OH and I have just returned from the only awful Gite holiday we have had.  We usually have wonderful times and the Gites have been terrific.  However, this time it was horrendous.  We had booked a Gite for just two persons and expected it to be small but in this instance 'No room to swing a cat' was more than apt.  There was a small kitchen with smaller table and two chairs, a 'sitting room' which was really a short corridor housing just a foam sofa and a small wardrobe with a shower room off (not even a picture on the wall which was less than a couple of feet away !)  The 'bedroom' was a dias and the bed was just a few inches off the ground on a wooden plinth (there was about two inches either side of the bed from the walls so we had to crawl up the bed to get in - no mean feat when we are both well over the age of fifty !).  To get to the 'bedroom' there was a set of four wooden steps and small platform with no balustrading (in fact the Gite owner warned us to keep the light on at night so that if we needed to go to the shower room there would be no accidents !).  There were less than basic crockery and utensils, a battered fridge and an even more battered washing machine (completely useless as there was no provision for drying clothes by way of a washing line or pegs etc.).  Also it appeared that the Fosse was leaking and every time we went to the car we had to pass within a couple of feet of it and it stank (you could actually see matter leaking from it). 

Under normal circumstances we would have just got on with the lack of space etc. but what really bothered us was that the place was so damp.  The smell hit us the moment we entered but having noticed that not a window was open we thought that it would die down after 24 hours when it had had a good airing (I couldn't even bring myself to unpack our clothes).  Not so.  The bedding was damp and although we kept all windows (2) and doors (2) open from the moment we arrived, after heavy rain on the first night (we were met with a great pool of water under the back door the next morning) it went from bad to worse.  Even our towels used after a shower didn't dry before the next one ! The Gite was also not well maintained as there were handles missing off most of the kitchen cabinets and two of the electric sockets were hanging off the walls with wiring exposed and the socket for the pull cord light in the kitchen had come away from the ceiling and also exposed wires. (I shudder to think of any child staying in the Gite). There was also a plethora of creepy crawlies to keep us company and I have never seen so many huge centipedes, spiders and beetles anywhere ! 

We had arranged to be away overnight to visit a department further south on the fourth night (we had informed the Gite owners of this prior to our visit) and when we returned our towels were still damp after two days and everything was clammy.  By then OH had had enough and said he couldn't stay another night.  While I got our stuff together and cleaned and tidied he went up to dispose of the rubbish and see the owner to tell him that we had to leave.  OH informed him of the damp and his answer was that there had been a problem but he thought they had sorted it !  Suffise to say that there were no apologies and no mention of a return of our £70 security deposit !  The wife was not home (obviously the business head of the two) so we left without it.

I would like to ask how we stand with this ?  We paid £295 for seven days, but were only there for three nights, and the £70 security deposit.  Are we being optimistic to expect the security deposit to be refunded ?  As it is we have had to pay out more money than we can really afford to find other accommodation and had to cut our  holiday short because of the extra cost (and then had to pay £59 to bring our ferry crossing forward).  OH is retired and I have worked hard all year to afford this holiday so we can ill afford to lose the £70.  I am really depressed and think I need another holiday - fast !!!!!  Any advice greatly appreciated !

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Hi Diva

Although we did nothing wrong it is just  a feeling that we will have to fight for our security deposit.  Anyone who can fob people off with sub standard accommodation is not going to worry about taking people's money if they can and now we are back in the UK it is more difficult for us to pursue it.

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Pip

This sounds a dreadful place and an utter disgrace. Were the owners French or English? Did you book it through an agency, travel company or  independently, small ad. or on the internet? If it was a company / agency then do report the state of the gite to them.

I can see no reason why you should not have your damage deposit refunded.

 

Good luck and I am sure in the future that lots of Gite Owners here would be able to offer you a far better experience.

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This is absolutely appalling - as a gite owner myself I feel that I

must emphasise that we are not all the same!  It is a shame that

you did not complain at the very beginning about the cramped conditions

and the damp.  I can see no reason why they should retain your

deposit - on the contrary, if you honestly feel that it was impossible

to stay there for the full week the you should explain this to them and

request a return of part of your rental fee.  Did you take any

photos of problems like the fosse - or the health and safety

difficulties of the position of the bed?  If you booked the gite

through a brochure or an organisation you should complain to them.

Please don't let this horrible experience put you off booking a gite

for your next holiday - some of us holiday home owners pride ourselves on

offering a quality experience to our cutomers.

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Thank you so much for your support.  We found the Gite on another prominent French forum site and it looked and sounded wonderful !  Yes, we did take some photos, mainly to show family and friends lest they thought we were exaggerating !!  This holiday has been a real shock because we have always had wonderful Gite accommodation in the past and lovely hosts.  The owners were English but rest assured we have not been put off and know that for every bad apple there are dozens of good ones !  We will definitely look at this site before booking anywhere in the future !
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Thanks Dick.  Still no reply to the e mail but we are keeping our fingers crossed.  On a brighter note I have to say that when we went down south during our stay we spent the time at a wonderful B&B. The welcome was warm, the accommodation great and the food was delicious !  Such a shame that it wasn't for longer !
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The owners presumably are the sort of English in France who think they are, or at least have an irrational desire to be, French - no self-respecting proper English person would expect you to live in such a hole. Being pseudo-French, no doubt they will ignore e-mails.

Why not post something on the site where you found it - presumably that has a forum too?

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Hi Will

I have just posted an e mail to the director of the site advertising the Gite in the hope that they will refuse to advertise it in the future.  I was a bit wary of publicly naming the location and owners names on their forum as I'm not sure that this would be allowed.  I hope I will toughen up if the Gite owners don't do the right thing by us!

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Hi Pip god thats sounds alwful, nothing worse than a bad holiday, still at least there wernt any bed bugs !!!, I f you were nearer I'd feed you peanut kitkats till you felt better, well know for use in Insomnias and bad holiays. I know a loverly place you can go next year. if ya wanna know take care . Pads[:D]  
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Pip - it may be useful to know that if gites are not with Gite de France etc they are supposed to be declared and registered with their local prefecture.  Many I know are not, but they are usually left alone unless there is a complaint!  If you don't get any satisfaction from the owners it may well be worth having a moan to the head of tourism  at the prefecture of the department where the gite is located.  People get away with providing substandard accommodation because people rarely complain.  Do follow up complaint to the site where it was advertised.

Very sorry about your holiday.

Best wishes

Maggi

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Pip - it might be worth checking some of the other rental sites for

this hell-hole. I notice that some (French Connections, for example)

have changed their T&Cs to include provision for complaints - two

complaints of the same nature and they will investigate and if

justified will suspend a listing. This is to protect their good name,

of course, and they won't necessarily chase up your deposit for you,but

it might be worth having an ace in the sleeve in case these people

decide to be arkward.

Whether you'd get the unused portion of your rental back...I have a

horrid feeling that unless the owners keel over and cough up straight

away, you may have to resort to the courts. Do you know whether the

agreement you signed was under English law or French?

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