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Broken washing machine


Marie

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Got a text yesterday from our departing guests that the washing machine wasn't working. Finally made phone contact with them at 9pm last night, to try and work out what the problem was.  They said it worked fine when they used it on Tuesday, but it wouldn't start on Friday.  The new guests phoned this morning to report the machine not working, and when I talked through with them, they think the start button has been pushed in too far! Will get onto manufacturers technical support tomorrow to find out if this is a common problem, and how easy it is to fix, but my question is:  who should foot the repair bill? The machine was in working order when they arrived, (and has only been in use for 12 months), they admitted they had used it, so the damage/fault has occured during their stay. Do we bill them for repairs?

 

Marie

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Sorry Marie but absolutely not.

I take it you are not on site or even anywhere close enough to be able

to sort out any problems and by the sound of it (going purely on the

fact that your guests are contacting you rather, than a maintenance person,

to ensure these kind of problems are sorted double quick) you appear to

have no one checking these things at changeover ? Why wasn't it

repaired or at least had someone look at it before the new people

arrived, when you knew it was broke ?

Pretty difficult to judge what happened from afar. A few days ago, my

wife pulled out the powder drawer on one of our machines and the front

broke away. She didn't mean to break it but it happened, things will

break and often through either a weakness or through wear and tear,

sometimes of course by being careless.

In your case, how are you going to prove how it happened and why ?

Put it down to wear and tear and foot the bill yourself and if you

haven't got anyone, search out a reliable person to do your maintenance

etc.

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Put it down to wear and tear and foot the bill yourself and if you haven't got anyone, search out a reliable person to do your maintenance etc.

Also rapidly get in touch with a repairer to get the machine fixed for this weeks customers and/or start calculating how much refund you are going to give them.

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Miki,

In answer to your points, there was no visible sign of damage when the cleaner went in, and we didn't get any contact from the previous guests until after the new ones had arrived.  It was only when I specifically asked them to look closely at the machine that they noticed the button was pressed further in than the one next to it. Our cleaner is able to contact repair people as and when needed, as she is on hand, and I'll be contacting her as soon as I've spoken to the technical support team at the manufacturers tomorrow.  As regards a maintenance person, we haven't really needed one until now, as the houses are brand new, and we were obliged to contact the building contractor for repairs.  This is the first appliance to break! Fortunately the customers currently in there are fine about the situation, especially as they are only there for a week.

 

Marie

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"This is the first appliance to break!"

It certainly won't be the last and you really can't blame the guests and ask them for a refund. Even living on site it is difficult to prove blame with electrical appliances - they do go wrong, probably often because of mis-use, but proving this is difficult and as Miki says, generally things just has to be put down to wear and tear. Guests do not for the most part treat rented accommodation as they would there own, so things do get broken and damaged more quickly, you just need to charge enough overall to cover these expenses.

Incidentally, how much compensation should be offered if electrical appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers break down during someone's stay? 

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How do you define what would be considered as wear and tear, and what would be the responsibility of the guests? I'm more than a little confused, as a recent thread regarding damage to a patio table produced a lot of replies saying bill the guests for the cost! Where should you draw the line?

As regards compensation, our T&C state that we cannot be held responsible for temporary breakdown, but will endeavour to get repairs done asap. The idea behind the definition of compensation is that someone is to blame, but as you've said, things do and will go wrong - not your fault. I think it would very much depend on what broke down, and how long it was out of action for as to whether any compensation was due or not.

 

Marie

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My dime's worth I am sorry but it would be either :

The Spinners Retirement Tour ( Marton Carthy & Dave Swarbrick) or

Hell Freezes Over (The Eagles with Joe Walsh) before I paid for an accidentally broken domestic appliance in a holiday rental.

If there was a video of me dropping a TV into the swimming pool from the 17th floor ( Jagger Richards) I would pay but not if as is so often the case these days you push the buttons and then wait for 30 seconds before it starts.

In the UK, about twelve years ago, we purchased a matching pair of Indesit Dish Washer and Washing Machine, the same handle broke on both of them within six months of purchase. Once repaired by 70 pence worth of grotty looking B & Q handles they were still going strong when we sold the house. Three separate friends and idiots broke the beautiful Italien tiled in WC by pulling rather than pushing the handle. They did not have a choice about which equipment I installed neither did your guests.

If I borrowed a friend's house or car and accidently damaged it I would expect to pay for putting it right back in pristine condition. If a hired belt sander stops working then it is the hire shop's problem. If the hire shop quoted T & C at me I would ask how they were presented them to me before I hired the item. As a hirer how would I know the switch had not been bodged together with Plastic Padding and Blue Tack the change over before I moved in or worse still moved in from the owners winter quarters.

Sorry if the above sounds harsh and cynical but if I paid Top Dollar / High Season's rent it is how I would feel

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[quote user="SusanAH"]

Incidentally, how much

compensation should be offered if electrical appliances such

as washing machines or dishwashers break down

during someone's stay? 

[/quote]

Why should anything be payable? If something is broken for reasons

beyond the control of the owners then that is just life. I can't recall

the exact phrase we use in our booking form, but we make it pretty

damned clear that we are not going to be blamed for mechanical

breakdown, weather, perils of the sea, strike, lock-out, sizure of

propereties by local or national authority or by those purpouting to

act on their behalf, war whether declared or not, etc, etc. This year,

that included one of the pool pumps, which was out for four days and

left the pool green for four days after (nice hot weather at the time).

What is important, I think, is to make sure that things are repaired or

replaced as quickly as is possible. Delaying things could give guests

reason for a valid complaint.

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We have that clause as well, but let me give you a scenario - if I booked a week house with a heated pool and paid top rate in August, then for some reason the pool was unavailable all week due to the pump not working (therefore not safe to swim in) and no technicians were available to fix the problem as they were all on holiday,  I'd be pretty annoyed as a customer, wouldn't you? Maybe a dishwasher and washing machine are less important, but people pay a quite premuim for having a pool and I don't think they would be at all happy if they didn't have the use of one for their holiday having paid for this facility. 
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I agree with Susan on this (in fact I usually find I agree with most of her posts). We all have clauses in our contracts to protect us from these things but a responsible gite owner needs to be fair to his or her clients too.  As far as the washing machine is concerned, I would say that as long as the new guests have been informed shortly after arrival when to expect the repair man then that should be ok if they will only be without it for a few days. If it's impossible to find someone to repair it at the moment (being August) then I think, if it were me, I would call around with a couple of bottles of wine to apologise.

If you don't live near a gite that you rent out then these sort of things can be very difficult to deal with. This is where you see one of the significant benefts of employing a local gite changeover / management business to look after such things. They will be used to dealing with this sort of thing and know how to handle it and maybe even sort out the repair themselves straight away. A friendly neighbour or friend of a friend who lives in the village won't be able to deal with problems so effectively.

[quote]How do you define what would be considered as wear and tear, and what

would be the responsibility of the guests? I'm more than a little

confused, as a recent thread regarding damage to a patio table produced

a lot of replies saying bill the guests for the cost! Where should you

draw the line?
[/quote]

In general, you will find that most things are wear and tear unless it is obvious that some sort of damage has been done deliberately. You will find that many gite owners don't even hold their guests responsible for accidental damage - like red wine stains on rugs or furniture etc. It's just one of the running costs that need to be factored into your budgets. Regarding the previous comments made about the broken patio table, I think you will find that most experienced gite owners would accept that damage of that kind can happen in exactly the way described (I actually saw one blow over and damage the table last week - and that had a heavy base too). You will probably find that many of the indignant "charge them" replies  came from people who don't run a gite business themselves.

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[quote user="SusanAH"]We have that clause as well, but let me give you

a scenario - if I booked a week house with a heated pool and paid

top rate in August, then for some reason the pool was unavailable

all week due to the pump not working (therefore not safe

to swim in) and no technicians were available to fix the

problem as they were all on holiday,  I'd be pretty annoyed as a

customer, wouldn't you? Maybe a dishwasher and washing machine are less

important, but people pay a quite premuim for having a pool

and I don't think they would be at all happy if they didn't have the

use of one for their holiday having paid for this

facility. [/quote]

....but that was the scenario. Which I presume is your point?

"Compensation" is a slippery slope. Doing what you can to alleviate the

situation is, obviously, the sensible course. A few bottles of wine, a

basket or two of goodies and a clear effort to fix things ASAP is

usually enough to keep people happy. People generally get most p****d

off when they think that the problem isn't being taken seriously.We

were fortunate in this instance that the guests at our other property

entered into the blitz spirit and offered use of theirs if needed. It

turned out to be unecessary as family "X" were here for three weeks and

were perfectly happy to use the beach instead for a few days. But

financially compensating people for thing that are genuinely beyond our control? How long is it before we start coughing up because they get a week of unseasonal weather?

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[quote user="Jon D"][quote user="SusanAH"]We have that clause as well, but let me give you a scenario - if I booked a week house with a heated pool and paid top rate in August, then for some reason the pool was unavailable all week due to the pump not working (therefore not safe to swim in) and no technicians were available to fix the problem as they were all on holiday,  I'd be pretty annoyed as a customer, wouldn't you? Maybe a dishwasher and washing machine are less important, but people pay a quite premuim for having a pool and I don't think they would be at all happy if they didn't have the use of one for their holiday having paid for this facility. [/quote]

....but that was the scenario. Which I presume is your point?

"Compensation" is a slippery slope. Doing what you can to alleviate the situation is, obviously, the sensible course. A few bottles of wine, a basket or two of goodies and a clear effort to fix things ASAP is usually enough to keep people happy. People generally get most p****d off when they think that the problem isn't being taken seriously.We were fortunate in this instance that the guests at our other property entered into the blitz spirit and offered use of theirs if needed. It turned out to be unecessary as family "X" were here for three weeks and were perfectly happy to use the beach instead for a few days. But financially compensating people for thing that are genuinely beyond our control? How long is it before we start coughing up because they get a week of unseasonal weather?
[/quote]

My scenario was one week out of one week booked with no second pool available - if it was for a few days out of 3 weeks, isn't that slightly different? Touch wood I haven't yet had this happen, but I would feel pretty bad about it, even if it was due to circumstances beyond my control! Many people book a property principally on the basis that it has a pool for the kids and not to have one for the whole of their stay would be pretty annoying. That was really my point. I agree totally that compensation is a slippery slope and most things can be sorted out with a couple of bottles of wine, but I'm just not sure in this particular instance. It would be interesting to know the view of guests!

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Eslier said....................

"Regarding the previous comments made about the broken patio table, I think you will find that most experienced gite owners would accept that damage of that kind can happen in exactly the way described (I actually saw one blow over and damage the table last week - and that had a heavy base too). "

"You will probably find that many of the indignant "charge them" replies  came from people who don't run a gite business themselves."

[Www]errm......................................I think you could be wrong!

Looking back through the replies to that topic most of the people who replied are involved in letting out their properties.

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