The Sweet Service Award goes to the Delaire Graff Restaurant and its Manager Werner Wentzel, and is nominated by Nick Jones from the UK, who had dinner at the restaurant on Monday. He wrote: ‘We were presented with 2 glasses of MCC (by Alex from Indochine). The meal was superb. When I booked 11 months ago I said that I was looking forward to their fish & chips. Unfortunately they are no longer available on the dinner menu. However, they made them available for Mel & myself. They were delicious & I had to share them with a Swiss couple. There were lots of jealous diners!!!!!!’.
The Sour Service Award goes to NOX Rentals, and is nominated by Judy and Jim Sweeney. They wrote: ‘I feel duty bound to tell people about the terrible treatment we received from NOX rentals of 13 Totnes Ave, Camps Bay. NOX rentals manage a property called Driftwood which is actually unit 14, Roodeberg Complex, Isadore Cohen Place, Camps Bay. My husband and I arrived for a one week stay recently and we were met by Ozzie a representative from NOX. The property is a duplex apartment (it looks nice on Trip Advisor). You will see that the ground floor has large patio doors with direct access onto the rear patio. When we arrived we saw straight away that the glass window was broken in several places, the latch was broken and someone had put up deadlocks in order to secure the door in some kind of fashion. But the deadlocks were also faulty. There was also a 1inch gap in the patio glass doors so as it would be very easy indeed for someone to brake in. Ozzie said the previous tenant had caused the damage but I’m not sure I believe him. My husband asked to be relocated but Ozzie said that could not be arranged until at least 3 days later but not to worry because all the problems were going to be fixed straight away. There was an alarm panel and two armed response team plates at the front door. We reluctantly decided to believe Ozzie and unpacked. By 3 days later nothing had been done so we phoned Ozzie. A man arrived and took a photo of the door and deadlocks and left saying he would be back later. We arrived in at 10pm that night and nothing had been done again. We did not feel safe in the property and were truly starting to believe that NOX were putting their profit line before our safely. When we checked out and at the hand back the lad called Tim from NOX admitted that the alarm did not work and that the two armed response plates were false as Driftwood did not have a contract with the armed response unit. This upset us immensely as we had thought that we at least had an alarm and an armed response if anything did happen. What further upset us was the fact that the complex is not secure as anyone could have just jumped over the hedge at the rear of the property. After we left Camps Bay for Hermanus I contacted Nick from NOX and told him all about our complaint. Nick fully admitted that NOX had not done there job properly and had failed and he apologised to us and asked us to revert to him with a solution to compensation. Great we replied and we even praised him for holding his hands up and not trying to belittle our complaint and agreed that we should indeed feel that our safety had been compromised. We said maybe a 75% refund was appropriate and thanked him for his honestly in dealing with this complaint. That’s when he changed. He started quoting some landlord/managing agent legalities etc etc and only offered 20%. Oh, and a 20% discount voucher off our next stay in a NOX managed property! We declined the voucher and asked for 20% cash instead. He said no and told us to get an attorney if we want to go any further in this matter. So it’s either accept 20% or spend our money on an expensive solicitor’.
Nox Rentals’ MD Nick Taylor replied as follows when we sent him the Sweeneys’ Sour Service nomination, not wanting to comment initially: ‘Further to your correspondence received on 03/03/2014, herewith is our response regarding the feedback you have received from Jim and Judy Sweeney following their stay at our property, Driftwood, between 07/02/14 and 14/02/14. Shortly after arrival, the guests noted that the glass sliding door onto the patio area was broken and the door lock mechanism seemed a bit faulty. The previous set of guests had caused the damage. The deadlocks did work and the door was lockable, but the guests felt as though someone could break through the door with ease. The guests called our 24 hours Guest Relations emergency line and our maintenance team went straight to the property to assess the situation on the Friday afternoon. We proceeded in getting hold of our glass installer subcontractors to attend to the repairs as it required specialist work. We kept on following up with our contractors and couldn’t get a resolution as to when the door would be repaired. On the Monday we were advised that there with issues with the glass cutting and where we were most at fault is that we did not continually update the guests about the issues we had with the contractors. The property is located in the Roodeberg complex in Camps Bay which is secure and access-controlled. We assured the guests that they would be fine, the complex is safe and Camps Bay is generally a very safe neighbourhood. We were in regular contact with the guests throughout their stay and apologised for the inconveniences they were experiencing. We initially believed that we would have been able to have the glass fixed during their stay and unfortunately this didn’t happen. Following the guest’s departure, we were informed by them via their Agent that they felt extremely vulnerable and that they had not slept well for 7 nights. This left them tired and unhappy and they were apparently relieved to be leaving Camps Bay. The guests initially suggested a full refund. We did not believe this to be reasonable and we would happily have offered a full refund had the guests moved out. If the issue was not pressing enough for them to vacate the property, we did not believe that it warranted a 100% discount post stay. After consideration of my initial response to them, and a formal apology from myself for the inconveniences they experienced, the guests then requested a 75% refund. They based this on the fact that Nox Rentals’ past Tripadvisor reviews had generally been good and they understood that things do sometimes go wrong in any company from time to time. We offered a 20% compensation offer to the guests as well as 20% discount on their next stay which they didn’t accept. I explained to the guests that we manage approximately 60 properties, and now knowing their concerns about safety and security, we are well positioned to offer them more suitable accommodation on their next visit in a highly secure property. I wanted to give them the opportunity to have an exceptional experience with Nox Rentals as well as a gesture of goodwill following their experience at Driftwood. The guests then came back to me requesting a 50% cash offer, which I we declined as we are limited in terms of the discounts we can offer with our contract with the property owner. We requested for their claim to be put in writing via their attorney so that I cweld (sic) proceed with negotiations with our homeowner. The guests then asked for contact details of a governing body to lodge a complaint, to which I gave them the contact details for Cape Town Tourism. A day later the guests then came back to me requesting a 40% compensation figure which again we did not accept. After receiving further correspondence from the guests as well as yourself we have made a decision to resolve the matter amicably and the guests are satisfied with our offer of compensation in full and final settlement of this matter. The guests should be contacting you in due course to confirm this. Being in the tourism industry yourself, I’m sure you understand that sometimes guests are not satisfied. We believe that we did everything possible in this case, although our communication was not ideal. Happily the situation seems to have been resolved amicably, and hopefully that will be the end of it’. We did not receive any further communication from the Sweeneys to confirm what NOX Rentals wrote!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage