If you read customer-service-at-its-absolute-worse part 1 you will know we had booked a “luxury” spa break in Holiday Inn Reading. The spa began ringing me the Friday prior to our stay, 5 times in one day, I spoke to them in the afternoon, told them there was 4 possibly 5 coming, they told me it was the last time for cancellation, as I didn’t really want treatment (not too fussed on strangers touching me) I cancelled both, so confirmed 4. This didn’t stop them ringing me at 9.45 pm when i was trying to settle a sick child, I had to got through the exact same convo as before, so obviously whoever I spoke to in the day hadn’t written it down, technically it was too late for the 48 hours cancellation, so why were they harassing me ?
The actual break
The day of the break several circumstances prevented us from going, we knew this was a possibility as the reason we needed to cancel a month before was still relevant. So I asked my daughter if her and her friends would like to go, what a massive mistake.
- Daughter arrived about 4, she was told to insert card into machine to pay £50 damage deposit ( this had never been mentioned before).
- Her card has been playing up and didn’t work, she informed them her friend would do this when he arrived and asked could she pay cash or ring me to pay over the phone, NO ! procedure again, common sense would have been to check them in and it the card holder didn’t arrive, then put them out, or at least offer them the use of the hotel facilities while they wait.
- My daughters friend was late so they missed the 3 course meal, He was forced to pay £50 for the empty room too, they tried to argue this, but were told, “pay it or leave”.
- They went to the spa, as I had received an email with ‘extra charges payable’ wrote on it, so told them to double check before having any treatment. They were told there was no charge and the appointments were between 10.30 and 12,30 so attend any time.
- Strange how they could no longer have the 3 course meal but could order food via room service.
- During the 5 hours my daughter was sat in the car park, i tried to communicate with the hotel via Facebook private message, which they read and ignored, the zero isn’t working on my phone and i was the only one in, so couldn’t ring the hotel, I tweeted IHG who appeared keen to help, but just relayed my issues back to the hotel who didn’t care.
- When they arrived at the spa at 10.30 they were told they should have checked in at 10 so had now lost 2 treatments, but had 3 left, which confused them, as 2 cancelled from 4 = 2 left, they were really confused by it all as different staff were telling them different things.
- 2 of my daughters friends had treatment. When it came time to check out they said there were charges for 2 cancelled spa appointments, room service, a tray charge and the treatments actually received,
- In a panic they rang me, at which time they informed me the staff had been hostile to them because of my tweets and had rung their rooms in the middle of the night, but hung up when they answered, I was pretty livid anyway, this made it much worse.
- My daughter put the manager and the spa guy on the phone to me, Considering this hotel had been paid £180 for 6 x 3 course meals which were never eaten, she agreed to take the room service sandwiches charge off, but was insistent they pay the tray charge. She lied to me saying she had offered my daughter food when she first arrived, but said they were eating Mcdonalds, they actually had just a drink in their hand, I was unsure whether it was my daughter or the manager that was lying, don’t know why my daughter would want to miss out on free food, but i also do not expect a manager to lie to me, the liar was outed a few days later when I was in contact with the experience provider, she told them my daughter didn’t check in till 11, which was too late to eat, liars really need to work on their memory.
- When I spoke to the spa, I was told they were being charged £150 for treatment cancelled and taken, they had been told there was no charge and t was the spa that cancelled their appointments, they were also charging for my cancelled treatment, which the harassers on Friday were informed of.
- I was unaware at this time they had threatened the youngsters with the police and told them they would retain their cars.
- The spa guy said he had sent me an email and if I responded with all the problems, they would definitely refund my treatment and possibly the other 2 that were not taken, surprise surprise, there was no email off this man, so another lie,, what a wonderful way to deal with customers.
- I took probably another 20 minutes of trying to explain if they refunded the £150 damage deposit, which they said would take up to 7 days to go back n to the card, then he wouldn’t have enough money on his card to pay this £165 they were demanding, In my eyes this is a civil matter and they were demanding money by menace by threatening these kids with the police. Eventually they agreed to use the damage deposit as payment and my daughter paid the £15 cash, even though they had the ‘has to be paid by chip and pin rule
I believed the spa guy when he said we would liaise and sort this problem out amicably, I was so angry when i discovered he hadn’t emailed me at all. I didn’t believe anything the smooth talking manager said and was not surprised to hear how she had a very bullying attitude to the youngsters.
I contacted twitter again who in a helpful tone uselessly referred me back to the devious manager. they could have resolved this issue and retained a customer by just
A. not charging for services not provided the £50 spa charge
B. Refunding the stinking £15 tray charge, as i told them there wasn’t enough fuel for their return and I had to ring a garage and pay by card to ensure their safe return.
Bare in mind this hotel already had £180 for services not given, then they wanted another £50 for the treatments not given by the worse than useless spa, I was so fed up of arguing even though I have emails saying I had 6 free treatments, we were happy to pay for the treatments received but I really don’t like liars or bullies and certainly do not like being charged for services not received, for the sake of £65 for services not received this hotel would have probably retained customers, and even after all the previous hassles I probably would have left a more positive review, I really cannot believe such a large trusted brand would prefer to take a minuscule amount rather than retain a customer.
I am writing this post to vent y anger so I can move on from thinking about this disaster, as a matter of principle I will never use any of the 3 companies involved again, as trying to pin blame while 3 different people is way more difficult than with 1. Some of the companies were more to blame than others but they are using each other as partners so therefore, should be more supportive, the spa was the worse out of the 3 with total lack of communication, quickly followed by the hotel and IHG as a brand (as they only wanted to pass on complaints, not actually help)
There was a failure in the overall duty of care, well done all involved for the sake of £65 for services not received ( should be adding £180 on to that for food) and little bit of caring customer service and PR, you have definitely lost a minimum of 10 whole families of potential customers, without anyone who reads reviews before booking 🙁