Wednesday 8 December 2021

I'll take the service, please and keep the compensation

A failure to do

Compensation: the refuge of service providers after the efficient display and demonstration of ineptitude and incompetence in the provision of an advertised and vaunted service you first can afford and pay for, that they have so failed to deliver, you are left both speechlessly askance and quite livid with rage.

You might think I am on the roll with regards to compensations in December, for at first, it was with my laundry service provider, LaundryHeap, with a laundry and dry-cleaning turnout of 24 hours, picking up and dropping off your clothes at your home.

A willingness to fix

When I used that service in mid-November, 20 out of 58 clothing items were returned in the service window, the rest involved a back-and-forth that ran for 4 additional days with a £10.57 compensation offered at that time.

Blog - Laundered to distress by Laundryheap

I was utterly dissatisfied even after using the service for years, and I resisted posting a review apart from what I posted on my blog, keeping my counsel and holding my peace. Then out of the blue on the first of the month, Laundry Heap contacted me to refund the full-service charge for 38 clothing items that were not returned within the 24-hour service window. It amounted to £184.50.

My globetrotting baggage

Moving on, we had a situation where I arrived in Cape Town 40 hours before my baggage which from the assurance of the captain on my Air France flight from Paris to Cape Town indicated our delayed departure was to allow for baggage to be loaded on the plane. The aircraft left Paris with less than half the baggage of the passengers that boarded the plane when we stood at the carousel a few minutes before 23:00 local time.

Blog - In flights of intermittent piquancy

We learnt that baggage had been left behind before each of us got emails from Air France informing us of the possible circulatory route our baggage would take to be reunited with us by Sunday, we having arrived on Friday night. After filling in a Property Irregularity Report with information of where to deliver my baggage, if and when it arrives in Cape Town, I took to Twitter to follow up on the progress.

My baggage made it to Amsterdam on Friday night and then was put on board a plane in the morning from Amsterdam to Cape Town, to arrive just an hour short of midnight. I heard nothing more and could not contact the office in Cape Town nor leave a message as their mailbox was full.

A disorderly organisation

I assumed my baggage was already in Cape Town, so I made for the airport and through some security to a desk where I was informed my baggage was on the way to my Cape Town address without anyone having contacted me to update me of that situation. It transpired my baggage was still on the airport premises, I collected my 3 suitcases and signed for them.

I then returned to Twitter to remonstrate, wherein I was given a link to claim some sort of compensation. You wonder what for? The T-shirt, the pair of shorts and the sandals, I got to just not be overdressed for summertime in Cape Town?

Then I got a call from Air France to my South African number where I was offered a maximum compensation of £85 and 8,000 Air Miles. I could quibble because the last time Air France forgot to keep my baggage on the same itinerary and schedule as I was, they gave me 10,000 Air Miles and it was a journey to Bucharest and I was reunited with my baggage within 24 hours. But for the fact that I was a premium rate customer with a Platinum Flying Blue card meant this was throwing pennies at me to compensate for pounds of distress. I was unimpressed, we soldier on.

An apartment apart in chaos

Then, we are left wondering what attracted us to the apartment we are staying in for 28 nights in Cape Town because we were no doubt taken in by the glossy pictures and that was about it. The letting agents that injected themselves into the process after we booked the apartment on now have to earn their keep because they have heretofore been sitting pretty and indolent.

The agent who was supposed to meet us to show us around the apartment was not available because of car trouble, then on entering the apartment, we began to see that so many things were not as stated in the details we read about this place. There is a lift in the building even as the material suggests there isn’t as there is a bathtub in the bathroom when we were informed it only had a shower. How do you miss that, except if you have never bothered to visit the property under management?

No cooks ever cooked here

There is no microwave oven in a 21st Century apartment leaving you wondering if anyone who ever stayed here ever ordered or takeaway or even tried to cook anything with the aluminium pots that had no handles and lids without holders, it got worse when I tried to prepare a salad and there were no kitchen knives.

The wardrobe with two 1.5m rails only had 3 clothes hangers, and though the apartment had a washer/dryer with a 7kg/4kg weighting for the respective cycles, there was no clothesline and there is no vacuum cleaner in the apartment. Considering this is the 5th apartment we are staying in since we started visiting Cape Town, even we are left astonished that this is the first time we have ever had to complain about where we are staying.

We always try to create a home away from home experience with fully domesticated living, but this is at a stretch difficult in this apartment without considerable remediation that the agent has informed us the owner of the apartment would sort out, we just do not know when and it is the 5th day of our stay.

Get it right the first time, thanks

Now, this is my view of the issue of compensation, I do not need it, what I need is the service I paid for delivered to the standard and better of what was advertised without my need to complain, except to be appreciative and commend whoever and the service provider for their excellent service.

In fact, you can never fully compensate for a failed or below par service apart from paying back everything with a little more for the distress and inconvenience suffered. In my view, LaundryHeap went the furthest in the compensation stakes, Air France has not acquitted themselves well for the fact that the captain knew he was leaving France without our baggage and that it took that long to get things back to me.

Then 6 hours after I collected my baggage from the airport, I received a message from Air France indicating my baggage had arrived in Cape Town and will be delivered to my address. Honestly!

As for our apartment, we are expecting to be surprised if any of the issues were raised gets sorted out. One thing the agency and the owner of this apartment should avoid is a negative review because I will be honest and that is just the way things are.

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