02/09/17 07:15 PM
Re: St. Martin Reservation Centre/Owner Direct Rental

We have finally recovered health wise enough to join in this conversation. JMSH was indeed our client for a modest rental unit in Orient Bay for 4 persons. Unfortunately, the policy regarding use of beach chairs offered by la Playa and other restaurants on Orient beach changed several times during 2016. The policy was not updated on our site and included an offer by the restaurant La Playa for free chairs. The new management of La Playa changed the policy, no longer offering free beach chairs.

The problem is that the chairs belong to the restaurants and not the OB condo owners...the chairs are not now, nor have they ever been part of the condo rental fees. Rather as a rental agent to the guest we do our best to communicate whatever the current offer is from the restaurants to the guests. We state in our vacation rental agreement that these policies are subject to change without notice and are not part of the rental.

To make this more clear, we have now amended the written policy for the budget units in Orient beach on our web site as follows:

"PLEASE NOTE: That neither beach chairs nor umbrellas are included with this rental, however, as a courtesy to vacation rental guests, Bikini Beach Restaurant & Bar will charge for them, and then deduct the rental cost of these items from your tab (food and drink) at the end of the day. Also, a limited amount of paper products and soaps (toilet paper, Kleenex, hand soap, dish soap, etc) will be provided for your arrival, but will not be replenished during your stay, therefore, it is up to the guest to supply these products for themselves after they run out. If the unit does not have a land line or VOIP telephone, a cell phone with rechargeable SIM card may be provided upon request. And lastly, WiFi is free but not guaranteed. Again, these amenities and inclusions are provided as a courtesy and are not part of the rental fee. All are subject to change without notice."

When the final confirmation was sent to the guest, it did not include free beach chairs. When the guests arrived they were met by the current Sprimbarth staff, which had changed 3 times during 2016 and they were not familiar with the prior changes for beach chair policy. The staff informed the guest of the current restaurant policy for free chairs with the purchase of lunch at Bikini Beach. By the way this is the policy of most of the major restaurants on orient beach. The guest did use this policy.

Even though our principal was in the hospital and in recovery and our company was going through a difficult time due to this health crisis, the guest was told on their first call that we would get back to them shortly.

We responded immediately to the complaint about beach chairs and received a response requesting a $200 credit on Jan 16, two days after their departure form the island. Five business days later we responded with an offer to reimburse up to $200 with documentation that these funds were actually spent. This offer was refused under the reason that they should not be expected to provide receipts, even though they were planing to request reimbursement before they decided to not use the free chair option available with the new policy. By way of note, receipts are offered upon request at all of the restaurants. We then offered a $150 credit on a future stay, without any documentation. This too was refused.

The guest then placed a dispute with their credit card company. Once this happens, we must remove all offers to settle this complaint. While the guest has received a temporary credit of $200, at this point we have to wait for the dispute to come to our bank at which point we will have the opportunity to tell our side of the situation and it will be up to the bank to make a decision about the credit.

For our clients who may be reading this feed, please understand that we have offered St Martin accommodations since 1991 to many thousands of guests at St Martin hotels, condos and villas. We process millions of dollars in transactions each year. In these thousands of transactions over the past 25 years, we have had few complaints. When there is a complaint or misunderstanding, we work hard to find a solution satisfactory to all parties.

Most customers are reasonable when attempting to negotiate any misunderstanding. This guest was not understanding when speaking with our staff. The reimbursement would not come from the booking fees but rather as principal owner of this company, I would have personally reimbursed the guest.

We work hard to maintain a high level of customer service to our this case the guest was very impatient even after explanation by phone of the health hardship we were experiencing, along with an explanation that he would be contacted in a few days.

We appreciate those of you in this feed who are in our industry and stood by SMRC. Someone in the feed suggested, that if the guest had been more reasonable in their request the matter could have been resolved quickly. That is absolutely correct, the staff felt the guest was taking advantage of the situation when they refused to provide documentation. We will update you when we get final resolution from the bank.

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