On August 22 my husband and I (WELL TRAVELED SENIORS WORLDWIDE) checked into a small rental cottage owned by Dave Theakston, 11494 Loyalist Parkway, Picton, Ontario and managed by County Holiday Homes (CHH) in Picton. (Prior to this, we had spent many great shorter holidays in The County over the past 20+ years - always a great experience.) Dave also owns the Theakston B&B in Picton. This complaint concerns Dave Theakston’s rental cottage only. We had rented this cottage for a week, as it listed all the amenities we were looking for : deck, air conditioning in bedroom , oscillating fan to move air from bedroom to main cottage, satellite TV, DVD, VCR ( all important because, due my husbands health problems, he sometimes can’t go outside when it gets hot and requires a cool environment), swimming, water cooler (this was in the cottage because CHH had recommended not drinking the water from the tap).
As it was important that these “amenities” were as advertised we began to check them as soon as we checked in at 3PM. By 4 pm we had a list of things to ask Mr Theakston about, as a note he left asked us to call him with any problems. Guy sat on a chair on the deck and it broke. We couldn’t get the TV, DVD, VCR, Oscillating Fan to work and the water cooler took a lot of coaxing to dispense anything. Mr Theakstons’s response was that we must have done something because when he had left the cottage earlier that day everything was working fine, and he’d meant to take away the deckchair. It was now 4pm Sunday night and he said he was busy at the B&B and this would also be the case the following morning so we agreed that he’d be over before noon the next day to fix things. When he arrived, immediately asked about swimming (his ad boasted that his waterfront cottage was "good for swimming, fishing, boating) but that
day he informed us “no one wants to swim in Picton Bay” indicating that it was filled with weeds and junk. (Even if we’d wanted to brave it, there was literally no way to physically “get to” the water - the cottage had a steep drop off to the water, no access ladder..and a broken dock). As for the water cooler and the oscillating fan – he now claimed the previous tenants probably “ wrecked them. After over half an hour with the TV,DVD he also concluded that the previous tenants had done something there too. This, after during the course of that half hour blaming the remote which he planned to replace, and the satellite box which was “no good”. He did manage finally get the TV working…but only using “Guide” on the Bell Satellite. This meant no DVD or VCR. Then, as he was leaving he added that he hoped everything was going to be okay, as he would be away until the following Saturday – 5 days! (We later learned from CHH once we were home, that this was not true – I can only assume that he just didn’t want to be bothered.)
We returned from lunch that day and settled in to watch TV as it was raining outside. Of course, it once again refused to work. Guy called the Dave and asked him point blank what he was going to do about the situation. The response…”I don’t know” followed by this very mean-spirited and tasteless comment…
“I lost my daughter to cancer last year, and she never complained as much through her long suffering then you two have in the past day”
Guy informed him that we were merely trying to have access to the amenities that which were advertised and for which we had paid - $1200/week for a one bedroom cottage). Dave argued we should be out on the deck – not inside watching TV. Guy repeated the question and Dave said maybe he could get his techie son to come over and take a look. At this point Guy called CHH the first time to advise them on the entire situation (including Dave’s pending absence) , to ask them if any other cottages were available if this didn’t work out (our concern – what if the a/c failed and there was no one to contact). When Guy called back Dave said he hadn’t been able to reach his son, with no offer to try again or come over again himself. (This just before 5PM) At this point Guy advised the owner that we had no choice but to vacate the cottage the following morning, which we did. He then called back CHH to apprise them of this and were advised no other rentals were available. I made a third call to them the next morning to let them know we were gone so an inspection could be done. From this point a series of deteriorating e-mails between us and CHH resulted and they sent a $500 refund to us for our $1200 rental. We initially felt that a $857 (app 2/7 of the original rent) refund would be acceptable even though the promised amenities were not there. However the subsequent unprofessional actions of CHH ( who we contacted 3 times – never a mention that they provided a service to mediate and also effect repair ). Through e-mails first they said we hadn’t advised them when on the premises (wrong) and then they said we hadn’t given them enough time to fix things. (how could we – we didn’t know they offered these services or we wouldn’t have left in the first place). They said Dave had brought his son over the next morning and everything was now fine (?????) . On the Thursday afternoon they said we were free to come back to the cottage. Given the long distance involved and the very short time left when this offer was made, and given the way we’d been treated, this was not appealing in the least,
In conclusion, be wary and read all the small print - CHH (who rent many cottages throughout PEC and take on clients of the high caliber of Mr Theakston, could cause you problems you don't want or need. Many thanks to Joan (CHH) and Dave for making ours so memorable!)
(PS – If you check Mr Theakston’s ad for the cottage now, please be advised that the “good for swimming” has been removed...CAN'T HAVE ANY FALSE ADVERTISING, CAN WE? )