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Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Toronto
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Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

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? )

East Gwillimbury...
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73 reviews
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1. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Hi Elliott and welcome to the forums!

Having said that, let me just say, "wow". It sounds like you had a real rotten time there, but you just had a full-on, melt-down rant about the place.

As a suggestion for you: Info like that is probably best served for you and any other potential, future guests, to post that info as a "review" instead of a forum post, as this post will disappear into near-obscurity very soon, whereas a proper hotel review (even as a cut and paste of the above) will last...forever...for everyone else's future reference of this place.

Hope your next trip is better. Cheers!

Toronto
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9 posts
8 reviews
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2. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Hi - Tried a "review" first, but TripAdvisor declined as they only post reviews for properties they have listed on their site. So, I put it here on their suggestion..

Edited: 16 October 2010, 09:22
West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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86 reviews
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3. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

"...they only post reviews for properties they have listed on their site."

Hi Elliott;

Most of the listings on TripAdvisor are submitted by users themselves. Visit the Help Centre page “How to alert us of an attraction, restaurant or accommodation listing we don't have”. The last line on the page reads;

"To write a review or request a new listing, click here to get started." You need to click on the "click here" in blue text, on that page.

tripadvisor.com/help/how_to_alert_us_of_an_a…

Best Regards

Toronto
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9 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Thanks for your suggestion. I tried - but -now TavelAdvisor says: Note: To be listed with us, accommodations must offer multiple rooms/units at one specific address, have daily on-site staff, and can accommodate more than one party of guests at a time. This includes hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, hostels, resorts and more. Any ideas?

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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72,934 posts
86 reviews
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5. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Hi Elliott;

TA has created its own standardized definitions of what each accommodation category is. I would suggest visiting the Help Centre page "About different kinds of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor” which explains how TripAdvisor categorizes the accommodation listings.

tripadvisor.com/help/about_different_kinds_o…

From what you've posted, it sounds like the property would be considered "specialty lodging" by TA's definitions.

Best Regards

Toronto
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9 posts
8 reviews
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6. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Thanks for your help - it went through (subject to review as "guesthouse"). If that eventually fails I'll try ?"speciality housing" as you suggested. Thanks again - much appreciated.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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72,934 posts
86 reviews
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7. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

You're Welcome !

For future reference, the Support Forum is available for general "How To" questions and assistance using the TripAdvisor site.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g1-i12105-TripAdvis…

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
47 reviews
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8. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Hi ElliottToronto,

Welcome to the PICTON TRAVEL FORUM.

And I see you are fairly new to TripAdvisor... so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

Yes, TA's Posting REVIEWS requirements for "rental properties" is a bit tricky to understand (although in the past I have seen them sometimes end up in the SPECIALTY LODGING category as my esteemed colleague RESCUE TEAM has noted above).

Still in the long run, it is probably a good thing though that you posted here in the FORUMS as a "heads up" to other Travellers... hopefully folks will do a SEARCH when wanting more info about the rental they are considering and find this topic.

It is my experience that Cottage & Private Rentals are difficult places to monitor (regulate ?) and they certainly fall thru the cracks in regards to a lot of laws (and the ability for one to be protected in regards to their rental dollars).

Which is why I often recommend that Travellers use a “recognized” property management company when considering such rentals (although you did that). Surprised therefore to hear that CHH (County Holiday Homes) wasn’t more professional. Certainly puts up a RED FLAG for me, as I often assist Travellers when making plans for visiting “the county”… makes me wary for sure of recommending CHH in the future.

Thanks for the info.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Toronto
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9 posts
8 reviews
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9. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Thanks for the info..and I've a question for you. How do you access the "specialty lodging", as I've been turned down again using"guesthouse". Couldn't see the category you suggested under accommodations. Also - do I have your permission to send a copy of your note to the PEC Chamber of Commerce & Tourism?

Cheers !

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
47 reviews
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10. Re: Picton/PEC Tourists Beware

Hi ElliottToronto,

I would prefer that my comments not be taken "out of context"... so I would see nothing wrong with you passing on the link to this particular TA Topic in your Letter to the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism for PEC (that is what I would do in your situation). Then they can see the whole picture... your Report & others feedback.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2