meta content=' knitting, crochet, spinning crafts, storage, yarning4asmile ' name='description'/> Yarning4ASmile: How Not to handle customer service situations in the cabin rental business.

Monday, May 29, 2017

How Not to handle customer service situations in the cabin rental business.


This is about the only time I ever really knitted or crafted in either cabin besides in the bed.

Hello my name is Kim and it is currently 5:36 pm on May 27, 2017. We have been home for roughly 20 hours. We should have only been home for 3 hours at this point.  Recently my family and I took a very much needed trip t the Smoky Mountains, one that I have been looking forward to all year long.  We have been vacationing in the Smoky Mountains for 12 consecutive years.  I have never written a huge post about a trip before but I wanted to share my recent and unpleasant experience with www.TheCabinRentalStore.com. In our 12 years we visited at the beginning 2-3 times a year and in the last few years 1 time a year. During that time we have stayed in only cabins and only rented from the same 3 companies. Two of them I will not be talking about today but I would be more than happy to give you information or reviews of the cabins we stayed in. The one we rented from this past week was The Cabin Rental Store. They rent luxury cabins in the Gatlinburg Tennessee area and have rented from them in the past. We have stayed in Swimming in Seclusion, Swimming in the Clouds and this past time we were supposed to be in Mountain Lake Lodge. 

Before I go any further in my story I want to say that I am a very positive person. I strive to look for the positive in every situation but like anyone else I have a breaking point. I want to get our story out there because I still believe in good customer service. I believe companies should uphold a level of decorum when handling mistakes on their part. I believe the company should stand by every aspect of the agreed upon terms. This did not happen this week. I am not changing the names of the representatives we encountered with the company because I believe you need to be aware of the level of service you are going to encounter with dealing with these individuals. If you are reading this and are a  staff member/management/owner of The Cabin Rental Store please note this is being sent to every single contact I can locate for your company. This will also be posted on every social medium I am part of because I hope this keeps someone else’s vacation from becoming the headache you have caused us.  If you are a owner of one of the cabins I am going to be talking about I hope you consider choosing another company to handle your property in the future, we are done with The Cabin Rental Store.  For every one that reads this I hope this helps you avoid frustration with any upcoming dealings with the rental company. I hope you share this with your family and friends to keep them from having a similar situation as ours.

May 13, 2017 at 9:42 am
 Our vacation began on when we rented our cabin through www.thecabinrentalstore.com. We chose the cabin called Mountain Lake Lodge. We also received our Reservation Folio at 9:43am which included our break down of the cost of our vacation. We were renting the cabin for May 24, 2017- May 27, 2017. The cost per night was $320.71, cleaning fee $166.00, Damage Waiver fee $49.00, Tax $150.08 for a total of $1,327.21. There were 6 of us total going, I, husband, 9 year old son, 6 year old son, mother in law who turns 80 in a few weeks and father in law. We choose this cabin because to be honest almost everything was already booked and we have to have something with a master on the main floor that is easily accessible for my disabled mother in law. She not only has Alzheimer’s but also has an extremely hard time getting around. She has to have her walker and stairs for her are not an option. These facts become a major factor in a lot of my frustration.  I immediately began making list and planning for our adventure. It takes a lot as a mom to make sure everyone has everything. I not only take care of my family of 4 but I also take care of my in laws. I even had a “make sure to pack” and “things to do list before we go list” for them. I am a firm believer in having everything taken care of to keep stress to a minimum. We even decided we could grab lunch before heading to the cabin, drop off the in laws and the boys and then me and my husband would go 9 minutes to the Walmart Neighborhood market to buy some groceries to eat on for the next few days.

May 22, 2017 11:11 pm
 We receive the check out instructions. Every single email sent to us by The Cabin Rental Store are very clear on instructions and check out time.

 May 24, 2017
Check in Day! We are arriving for Anniston Alabama. It’s a beautiful and long 5 hours drive to the Smoky Mountains from our home. We actually go there before check in because we were so excited for our vacation and we knew it gets busy fast and wanted to get some shopping done before the crowds came in. At 11:41 am we decide to grab some lunch at Outback Steak House that is located close to Tanger Shopping center. We choose this location because it was somewhat close to our cabin and we figured after lunch we could hit the outlets and then head out for the 25 minute drive to the cabin and arrive by our 4 pm check in time.  We had just ordered our and my husband’s phone rang. When he answered it Barb was on the other line. I am not sure of Barbs position at the Cabin Rental Store but this is not the first time we have spoke to her. Barb stated “Your Check in time is not till 4pm, our cleaning crew informed us that you are at the cabin.” Lets pause right here in our story from someone who has worked in retail you do not Blame the customer… you address them in an appropriate manner. She did not politely ask us if we checked in early but accused us of doing so. My husband explained that we were actually sitting at Outback and just ordered our food. Barb stated again well someone is at the cabin… again he assured her it’s not us we are sitting at Outback all of us and our two vehicles. She then says something along the lines of I will figure out what is going on and get back to you. He looked at me and it hit me someone was not only in our cabin! Barb did not call right back, we sat there waiting for our food stressed about what we would do if we did not have a place to go. We knew there were not any other open cabins and we had to tired kids and elders sitting before us. Towards the ends of our meal we got a call from a man named Foster. Foster works for the management agency, he explained that the customers who checked in before us were not only still there but not even at the cabin so they could not kick them out. Foster then said they would have to move us to another cabin and that they would take care of us. The new cabin was named Soaring Ridge Lodge. The new cabin was also completely on the other side of town, 34 minutes according to google maps. My husband asked so we will get to stay there the whole time? Again let me say we have 2 kids one 9 and 6, and 80 year old woman who can barely get around and has Alzheimer’s and a 78 year old man. If you have ever been around someone with Alzheimer’s you know firsthand how schedule changes, and stress can affect the individuals.  Foster then replied “No” we would get this cabin for Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night and would need to check out by 10 am on Friday. Foster assured us that he would have the cabin ready on Thursday and we could head to the original cabin first thing Friday morning and not worry about the check in times but we would need to be out of that one by 10 am so they could prepare it for the customers checking in Friday evening.  Reluctantly and without options we agreed.  Barb then called at 1:46 pm and she reintegrated everything Foster had said, that we could stay in this other cabin for two nights check in it at 4pm and again stated we could go straight to the original cabin at ANY point on Friday morning. Barb also again mentioned they would “take Care of us” insinuating a discount for our troubles.  My husband even asked “So we can head over there at 9am and get settled so we could still have the whole day to do what we want?” she replied “yes”.  A few minutes we received an email showing we would get a $100 credit but no explanation of what it was.

After a few stops we arrived at Soaring Ridge Lodge. This cabin was an upgrade from Mountain Lake Lodge. It was 6 bedrooms instead of the 5 bedrooms we had originally rented and it did have an elevator which was a Blessing for my mother in law. It was a truly amazing cabin! After dropping off the kids and in laws the hubby and I set out to buy groceries. When we got back to the cabin the boys were eager to get in the “Hot Pool” which is what my boys call the hot tub.  They were so excited to get in but upon removing the cover we noticed the smell and the green slime at the bottom. It actually smelled like the water from a freshwater fish tank that had not been cleaned in months.This means the cleaning crew never even looked at it before check in. Did the previous renters not get in? When was the last time it was cleaned? This grossed me out and so we would not allow the boys to get in. Now we could have called the management office right then but we did not want to have to deal with having a service crew of unknown people there with us.

May 26, 2017
Our time has ended at Soaring Ridge Lodge. Even despite the hot tub being gross the cabin was amazing. It had everything one could need and want. IT was completely handicap accessible for my mother in law and I highly recommend it. If you are reading this and are the owners of Soaring Ridge I truly appreciate you opening your cabin up for others to enjoy. We got to see a beautiful double rainbow from your living room/kitchen and we made some wonderful memories. Leaving was hard but packing up and getting the kids and mother in law  to understand why we were having to leave was harder. We were now headed across town to our original cabin. Since we could go straight to the new cabin and had to be out of Soaring Ridge Lodge by 10 am we decided to head to Gatlinburg to visit one of my favorite yarn stores. If you are a fiber and yarn lover you need to visit the Smoky Mountain Spinnery! Our plan was to get there when they opened at 9 and then head straight to the new cabin.

We arrived to Mountain Lake Lodge at 10 am and when we pulled up our heart sank. There was a car sitting at the cabin. We pulled up and my husband got out and knocked. No one came to the door. He knocked again… then used the key code to get in. He noticed linens in the floor and called out Hello! Finally a lady appeared a member of the cleaning crew. She explained that the other attendants had just checked out that morning and that they just begun cleaning. She stated that they would need at least 2 hours to clean the cabin, at the same time he was talking to the ladies we get a text from Barb. The text said the original cabin would be ready around 12. Let’s stop again and review the facts.  1. The people who just checked out they were supposed to be out Wednesday morning by 10 am. 2. Barb and Foster both “assured” us we could head straight to our original cabin ANY time on Friday morning because they would CLEAN the cabin on Thursday. 3. Obviously the previous attendants not only were allowed to stay Wednesday night but also through Friday night. 
Standing on the front porch of Mountain Lake Lodge my husband calls Barb at 10 am. He asked Barb what is going on. Barb then acts like she never told us we could check in earlier than 12. In fact she made it out to be our fault that there was a miscommunication and that we did not understand her. Frustrated he asked Barb how they were going to manage to clean a 3 floor 5 bedroom cabin in two hours when in general they allow 6 hours for cleaning. Barb said the cleaning service assured her it would be ready. Again without options we left since we were cabinless . My husband then tried to call Foster but it went to his voice mail. It is important to note at this point we still have groceries in our car from the previous cabin. Since we were told we could go “straight” to Mountain Lake Lodge and we had a full day, night and half a day before we headed home. We then headed down the road to Fudpucker’s for some burgers because we were hungry and had planned to use our groceries to make sandwiches at the cabin. We knew there was no way they would get done cleaning so we went back to Tanger to the Disney store since we were right there.  Foster called back at 12:03pm and stated that Barb was supposed to call us before hand and let us know that things had changed and we could not check into Mountain Lake Lodge until 12. At 12:48 pm Foster calls again and says they will credit us another $100. Yea that’s it a total of $200, so much for them really crediting us for our inconveniences.

It’s now around 1pm and we have arrived at Mountain Lake Lodge. We begin to unload our stuff again. We got all the groceries in side in the Fridge and begin to relax. This cabin has two bedrooms on the main floor and two bathrooms. This cabin if you remember should be very cleaned, we were assured several times that it would be.  Upon moving in the bags we noticed the fruit loops in the floor and picked them up since we did not want them stepped on. Glad they cleaned the floors well smh. My boys then claimed the upstairs rooms since that is where all the fun things were.  Within 20 minutes of being in the cabin we go to flush a toilet and it is backed up. Thank goodness there are others right?? I want to  get in the shower because I am tired. I open the door and there are hairs in the shower floor. I sigh and rinse them down the drain. All the emotions are piling up at this point. I want to relax and lie down and head to the couch. I step on something I thought it was part of my sons Star Wars toys he just got at the Disney store so I go to pick it up. Nope it is a piece of bitten into bacon. Disgusted I throw it away and wash my hands.  My oldest wants to get online however the wifi does not show up. We see another wifi in the area but the password for the cabin does not work. My husband and I are not new to electronics we worked for a electronics retailer for over a decade this was not an error on our part. We again were not going to call because to be honest with we getting very irate with all the “lack of customer service” we had encountered in the last few days. We also did not want to have strangers in the cabin with us. At 2:20 pm I attempt to lay on the couch again. My mother in Law is sitting in a rocker on the front porch. She calls my name I then see a van pulled up to the cabin. A man and a woman get out of the van. I call to my husband and jump up to get to the door. Apparently The Cabin Store thought it would be acceptable to set up lawn service for the cabin while we were there…. Yep you read that right they were there to cut the grass. I was livid. I asked my husband do we need to move our car? I had washed the minivan before we left and vacuumed it. If you are a mom you can completely relate to the awesome feeling of a clean car, it is a rare and wonderful thing.  My husband walks out and asks the man if we need to move our car. He says no and states how he has worked lawn service for a long time. Well he blew grass all over my car! During this whole mess my son discovers one of the bathrooms downstairs on the main level toilet is also clogged. It just so happened to be in the bedroom my mother in law chose. My father in law had left to visit his family in Knoxville a little bit before. Since the front bedroom was located right at the front door she wanted us to sleep there and her to sleep in the back bedroom so she would feel safer. Now we were going to have to share a bathroom. Remember she cannot get up the stairs. We could not switch rooms with her because she would not feel safe close to the door and with her Alzheimer’s were could not get her to remember her bathroom was out of order.  My husband and I looked at each other and agreed  “we are done”. The incidents just kept stacking up. We told the boys and mamaw to gather their stuff back up. We began loading the car yet again. I had the back hatch open because we was loading the car and the lawn crew decided to blow the grass with a blower around my car. Guess what he did he blew grass all in my car!  It was all over the dash board, floors, and in the back where we had bags of things we had purchased.  My husband again called Foster and told him we were done! We told him everything that happened at Mountain Lake Lodge and we were headed home.

In conclusion:
We have stayed in many and I mean many cabins in our 12 years at the Smoky Mountains. I have never experienced the stress and the complete lack of concern for customers like I did this week.  I have never been accused of not following the directions and terms of a rental agreement and was appalled that Barb did so. I have never experienced the complete disregard of our feelings as consumers and  prejudice from a company towards one family vs another. The other family that got to have an extended stay in the cabin we reserved I am sure had a wonderful time but at our expense. What is the point of reserving a cabin if its renters can just stay if till they want? What a complete joke The Cabin Rental Store did to “take care of us”.  With all the shifting we had to do and all the time we spent “Cabinless” we lost about a day of peace. The amount of money they are supposed to credit us does not even cover the amount to rent either cabin for a night. Not to mention they have charged our cabin to our credit card but we have yet to see either one of these credits.

I hope you share this with your friends and family. I hope you are leery of the level of customer service you can expect from www.thecabinstore.com. I hope this company understands this is not what you should do to “take care of” repeat customers.





1 comment:

  1. I do believe that I would contest the charges with the credit card provider.

    ReplyDelete

Please Leave a Comment Here