Consumers Speak: London Flat Rental Flippancy

Reader JP sends this frightening story of a rental gone wrong, just hours before a flight across the ocean.

On August 22, 2005, I booked a two bedroom, two bath apartment in London with
a company called Connections Management Group, in Ogden, Utah. It was for five days for our Thanksgiving holiday. They immediately charged my credit card $765 (half of the amount) and the next month, charged the remaining amount.

This was
going to
be a big family event because my daughter lives in London and the rest of my family was flying in to join us. I explained that I needed a space with a decent kitchen in which to cook and a dining room to serve
12 for dinner
and the next day, I planned on inviting several friends over for leftovers and drinks. They sent us digital pictures of a lovely flat in Sloane
Square once owned by the dancer Rudolph Nureyev. We booked it
and we sent out invitations, made an electronic market order
for the food, etc.

We were flying over on Tuesday night. Up until that day, we continuously received emails saying that they were expecting us, what the procedures for entry were, etc. On
Monday afternoon, we also received an email saying “So sorry, there’s a problem with the flat and it has been double booked, so you are out.” To say that I was livid was an understatement. And to have been notified in such a fashion was the height of unprofessionalism.

When I called asking for Thomas Moore, I ended up speaking with his son, Thomas, Junior, who had booked the flat in the first place. He said the other couple was
already in the flat and it was just too bad, implying that they had booked for a longer time. Forget the fact that I had done this three months earlier. He also said he had worried about it all weekend (which would have allowed me more time to work on the problem) but he said he was so upset he couldn’t call me. Finally, I asked to speak to his father who
literally screamed at me
that I shouldn’t be
bothering him. He ranted on about how this never happens. (Later I learned from other agencies that this is far from the first time for them.)

The son then sent two options—neither of which suited our purposed. One
looked like a black and white Holiday Inn, the other was a private club. Neither had the facilities for us to entertain our guests. After several more calls, the son
suggested I
call other
two other agencies.
then spent the entire day before
leaving trying to work out the problem and, while solved, it was not what we had anticipated and we had to
notify all the guests, purveyors, etc.

When we returned, Mr. Moore said, “Of course you will get all of
your money back right away. In fact, he said,
he had
“already issued a credit to my card”. In checking my card, no credit appeared for a month. After several more calls, he then said, “Oh, the bookkeeper sent a check because it
cost him too much money to credit my AmEx. Several weeks later, we finally did receive a check after some more lies.

This man and this company are loathsome and hopefully no one else will be duped into using them.