Well, I had been lucky till I found this hotel on Agoda.com from the photos it looked nice, just a street away from the beach, idea for a 3-5 day break by the beach, or so I thought. I booked this hotel on line the company looked British due to the phone number being a London one, so I said OK and booked it. When I got there the room I was booked into had 2 pools of water (I think), a horrible smell that was disgusting and the uncovered mattress were soiled to the point that they should have been burnt a log time ago.
I was with the manager and pointed towards the floor and said what are these – his reply was I will clean it for you, well it should not have been there in the first place, the water was not from a sink or pipe as there were none there, also they were too far away from the door to be rain water as it had been raining quite hard. I asked for another room, he said I can have a private room but its extra money, at this point I should have walked away and forgotten about the money I paid (it was not a lot). But I briefly negotiated with him a price, then he said I must find out talk to my manager, quite why, in fact what he did was phone Agoda.com and they DID NOT CARE that the initial room was unfit for human habitation and sleeping on the street would have been cleaner, so what did they want me to do is buy an upgrade room package, e.g. pay more than I had already negotiated locally for a private room. They did NOT listen to any of my concerns at all, in fact they did not care about me, just wanted my money.
I said to the so called manager, that I do not want their price of an upgraded room and handed back the phone to them. I went and saw the room they were offering, on first glance it looked fine, so I said OK, and paid the extra money. I put my stuff in the room and tried to settle in, again it looked OK then. However it was a raining night so did not go out very far except for food etc, I had a few movies to watch on the laptop, so settled down to these. Around 11.30 I had a shower and wen to bed, but at around 1am I was itching like hell, there was something wrong with the bed, or I had been bitten by mosquitoes, in fact it was both Bed Bugs and Mosquitoes I could not believe it, I put a towel on the bed to stop them coming onto me, to say I had a restless night, was an understatement, but could not do anything about it at 1 in the morning.
When I got to sleep I have no idea, but woke around 7.30 covered in bites, and within 15 minutes I had decided to get the hell out of here, so showered, and got some local breakfast and came back to pack. But I was wondering where the mosquitoes were coming from, I looked around the bathroom with a closer inspection, then found mold and stains of all kinds there – I did not notice them there before, then there was a very clever curtain covering a window to the small passage way, and when I looked out, my questions about where the mosquito was answered. The small walkway, was a dumping ground for waste food, dirty water from sinks and goodness knows what else, a mosquitoes heaven, but hell for us Humans. So I got my camera out and started to take photographs, as I was leaving as soon as I could, on my way back from breakfast I had already arranged transport to the Dock to get off the Island. AT 9.00 the manager was no where to be seen, so I wrote him a note, saying why I was leaving together with the keys to the room, by the time I had finished the note and getting my stuff together he arrived and when I mentioned about the bed bugs he looked at me in amazement – surely not, I had bites (shame I did not photograph them), I just gave him they keys and note and left as quick as I could.
Photos from the room
This was at the end of July, and what was meant to be a relaxing 3 day beach time, turn out to be 24 hours from hell. I got myself back to Penang and found a hotel that was recommend and cleaned my stuff from bugs, put cream on it, to top it all I had some diarrhea and stress related illness for around 3-4 days, till I had calmed down from the incident.
After this time, I decided to complain about the hotel to Agoda, about the conditions, and way I was treated, initially I thought the replies I was getting from them were OK, but they offered me 7% refund – to me this was an insult and was incensed by this paltry offer. I said they are not going to pass me by on this one, what about my stress and illness I had due to this hotel?.
To cut a long story short this is an ongoing battle with them, as I have not even had a sorry out of them, well they did offer me some form of compensation and that was points on their system that was worth $100, but after this experience would you ever use this company again, I do not think so, I told them that, and I have sent them many emails, and they are now staying silent, as they cannot be bothered to deal with this compliant.
I had enough and started to search the internet on who owned Agoda and where it was located, well I found it was a Thai company based in Bangkok, NOT a UK company as I was lead to believe. Then I found out that this company was owned by Priceline.com based in the USA,. Which was good then I might have some redress from them, due to their consumer laws and genera good customer service. Initially I was getting some reasonable replies, then they got longer apart and basically they are now not talking to me, quite why I do not know, as all my emails have been polite asking for an answer to my questions, plus an apology. So far nothing.
So I said to myself another tactic is required, so the picture above, was made into postcard and sent to the 2 contact wanted to contact – again nothing, I have now sent this to the CEO and Worldwide operations director, lets see if I get a result from that. I hoped that if that dropped on your desk with the relevant info on the card, they may sit up and take note to what their company they own in Thailand is doing, its practices are nothing short of scandalous. (there is a lot of info I have left out here as it goes to over 3-4 pages typed text.)
So whats next, well for the past 2 weeks I have been sending them requests for updates, and answers to my initial queries, it has gone way past what I ever paid for the room, it is now down to them apologizing to me and giving me some recompense for my stress and more importantly the illness it gave me as I was leaving. I will keep sending them emails till I get a reply, as it’s persistence is the key here. They could have ended this over 2 months ago with a simple letter and a small payment,but no they just do not answer.
If you look up the Better Business Bureau for them they have over 2500 complaints against Priceline and these are the people who want to complain about the company, what about the ones who just write it off as a bad experience? Could be 10 times that many.
I will keep you posted on this