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I recently paid for, and went on, a holiday to Disneyland, Paris. I took my fiancee for her 21st birthday. Whilst there we had some abysmal service and so when I got back I wrote this VERY long letter of complaint, CLEARLY marked for the attention of the customer services manager, and emailed it to the complaints team on Saturday 14th June:
F.A.O Customer Services Manager
Dear Sir or Madam,
Name: Scott Perry and/or Sarah Mooney (I believe the reservations were in Sarah's name)
Date of arrival: 10/06/2008
Date of departure 13/06/2008
Hotel: Santa Fe, Paris
I returned late last night for a four day vacation at your Santa Fe hotel in Disneyland, Paris. Unfortunately the 4 days were the least relaxing, enjoyable four days of the year, which I am sure you will agree is the polar opposite of what vacations are for. Allow me to elaborate on the problems I encountered.
After a long delay, in which Air France made us sit on an aeroplane for four hours before we took off, waiting for a slot from the striking air controllers in France, without food, drink or even cool air (which I appreciate is not your fault), myself and my fiancee set off on holiday.
On arrival we were given our keys and headed to the room, had a short sleep and set off to the Disneyland Park. All was fine here and we had a lovely time.
However, on our return to the hotel room I took the opportunity to head over to the reception area to book a slot for my fiancee's 21st birthday cake. I spoke with a young lady whose name I unfortunately did not make note of and gave her my red coloured receipt for the birthday cake. I asked if it was possible to book it for the morning, half expecting her to say that it was too soon to be honest. She did not say that it was too soon to be done in fact she said that she would sort it for me right away. She wandered off in to the back, presumably to speak with someone about it (as she did seem unsure on how to book the cake) and returned to the desk. She gave me back the red receipt and said that all I needed to do was come down to breakfast and, on my way in, speak to the people on the Information desk to let them know we had arrived. Whilst I was at the desk I also asked if it was possible to put up 2 A4 sized pieces of paper with embarrassing photographs of my fiancee as a youngster. There was nothing indecent or explicit on said posters, just with the words 'Happy 21st Birthday' on them. She smiled and seemed quite happy to oblige but said that she needed to speak to her manager to see if it was okay. When she returned to the desk after heading off in to the back again she informed me that her manager said I could not do this. Whilst I fully appreciate that the manager was probably of the opinion that it would make the hotel area look untidy or perhaps open the floodgates to allow many others to request a similar thing, I asked if it might be possible to speak to him/her. She again headed off in to the back and returned to advise me that the manager was 'Too busy' to speak to me. (Me, the paying customer who had a very simple query!) But okay, I took that on the chin and thanked her for her help with the cake. I hung some banners and her pictures in the room instead, no problem but not exactly what I was hoping for.
When I got back to the room my fiancee said 'there is someone on the phone for you, something about a cake.' WELL THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR RUINING THAT SURPRISE!!!!!
The gentleman on the phone said to me that it was going to be too early to have the cake ready for 7am and could I make it 8am, which was fine, apart from him COMPLETELY RUINING THE SURPRISE GIFT I HAD BOOKED FOR HER!!! I had no choice but to accept.
The next morning I went to the information desk to say we had arrived and booked a cake. I gave her the red receipt (note that this birthday cake is supposed to be a SURPRISE) and she looked completely confused telling me that no cakes were booked for this morning and that I should also have been given a paper receipt. She asked me to follow her around for 10 minutes whilst she spoke to several colleagues. I understand that she was trying to resolve the problem, but why I had to chase HER around the hotel whilst she solved a problem that YOUR STAFF had caused is beyond me. After speaking with all the colleagues she told me that the cake had in fact never been booked, but that she would book it for me now. To say that I was annoyed would be an understatement!
We returned to the information desk and she asked me where I would like to book it. (By the way, I paid £25.00 for this cake and it was a MASSIVE pain. I had to leave my fiancee on her own on her 21ST BIRTHDAY sitting in a restaurant, eating by herself, with nobody to talk to; hardly the nicest way to spend the first hours of a special birthday.) The lady, whose name again I did not note, asked me where and when I'd like the cake. My fiancee had wanted to go to Planet Hollywood and as your staff told me I could book anywhere, I asked to book it there for about 8pm even though I wasn't expecting to go out for a meal that evening, hadn't planned it and hadn't budgeted for it, and I ended up spending 109 Euros on food/drink!
The lady said that as Planet Hollywood was not owned by Disney we could not book for there, which only added to my frustration as when I booked the cake it did say we could have it at any restaurant in Disney (blatant mis-selling). I therefore asked her to run through the places I COULD book it for and she listed several. I selected Cafe Mickey and booked a table for 8.15pm before collecting the red receipt and another paper receipt with my booking reservation on. I headed off to breakfast.
Again I'd like to point out that I had then to find the money to pay for a meal I had not expected to pay for coming to over 100 euros! This whole situation, which I paid £25.00 for, was less than satisfactory and your hotel manager's unwillingness to speak to me at any point when I requested was insulting, frustrating and quite rude. Furthermore a cost of 109 euros was incurred due to your incompetence.
This unfortunately was not the only issue we had whilst staying at your hotel. Allow me to continue.
Our departing plane was a 9.20pm flight and so we asked if we could extend our stay in the hotel. We were charged 79 Euros to keep the room until 5pm which whilst a little expensive was still okay and I appreciate the service provided in that instance. (I use the word 'service' VERY loosely however, as it actually was more hassle than it was worth!)
We headed for Disneyland and enjoyed the final day, so thank you for that at least. On returning to the hotel we inserted the new key, which should by now have been active. It was not and the red light flashed, leaving us standing in the hallway. I also tried the old key (in fact, we had 2 old keys and 2 new ones, I tried all four) and none of the keys worked. Angry because of the problems I had already had on top of this one, I walked over to the information desk with my fiancee and spoke to another person on the desk. She apologised and issued us with new keys. Still frustrated but happy that she had seemingly fixed the problem we walked across the road to our hotel room and tried again, only to have a red light flash at us, denying us access to the room yet again. I tried both of the keys the lady had given to us.
Extremely angry I headed back to the information desk and told her that those did not work either. She gave me a very half-hearted apology and said she would send maintenance over to fix the problem. I again asked to see the manager and she said that NOBODY WAS AVAILABLE, which I presume is a lie, but either way is completely unacceptable.
As she had not BOTHERED to inform me whether maintenance would take 2 minutes or 2 hours to arrive, I had to ask her how long we would have to wait and she said "5, 10 minutes, I don't know; whenever they get chance." in a nonchalant manner. I left the building and headed back to the room, tremendously upset and frustrated.
When we got there a member of the maintenance team arrived a few seconds later, which was satisfactory, though should never have been required in the first instance - your staff should have the ability to make a room key work. (Surely, page 1 of the training manual?) The gentleman took both keys, put them in and saw the red light flash. He bent the keys in half and gave them back to me 'Kaput.' he said. He let us in with his master key and I asked him how we were supposed to get in and out of the room if we wanted to. He said that we would have to go BACK to the information desk for a new key!
This was NOT a resolution to the problem, I certainly was not heading back to the desk to be given keys that failed to work again and to ONCE MORE be locked out of the room. So my fiancee and I found ourselves locked inside the room now, rather than locked out of it. Hardly an improvement, is it? We paid almost 80 euros for this 'privilege' and the resolution to the problems encountered and the way we were treated was wholly unacceptable.
It should be noted that because of the time this had taken, if our flights had been any earlier we would probably have missed them because of your teams? incompetence. Adding to all this stress the shuttle bus (which again we paid extra for) was late. It should have arrived at 1755 and did not arrive until 1810. This is a petty addition to my complaint but valid nonetheless. I paid extra for a service that I did not receive.
This holiday was paid for as a present for my fiancee's 21st birthday and she was so upset on three of the four days, I really feel like you have taken over £600.00 GBP of my money and done nothing but upset the both of us and ruined her 21st birthday. Not a single member of your staff ever gave a sincere apology for the problems and they all seemed not to care about how many issues we had or how upset my fiancee and I were.
To resolve this issue I expect no less than:
A full refund for the cake purchased (£25.00 GBP)
A partial refund of half the cost of the meal at Cafe Mickey (54.50 Euros)
A full refund of the 79 Euros paid for the additional time in the room as, by the time the maintenance gentleman had locked us inside our own room it meant we only ended up with 1 extra hour at most, not the 5 we paid for.
A full refund of a one way journey on the Shuttle for 2 adults, the price of which I do not know, but I'm sure you do.
Please also take in to consideration the fact that I have also had to spend time writing this lengthy letter of complaint and will also have to wait for your response. If you are unable to authorise the above, please refer this to your Line Manager and/or the person that is able to authorise such a refund.
Regards, Scott Perry
I received a reply the next working day, Monday 16th June from some STANDARD AGENT, NOT THE CUSTOMER SERVICES MANAGER saying: Disneyland? Resort Paris,
16 June, 2008
Dear Mr Perry,
Thank you for your email concerning Disneyland? Resort Paris.
Please know that a reply to their comments will be sent as soon as possible and that in the meantime feedback is being gathered from the operational departments concerned. Everything possible is being done to enable me to obtain the information as quickly as possible. However, as your email concerns a stay booked through First Choice please know that we are contractually obliged to address our reply through their offices.
I look forward to helping you with your concerns.
So number one, clearly she didn't bother to read line one of the email, which is in capital letters saying 'F.A.O. CUSTOMER SERVICES MANAGER' and number two, this idiots reply is completely ignorant of all the points I raised. Not even an apology! First Choice's service was poor, and I've raised that with them, but my issue here was with the service I received whilst at Disney. Exactly what are First Choice going to do about that?!
So, I replied early on the morning of 17/06/2008, being off work sick, with (and unfortunately I didn't retain this email) something similar to:
'My email CLEARLY states in several places that if YOU cannot deal with this yourself ESCALATE THIS TO YOUR MANAGER. Please do this right away. Scott'
I received a reply shortly thereafter from the ASSISTANT MANAGER. Well, it's a step in the right direction, authority-wise, but still no luck tracking down this elusive MANAGER! Additionally, her reply was completely unsatisfactory as well and just re-hashed what her other incompetent staff member had said, but threw in some BULLSHIT about terms and conditions:
Disneyland? Resort Paris,
16 June, 2008
Dear Mr Perry,
Thank you for your further email message concerning your stay at Disneyland? Resort Paris. As Disneyland? Resort Paris has a contract with First Choice, there are certain legal procedures that must be respected. Directing customer correspondence through the Travel Agency is one of them.
This information is mentioned in our booking terms and conditions under section 17.4. Please rest assured that as soon as we have gathered all the relevant feedback a response will be sent to First Choice. First Choice will then contact you directly.
***** ** ****
My reply was:
Point one is that the initial email is CLEARLY marked FAO CUSTOMER SERVICES MANAGER. Not only did your first reply come from a standard agent, but your second reply came from an assistant manager. The letter is clearly not marked for your attention, so pass it to your manager.
The second point is that at NO STAGE during those two emails have I even had the courtesy of an apology for the upset caused, the inconvenience caused, the costs incurred, nothing. Not even a half-hearted "sorry that it has taken us 2 days to do NOTHING with the letter you sent in."
This is the worst customer service I have ever received and I demand that your manager reply fully to my email via his/her own email inbox or alternatively call me on (+44 **** *** ***)
Why do you not apologise to customers who have paid a high price to stay with you and have been let down? Are you not working in a customer service environment? Are you not in the BUSINESS of CUSTOMERS? Or is it that you just don't care. I presume the latter. Your nonchalant approach to this whole fiasco has been nothing short of ludicrous.
Pass this to the departmental manager, I don't want to see you or anyone below the MANAGER replying to this email or calling me.
I hope that is clear.
The next morning, I received a very nice reply from the departmental manager, I was very happy with the following reply:
Private & Confidential
Disneyland? Resort Paris,
18 June, 2008
Dear Mr Perry,
Thank you for your email concerning your recent visit to Disneyland? Resort Paris. Further to your request, I will exceptionally respond to your concerns and send a copy of our response to your Travel Agency.
Throughout Disneyland Resort Paris, the teams strive to offer a warm welcome to all our guests at all times, and our wish is for each guest to pass a magical moment in our company. Bearing this in mind, I sincerely regret that we did not meet your expectations on this occasion and I am genuinely sorry to learn of your experiences at the Resort.
I regret to hear that due to air traffic controllers? strike Air France was required to delay your outbound flight on 10 June 2008. As the circumstances were beyond the control of Air France, they have informed me that they cannot accept any liability for any subsequent inconveniences caused. In addition, they have advised that as the flight could have been given authorisation to depart at any time they were unfortunately unable to provide a refreshment service. This being said, they have expressed their sincere regrets for any disappointment that may have been felt on this occasion.
I was sorry to hear of the difficulties you experienced when booking the Birthday Cake. I can assure you that your comments are atypical and do not reflect the high standards we strive to achieve. Please rest assured that your comments regarding this and the fact that you were unable to speak with a Manager have been passed on to the relevant Quality Manager for her information and follow up.
Further to this, I would like to explain that the Birthday Cake is only available in a selection of table service restaurants. This information is mentioned in our official brochure and website. Indeed, certain restaurants such as Planet Hollywood are operated independently from Disneyland? Resort Paris and as such they are unable to furnish a birthday cake that has not been paid directly to them. I regret, therefore, that it appears that First Choice did not inform you of this during the booking process and for any inconvenience caused.
The key system in the resort is used for the mandatory security of our guests. The keys have a magnetic strip on the reverse and the slot in the room doors only identify the current guest's key card. Sometimes because of demagnetisation from external electronic devices, the key cards may not work upon first attempt. However a replacement key card is available at the front desk should any concerns become apparent. I regret that on this occasion the second key given did not function and for any subsequent inconvenience this may have caused. I was pleased, however, that our maintenance team did attend to the situation with minimal delay but regret that as they were unable to repair the key card it was necessary for you to return to the reception to retrieve a further key.
In further responding to your concerns, I was sorry to hear that you were not happy that the VEA shuttle bus arrived 15 minutes later than the scheduled time. I would like to explain that due to traffic timetables are given as a reference only and are non contractual. This is information is stated in the VEA schedule and on their official website. In addition, VEA also advise guests to take a return bus at least 2h30 minutes prior to their check in time at the airport.
I can appreciate that your fiancee's birthday may not have been as magical as you planned and I would ask that you pass on my sincere regrets to her for any disappointment felt. Please know that arrangements have been made with our accounts department for the delayed check out, 79.50?, to be refunded onto the credit card you used during your stay. In addition, as a gesture of goodwill, I have also asked that the amount paid for the birthday cake, 19? (£15), be reimbursed to the same account.
Overall, I regret that you were not completely content on this occasion and can assure you that every point and comment that you have made has been passed on to the relevant departmental managers. Such feedback is invaluable to our efforts to ensure that guest needs and expectations are met and, hopefully, exceeded on each visit. I hope that, despite your concerns, we will have the chance to welcome you back in the future.
The offer was appreciated and as such, I accepted, replying?
I am very glad to finally have a reply from the departmental manager as requested in my initial correspondence and I am also very happy that you have addressed each concern of mine as detailed in the quite lengthy document that I initially sent in.
Your refund offers are appreciated and I accept said refunds, thank you very much. What does concern me as a customer I must say is the hard-faced approach you have to serving customers who have been unlucky enough to receive service short of what I know you aim to provide (Disneyland would of course not be described by most of its visitors as 'Magical' unless the service there was normally very good, and so I fully appreciate that my experience at your resort was one that does not occur frequently.)
Your agent and the assistant manager were both very strict in their replies and bluntly pointed out that your policy states replies must come through First Choice, and whilst I do appreciate that from your side of the desk you are following company procedures, and said procedures are something you must abide by for your own job security (I know this because I have to do the same thing!) I feel that there should be more flexibility there, especially in cases as detailed as mine. It does worry me that such a large company does not have any flexibility and that I must escalate my complaint to the departmental manager before I get any form of a reply that does not appear to be a copy-and-paste script.
That said, I do appreciate you bending said procedures in my case, your sincere apology was very kind and if I had been offered such an apology at the first point of contact I certainly would not have been as angry as I may have come across in previous emails.
I of course am not complaining directly to you as a person, but to Disney as a company, this I am sure you fully appreciate anyway, but I wanted to point this out. I look forward to receiving my refund and further feedback from the relevant departments to which my complaint has been passed along to; do you have a time-frame for these two points?
******** was quite prompt with her reply, only a few hours between my email and her response, which was pretty much acceptable but didn't advise me on a lead time for my refund. She said?
Private & Confidential
Disneyland? Resort Paris,
18 June, 2008
Dear Mr Perry,
Thank you for your further email message. I was pleased to note that you were happy with the explanation furnished and the refunds offered. At no point does Disneyland? Resort Paris wish for a guest to be dissatisfied with the service they receive while visiting, so each and every concern is reviewed with the utmost importance.
Indeed, I would like to assure you that all your comments have been taken seriously and passed on to the Quality Manager of Disney's Hotel Santa Fe?. We do use guest feedback as an integral way of examining our operations and, where necessary, implementing changes that will benefit the overall guest experience at the Resort. As such, your concerns will be taken into account and reviewed, so that we can minimise any similar experience for future guests. However, please note that as this process is internal we will not be corresponding further on this matter.
Once again, I regret that your experience at the Resort did not meet your expectations. I sincerely hope that we will have the chance to welcome you and your fiancee back to the Resort to restore your faith.
I?ll check for my refund in 3 working days (so, Monday) and if it's not there, I'll be giving the manager a call on the number she gave me. I should note that she called me at 10:06am on the same morning but I was asleep, sick, so missed it.)
Anyway, a £100.00 refund (well, about that!) so I'm pretty happy with that, it's just a shame this had to go so far!
I also have a pending complaint with First Choice which has been 3,000,000 times more difficult, I've already sent 6 emails, called 8 numbers, been hung up on once, been told they can't find my account twice and spent about 4 hours on the phone with them! I'll let you know how this one goes!
By: Scott Perry