Help again

Old Aug 16th 2014, 12:46 am
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Default Help again

Hi

A couple of months back I started a thread regarding areas of interest for buying. You guys gave loads of excellent ideas which I followed up whilst staying at the top of lake Balaton for 2 weeks - Ive just got back.

One place you mentioned was Pecs and the 2 hour journey to visit it was truly worth it- thank you.

Unfortunately our experiences in the actual town, and specifically the house we stayed in were so horrendous that it has somewhat shattered my hungary dream. I am really quite gutted.

Anyway, I was hoping you might be able to help me again and point me in the general direction of something similar to citizens advice/ some kind of complaints authority regarding the owners of the holiday home we rented? To top off our experience, the owners are unwilling to refund the security deposit- At a loss
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Old Aug 16th 2014, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Hi there, sorry to hear you had a bad experience though I hope it hasn't put you off Hungary!

Is the amount worth what is likely to be a long and frustrating road?

This would be my starting point if I decided to complain, it's the equivalent of "consumer rights" and the address for complaints in the Pecs area would be:

Baranya Megyei Kormányhivatal Fogyasztóvédelmi
Felügyelıség
Cím: 7623 Pécs, Szabadság u. 7.
Postacím: 7623 Pécs, Szabadság u. 7.
Telefonszám: +36 72 510 494, +36 72 510 790,
Telefax: +36 72 510 791
E-mail: [email protected]


There might be a better option and if there is, I'm sure somebody will soon post it.
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Old Aug 16th 2014, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Hi Rural Hungary

Thanks for this. I know what you mean regarding money vs stress- I have felt very stressed today! However, its not the monetary value that is motivating me, rather the feeling that I have been properly conned!

The place we stayed in was actually balatonakarattya- we drove down to visit Pecs ( we also visited many of the other towns you suggested but PECS stood out as a highlight)

Is there a similar point of Kontakt for this area?

Thanks again X
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Old Aug 16th 2014, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Try this

Veszprém Megyei Kormányhivatal
Fogyasztóvédelmi Felügyelőség
Postacím: 8200 Veszprém, Budapest út 3-5.
Telefonszám: +36 88 550 510
E-mail: [email protected]


We loved Pecs town centre and it's probably only the distance from an airport and the waterparks and spas which prevented us really considering it as a potential area. I also spent some time recently looking around at various areas and came to the conclusion that I really love the Zala area and though I might have a base elsewhere, it's probably where we will stay.

Last edited by Rural Hungary; Aug 16th 2014 at 7:45 pm.
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Old Aug 16th 2014, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Balatonakarattya is actually in Veszprém county so the consumer protection office would be for Veszprém County

Veszprém Megyei Kormányhivatal
Fogyasztóvédelmi Felügyelőség
Postacím: 8200 Veszprém, Budapest út 3-5.
Telefonszám: +36 88 550 510
E-mail: [email protected]

It is important that you keep any documentation / emails you may have and if they did not give proper receipts this is also an offence, so if there was no bill include that in the complaint. Any letters must be sent registered with recorded delivery, just registered is not enough. Do nothing verbally - it all has to be in writing

Unfortunately there is no English style small claims court in Hungary - IMO it really needs one. The civil justice system is appalling, but this can work to your advantage, people do not want to go to court. In a case where we were owed money we wrote to the person stating our claim and giving them 2 weeks to pay otherwise we would take them to court without further notice, nothing happened so on week 3 we started court proceedings (without a solicitor, filling in the paperwork at the court) the day after the registered/recorded letter from the court dropped on their door mat the money was paid!!

On the other hand we had some squatters on some of our land and we went to court and it took 8 years to win what should have been an open and shut case. It took so long that we complained to Strasbourg (suing the Hungarian State) and Strasbourg agreed that the case had violated our human rights and awarded us damages against the Hungarian State!

As you say it's a decision between money, stress and the strength of the grievance you feel.
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Old Aug 17th 2014, 9:05 am
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Default Re: Help again

Originally Posted by Feene
Hi Rural Hungary

Thanks for this. I know what you mean regarding money vs stress- I have felt very stressed today! However, its not the monetary value that is motivating me, rather the feeling that I have been properly conned!
Sometimes a bad review on TripAdvisor or similar can have an affect...and might at least warn other holidaymakers.

As an aside I note what you say about the money not being the main issue - but unfortunately recompense usually is monetary. In my previous 'life' I worked for a conciliatory public organisation - we dealt with many complainants who had been treated poorly and even for their 'stress and inconvenience', if their case was upheld they were compensated with a small sum.
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Old Aug 17th 2014, 10:03 am
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Default Re: Help again

I would tend to agree with Pol, if the money isn't the main issue then it would be less time consuming and stressful writing reviews - search for the accommodation name, in Hungarian, as it might be listed on Hungarian accommodation sites where you can also leave a review.

Can I ask what in particular it was that caused problems, both in the town and with the accommodation?
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Old Aug 17th 2014, 8:47 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Balatonakarattya/ Balatonkenese is nice (an amazing cake shop in Balatonkenese)and is so central to visit places. However unlike where we were last year, wasn't really geared towards western european tourists. I probably sound really ignorant but I don't speak hungarian and I found it frustrating that I couldn't make myself understood with my english or german skills. It may have been paranoia fuelled by our experiences with the house owner but I always had the impression that we were viewed with bemused tolerance.

The house- the rental agreement prior to arrival was done through the son of the owners in perfect english. He assured us that his mother also lived on site but was there only to tend the garden and clean the pool and would not disturb us. When we arrived the mother just gave us the keys and walked off. No explanations, nothing. She then spent two weeks snooping around the entire time, getting her son to email us every time we had broken one of her rules that we were not aware of. From his emails it was clear that she was entering the property we hired every time we left it.

There were also numerous issues with the house-
-Traffic noise equivalent to relaxing next to the M4
-Advertised as air conditioned but only 2 rooms had air conditioning and my room didn't even have a window
-My room also had thick mould on the walls
- Dodgy electrics/ wobbly bannisters

However worst of all there was a mouse infestation. We fished 26 mice out the pool over the 2 weeks. When we told the owner she shrugged and told us to throw them in the hedge. They were also in the house with my daughters finding a dead mouse next to their bed one morning and some of our stuff became gnawed with holes.

My dream holiday turned into quite a nightmare.

I would have written a review outlining all these issues anyway, but the icing on the cake has been that the owner is now refusing to refund the £300 security deposit. She claims that we had extra guests in the house - which we didn't! We did use the guest bed downstairs but that was because my daughters didn't want to sleep in their room anymore! I explained this and they simply wrote back calling me a liar. Adding insult to injury she is also refusing the deposit to cover extra cleaning costs despite me having hoovered, mopped, washed bathrooms down etc which wasn't necessary per rental agreement as I had already paid a £100 cleaning fee upfront.

Sorry for the epic novel. Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know how things work out.
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Old Aug 17th 2014, 8:56 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Will reply in detail soon but have you thought of informing them that you have instructed a solicitor to deal with the matter and all further correspondence should be directed there and then have a solicitor write to them. My experience has been that once people realise you are serious, their attitude can quickly change.
Are they officially registered as accommodation?
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Old Aug 17th 2014, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: Help again

I booked it through homeaway.com. Have been in touch with them but they haven't yet responded.

Have emailed the owner and told them that I will now pursue legal means- they have also not responded.

Will email the email address you and peter gave me tomorrow. A friend is also putting me in touch with a lawyer.

My friend advised me not to write a review until I have spoken to the lawyer.

I'm a pretty laid back person but they've picked the wrong person to try and pushover
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Old Aug 18th 2014, 7:15 am
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Default Re: Help again

I recently stayed in a hotel in the Hortobagy area. Luckily the hotel was immaculate and I have stayed in other hotels/apartments in Budapest and Keszthely. They too were immaculate. So I'm really sorry about your experiences. It sounds to me they are trying to keep hold of the security deposit to cover their losses due to the state of the place! As my wife is Hungarian I will ask her and her family what you can do but I think the advice and help given above should set things in motion to recover your security deposit.

I did wonder what evidence they had regarding the extra guests, apart from the guest bed being used. Maybe you could ask them to describe these extra guests. Did you take photos of the state of the place? i.e. mould on walls, mice inside the house and in the pool? Also after cleaning did you take photos so you could prove it had been cleaned? These things help provide evidence against the house owners.
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Old Aug 18th 2014, 7:50 am
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Default Re: Help again

Having looked at the advert on homeaway.com (I am presuming that I found the right one as of the 2 in Balatonakarattya there was only one with a pool) The owner, IMO, can not charge extra for using one of the rooms as the house was let and the price is for the house, not per room. If your room was one of the described double bedrooms and had no window then this does NOT count as a bedroom. A rented (tourist or otherwise) property has to be registered with the tax office and a tourist let also has to be registered with the local council. A pool for public use (and a pool in a tourist let property counts as public use) has to have the water tested periodically (I believe its monthly and its not cheap) I would be surprised if the place was registered - did you get a proper bill from a bill book? The fact that the web advert quotes prices in GBP and that it states that payment is usually in GBP to me implies that this enterprise is probably 'on the black'. I think charging 100 pounds for cleaning is outrageous (IMO) but this was quoted up front so there is nothing to do about this.

Providing I got the house right (Enying House Rental: Excellent Location For Travelling And Visiting The Neighbourhood | HomeAway) then I think a complaint to the consumer protection / trading standards (Fogyasztóvédelmi Felügyelıség) is in order especially as you have told them you are pursuing legal means. With the complaints should go a copy of the web advert (e.g. partial air con is not air conditioned house) When you make the complaint you should also ask the authority to specifically check the various registrations and pool water test certificates and ask for a public health inspection (due to the mice infestation and mold).

We did tourist lets for 15 years and never charged a cleaning fee!
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Old Aug 18th 2014, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Help again

It looks like the web address got fouled up
homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p140364o#summary
Is what I found.
By the way if you write to the consumer office you might sent a copy to the owner, you never know this might produce an instant result
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Old Aug 18th 2014, 11:49 am
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Default Re: Help again

Originally Posted by Peter_in_Hungary
It looks like the web address got fouled up
homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p140364o#summary
Is what I found.
By the way if you write to the consumer office you might sent a copy to the owner, you never know this might produce an instant result
I believe it is that one Peter. I think a legal letter detailing your intentions will ensure them that you intend taking action. Hopefully payment should be forthcoming and you save yourself time and stress. However, if you wish to help prevent the same happening to others, do as Peter advised as I agree it all sounds somewhat suspect.
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Old Aug 18th 2014, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: Help again

Thank you again everyone.

A quick update:

Since I didn't receive a reply from my email to him, I asked a hungarian speaking friend to write to him on Saturday outlining the steps I was going to undertake.

She emailed me last night saying that she'd received a stroppy email in response, so I wasn't holding out much hope.

However, I checked my bank today and he has refunded the missing money- I haven't heard from him though.

I'm meeting my friend tomorrow and she's going to fill me in regarding what he wrote to her.

Homeaway haven't yet responded to my complaint.

Good detective work Peter
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