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★☆☆☆☆

“ can't apologise”

Written on: 18/04/2018 by DavidWilliamsEmran (1 review written)

We are a small children’s charity run by volunteers that booked a bus for a weekend to take a group of kids from London to the north. We paid for this “company” to deliver the bus to us on Friday afternoon and to pick it up again on Monday morning. I will never, ever use them again as they are either incompetent or fraudulent or both.

The person who deals with the bookings is very efficient and competent which lulls you into a false sense of security. We completed all the required paperwork in advance as required.

On the Friday afternoon the bus had not arrived by the booking time so I phoned to ask what was happening. I got put through to “operations” department. The person on the phone said there were “operational” difficulties and that we might not have our bus for a few hours. Bear in mind I had called them, they had not called us to inform us of this at any point. I had this conversation with more than a dozen children waiting for the bus to be dropped off. I explained to the operations person, who had almost no command of English, that this was unacceptable, that “logistics are complicated” or similar wording is not a good explanation of why we didn’t have a bus and we cannot wait with a bunch of children sitting on benches on the street for the bus to be delivered.

It was quite clear that this bloke did not have a clue what he was doing so I phoned back straight away, spoke to the person I dealt with who then obviously made some calls, called me back and said a different bus was on its way and would be within us within an hour.

The driver of the replacement bus then phones up to suggest we use a different bus from a different depot… no I don’t understand how he could have been driving a replacement bus and then picking up another bus from another depot either… clearly the stories we were being told were in the realms of fantasy but in the end they got a bus to us only about 2 hours late. We lost another half an hour as we were asked to reprint the booking paperwork to recomplete deposit details of credit card.

After reprinting everything etc and getting to the venue we realised we’d already completed all this paperwork well in advance and when the driver called the office he confirmed that this is indeed what had happened. Their office appears to have no clue what the drivers are doing or vice versa.

The bus was fine (though unusually for mini bus company they drop it off empty so you have to immediately fill up).

We return to London on the Saturday night. The bus sits outside our driver’s house for two days and is picked up by the company’s own driver on the Monday morning as agreed. I phoned their bookings person to explain that we would be making a formal complaint but in the end I just thought I didn’t want to deal with this company ever again so I didn't bother complaining.

TWO MONTHS LATER… £208 is taken from our driver’s account by this company (a volunteer with our charity). When we phone up we are told that a congestion charge fine was incurred on the Monday that they’ve emailed us and written to us about it but we hadn’t responded. We explained the only logical explanation was that their own driver had incurred the fine and that we had received no communication from them whatsoever in the interim period. We were just told to email and would have a response in 48 hours. This was all today.

I then emailed copying in the legal firm that sponsors our charity explaining that if they don’t reimburse the money today then we will get formal legal advice and seek compensation. The person I dealt with then phones back to say that he has looked up the paperwork and THEIR OWN PAPERWORK demonstrates that the bus was picked up by their own driver prior to the congestion charge fine being incurred i.e. it proves it was their driver. Now we are being reimbursed but it may “take 7 days”.
We will now be getting legal advice from our charity sponsor before Monday about whether we can take this shambles of a company to the small claims court. DO NOT TOUCH WITH A BARGEPOLE.

Edit: I did eventually get a phone call from their general manager. He did not apologise. What he did do was complain about the fact that I had left negative reviews and that I should just "move on" and "take a chill pill". No compensation, no "sorry". Really I'm gobsmacked. And then after 6 months someone using a different name has left responses to some of my reviews using exactly the same words again not apologising and again suggesting that I should just 'forgive and forget'. Perhaps the general manager has two names like he works in an Indian call centre? I had forgotten but clearly people have been reading the negative reviews from me and others and their business has suffered so he's trying to cover this up. That's not how you run a business you charlatan.

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