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Paris A La Carte Apartment Rental Review - Bad Experience

Paris A La Carte Apartment Rental Review - Bad Experience

Sep 28th, 2010, 05:45 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Paris A La Carte Apartment Rental Review - Bad Experience

Like you, we have read many positive reviews of A La Carte Paris. Our story runs entirely contrary to these.

In April 2010 we were so looking forward to traveling to Paris again as a family of five from Boston during our children's only one-week break from school. We thought nothing of A La Carte's demand of paying the entire rental upfront, and we used our debit card (lower foreign exchange fee at that time than a credit card) to pay.

As the world came to learn, a "force majeure" occured with the awful Volcano eruption from Iceland, forcing a complete halt to air travel. Our plane trips were canceled twice during that time and a point reached when finally we could not go to Paris. We tried very hard, rescheduling after hours of being on the phone with airlines, calling restaurants, and rearranging meetings. But it was not to be.

Every company graciously either refunded our deposit or provided us with a credit for the future - EXCEPT A La Carte Paris. Even the 58 Tour Eiffel returned our deposit! A lovely chateau in Brittany has given us, without our request, a credit toward an identical stay next year. (It was a Relais-Chateau hotel, where we will direct all future business.) The airlines returned (returned!) our money in full. This was, after all, out of our hands. We only wanted them to provide us a credit, like each other merchant, not a refund. One of our parents, whom we were to meet there, actually went to the A La Carte office on our behalf that week, in person, to plead our case, politely reasoning in their native tongue. But they were as unforgiving as the volcano itself. No refund or credit of any amount was provided. If we had changed our minds at the last minute, if we missed a flight due to sleeping late - we would not argue.

Now we are out $3500. This is more than the cost of traveling to Paris. We are only writing this now as our last appeal was finally exhausted this month (September). One could argue that we should have purchased travel insurance (which 99% of the time is a waste). We cannot argue that A La Carte has broken any law, international or otherwise. But they have, in our own opinion, violated the sacred trust of merchant and customer, of traveler and vendor, of lovers of Paris.

With regrets and deep disappointment,
Ann & Justin Bullion, Boston, MA
BubbaChubba is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 06:04 PM
  #2  
 
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"Like you, we have read many positive reviews . . . . "

Just where did you read these positive reviews. Surely not here on Fodors since you registered just now to post this.

Hundreds of thousands of folks were inconvenienced by the eruptions and many were not reimbursed.
janisj is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 06:16 PM
  #3  
 
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This is what trip insurance is for. Yes, it would be nice for them to refund, but you take responsibility for yourself by buying insurance.
jubilada is online now  
Sep 28th, 2010, 07:07 PM
  #4  
 
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People can read reviews without registering, and I think the Bullion's disappointment is understandable.
grandmere is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 08:01 PM
  #5  
 
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I'm with grandmere. I also think that they showed great restraint to not post until now.

Of course the company owed them nothing, it was neither their fault or the renters for not being able to get there, you would just think they would have done something in good faith considering the enormity of the volcano and all the disruptions it caused.

There are so many companies to rent from,I'd think good and hard before going with this one.
susanna is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 08:14 PM
  #6  
 
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The traveller can take insurance (99% a waste of time?) against the risk. But the apartment owner can’t take insurance against a renter not being able to take the trip, and expecting a refund. There is no reason why the apartment owner should take a loss from a risk that they can’t anticipate, manage or insure against.

I always buy insurance, and I’ve yet to make a claim. But I still buy it.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 08:15 PM
  #7  
 
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Sorry for your trouble, and do understand as we were also stuck behind the volcanic ash cloud, albeit on the other side. That said, agree that this is exactly why trip insurance was invented. It would be nice if the company offered some sort of consideration, but if you sign a contract you live by the terms.
The airline had to return your money as they could not provide the service you bought. The other merchants may have had had substitute customers from among those stuck in Europe. Had A La Carte been able to rent "your" apartment to someone else for your reserved time then I would think a refund would be in order, otherwise it really is - as you describe - a force majeure event.
Seamus is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 09:03 PM
  #8  
 
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Not only is insurance a good idea, A la Carte actually provides renters a direct link to an Insurance provider: http://www.alacarte-paris-apartments...formation.html

For an additional $175.00 (on $3,500.00 rental) this post could have been avoided.
apersuader65 is online now  
Sep 28th, 2010, 09:51 PM
  #9  
 
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1. << Like you, we have read many positive reviews of A La Carte Paris >>

I haven't read any reviews of A la Carte Paris prior to this one.

2. You've only told half the story as you've not posted the terms and conditions that you agreed to when renting the property. If it was a no refund/no credit agreement then the company is entirely within their rights not to return your money.

3. First time posters who only offer complaints do not have credibility with me.

4. Why post this as a trip report if you haven't taken the trip?
adrienne is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 11:32 PM
  #10  
 
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The OP also registered on TA on the 28th and posted the exact same thing.

(I also think the OP may want to notify the monitors to delete the thread -- there is a lot of detailed info about them on-line and they might want to be a bit more anonymous . . . )
janisj is offline  
Sep 28th, 2010, 11:45 PM
  #11  
 
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It is regrettable to lose $3500, but without insurance one or the other party was going to lose $3500. I am not surprised that the company kept the money. They offered insurance which was declined.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 28th, 2010, 11:47 PM
  #12  
 
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<>

Seriously?

As mentioned above, travel insurance is recommended, and a plan is suggested that costs only 5% of the rental rate and would have covered you under "event of nature".

You're out $3500 because you chose not to purchase travel insurance.
djkbooks is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 03:15 AM
  #13  
 
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There have been a couple of recommendations on Fodor's for A La Carte aparments. I know this for a fact as I've recommended them to a few people who have asked aobut them.

The volcano was unfortunate, and possibly trip insurance wouldn't have covered this event. But for the life of me I don't see why any company should have to cover the cost of a lost booking. Especially if they are then 99% unable to rebook the apartments at such short notice.

A La Carte are an excellent company and don't deserve a post with a title such as yours. It indicates that you actually used the apartment and that the bad experience occured in Paris.
cathies is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 03:41 AM
  #14  
 
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The travel insurance policy recommended by A la Carte Paris specifically covers "event of nature".

It is just totally unreasonable to have expected a credit or refund, given the cancellation policy agreed to in the terms and conditions.
djkbooks is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 04:11 AM
  #15  
 
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Interesting that the original poster hasn't returned. I'm really grumpy about their post. A La Carte went out of their way to help us have a great trip to Paris. They went out of their way to make an emergency dental appointment for me when I broke a tooth while on the way to Paris.
cathies is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 07:43 AM
  #16  
 
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I don't have any problem with this post. It's not as if the OP lied or misstated anything -- he even admitted, in so many words, that not getting the insurance probably was a mistake.

I don't think it's "totally unreasonable" to request some sort of credit or accommodation when the circumstances are documentable and totally out of the control of the traveler.

I also can see A La Carte's point of view. The question here is whether a merchant should go over and above what's in the "rules" to satisfy a customer. If A La Carte's approach is "sorry, those are the rules and you're screwed," so be it. That's a good thing to know about A La Carte.
k9korps is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 08:51 AM
  #17  
 
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I don't think of it as "those are the rules and you are screwed." Since they provide ready access to trip insurance I think thta is fair warning that they will stick to their policy and they suggest you make provision.
jubilada is online now  
Sep 29th, 2010, 09:10 AM
  #18  
 
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"...We thought nothing of A La Carte's demand of paying the entire rental upfront, and we used our debit card..."

How does one do this?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 09:47 AM
  #19  
 
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Presumably they provided A La Carte with the number, same as for a credit card. I do this over the phone with my debit with some frequency.
persimmondeb is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 09:58 AM
  #20  
 
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I have no sympathy for whiny crybabies who try to scrimp and save money by not taking out insurance and then when it is needed, expect others to cover their costs. If you don't take it, you are self-insured, and thus the burden is yours.

It is obvious the OP wrote a standard post and is copying it in a lot of places, and so maybe the reference to reading a lot about them made sense somewhere.
Christina is offline  

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