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Paris A La Carte Apartment Rental Review - Bad Experience

Paris A La Carte Apartment Rental Review - Bad Experience

Oct 7th, 2010, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,645
When I rented my house in the Dordogne I always required full payment in advance - a month before the rental, plus a security deposit. I can't imagine not doing that. The risks are considerable.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 7th, 2010, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,219
"Oh, we decided not to travel abroad this year."
kerouac is online now  
Oct 7th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,497
I have paid in advance once (maybe twice?) but more frequently have been asked to send a deposit with booking and pay the remainder upon arrival--in Italy and France.
Leely2 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2010, 12:16 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,242
Most places require full payment in advance -- sometimes 6 weeks to 2 months in advance.

But some do allow payment at arrival.
janisj is online now  
Oct 7th, 2010, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 528
"But they have, in our own opinion, violated the sacred trust of merchant and customer, of traveler and vendor, of lovers of Paris."

I'm sorry but, I don't understand how Ala Carte has "violated the sacred trust"?? The simple fact is, you're bummed out because a hotel and airline happened to refund and/or credit you but, the apartment agency did not. As you know, they were not obligated to do so. I'm sure when you rented your apartment they sent you their list of agency T's & C's, which I'm sure you signed away thinking that you would ever need to cancel. I would bet that those T's & C's recommended that you buy insurance too! Without any notice there was no way they would have been able to re-rent your apartment and it's just not fair to the agency take a $3500 hit because of your bad luck. Maybe if you had cancelled a month or two prior they could have at least tried to re-rent the apartment and maybe things would have turned out different for you? Or, had you been staying in a hotel, it's more likely that they could have re-rented your room for at least part of the time and perhaps they could have lessened the hit. No guarantees but, apartments are just a different beast and their cancellation policies are more restrictive than most hotels.

Believe me, I feel for you probably more than some here because for the first time ever, my husband and I just had to cancel our vacation. I have been feeling very sorry for myself for the past 2 weeks. Our dog was very sick and by the time she got better, it was just cost prohibitive to re-issue our airline tickets and pickup in the middle of our trip. We lost a TON of money because of course we didn't buy insurance either. We've never needed to. We were within penalty on 4 out of 5 of our accommodations. On the flip side, similar to your experience, many properties were very empathetic and only kept our deposit. I can't tell you how grateful I am to them because they certainly had every right to charge us for our entire stay. And trust me, if we had rented an apartment for this trip, we would have been out the entire stay because like you, this cancellation was very last minute.

I guess you can call it a painful life lesson and you'll probably never book another trip without at least thinking about buying insurance!
ILUVPARIS is offline  
Jun 20th, 2011, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2
I emailed them about an apartment, several times as I wasn't getting a response, and finally heard back from them over a week later! I would never use an agency that is so unresponsive. It sounds like this agency has a lot of customer service issues, hopefully the owner of this agency addresses these issues or I don't see how anyone would want to deal with such an unprofessional agency.
zzz2010 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2011, 02:19 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,242
zzz: "finally heard back from them over a week later!"

That is fairly typical for a lot of European merchants. They will eventually answer -- e-mails don't tend to have the same 'urgency' that they do in the States.

But you registered and posted this at least twice -- wasn't once enough?
janisj is online now  
Jun 20th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 10,232
Said it once and I'll say it again, this agenc is great to deal with. Janisj is correct that there can be a different attitude to emails in Europe than their is in the US.
cathies is online now  
Jan 21st, 2014, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 2
I was just about to write a review of Alacarte, having just returned from a delightful stay at an Alacarte-managed apartment, when read the OP. So, I reopened and read the rental agreement [which I executed last August].

Para. 6 of the Alacarte contract specifically states that the rent is non-refundable, except where Alacarte is unable to provide the apartment for the term of the contract or a reasonable substitute. That paragraph also encourages the renter to purchase cancellation insurance.

In my experience a force majeure event is one that would prevent the lessor from providing the property pursuant to the terms of the agreement. Fire, flood and other events affecting the specific property would be force majeure events. The inability of the lessee to occupy the premises, whether due to volcanic activity elsewhere in the world [and not affecting the apartment itself], flight cancellation or heart attack, is not such an event. For that reason, trip cancellation insurance, though expensive, is the appropriate remedy.

Every aspect of our dealings with Alacarte was favorable. The firm is a pleasure to deal with, and the apartment was precisely as described and photographed.
schvitznewyorkcity is offline  

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