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Warning - don't use Let's Go Argentina if you are booking an apt in BA

Warning - don't use Let's Go Argentina if you are booking an apt in BA

Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 01:47 PM
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Warning - don't use Let's Go Argentina if you are booking an apt in BA

I wanted to write and provide a warning regarding an apartment rental company in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Usually I wouldnít bother doing this for just bad service, particularly in a foreign country where you can never expect the service to be like your own, but we were so appalled by the way Letís Go Argentina treated us that I want to warn other travelers. I would hate someone else to be treated as we were in what is otherwise, an awesome city to visit.

To make a long saga as short as possible Ė our American Airlines flight from Chicago was delayed 12 hours due to a mechanical problem. So instead of landing in Buenos Aires at 11am, we landed at 11pm. Granted, we landed at 11pm on Christmas Eve, December 24th, probably the busiest night in Buenos Aires. What a hassle for them. Agreed.

Before we took off, I tried to call Letís Go Argentina a number of times to inform them of our delay, but without any luck. I left a voicemail though and also sent them an email just to be sure. We had arranged for them to pick us up from the airport anyway, so we werenít too worried as they had our flight details and would have found out about our delay with enough time to deal with getting keys to us late that night.

So we were incredibly shocked and upset when we landed to an email on my Blackberry saying that not only would no one be able to pick us up from the airport now, but that we would not be able to check into the apartment until the following afternoon!!! I called to understand exactly what that meant because I just couldnít believe it meant what I thought it meant. But it did.

Although Letís Go Argentina ďfelt badĒ and acknowledged that it wasnít our fault the flight was delayed, they said it wasnít their fault either, so we would just have to find our own accommodation that night and check in tomorrow. Find our own accommodation, at 11pm, after flying for 12 hours, on the busiest night of the year. Not only was it bad business on their part but how could a good person do that to someone? We were stressed, tired and scared. Were we going to have to spend the night in the deserted airport? Would we have to fork out thousands of dollars for an expensive hotel? We donít even speak Spanish. This is the reason we paid a USD$100 deposit and organized to rent this apartment months ago, so that we wouldnít have to deal with something like this.

2 hours (and exorbitant roaming fees on my cell phone) of calling hotels later, we found a room, for USD$450 for one night. The apartment for the week was USD$520 total. We wouldnít have rented an apartment for that money if we could afford to pay USD$450 per night for a hotel. But the money is really irrelevant, we were safe.

I am a well traveled woman. Iíve been to over 50 countries, and many non-western or third world ones. I only say this because I am well aware that sometimes when you travel you just have to say, wow, this sucks, but hey, this is Argentina, or Africa or wherever Ė the culture is different here and itís acceptable to do this. This is part of traveling.

However in this case, it wasnít acceptable, because there were many other people on our flight who were just as stuck as us at 11pm on Christmas Eve who were renting apartments. Not one of them had the problem we had. Each company was somehow getting them the keys Ė either personally, or by leaving them with a friend or at a hotel concierge or similar. We didnít expect Letís Go Argentina to be sitting in their office waiting for us but we expected them to take our well being into consideration and somehow keep their end of the bargain rather than basically just abandon us. We would have been quite willing to take a taxi anywhere, to any suburb, any hotel, to pick up the keys. We just wanted a roof over our head.

Given that Letís Go Argentina were pretty unique in their negligence, I feel compelled to write to warn fellow travelers do not use Letís Go Argentina to rent an apartment in Buenos Aires! There are enough good companies there that offer similar apartments at similar prices (we only chose them because they had the apartment we wanted) that itís not worth taking the risk with these guys. The way they treated us and their lack of remorse for the way they treated us was appalling.
melisscal is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Hi, I am very sorry you had to go through such a bad experience, also that you were not able to find a better deal, I go often to Buenos Aires and never paid anything near 450 for a room. Very expensive I am sure.

Of course the conduct has no excuse certainly someone with a little more brains in Let'sGo could have left the apartment key for you in the city or at the very least met you in some place in the city at a given hour. Everybody has a cell phone in Bs AS, at the worst scenario they could have told to take a remise or taxi into town and then meet you. Using cell phones it is not difficult to arrange everything in a short period of time.

I do hope that the people for Let's Go find it possible to place a reply here in fodors. I am sure this is possible any one knowing them could do it. It will be interesting to know what do they have to say. Again sorry for all the agravation and expense visitin a city that has to offer a lot. How was the apartment after all>?


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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 03:58 PM
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wow, what a story. In addition to all the anxiety and inconvenience for you, to have to spend $450 on a hotel in BA is ridiculous. What a pity.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 03:18 AM
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Hopefully others will read your post and stay away from this agency. Thanks for taking the time to post. I hope you take some consolation from the knoweldge that you have helped Fodorites traveling to Argentina to avoid the same sort of problems.

Anyone renting in Argentina should check the repuation of the rental agency.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 03:40 AM
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As I stated in my previous post I am really hopeful that
Let's Go Argentina could reply.

AS drdawggy says always the repution of the travel agency or rental agency should be checked. This goes for every country.

As far as I know in Argentina it is easy to check if a Travel Agency is a duly registered agency. In the case of rental agencies I am not sure what can be done.

Dealing through the internet anyone can post as if he or she were a duly registered business using any name and may be on the other side there is a person with a cell.
May be the person turns out to be wonderful but when problems come up like a delayed flight, a missing connection etc you better be in good hands.
Fodors is a wonderful forum because lots of information is posted here.



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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 04:22 AM
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Renting a temporary apartment is a great way to live like a local. Unfortunately, as tourists have started to flock to Argentina new temporary rental agencies have proliferated. These agencies are not well regulated. Many advertise on Craigs List and list no more than an email address and a cell phone number.
Due Diligence is an especially good idea in this environment. Ask for and check references. Do an internet search on this and other travel boards. Ask lots of questions before renting....

For those who do not have the time or inclination to check everything out in detail here are some established agencies that receive many more positive than negative reviews--(there are other reputable agencies...but these are well-established)

www.BYTArgentina.com www.apartmentsba.com www.buenosaireshabitat.com and www.argentinahomes.com

Note: Even these established agencies have had negative reviews but they have many more positives....and make an attempt to please dissatisfied customers.....

For those interested in an upscale two-bedroom rental in Palermo (near Recoleta) I can recommend www.shortstayinba.com I did not list this apartment among the agencies since it is just one apartment....I have stayed in this apartment many times and love it....but it does not meet everyone's needs.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 05:25 AM
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melisscal:
i don't agree with your post, however you are entiled to feel that way.
I am wondering what a travel agency/company or airline would do in the USA, i can give you 101 non corteus episodes shared here too.
Your demand is critical and with poor common sense as December 24 evening is like Christmas over there.
i still agree 450 dollars for a room was a theft.
Sorry for the inconvinience but it appear to be that you were asking to paticipate in their Holiday party on the 24 th and you weren't invited, to bad.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 06:08 AM
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I'm sorry melisscal had this problem. I also wish she would comment on more positive facets of her visit beyond "an awesome city to visit", for the benefit of this forum.

I agree with the famous drdawggy that "Anyone renting in Argentina should check the repuation (sic) of the rental agency."

I hope, along with Graziella, that the rental firm involved will answer, so we can get their point of view. But I don't think that will happen.

I went to the trouble of going to their website http://www.letsgoargentina.com/ and found that they behaved according to the letter of their rental conditions: "Keys available: 10:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday - Friday"

So, while I absolutely agree they COULD and probably SHOULD have provided better service, I wish to point out that they acted within the framework of their clearly stated "rental conditions".

melisscal says: "particularly in a foreign country where you can never expect the service to be like your own."

I tend to disagree with this. I find the service in the US pretty poor and I have to wonder what would have happened to me in, say NY, if I had arrived at midnight on Christmas Eve to a rented apartment.

Speaking of service, I'll always remember the time few years ago, when our waiter, in a decent restaurant, sat on top of the table to take our order. Much like melisscal, I said to myself "wow, this sucks", but it was in the Disneyworld area and we were there for fun and took it as part of the show. LOL!!!

What can we learn from this:

In general terms, I'd say it's not a terribly good idea to arrive in BA late on Christmas or New Year's Eve.

If arriving on such a date and renting an apartment, it may be a good idea to get in writing an iron-clad commitment from the rental agency that you'll be met by their staff, no matter what.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 07:40 AM
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Hi avrooster, I have to agree with you, bad service can happen everywhere, what happened to you in Orlando happened to us in Paris, in a fairly tradional and wellknow medium priced restaurant in St Germain, a very French woman who apparently was the owner, was delighted talking to some patrons, but in doing so she was kind of putting her behind partially on our table, I wish my French would be better than it is, which is not bad but I knew I could not win being as angry as I was, so I called the waiter and told him pointing at Madam :we wish to change tables, he obliged putting a face like I understand you , and changed us right away although the place was very crowded. To this day I recall this and it happended like three years ago.

Having said this I believe that bad places and/or services are similar , because horrible people are all over the world. ( and nice too)

It would be a real pity that Let us go Argentina does not reply, I happen to believe melisscal and sympathize with her but sometimes there is also the never happy tourist that over reacts and easily damage someone's reputation.
If they acted this way because of what they state in their website they should get a dosis of common sense, may be, you can have it delivered to them.
Let us hope for the best.



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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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Melisscal,
Did the airline take any responsibility over the very delayed flight, and the late arrival on Christmas Eve? I would expect that they give you a voucher for a one-night hotel stay, or some sort of compensation, given the fact that it is very unlikely to find any business open on that day and at that time, anywhere in the world.
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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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What a shame!
When we flew here in April, we were met at the airport by a rep of ReMax who was handling the rental for us.
They knew if our flight was on time, just by checking with the airlines..your rental company should have/could have done the same thing and had some sort of contingency plan for such a thing..it isn't like Buenos Aires never has flights come in late!

I am glad you have posted this here, there are so many apartment rental companies here in BA now, people should know about the ones to avoid.


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Old Jan 4th, 2008, 09:48 PM
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Melisscal, thinking about what Scarlet wrote "people should know" if you really wish people to know a good idea is to post also in tripadvisor.com.I looked and they have your agency listed and reports from people that rent from them.

As Scarlet said flights arrive late very often in Buenos Aires and they should have had a contingency plan, in the worst scenario if they had no way of checking you in the appartment they could have easily try to find earlier a reasonable hotel or b&b for you at a decent rate and not let you alone without a reservation so late at night on December 24 th.
Also American Airlines should give you some kind of compensation, airlines do that. If you have the hotel receipt you should write to them and ask for a refund at the very least.




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Old Jan 5th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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Unless there was a written clause in the rental agreement with Lets Go Argentina saying that if the customer is delayed then they would not be picked up at the airport and may in fact not be able to get into the apartment Lets Go Argentina should legally be liable to pick up the customer at whatever darn time the plane does arrive. Planes get delayed all the time for all sorts of reasons and it is not uncommon. If it was Christmas eve, New Years Eve or whatever eve it does not matter - this firm is in the business of hospitality and accommodation and it does always go smooth. I run an accommodation business and if people are late then I have to wait up for them - that is part and parcel of the business, you take the good with the bad.
Frankly I would do more than put in a complaint with Trip Advisor, I would write to the Tourism Authority in Argentina and submit a formal complaint and suggest that the alternative accommodation cost should be paid back to me by Lets Go Argentina.
For what it is worth though melisscal I had a nasty experience in B.A with an Apartment Hotel and seeing that the Powers that Be in BA feel that they are getting back into a First World status again they do need a wake up call in terms of customer satisfaction and First World practice because there are areas that are still 3rd World behaviour.
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 02:45 AM
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I have to wonder if anyone besides yours truly went to the trouble of checking out Let's Go Argentina's website and their "rental conditions".

While I again agree this firm provided poor service in this case, I insist they acted within the framework of their rules, which the customer is supposed to have willingly accepted.

Let me quote them again, more extensively:

"Keys available: 10:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday - Friday"

"On the day of arrival, you should first come to our office to sign the rent agreement and pay the full price of the rent and the damage deposit. One of our agents will then take you to the property where we will ask you to sign a copy of the inventory. If you will be arriving outside of office hours, please contact Letís Go Argentina in advance to make alternative checkin arrangements."

Of course, "alternative check-in arrangements" can mean anything, including, for instance, "being midnight on Christmas Eve, we won't be able to check you in until the next day (Christmas!)."

So, while I agree this firm gave bad service and deserves to be criticized in this and other forums, I feel they most certainly are not liable for anything and it would be a total waste of time to complain to Argentine tourism authorities.

Trying to help future visitors, this episode highlights one of the many differences between going to a hotel and renting an apartment. Even in the cheapest hotel, someone would have been there on Christmas Eve, to open the door for you.

In another forum, an unhappy customer told yesterday about his/her experience with what is supposed to be the Rolls-Royce of local short-term apartment rental agencies:

"We had to wait about 2 hours to checkin to our 3 bedroom apartment. Then we discovered that they had only madeup 1 of the 3 beds (and there werent any sheets in the apt to make up the other beds). Also, they only left 3 towels (for 6 people). We called immediately and got no response for 2 days!! 4 of us had to sleep on the comforters for 2 nights and we had to share towels. Meanwhile - we were only there for 4 nights total.
Then we needed to check out early to catch a 11am flight. We arranged for them to come check us out at 9am. At 9:05 when they werent there, we called. Luckily we got someone live who said "I have you checking out at noon". There was no apology."

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic..._District.html

Summing it up, I feel future visitors, particularly first-timers who don't speak Spanish, should be aware of the potential problems they can have with an apartment rental, starting with the fact that if, when you get here, you are not happy with the flat or the service, you are stuck with it.



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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 03:16 AM
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I agree with the esteemed Señor Rooster. Apartment rentals work best for extended stays, for those who speak at least some Spanish and for those who have visited Buenos Aires previously. Even "Rolls Royce" apartment rental agencies are more problematic than simple tourist-class hotels in terms of basic services.
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 03:41 AM
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I feel strongly regarding this subject. First of all I wish that Let us Go Argentina had responded to the complains.

I read their website and I understand what avrooster says but I also agree with Lizz that melissal should complain to the tourist authorities in Argentina and put her story in tripadvisor.com.

Argentina is getting a big income through tourism and only for this reason people involved in services to the tourists should act in a responsible way.

Let us Go Argentina knowingly let melisscal on her own in the worst possible time of the year and they did not help her in the smallest possible way. As I said before they must have a contingency plan to act when planes are delayed.

The way I understand their website is, if arriving out of office hours, that is between 10AM and 3 PM," contact in advance Let Us Go Argentina to make alternative arrangements", and Melisscal did so as soon as she knew the flight was going to be delayed. So what did
they do : NOTHING.

It is this apparent total insensibility that makes me very angry with them( if things happened the way seemed to have happened.)

I go to Argentina two/three times a year and only once I rented an appartment and I regreted every moment. But that is another story.


Graziella5b is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2008, 04:30 AM
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An option for those who need additional space is to stay in an apathotel, which offers the space of an apartment combined with the services of a hotel....
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 04:57 AM
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Graziella: about your "only once I rented an appartment and I regreted every moment. But that is another story.", PLEASE tell us the story, or repeat it, including all the juicy details.

You know we LOVE to be told stories, particularly at bedtime. LOL!!!

The esteemed drdawggy agreed with me! Great! Let us celebrate! I may even have a drink!

(Insider joke, because I don't drink, while drdawggy is a world-known wine expert). Just for LOL!!!
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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Far be it from me to argue with AV, but it does say in the rental terms and conditions, that if the guest is arriving outside of the regular hours, they should contact the office to make other arrangements. According to Melisscal, once they found out they were going to be delayed, they tried to contact the office, but did not receive a reply. I know that the late arrival plans were not made in advance, simply because they were not aware that their flight would be delayed.
I am not so sure that speaking Spanish is as essential in apartment rentals as it is that the apartment agency have a emergency contact number with a live person at the other end, with "decision making capabilities". Had the rental company had such a person, once they received the call that the guest was delayed, they could have informed them that they would not be available at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve.....but they should have made contingency plans. The live person could have asked what their price range was in hotels so that the agency could find them a room. I think that the rental agency does bear some responsibility. They had a guest who had paid a deposit, who clearly was a no show for reasons that were beyond their control, who tried to contact their office, but could not reach anyone. I guess I have trouble imagining a company who is in the hospitality business knowing that there was someone due to arrive on Noche Buena or Christmas Eve, and simply turning off the lights,locking the office door and letting the guest fend for themselves.
As far as customer service in general in Buenos Aires, I will take it anyday over the gum chewing backward baseball cap wearing young adults that are pandemic in the United States.
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Old Jan 6th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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Avrooster, I think that basically it is a boring story, I rent from an owner directly, a friend of a friend.

The apartment was located in Posadas between Rodriguez Peña and Montevideo. Great location.

To make a long story short, it was not ready the day we had agreed no big problem to me because I stayed in my daughter's house but I was not advised ahead by the owner.That was a bad beginning.

Fortunately I only paid in advance for two weeks, although I was planning to stay 6 weeks. So it was only 2 weeks of suffering.

Reasons,

The entrance door of this particular building was very often left unlocked at night. This was due to the negligence of other people in the building. Hard to believe? But true.There was a doorman during the day. He had an explanation: Some people are always in a hurry....

She told me there was central heating.The radiators units were new but they did not work. Zero. There were two split units, both worked badly and were located in the wrong places. The result was that either the heat was unbearable or it was very cold. This was never fixed in 15 days.( I am familiar with the split units generally used in Buenos Aires and they are very good, if they work properly)

There were other surprises like tons of ants visiting at night. THere were two TVs, including one flat but the English channels were scrambled because apparently an extra fee had to be paid by the owner to include them.
She never did in two weeks.
etc.
I learnt my lesson ,as I used to do before this horrible experience , I stay in hotels . If I am not happy I leave the next day.


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