GHOTW CEO insinuates all reviewers and complainers are freeloaders oh and it’s okay to overcharge too!

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time will know that complaining is not all about getting freebies. For me, it is always the principle of the thing; I complain about the smallest of things, principle of the thing, I complain in person to politicians, principle of the thing, I take Tesco to court which pounds per hour was nothing to do with getting freebies that’s for sure(!) but was certainly about the principle of the thing, I get refunds for friends when they are out of pocket, principle of the thing, I help people out on social media with advice on getting refunds and redress, principle of the thing. Some people may see this as time poorly spent and that complainers are sad etc etc., if that’s you, then you tell that to the people who have been helped and remember your stance when you make an expensive purchase and want your money back because the thing is faulty. Oh and don’t complain about fat cats either, because some of the reason they get paid so much is because people don’t complain about their services.

So with that in mind I was astounded when my latest complaint elicited the rudest response I have ever received from a CEO. (Up until now, the rudest CEOS have just been the ones such as Clarke who just ignored customers). Admittedly I have never complained to Ryanair CEO but even he has apparently seen the error of his ways.

Now, I am a reviewer for What’s Good to Do. A great site reviewing lots of products and services around the country, check them out. As such I offered to review a variety of places over a number of different dates with Great Hotels of The World. GHOTW is a global sales and marketing alliance. The Iberostar in Majorca was offered for 3 nights in October. I had asked how much an upgrade from B & B would be to all inclusive. (i.e. I wanted to pay for the upgrade) I was offered €122.40 a night per room on All Inclusive. The offer had already included B & B and one dinner for one night. So obviously one night upgrade from B & B plus dinner would be less than the other 2 nights of upgrade form just B & B. I pointed out the following:

“1)     On the Iberostar own website for those nights B & B = €186.66 AI = €296.82 a difference of €110.16 therefore the difference is €110.82 not €122.40

2)     One night dinner is provided for the review. Therefore an upgrade from to all inclusive is certainly not €122.”

After a ridiculous email exchange including telling GHOTW PR team the same thing 6 times and each of those 6 times that I was not asking for anything extra free, I was asking not to be overcharged, I gave up.

The director of What’s Good to Do tried to speak to staff and explain the same, that the website said a lower price and that the dinner would not be free if paying the same extra rate for each of the 3 nights so that the hotel was in effect overcharging. But I received another email to say that the rate was correct and another email with the offer previously received. I was even told that the review must be a positive one!!!

So, I emailed the GHOTW CEO. I explained that it is usual for a reviewer to be offered a discounted rate for extra nights or upgrades to the stay on offer. I wasn’t even asking for this! I just wanted to upgrade. I did however object to being overcharged twice over. Once, telling me that the price was more than advertised on the website and secondly charging me the same for an upgrade from B & B to AI as from B, B & dinner to AI. This is the response I received:

Helen

I have read your email with interest.

I get many of these emails and whilst on many occasions i have great sympathy with the genuine concerns expressed. In this case i would like to suggest that you really need to get a life and stop bothering well meaning busy people with this sad self indulgent rambling.

If you and your freeloading friends on these various websites are not happy with a price quoted then you should perhaps seek alternative accommodation?

I hope this helps. With the kindest regards and best wishes

Regards

Peter Gould
CEO
Big Worldwide
www.big-worldwide.com

(Typos are his not mine)

Remember, I was not asking for a freebie, I was merely pointing out that that I was being overcharged. So it would appear from this email that:

  1. Mr Gould feels that people on these websites (I mentioned review sites, blogs and my own) are also freeloaders. So if you are a reviewer or journalist that has ever reviewed something and got the item or service for free before taking the time to write a review then that’s you!
  2. If you have ever used the information on my site to gain refunds and redress I guess he means you too!
  3. If you have bought my book to gain refunds and redress I suppose he means you as well!
  4. I guess if you have liked my Facebook and certainly if you interact with me on there then he includes you as a free loading friend on these websites!
  5. The reviewer receives a couple of hundred pounds worth of stay (no travel) – The hotel receives much free advertisement. I would suggest that several thousand people reading a review is worth slightly more than the couple of hundred pounds that the reviewer “saves” before writing up the piece. No advertisement costs, not even having to pay anyone to design the advert. So as a PR company GHOTW is doing a great job huh?

Wonder what the other hotels in this group think of the way that the PR company handles publicity?!

So who is the freeloader? The person who seeks refunds and redress when put out of pocket/the reviewer who undertakes some work in return for a free service or product, or the company that uses reviews as a cheaper method of traditional advertising and then insults anyone who evidences overcharging?

Should you be a reviewer or journalist that undertakes reviews and doesn’t take kindly to the above you can contact Peter Gould here

 

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27 Responses to GHOTW CEO insinuates all reviewers and complainers are freeloaders oh and it’s okay to overcharge too!

  1. Alex Smith says:

    OMG I’m actually speechless. What an absolute ass. I can’t believe he came out with that in an official email. So its alright for them to overcharge but not alright for people to seek redress?

  2. Danae says:

    Unbelievable! I suppose wanting to get money back for faulty items is freeloading too? Very patronising and unreasonable, I’m going to guess, old man. Shameful!
    Obviously tweeted the text, although not sure everyone will “get” the abbreviations… Maybe I should clarify that in a follow up tweet.
    Don’t listen to him Helen! If we didn’t complain we’d get walked over like rugs and have our money stolen by ruthless so called “businessmen”!
    On the flip side, there are some companies out there with amazingly great customer service, so there is hope! 🙂

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Sadly in full takes too many letters in a tweet but hopefully enough for people to be interested. Thanks for tweeting out

  3. Lizd says:

    Personally I’d charge him an agency representation fee and get him on the first reality tv show you can. He would be an ideal candidate – will they/won’t they vote him off 🙂

    I certainly wouldn’t want him representing my brand.

  4. Catherine Pring says:

    What an arrogant man, I review for Trip Advisor have never been paid or had any freebies. The reason people like us review and/or complain is to improve customer service and to ensure we get good value for money.

    People like him should remember that people like us his customers pay his probably very generous salary and if all he can do is insult us it does not bode well for his business.

    Perhaps people like him should get a life on planet earth and ask themselves why we would pay for people to rip us off, give us disgusting service and generally be obnoxious.

    He is not doing his company any favours sending e-mails like this. The more publicity this e-mail gets the better, I hope it makes him sit up and take notice and starts to realise
    that insulting people who could have been future customers is not ideal.

    I would certainly now consider twice before using his company for anything!!

    Regards

    Catherine

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Well put! Please feel free to help with that publicity tweet the post out, share on FB etc etc as I quote agree. Perhaps the hotels I the alliance will find another company to do their PR for them.

  5. Melody Shanahan-Kluth says:

    How incredibly arrogant of him. I have retweeted but really? People need to be asking why this man is being paid to insult his customer base in such a way.

    Amazed by how he managed to take the time out of his incredibly busy life to let you know exactly how WRONG you are (NOT!)

  6. Lauren says:

    Well, that puts me off ever using them to stay anywhere! If I ever had a problem, it wouldn’t be their fault, but mine for being a “freeloader”! What a stinking attitude!

  7. The man is clearly a complete twat. Please let us know ALL the organisations that he represents so that I can boycott them and encourage all of my many contacts to do so. Big business makes me want to vomit.

  8. Richard says:

    So a CEO sends out an incredibly unprofessional email that is not only written on behalf of the business, has it’s details emblazoned on it.

    Surely an email such as this is bringing the business into disrepute? What would Mr Gould do to an employee who took it upon themselves to emulate his behaviour? I suspect they would be clearing their desk by the end of the day.

    Let’s deal with facts.

    Is the price you were offered different to the one on the website? If it was then they are breaking the law, simple as that. And if, having brought it to their attention the response is “tough, use someone else” then there is a legal issue to pursue. Of course creating the negative PR that Mr Gould’s email deserves may be a more fitting way to handle it than going to small claims.

    However, if the price you were quoted isn’t misrepresented anywhere but you don’t agree with how it has been calculated then there is no legal issue (maybe a moral one) and your choice would be to accept it or not. Now, the response from the CEO really should have dealt with the issue in hand – i.e. the pricing – and if his answer was “That is the price take it or leave it” then there are more appropriate ways to say it that represent both Mr Gould and his company in a better light.

    I have never heard of his business before today but my overall impression is it is run by someone who is himself self indulgent and who cares only about his bottom line. I certainly wouldn’t want to do business with them.

    For balance, I would love to see the email you sent in the first place that upset him sufficiently to illicit this response.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Yes in answer to the questions and I pointed out the legal breach because the cost was different on the website as I mentioned in the post. Might forward it all to Trading Standards actually.

      • Richard says:

        Can you change the header title so it has the company name rather than the acronym? I still have no idea who GHOTW are. The full company name will pop up on Google searches eventually too. Useful for prospective customers to see what the CEO is really like.

        • The Complaining Cow says:

          No, because it won’t fit when people tweet it out 🙁 In full if you put “Great Hotels of the World” into a Google search you get all sorts of different kinds of hotels nothing to do with GHOTW anyway.

  9. Pink says:

    When I think back to all the similar issues I have had in the past my wee dander gets up.
    How do people who are meant to represent organizations think they can do this and it not have an impact on their colleagues and staff. Now many of us will, at the very least think twice about using this organization or it’s affiliates.
    I wonder what his response will be when this hits the media?

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      More rudeness probably – he will think it good PR! No such thing as bad publicity – maybe it is what he is after, he likes cheap advertisement after all.

  10. Jenni Cook says:

    This would be a disgusting reply from anyone, let alone someone at CEO level. Is he ‘so busy and well-meaning’ that he hasn’t even bothered to read the nature of the query properly and understand the very valid point of not being overcharged?
    Calling you a ‘freeloader’ when you actually wanted to pay for an upgrade is as insulting as his overall rudeness (and poor typing!)

  11. Rocky Pebble says:

    Complaining about overcharging is a right in this country. Giving feedback about how an organisation interacts with you as a consumer is a right. Some organisations take the feedback on board and make changes. Some do not. You Mr Gould will clearly be in the latter camp to the detriment of your organisation I suspect.

  12. Kevin Salaman says:

    I suspect Mr Gould’s five-year-old son sneaked into the office and typed that letter.

    I too shall be sharing this with my contacts. I would never do business with someone who sees customers as a nuisance or someone who’s too thick to understand basic grammar and punctuation.

  13. anon says:

    That guy’s thinking looks like how modern aristocracy works, the business owners are just somehow deserving and that those without a major stake in an enterprise should just put up and shut up.

    Blackadder: “Now, listen, Frou-Frou, would you like to earn some money?”
    Le Comte de Frou Frou: “No, I wouldn’t. I would like other people to earn it and then give it to me, just like in France in the good old days.”

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