I have no words… no time… no energy to explain the situation. So let my email to the bastards stand alone:


I am afraid I do not entirely understand the contents of your email, other
than that you have a broken shower and hence have a "plumper" coming.
I do not understand from this email whether the room is still available or
not, or may be available. I am a very accomodating person (and certainly not "furiously"),
and am not unduly concerned about a small problem with a shower.

The story told by your email is very different from the one which I am aware
of, which I will set out here in as much detail as I am able.

This afternoon I made a booking for ****** ********** Amsterdam via ******** NL. I confirmed this by credit card, and got an email back at 17.24 GMT saying
that "You have confirmed your booking by credit card; your booking is
GUARANTEED" (my emphasis).

At approximately 20.15 GMT (some 45 minutes ago) I was called by a man who
I presume was from ****** **********. The conversation was a little difficult,
as his English was not great, but at the end he said quite clearly that the
booking is confirmed and I should check in at 14.00 CET.

Five minutes later I was called by the same man. He said to me that "the
owner thought the booking was for two people. Because it is only for one, the
booking is now cancelled." At the time I was driving my car, and rather
stunned I had no reply for this. It was only after the caller hung up that
the implications sunk in.

As soon as I got home, I called the hotel back and said that I was not happy
for the reservation to be cancelled. I pointed out that I have a clear confirmation
of booking, and that it says on the confirmation that the booking is for one
person in a two person apartment (on the website it said quite
clearly that this apartment is available for bookings for one or two people
– see attached zipped web page taken from which states
quite clearly "Apartment rate: Midweek (Mo-Thu) 1 ps EUR 70, 2ps EUR 84:
Weekend Rate
(Fri-Sun) 1 ps 85, 2 ps EUR 99,75"). Although I was quite calm about this,
and did not raise my voice (until I had to in order to be heard), the man I
spoke to was extremely abusive, shouted at me, said this was my problem not
his, and ended by slamming the phone down on me. Although this is a cliché,
I have NEVER in my life been treated so rudely by somebody who supposedly works
in the service industry.

A few minutes later I got the email below, with its talk of showers and plumpers,
which I confess has me completely confused. Just after that, I received a voicemail
message on my mobile phone, again mentioning shower problems and plumpers.
This seemed to be from the same man, now a great deal calmer and more apologetic,
asking me to come to the hotel at 07.30 CET (I already explained to him that
my flight does not arrive until 12.30 CET), offering me free accomodation in
the future (which is very kind, but as it’s been 17 years since my last trip
to Amsterdam I’m not likely to be able to take this offer up for some time),
and pleading that he is not a liar (I’m not sure why he mentions this, as I
have not [yet] accused anybody of lying, but whenever somebody starts volunteering
information like this for no apparent reason it makes me suspect that perhaps
they are hiding something).

I am very confused, upset, and at a loss for what to do. I tried to book over
twenty hotels and apartments before finally finding this one free. To have
my *guaranteed* accomodation cancelled only 15 hours before my arrival in Amsterdam,
with no alternative offered, is very frightening as I can only envisage that
I will be sleeping on the steps outside Centraal Station. To be treated to
a torrent of abuse over the telephone only compounds my feeling of hurt.

I am not a fussy person. If there is a problem with the shower, so be it,
I am perfectly willing to sleep in an apartment with a broken shower
– I’ll wash at the swimming baths if needs be. I just don’t want my visit ruined
by having nowhere to stay. Having said that, if the "plumper" is
coming at 07.30 and I’m not arriving until 14.00 I would have thought that
leaves plenty of time for fixing all but the most monumental of problems. In
fact, you are welcome to allow your plumper more time, as I am unlikely to
need the apartment for much of the afternoon or evening.

I shall be signing off shortly, and leaving for Holland at around 05.00 GMT.
I would be *extremely* grateful if somebody from ****** ********** Amsterdam
or ******** ** (preferably somebody with better English than the man I have
spoken to so far) could call me on +44 **** *** *** to suggest a solution.

I do not like to make threats, and would like to try every opportunity to
resolve this matter first, but in the unlikely event that we cannot work anything
out and I end up having my trip ruined then rest assured I
*will* inform as many people and travel advisor websites about this matter
as possible, and will also investigate my position regarding breach of contract
under Dutch and EU law.

Keep smiling,
Dan Sumption

PS. can somebody please explain to me what a plumper is. I thought it meant
this: and while I understand that these apartments
are in the red light district of Amsterdam, I’m not sure how this will help
with your shower problems.

PPS. I have no interest in meeting the apartment’s plumper or viewing their
bill or witness letter. I’m not on that type of holiday.


> —–Original Message—–
From: ****** ********** amsterdam [mailto:******@***.nl]
Sent: 05 November 2003 20:44
To: **@********.org; ***@********.org; ****** **********
Amsterdam; ******@******.be
Subject: re.13699923..





We are sorry or client and but we have an building
emergency break in the apartment, the shower place is broken , and
we have to more morning 7.30 am a plumper coming , but they promised
me not to be
sure that in time the reparation will be ready. This is the
mean reason
or the act we have to cancel the booking, client is furiously
and will
not accept the reason and exist to come and to sleep. I am sorry but
cann,nt help client , , I informed client early evening first
is oke, make one hour later an inspection o the apartment we
will use or
hoim and notes than that we have a leak.
Anyway we advice client to search further by ,
but he want
that we solved this problem, we think this is better to do by
********.nl because they have the contact. or at least two days this
weekend we cant accommodated people more.

We will client ore a ere stay one night next time but or now our hands
are bind, client can use this email or utter stay in
amsterdam, within
one year or another stay o minimum three nights .

Again deeply sorry or client but we cann´nt accommodated him now




thanks or now
Gerard Dobbe, ****** ********** Amsterdam .



Name plumper: de Boer in Naarden , i client wants to check the
problem, client may see in also the bill o the plumper , what can we
do more to convients
him. Must we send him alo a witness letter .

1 thought on “Amsterdamned

  1. Update: So I get two emails back from various people involved with the apartment. The first one reads simply:

    “This reaction is very over hot, sorry no comment more.”

    The second, a little more involved:

    ********* **** ********* is full booked for this weekend,
    we known about the problems ****** ********** Amsterdam have with one apartment what was booked for you. But the apartment has realy a broken shower place , and a leak toucht the apartment below.
    They offer you for next time a free stay one night, this is for the inconvenience you have now, they did request other hotels to take the booking over , but unfortunately they are all full booked in the area of the Warmoesstraat .
    We advice you to take an hotel at the aiport , or visit the again.
    We do understand your inconvenience but also ****** ********** Apartments Amsterdam. WE regret such a heavy reaction of you, but after searching 20 hotels is \”understandable\”.
    By the way how is your Netherlandss lanquage in mails :):)

    This left me fuming. These guys are both basically saying that it’s my problem, not only that but they’re damning me by implication, accusing me of being a hothead and basically a bit of an asshole for getting even the slightest bit concerned about the fact that I don’t have a bed for the night. Their arrogance overwhelms me.

    Anyway, here’s my reply:


    I fail absolutely to see what is “heavy” about my reaction.

    I admit I am upset. I admit I am concerned that I will have nowhere to stay in Amsterdam (as you know, everywhere else in the city seems to be already booked). I admit I am annoyed that, despite having a guaranteed confirmation, you apparently fail to see any problem in un-guaranteeing it. I admit I don’t understand why a faulty shower should make a whole room unusable for three days. I admit that I am a little suspicious at being told one minute that I can’t stay because the owner wants to put two people into this apartment instead of just me, and the next minute that that has nothing to do with it and there’s a broken shower.

    I resent the implication of both you and Gerard Dobbe that my real problem is I need to just chill out a bit. Chilling out isn’t going to find me a bed.

    But despite all of that, I’m not planning to say or do anything “heavy”. I just think I’m owed a little more from you than just a shrug of the shoulders and an “it’s not our problem”. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but in my country service means service and a guarantee is a guarantee.

    PS. Mijn Nederlands in mijn mails is verdomd goed, dank u wel. Maar wanneer een hotel op haar website beweert: “We speak six languages; English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Italian”, dan verwacht ik meer dan opgezadeld te worden met de enige persoon in Nederland die slechter Engels spreekt dan mij. Ik beschouw mijn reactie niet als “heavy”, maar ik beschouw de beledigingen van een persoon die verondersteld wordt me gedienstig te zijn, als *very heavy*, zelfs naar Hollandse normen.

    (the last bit translates roughly as: My Netherlands language in mails is fucking great thank you very much, but when a hotel claims on its website: “We speak six languages; English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Italian” then I really expect more than to be lumbered with the only man in Holland who does not speak better English than I do. I do not consider my reaction heavy, I do consider being abused by a person who is supposed to be serving me *very* heavy, even for Holland).

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