Friday, September 3, 2010

Aussie Pensioners Claim Accommodation Rip-off

TV3 exclusively brought us a story last night of a couple of Aussie pensioners that were claiming that a Kiwi motel was ripping them off for accommodation over the Rugby World Cup.

This is another chapter in the continuation of the "Sky-high Cup hotel prices" story that looks to continue for some time with the sensationalist revelation that tariff in New Zealand commercial accommodation will rise during the Rugby World Cup - No kidding! 

What amuses us is there is a consensus in the MSM that accommodation providers are the devil's spawn and are desecrating NZ's socialist fair-play image by taking advantage of hapless rugby fans with dynamic pricing. 

So should accommodation providers ramp-up tariff during expected high demand? - well of course! We maintain that the market should be left to determine tariff, however in this latest story we have some sympathy for the hapless Aussie pensioners.

In this story, a couple of Aussie pensioners made an accommodation reservation for 3-nights in September 2011, 18-months prior  at the Auckland North Shore Motels and Holiday Park. The accommodation provider claimed that it was verbally explained at the time that their tariff had not yet been set for the RWC period and would be subject to change. A written confirmation was sent that covered details of the reservation that included the motel's current tariff of $100 per night along with a clause that stated: "Management has the right to alter tariff without notice."

We accept that the accommodation provider offered accommodation on the basis that they had yet to set tariff and attempted to cover this with an out clause. We suspect that our Aussie pensioners were grateful of securing accommodation and were probably happy to accept those terms at the time.

It is obvious to us that accommodation providers making vague accommodation arrangements with the public is unwise. Why the accommodation provider was unable to think on their feet and either decline the reservation or pluck a suitable tariff out of the air in order to make a clear and transparent arrangement is beyond us. 

So after several months the inevitable occurred. The Auckland North Shore Motels and Holiday Park finally set tariff at $175.00 per night and our Aussie pensioners flinched, claiming that Kiwi accommodation providers were ripping them off and were price gouging.

Ironically, a mid range fully self-contained and serviced motel unit with a super-king sized bed over next year's RWC period for $175.00 per night is EXCEPTIONAL. Not surprisingly, this was not pointed out out during the story.

The trouble is that the motel had offered an agreement that was beyond the comprehension of the average Aussie RSL dwelling punter and they have paid a high price of negative publicity.

To be fair on the motel, we believe that they had the best intentions and snuffed out bad publicity by "doing the right thing" and held tariff for our Aussie pensioners at $100.00 per night. The motel will be providing at least a couple of folk with some cheap digs over the RWC and have provided fellow accommodation providers with a valuable lesson on how not to take a reservation.

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