I first contacted Althea’s Place (AP) on October 17th 2012 to enquire about a room over the New Year period. As per their instructions, I transferred a 50% deposit (Php 11,000) directly into their bank account on October 21st. On November 14th I received an email from AP saying they had not received the money. I followed this up with my bank in Australia and they confirmed that the transfer was successful.
In total I emailed AP 13 times and my wife rang them 4 times. They claimed the entire time that they did not receive the money. Before leaving Australia I spoke to my bank for a second time and explained the situation. They confirmed that the money had been transferred into the bank account specified by AP. When my wife spoke to the staff at AP, they seemed either incomprehensibly incompetent, or ‘playing dumb’. As the transfer took place on October 21st they claim to have checked their account and did not receive any money from me on that date! My wife explained that an international money transfer takes several working days to be processed; therefore it would not be in their account on the day it was sent from Australia. Then they claim that no amount of Php 11,000 went into their bank account. Once again my wife had to explain to them that their bank would subtract a transfer fee from the 11,000 total, therefore they would have received a lesser amount. At a later date they asked me to tell them exactly how much they received and the date it would have gone into their account!!!!! These evasive tactics continued right up till the time of our booking. AT NO STAGE DID ALTHEA’S PLACE ADMIT THEY RECEIVED MY MONEY.
Althea’s Place has a cancellation policy which states “all cancellation must be confirmed by phone or e-mail at least seven (7) days prior to scheduled arrival, a fee equivalent to 50% of total estimated expenditures shall be debited to your account. In last minute or one day cancellation prior to scheduled date shall be charge of 100% of the total amount”. With this policy, whether they admitted to receiving the money or we stayed there or not, Althea’s Place intended to keep my money. In the end we continued with our booking so we could sort the matter out face to face.
To be brief about the hotel, there were unpleasant stains on the sheets, the room was full of mosquito’s (plus squashed mosquito's with blood splatter on the walls from previous guests), cobwebs, one window didn’t even have a latch, 2 other windows did not close properly, the whole room had a damp stagnant odour and the pool (which I had specifically asked about) had obviously not been maintained for an extended period. After finding another motel we then went back for our luggage....
When my wife told AP that we were going, their immediate response was “you can’t get your deposit back” (an interesting response considering they claim to have not received it). The man in charge (possibly the owner) began reading the cancellation policy to me which would have me liable for “100% of the total amount”. My blood boiled instantly so I said “don’t you dare, you have fraudulently taken my money, you have been deceitful and dishonest so don’t you dare ask for one more cent”! He quickly backed down, did not ask for any more money, did not admit he received our deposit and we left for our new, hygienic and conveniently positioned accommodation.
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- Also Known As:
- Althea's Place Palawan Island/Puerto Princesa