Just got back from the Smokey Mountains area and stayed in a cabin as usual. We have always had good luck with our cabins, but not this time. We rented from "Chaletels" as we have done several times. We were never notified ahead of time, but they were bought out by "Country Charm." Our chalet, Country Oaks #806 (not part of the Country Oaks companies chalets I should point out), was very bad and the service from the company was worse. First of all, we had four families with 7 young children and we discovered the VCR didn't work! Then when we were setting up the kitchen, we discovered that there were no kitchen towels or dishcloths and there was no strainer in the kitchen sink to hold in water to do dishes. Next we discover that about 15 light bulbs are burned out in the house and the glass turntable in the microwave was missing. There was a hole in the wall at the base of the stairs with the drywall flaking onto the carpet. We went to vacuum it up and the vacuum cleaner fell apart as we got it out of the closet. The pool table was unusable since the tips of ALL the pool cues had been broken off and then the worst part was discovered: the walls in the room around the hot tub were covered with MOLD! We quickly closed that room off due to the kids.
We called the rental company and told them of the problems. At first they told us we would have to wait until Monday (it was Saturday) but after we were persistent, they relented. Here was their solution to each problem: 1.) Never did bring kitchen towels and the strainer they brought for the sink didn't fit. We went out and bought our own. (which we took with us) 2.) The maintenance man came out and replaced the light bulbs. We also found that they use mostly 40 watt bulbs....not very good to read by. 3.) The maintenance man told us they would bring us out a new glass tray for the microwave so we could use it properly......they never brought it. We called later in the week, they again promised to send one up....never did. (Lie #1) 4.) They never fixed the cue sticks, brought tips or replaced them as they said they would. (Lie #2) 5.) They did bring a new vacuum cleaner after two requests. Now for the major parts: 6.) The VCR. They said it was the owners responsibility to replace it and they would call him on Monday. On Monday afternoon, they still said they were going to call him and told us they couldn't replace it without him doing it. We then caught them in lie #3.....my brother had been looking at rental companies to manage the chalet he is purchasing and so we read over them and he also called up Country Charms agreement......although the amounts varied, every agreement (including country charms) said that a rental company could spend a certain amount of the owner's income each month to replace or repair small items as needed. Almost every agreement listed "VCR." Another companies agreement said they would use a "stock" VCR or TV to replace a defect unit until the owner could get one. After we pointed this out to Country Charm, we had a new, useable VCR by the end of the day on Tuesday!
7.) The mold in the hot tub room: We called every day about this and every day they said they would send up the cleaning people to clean the walls and the room. They never sent the cleaners up. Lie #4. In our discussions with another company about rental agreements, they told us it would cost Country Charm extra to have extra cleaning done on the cabin and that extensive work would be even more so we would probably not see them. We called the Sevier County Board of Health to report the unsanitary and dangerous conditions in that room. The first day, they were very receptive to our call and took all of the information down including the name of the rental company and the address of our chalet. They said they would be out the next morning to inspect the place and could cite the rental company and/or owner. The next morning we had changed our plans so someone would be there for the inspector. We called to see what time the inspector was coming and we were informed that they had called the rental company and the company ADMITTED the mold problem existed. We were then told by the inspector that he had no jurisdiction over "rental units" and he was not coming out. How convenient that after you talk to the company, you suddenly change your tune! (His story was later shot down by another rental company that we were talking to.) What wonderful Health protection services Sevier County has if they have no jurisdiction over what most of the homes in the county are: rental units!!!!!!
When we made our final check-out and gave them a written list of our complaints, they said they would review them and get back to us about a possible refund of some of our money since three things advertised on the website was unusable. (VCR, hot tub, pool table) Of course that was the final lie. It has been a week and we have not heard a thing nor will we I'm sure. (not even a formal apology or even the courtesy of saying that no refund will be coming.) Needless to say we won't be staying with Country Charm/Chaletels ever again if we don't hear from them.
We go to the area every year and there are several good companies that we have dealt with down there and will continue to use. These include: Villas of Gatlinburg, Fireside, Timber Tops and Stonybrook. My advice is to check out the websites of your rental company and then CALL them to ask the details and to actually make the reservation. That way you can get all your questions answered before you go. Sevier County is truly a great vacation destination!