Remember the “alleged” tale of the Grand Daddy Valet who stole a customer vehicle and rolled it 70 kilometres away in Blue Downs?
The Grand Daddy Hotel left a comment on that story. Let’s enjoy it with our morning coffee:
A response to this post from the Grand Daddy:
It is regrettably true that this incident took place. One of our (now ex)staff illegally (and silently) took a guest’s car home to get a change of clothes. The car in question was a Mini Cooper but it is not the one pictured in the blog post – the damages in that picture are a somewhat exaggerated version of the real damage. The staff member has been arrested and criminally charged and the Grand Daddy’s insurers are currently dealing with the situation in order to settle with the car owner.
Okay so, this happened, and Grand Daddy admit the illegality of their staff’s (and therefore their own) actions. Also, the police happen to agree that the valet committed a crime. So this thing is pretty clear cut. Grand Daddy will sort the owner of the car out, right?
Sadly, not all hotels have service at the heart of their business model.
On Friday I got a somewhat troubling email from Rosanne Turner, the owner of the jacked Mini Cooper S, some of which is posted here.
Rosanne picks up with the tragic narrative the day after her car was wrecked by a Grand Daddy employee. As Black Beard would say, “Woe betide thee not to listen, for tharrr be lessons!”
Sergio [Dreyer – Grand Daddy Manager] gave us a letter stating that the hotel would take full responsibility, and that he would ensure that we would not be out of pocket or inconvenienced in any way by this incident.
We now had no transport. I am a travel writer, and had to be in Simonstown on an assignment at 8:30 the next morning. The hotel arranged for a taxi to take me there.
The next morning, we found out that the car had been towed back to the hotel. My husband met with the police to file a report, while I was on my assignment.
Again, another manager Francois van Binsbergen assured me that the matter would be dealt with swiftly. The hotel arranged a hire car for us to get back to Hermanus, and use for a limited time until our car was sorted out.
The next week, I got a call from Jody Aufrigtig, the owner of the hotel. He said that he was shocked by the incident, and guaranteed me that all would be dealt with swiftly, and I was not to worry.
A story on the incident was published on page 10 of the Argus on 20 April 2010, and also on the IOL website. See link here.
In the report, the management confirms the incident happened, as does the police detective. I am not sure how the Argus got to hear of the incident, as it was not from me.
So far so good. At this stage, although very upset by the incident, I am not worried, as I have been guaranteed on several occasion both in writing and verbally that all will be sorted out.
Then things start to take a turn. Ten days later, the hotel’s insurance assessor has still not been to view the car. I follow up (but never harass) approximately every 3 days, either by phone or email, and so does my attorney.
Suddenly the hotel would not return my calls or emails. Manager Sergio Dreyer informed me that the attorney representing their insurance had instructed them not to talk to me.
6 weeks later, I made a call to claim via my insurance, as I was without a vehicle, as the hotel recalled the hire car, and I still did not know what was happening with my car. What I did know, was that the quote to repair it amounts to just below R100 000.
My insurance eventually paid out (less my excess of R9500). The car was a write off.
Yes, we did sign a disclaimer for the valet parking. But, this refers only to the car being parked, so a reasonable radius would be within 2km – should the hotel have off site parking. It does NOT cover the fact that the vehicle was taken, without my consent, by a staff member of the hotel, who had access to my keys, and being driven a vast distance away – for his own personal reasons. The fact that I received a letter from the hotel stating that they take full responsibility, overrides this disclaimer anyway. The hotel owner may argue the fact that the manager did not have the authority to give me such a letter. However, I was led to believe that he did have such authority, as Sergio told me he did.
The fact that the hotel’s insurance doesn’t want to cover them for the incident is irrelevant to me. This is not simply a motor accident claim, but rather a negligence claim against the hotel. Their answer constantly is that they are waiting instruction from their insurance. (we were informed by their insurance that they would not be paying out which is why we eventually claimed from our insurance).
I also have my lawyers fees to cover, as well as being out of pocket by the excess on my insurance.
So the hotel’s original promise of not being inconvenienced or out of pocket in any way, is not being met.
Peachy, eh? And one other thing. Rosanne is a travel writer, and when the Grand Daddy’s attorneys heard about this they apparently threatened a defamation suit against her if any of these details saw the light of day.
Well here’s an education for Grand Daddy’s lawyers:Defamation of Character can only be pursued when untruths are published. So far the Grand Daddy hotel has admitted on a number of ocassions to the events as told above. Hmmm. Tough one to claim then, you’d think.
Well there you have it.
I contacted the Grand Daddy for comment before posting this, and Sergio Dreyer called back and told me that the Grand Daddy was still awaiting official comment from its insurers. As soon as I get comment, I’ll be more than happy to update this post. Evem better, please feel free to leave your response as a comment below this article (as you did before).
You know, Grand Daddy Hotel, I’d like to tell you what I think of you, but you’d probably sue me. What I can say is this: if this is all true then I suggest you take responsibility for your screw ups. You’ll probably find that people forget mistakes that are humbly acknowledged more readily than pouty-faced blame shifting. Although I’m not actually saying the Grand Daddy itself is pouty-faced, per se. I mean, a building can’t pout. But you get what I’m saying.
Also maybe call off the dogs, okay Jody? And then perhaps see to Rosanne. Just forget all the legal jargon for a second. Do what you planned on doing before the share holders and per hour attorneys started whispering in your ear – the RIGHT thing
But nevermind all of that. Rosanne is a tough woman, and she’ll keep on living without her wrecked Mini Cooper S, probably for anything between another 50 to 70 years. I’ll just be sure to always take my money bags some place else, and probably wouldn’t recommend a stay at the Grand Daddy to anyone I care about.
It’s a nice place, sure, but don’t get unlucky, or it seems you might get double-screwed.
It’s a grand thing to have choice in this town.
UPDATE: For those of you don’t feel like reading the comments section, this is The Grand Daddy Hotel Management response:
We are surprised at the version given by Mrs Turner and are disappointed that she now appears to be involving the media in an endeavour to defame us and to harm our reputation. Her article and the version she has given is not correct in various respects and fails to mention important details such as all we have done to resolve the matter amicably. Good faith endeavours were made from our side at the outset to resolve this matter amicably and these good faith endeavours are continuing. As Mrs Turner has been compensated by her insurance company already, this matter must be resolved involving her insurance company, who is required to claim from the Grand Daddy’s insurance company. This is an insurance procedure hence the Grand Daddy’s staff needing to refer the matter to insurers and lawyers. Mrs Turners attack on our reputation in the media is unnecessary, belligerent and without merit.
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