Accommodation Nightmare Chisinau; Vlaicu Pîrcălab Str.


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November 3rd 2010
Published: November 3rd 2010
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I am writing to tell about an unfortunate experience myself and family endured during a recent visit to Moldova.

We recently travelled to Moldova for a wedding, the visit was tarnished by some very nasty people seeing our happy weekend as a means to exploit us by assuming we would pay large amounts of money to prevent them from spoiling our happy time. Below I write a long, quite detailed account of the situation. I apologise for posting such a long version, but I thought it would be better to provide too much detail rather than too little.

The story below relates to problems we had with a lady by the name of Galia and her daughter, their business is property rental aimed at tourists / visitors to Chisinau. The property in question is located just behind 22 Vlaicu Pîrcalab Str. (22-11). Chisinau. The main contact I have for them is; Tel +373 (0) 698 39039 or +373 (0) 69025544

I start by listing some questions / issues that appear at the end of this long text. On first sight these questions and comments may seem not to have much meaning, but hopefully as you read our story, they should become more relevant and when they appear again at the end, I hope this story is useful to potential visitors and also hope some readers may be able to point us in the right direction regarding answers we now seek.

QUESTIONS THAT APPEAR AT THE END OF THE FOLLOWING TEXT;
Due to travel arrangements, we had to leave Chisinau before the police could locate an interpreter for me to make my statement at the police station, this meant we are now left with many unresolved questions and issues such as;
1. Does Moldova have any form of registration or licensing regarding establishments that offer accommodation to tourists and visitors?
2. Who or which ministries can we make complaints to regarding malpracticing businesses ?
3. Does the tourist board or other tourism organisations keep blacklists of such businesses and their practices?
4. How does Moldova govern or police the practices of rogue businesses.

Since leaving Chisinau, we have been plagued with phone calls from the property owner and her daughter, they call regularly just to spout abuse at us as a means to continue their campaign to ruin what should now be a happy time for us. They also found the expensive perfume etc. and try to use it to force us into withdrawing complaints against them, saying they will return such things only after we withdraw any complaints against them.


OUR STORY
Accommodation Nightmare Chisinau; Vlaicu Pîrcălab Str.
Having travelled to Moldova many times in the past, I always stayed in Hotels. On my most recent visit I was travelling to Moldova to get married. We decided it would be nice to stay in a large house in the city allowing myself and family to be together with some of our guests instead of paying for many hotel rooms. My “wife-to-be” had paid a deposit of 200 Euro prior to my arrival. The cost was to be 200 Euro per night, a total of 1000 Euro for the 5 nights from 27th October 2010.

On arrival in Chisinau, we took a taxi to the property located just behind 22 Vlaicu Pîrcălab Str. (22-11). The owner, Galia, did not speak English, so the balance of payment and initial contact was made with the owner’s daughter. We paid the balance of 800 Euro, I requested a receipt and was told it would be brought to me later. Our guests arrived the next day, over the following 2 days the marriage took place and then ourselves along with our guests spent time at the property. On Sunday 31st October 2010, while we were all out walking, the owner and her daughter entered the property and waited for us when we returned. They became very abusive towards myself and family as well as our guests, they were making claims that we had damaged their property. They then proceeded to show us some marks on the wall in one of the rooms, claiming we had done this. The marks in question related to small area of the wall near a door. They told us they wanted 3000 Euro for this damage. I looked at the wall a commented that there were many marks, cracks, water stains from the Air Conditioning unit as well as other blemishes all over the wall. I also commented that I had no knowledge at that time of the marks being caused while we were there. I then pointed out that 3000 Euro for such a small area of wall covering was a ridiculous figure. When you consider the official figure for the Moldovan average wage for the first half of 2010, was 2804.2 Leis per month (174 Euro), equivalent of 2084 Euro a year. Then a figure of 3000 Euro is one and a half times the national average yearly wage. Their reply was that it required 3000 Euro due to the fact that the wall covering of the room would all need replacing as the existing type was no longer available.

Arguments continued regarding the ridiculous figure of 3000 Euro, responsibility of the new marks, and issues relating to the full decoration of a room compared to that of a small repair. However, as I had travel & Holiday insurance with third party liability. I informed the owner and her daughter, they were more than welcome to take my insurance policy details and reference number in order to make a claim. They replied by saying they only wanted money from me and had no interest in claiming this through my insurance company. When I questioned this by saying it would resolved that matter, the owner’s daughter replied saying it was a British insurance company and the British were all pigs. Her abuse about the British people then continued by making comments that she had spent time in London at the time of terrorist bombings and that she was happy Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden wanted to kill British people. She continued to rant and spout abuse at myself and family to the point that our children and grandchild were visible distressed. At this point, we told some of our family and friends to leave and take accommodation with relatives. As well as her verbal abuse of the British, the owner’s daughter voiced similar comments about people of the USA and EU countries. She continued her antics saying she would continue to do all she could to spoil our wedding weekend until we paid 3000 Euro. I then asked her, if she hated people of EU countries and the USA so much, why did she and her mother run an accommodation business that entailed interaction with people of such nationalities. Her reply was along the lines of it was the best way to get money out of the rich pigs. At this point, I said to my family and friends that we should involve the police.

My wife and friends persuaded the owner to send her daughter away from the arguments due to her bigoted racist views inflaming the situation. I was still in favour of involving the police as I no longer wanted to attempt to deal directly with the owner or her daughter anymore. However, my wife and others insisted a solution could be reached with the owner without involving the police. I kept out of such discussions and was then told the owner would accept 300 US Dollars, I still believed that even 300 US dollars was excessive for the small repair that was required. This was put to the owner and she replied saying that we could also go and get quotes for the repair and see if any of the 300 US dollars could be returned to me. I was still sceptical about such an arrangement as I had never received a receipt for my initial payment of the 1000 Euro and I believed I would also not receive a receipt for any further payment to the owner or her daughter. I was further concerned that once they had another 300 US dollars, they would continue their tactics of ruining our wedding weekend as a method of obtaining more money. I reluctantly handed over a further 300 US dollars. No receipt was forthcoming as I expected, we then went with the owner’s daughter to get quotes for the repair, this proved a farce due to the fact that although we could get quotes well within the 300 dollars, the owner’s daughter came up with her own reasons why it was unacceptable. Once the shops, stores and market stalls had closed, it was agreed, the repair quote and solution would have to continue the next day. The owner’s daughter left and we went out for a meal with family and friends.

While we were out attempting to enjoy our meal after such an upsetting day, we received a phone call from the property owner confirming my earlier fears of what was to follow. The owner then stated they would not let us enter the property again or return any of our belongings until we paid the full amount they wanted. At this time, my family and friends agreed that my earlier suggestion of involving the police was the only way forward. We made the decision to return to the property first, and if the threat of keeping us out or holding our possessions to ransom followed, to then bring the police. On our return to the property the owner and her daughter were not present, we had keys so entered the property. We locked the property and left the keys in the lock inside to prevent access from outside during the night. In the night and early morning before we could get the police to arrive, the owner and her daughter turned off the electricity and other utilities and continually triggered the house alarm as a means of intimidating us, all of which was an effort to carry out their threat of ruining our wedding weekend unless we gave then 3000 Euro.

By 9 o’clock Monday morning (1st November 2010) we were informed the police were on the way. The police arrived and they, and the owner with her daughter entered the property. On arrival, the police were already informed of our situation, we then allowed the owner and her daughter to explain their side of things. Like ourselves, the police told the owner and her daughter that it was ridiculous to attempt to obtain 3000 Euro for such minor blemishes, the police officer, without being prompted, pointed out the other blemishes all over the wall just as I had done. The owner and her daughter continued to argue with the police to the point that the police said the matter would have to be resolved at the police station. We were then told to gather our things on the basis we may not be able to return to the property after visiting the police station. Unfortunately, leaving in such a hurry resulted in leaving some personal items behind, including expensive perfume presents.

At the police station my wife made a statement, my statement was to take place once an interpreter could be present. The owner of the property was also required to make a statement. While at the police station, we discovered the owner and her daughter were already known to the police and on police files, I can only assume this was not their first attempt to exploit visitors. My travel plans meant that we had to leave Chisinau by 2 in the afternoon, unfortunately this meant I did not manage to make my statement, as an interpreter did not arrive before we had to leave. The police were satisfied from our part we had done all we could to resolve the problem, first by us offering to give insurance details to allow the owner to claim, and then, as the owner had declined the insurance claim option, the police were satisfied that the 300 US dollars taken by the owner was more than sufficient to cover any repairs.

Due to travel arrangements, we had to leave Chisinau before the police could locate an interpreter for me to make my statement at the police station, this meant we are now left with many unresolved questions and issues such as;
1. Does Moldova have any form of registration or licensing regarding establishments that offer accommodation to tourists and visitors?
2. Who or which ministries can we make complaints to regarding malpracticing businesses ?
3. Does the tourist board or other tourism organisations keep blacklists of such businesses and their practices?
4. How does Moldova govern or police the practices of rogue businesses.

Since leaving Chisinau, we are still plagued with phone calls from the property owner and her daughter, they call regularly just to spout abuse at us as a means to continue their campaign to ruin what should now be a happy time for my family and myself..

I hope this story is useful to potential visitors and I also hope some readers may be able to point us in the right direction regarding answers we now seek.


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