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Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

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Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I am writing to warn other travelers and tourists about a company in Ogden Utah called the London Connection, a.d.b.a. the Connections Management Group, LLC . This company, which advertises in the New Yorker magazine and on the web, is in the business of renting apartments in Europe primarily to American tourists. London Connection contracted with me in writing in April, 2006 to provide a specific apartment in Paris, France for 12 days in October, 2006 for me, my wife, my daughter and two grandchildren. I paid for the apartment six months in advance for the apartment in full, plus the cost of apartment insurance ($262) in case I could not keep my schedule. In early October, 2006 I took my family (of five) to Venice for a week before we planned to fly to Paris in time to stay at the apartment for which we had contracted and paid. As we were leaving for the airport, I received an email from London Connection saying they had “become aware of some trouble with the apartment this past week” and that they would “make every attempt to notify [me] prior to [my] arrival should [they] need to make a change.” Our written contract stated that London Connection would provide an alternative apartment in the event that the apartment I had chosen was not available. Then no word from them until just 24 hours before I was scheduled to leave Venice for Paris with my family --- London Connection informed me through email at my hotel in Venice that it could not keep its contract for the specific apartment which we had selected in Paris --- and, in violation of our written contract, it would not provide any apartment in Paris. They then emailed me their agent’s cell phone number and home address saying, “You can call him [at this number]. Perhaps he won’t recognize a Venice number and identify it with us. His home address in Paris is [this]. I hope he will respond to you. We cannot understand his behavior. Could he have died?” When we attempted to get to the bottom of this preposterous story and even more preposterous proposal, London Connection’s story was that its French agent may have illegally kept our funds (sent to him by the company) and would not communicate with his company.

My hotel in Venice called six Paris hotels to find us temporary rooms – without success. I then spent a full night on the Internet at the hotel in Venice searching for an alternative apartment in the same price range. None could be found at the last minute. Finally I was fortunate to find a French realty agent called Guest Apartment Services who, working with me over the telephone, located two apartments that together covered my twelve days in Paris. Thanks only to this excellent realty agent in Paris, my vacation disaster was averted!

When I returned to the United States, I contacted the London Connection Group in Utah and asked for reimbursement for the cost of the alternative apartments. Incredibly, I was stonewalled for two months during which time London Connection had never even credited my Visa card for the original rental or the apartment insurance. I had to send threats of legal action for four weeks before they mailed a check for the amount of the original rental. But no refund of the insurance I had paid for, nor cost of the interest on my credit card for holding the funds for so long.

Meanwhile, London Connection has absolutely refused to acknowledge its responsibility in canceling our contract and never responded to my claim (less than $5,000) for the additional costs of finding and renting an alternative apartment at the last moment, including interest paid to my credit card while the company held my funds and apartment insurance I had paid to the company. In later emails from the London Connection representative, he maintained that he and his company were “good people” and this (presumably their agent absconding with their funds) had never happened before.

I am still pursuing London Connection for reimbursement of my costs, but meanwhile this warning is to let other travelers know about this company that took my money and then left me high and dry.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

This is a horrorstory and the nightmare of the traveller. Hope you will get your refunds. This will put you on top of the forum again and maybe this company will react. Hope you still had a great time in Paris.

Tet

2. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

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Removed on: 24 October 2007, 02:14
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3. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

First, a disclaimer . . . we have no first-hand knowledge of the incident described in cortez35's post. However, we do have first-hand knowledge of London Connection, a company that has arranged our lodgings in London on six separate occasions over the past few years. On each of those occasions, we received utmost professional service from every representative of that company. Our bookings were handled efficiently, and the local staff members who greeted us at the properties we rented were friendly, helpful, and informative. In particular, we had an experience quite similar to the one described in cortez35's post, when one of the properties we had originally booked became unavailable through no fault of London Connection. In our case, the owner decided to sell the property in the interim. When that unexpected sale occurred, London Connection promptly notified us of the property's unavailability and, importantly, offered us a choice of upgraded properties at no additional cost. We truly emphatize with the plight described in cortez35's post. At the same time, we also want to share with the fair-minded readers of this forum the absolutely fantastic service we have received from London Connection.

USA
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4. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I have used Connections on numerous occassions, never any problems. In fact during my last visit to Paris I was notified that the apartment I had selected was not available. I had rented a one bedroom efficiency apartment for $200.00 a night, very small but adequate for my needs. I was informed that the apartment was not available but there was an alternative apartment that Connections had selected for me. The "alternative" apartment was a beautiful apartment suite consisting of three bedrooms and two baths, living room, large kitchen, etc. The apartment was fully furnished with Italian design, very tasteful and the views from the private balcony was to die for: The Eiffel Tower in the foreground. The location was two blocks from The Louve, very central. I found out that the apartment rented for almost $1,000 nightly but because of the change in plans I was able to get it for $200.00. The representative of the company met me at the Louve and personally escorted me to the apartment. he even went out of his way to bring me two air conditioning units that he installed. Arranging transportation to and front the airport and visited with me several times during my two week stay with very helpful "insider" travel tips on restaurants and p[laces to visits. The experience could not have been better.

Death Valley...
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5. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I recently rented a flat in London from Connections Management and could not have had a better experience. The Craigs Court flat was the best location in London, right off Trafalgar Square, and at an incredible price. The flat was clean and ready when we arrived (which was in the morning)and Connections Management even arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport.

Let me say it again: this is an incredible flat! Though located above the Silver Cross Pub right on Whitehall--you look eyeball to eyeball with folks on the second level of the double decker buses when they stop outside the living room window--the double windows keep the place remarkably quiet. Open them and you will get an idea of just how effective they are. We were there in late May and our only complaint was that the place would get a bit warm with the windows closed, with the exception of the bedroom, which is in the back of the flat, away from the street. Not a big deal, though.

The bedroom is low frills, but the bed is large (queen) by European standards, and there are two small nightstands, a rack for hanging clothes, and a small TV in the room. Like I said, it remains pretty cool.

The bathroom has a large tub and shower, a wall heater that doubles as a towel heater, toilet, sink, mirror, cabinet, etc.

The kitchen is compact but completely efficient, with separate fridge and freezer compartments, and a handy washer/dryer combo that will handle small loads--so you don't have to pack as much. We found many amenities already there, from a bamboo steamer to tea, and left a few ourselves. There was even milk in the fridge!

The living room is large and airy with a high ceiling. There's a table with four chairs for dining, a very large L-shaped leather couch, coffee table, and a large screen plasma TV with cable.

It's a shame that the negative review is bumped to the top of the thread, because when I saw it, I called Connections and asked what was going on. They gave me their side of it, which seemed reasonable to me, and I am glad I trusted them because I could not have had a better flat or experience in London.

Florida
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6. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I did not see this message before booking with London Connections for May/June 2009 trip to London. I found their listing for a flat on VRBO & before booking checked around and found a positive recommendation from a friend of a friend.

The Mayfair flat was in a fabulous location but there were numerous disappointments: the washing machine didn't work, there was mold in the bath tub surround, the bath room sink leaked & spoiled my toiletries stored under it, the extra key didn't work, the furniture upholstery was well worn & soiled, kitchen supplies were missing, etc. The flat was also extremely noisy. The weather was quite warm during our stay & without air conditioning we needed to have the windows open at night. The car sounds along with the late night (early morning?) revelers contributed to several nights of interrupted sleep. But I digress....

The biggest problem was the washing machine. When I notified London Connection of the wash machine not working I received a very curt note that it did work & I should contact the local agent for instructions on how to operate it. In the end, after several emails & phone calls, & time meeting the agent & repair person it was confirmed that the machine did not work & needed to be replaced.

The local 'agent' is a very nice woman who responded to our requests for assistance. But she was powerless to make things right. I had intentionally packed very lightly given that I would be able to do laundry. Having this amenity was a deciding factor in selecting a flat vs. a hotel room & I made that clear in my conversations when booking with London Connections. I requested that either the machine be fixed or we be moved to a flat that met the standards as originally promised.

Neither corrective action occurred.

On balance, I can understand that London Connection would have difficulty ensuring that all systems work as promised because they are physically in Utah & apparently only have the one woman in London handling 20 or so units. Unless previous clients reported problems how would they know there was a problem. To protect themselves there are numerous disclaimers in the rental agreement forms that absolve them from responsibility when things like this & Cortez35's situation happen.

All things considered one might be better off renting from agents that are personally responsible & accountable for the accommodations rather than this arm's length arrangement.

I'm glad that the other respondents had such good experiences with London Connections but my experience precludes any type of a positive recommendation.

Another note:

Another respondent mentioned the driver service that London Connection arranged. The current charges quoted were about £55 PLUS a tip. For more cost conscious choices see the Trip Advisor article about arriving in London (tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-s301/London:U…) The alternative taxi that I contacted charged just £40 inclusive. The driver was waiting for us when we arrived, helped with the luggage, & was very pleasant. I even booked them for the return trip as it was less expensive for us than the Heathrow Express.

USA
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7. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I must come to the defense of Connections. I have used them several times over the years and have found them to be top notch and responsive to all needs. I recall one particular incident that due to unforeseen problems my tiny 800 square feet apartment was not available as reserved. This was in Paris near the St Germaine area. Connections gave me a three bedroom, three full bath suite at the top floor with a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. The apartment was decorated with Italian antiques and was one block from the Louve. The apartment rented for $5,000 a week but due to the scheduling problems with the cancelled apartment I receive it for $1,000 for two weeks. The management even installed an air conditioner in the master bedroom. Connections have proven to be reputable, straight forward and honest with all dealings. I would further urge all readers not to judge this company on the basis of one disgruntled traveler.

Death Valley...
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8. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I have to admit that had I done some shopping around, as you did, I would have been able to find lower-priced transportation to and from Heathrow. That was sheer laziness on my part, though I was happy with the driver, Paul, and figured why mess with a good thing?

I am sorry to read of your problems in Mayfair. We probably dealt with the same woman when we stayed in Craig Court, and when we first arrived we felt that the refrigerator was not cold enough, and called to complain. She immediately arranged for someone to come out and fix it, but by the next morning we realized we were simply being impatient Americans and that the fridge worked fine, given a little more time to chill down.

We found Connections on VRBO and were given a few options for London flats when we contacted them. For the price of our flat, we would have had to settle for a skeezy hotel at best. This was my first experience renting a property rather than going with a hotel, and perhaps I just lucked out, but I am now sold on doing it this way. Things invariably tend to go wrong for me just about every time I travel, so for this to go so absolutely perfectly was even more mind-boggling to me. I expected a tome of paperwork, but it was a simple form. I expected all kinds of hassles--there were none.

And I have to say again that I felt that the Utah folks at Connection were extremely forthright. He told us there might be some noise at this location, but it was not as bad as he said it might be. When we asked about a patio, he said there was a private patio for the building that was just ten steps from the front door and that no one ever used. Sure enough, it was right where he said it was, and we were the only ones who ever used it as far as we knew.

The bottom line is that I intend to return to London soon, and will be doing business with this company again. I appreciate the honesty of all these reviews, however, so I can address any of these problems before I take a property.

florida
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9. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

I must also come to the defense of Connections Management. We rented the Tufton Court property in London for 8 days in June. Pickup at the airport was smoothe, the flat was in perfect condition, everything worked, and they were very available for any problems. I would recommend the property itself very highly--3 bedroom/2 bath in the heart of Westminster. And regarding the management, my ONE experience with them was quite satisfactory.

It sounds like the experience of Cortez35 is one of those unusual situations that everyone fears, but occasionally occurs.

10. Re: Beware of London Connection (aka Connections Management

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Removed on: 12 January 2010, 13:31