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.