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Locked out of the church hall(16 Posts)
I have a feeling that this should technically go under AIBU but I hate AIBU so I'll put it here. It was my children's birthday party this weekend and we had a church hall booked. I booked this at the start of May (they get booked up really far in advance round here) and paid the £170 fee. Included in that was a caretaker who would greet the guests, help us set up and lock up etc.
I think I was also meant to pay a £60 returnable deposit but it doesn't look as though this was ever taken out of my account.
When we turned up at the church hall yesterday, the door was locked and the caretaker wasn't there. We rang the doorbell a few times and someone else (from another group, using a different room) came to unlock the main door - however, the doors to our church hall and the kitchen were both locked. I had a minor panic and rang the booking line and emailed them but, as it was the weekend, they weren't there.
In the end, my husband found that the door to another room was open and was able to get into the kitchen and the main church hall through that door. He was then able to open all the doors so the guests and entertainer could get in.
In the end the party went really well and everyone seemed to have a nice time. However, I'm not sure whether my reaction should be "Alls well that ends well" or "AAAAAaaaaaAAAAHHHHH ... getting in was incredibly stressful and we very nearly couldn't get in at all and the whole party would have been cancelled."
I suspect that I was meant to ring them to pay the deposit separately - however I haven't found any email correspondence to say that is what I was meant to do and, as I booked it in May, I can't remember how the conversation went. It seems quite weird that the deposit wasn't taken at the same time as the fee.
I should probably mention that we left it clean and tidy and left the rooms locked or unlocked as we found them. There would have been some full bin bags in the kitchen but that is about it.
The booking team have not called me back or responded to my (panicked) email. I find this quite weird.
Also (sorry), I'm wondering whether there's anything that I should do now. Do I ring them / email them / leave feedback? Obviously, I would wait a day or two for them to respond.
Or do I leave it?
That's really rubbish. As someone connected with church hall bookings I'd say there has been a cock up and the bookings person had forgotten to put your booking in. This really needs to be dealt with as if a similar thing happened in our situation there would be mortification all round. Church halls rely on funding from bookings so this sort of thing shouldn't happen as unhappy users = less £ in the long run.
If no luck with the person handling bookings try the administrator at the church connected with it. It might be that the person in question is/has been ill.
I'd contact them and say "just to let you know ...."
Firstly because someone from the other groups using the hall may mention it to whoever is in charge of booking and secondly because they should know that the fella they're using to let people in isn't doing his job properly (or the person running the bookings isn't, depending on whether your booking was cancelled for non payment of the £60).
Plus if they weren't expecting you they'll notice the rubbish bags in the kitchen !
Either way, better to be proactive about contacting them than to leave it and then have them get in touch being pissed off or confused.
TBH, I would have confirmed the booking again this week - a lot of time has passed since May and it sounds like they forgot about it!
Well, they'll know that we turned up to find no caretaker because of my email. Presumably they should have rung me to ask me to pay the £60 (or taken it at the same time as the rest of the money).
To book the hall, I had to go onto some sort of online system and confirm that I wanted to book, then give my card details to pay the fee. There wasn't any facility to pay the deposit though. So my booking should have been on their system.
I rang them at the start of the week to say that we were coming in for our booking on Sunday and could we serve booze (the answer was no). So I had got in touch - although the conversation was more focused on booze rather than confirming the booking.
I would complain. You paid £170 and it was only luck that you could get in.
I would definitely speak to someone. Is there any way the 170 included the deposit? 170 is really steep for a church hall!
This brings back memories. On 2 separate occasions I turned up at our village hall for my dc parties to find it locked! Luckily it was a small village and the woman in the shop knew the address of the caretaker so we were able to go round and get the key (and 2nd time we remembered where she lived so went straight there) but I remember the feeling of panic! We never even got an apology.
£170 for the church hall? God will be having foie gras with unicorn chips for Christmas dinner at those rates. Complain, they've really messed you about.
We booked a party at a soft play and the owners forgot (paid the deposit in person). I was like Godzilla. I'm still angry about it three years later!
I know it sounds like a lot but it is pretty standard for central London. Also, having a guy to do the set up, greet the guests and lock up would probably be worth £50-60 on his own. We booked the room for three hours.
I guess in London it makes sense, it's an odd number though!
How annoying. I would definitely keep trying to find out what went wrong. Nobody needs that kind of stress.
I rarely organise parties but I once paid for an all inclusive style sports party (venue, person to organise the activities, equipment and food) and discovered there was no such person, no equipment, and the space was still being used by people playing badminton so we lost 20 mins of party time. I hadn't keep going backward and forwards to the reception to try and figure out what was going on and being treated like I was asking for too much. "What, you want us to give you a ball? We don't have any!" type responses seem a but silly in a leisure centre. Luckily one of the children had actually brought a football as a gift so we used that! It really spoilt the day for me though so I sent a couple of emails and got my money back. They agreed that they should not have advertised the service and would be now putting out adverts to employ party entertainers!
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