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Friend has decided to charge me to stay
999

ploomo · 29/08/2021 13:25

I have friends (a retired couple) who have several times over the last few years urged me to come and stay with them. They have a very nice old house in the Settle area, with a separate 2-bedroom cottage in the gardens. Since they moved in 2016 it's always been 'Come and stay, we're so lucky to have this place and we want to share it. You can spend time with us but come and go as you please.' Earlier this year they invited me to come in September and I said yes and booked a week's leave.

I have another friend who was due to go away to Greece the same week but cancelled because of potential Covid complications. So I contacted my friends and asked how they would feel if my friend came with me. I emailed saying that I would be very happy to pay to rent the cottage as I would be bringing a stranger, and that we'd bring our own bedding and linen and leave the place scrupulously clean for the next occupants — basically, wanting to cause them as little work or hassle as possible. They emailed back saying they wouldn't take any money, any friend of mine was a friend of theirs. They said they'd host us both for dinner the first night and they'd take us out one day to a place they love, and that we could all go to the pub another night if we liked — but apart from that they just want us to have a good time.

That was more than a month ago. I spent about £150 on some special whisky I know they like and I've ordered some posh local artisan charcuterie and other goodies for them. This morning I've had an email from them saying that now they've had time to think about it, they feel that 'we would like to ask you and your friend to contribute £500 for your stay to cover electricity and other costs. We know that you will leave the place cleaner than you found it which is why we are happy to offer it at a reduced rate.'

I know that over the summer it's been let out for up to £1000 a week, so I suppose this is a good deal but I feel really sick and actually quite shaky about it. It's something about being offered a gift, a sign of appreciation and friendship, and then having it snatched back. I feel I can't really ask my friend to stump up the cash having told her it was free, so I'll have to foot the bill. If it wasn't for my friend really looking forward to it I'd tell them I couldn't come, but I'm going to have to go because of her.

Have they behaved badly or am I over-reacting? Who's BU —me or them?

OP's posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

RedHelenB · 29/08/2021 13:27

I think you bringing a friend has complicated matters. Can you get a refund on the whisky?

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babouchette · 29/08/2021 13:30

I would just tell your friend the truth and ask him/her to chip in £250. I don't think it's your fault at all and I actually think £500 for a week is a bit of a piss take - that's not just going to cover bills, it is going to result in some profit for them so it's definitely a U turn from their previous approach. They shouldn't have offered it for free in the first place if they didn't mean it.

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RandomMess · 29/08/2021 13:33

Get a refund on the Whiskey and speak to you friend and ask to go halves.

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Bluntness100 · 29/08/2021 13:34

I think bringing the friend changes it. It moves it from coming to see them to going to use it as a holiday place, I suspect they are a bit pissed about it and don’t want to say, so are charging instead.

If just you it would have been the same as staying in their home, but you changed it into just using it as a holiday for you and your mate.

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PlanDeRaccordement · 29/08/2021 13:34

It’s a bit more complicated than being offered a gift of staying at their cottage for free and then having it snatched back. You complicated it by
-inviting another person along and
-offering to pay the full £1000 to rent the cottage

So, they offered you a gift, you added a friend and offered them a gift of paying full rate for the cottage. Yes, they initially declined your gift, but on second thought have decided to split the gift 50/50. You get the cottage 50% for free, and they get 50% of the fee.

So it’s more that they’ve realised they are accepting a gift they at first declined, so they’ve nicely cut the value of the gift in half.

This does change things as now the gifts you’d ordered are surplus. I’d cancel the orders for food you made and try and return the whisky, or save it to gift to someone else, maybe at Christmas?

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BeaucoupFish · 29/08/2021 13:35

Some ‘friends’ eh ?
Basically greed overcame them at the last minute, they must be so thick skinned to do this and not feel any embarrassment
I personally would not go

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Ilikewinter · 29/08/2021 13:35

I'd tell your friend and if they dont want to stump up half then id cancel.

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MyFloorIsLava · 29/08/2021 13:35

I'd look for a decent budget hotel, even if it was a bit more expensive, and tell them to poke it.

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MrsPworkingmummy · 29/08/2021 13:36

I agree with the above poster. Taking a friend has complicated matters. The hosts wanted YOU to go and spend time/enjoy the property with them. Now you're taking a friend, the dynamics have changed. I think £500 a week is reasonable and both you and your friend should contribute.

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PlanDeRaccordement · 29/08/2021 13:36

They shouldn't have offered it for free in the first place if they didn't mean it.

Well, I think they did mean it as they offered it in the context of OP visiting them to spend time with them. I don’t think they expected her to use it as a hotel while on holiday with a friend instead of just coming to visit them.

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canigooutyet · 29/08/2021 13:37

£500 for utilities for the week is taking the piss.
You are also paying for them taking you out as a treat.

I would decline and either try and get refunds for the gifts you have already bought or enjoy them.

Get yourself on lastminute. A week in Tenerife for example was only around £280 with flights and accommodation this morning. They also had some amazing deals for under £500 for the UK as well.

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SolitaryTree · 29/08/2021 13:38

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to charge you and your friend to stay and I think it’s kind of them to do it for a reduced rate for friends too. I also understand that it may have been cost free if it was just you going to spend time with them but bringing a friend means that maybe it’s more of a holiday rather than a friend visit so that charge is understandable.
I do however think it’s very unreasonable for them to tell you they didn’t want any money and then change their mind at a later date once it was all arranged, it should have been clear from the moment you asked to bring a friend.
I’d feel the same and also feel annoyed that I’d ordered the whiskey and charcuterie as this clearly was a thank you that may not have been affordable and/or something you wanted to spend as much money on if you’d have known it would be a rental holiday.

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Holweighthelp · 29/08/2021 13:38

The issue is, they agreed your friend could come at no cost. But now are taking that away. Pure greed. Bad friends. Also £500?! Piss take!!

I think that you’re not covering electric, you’re paying for a holiday. £1000 is excessive. They already were happy for you alone to come and then receive £0. So if it were £200 then fair, but they’re taking the piss.

I wouldn’t go.

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DotBall · 29/08/2021 13:38

I’d cancel too.

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Cherrysoup · 29/08/2021 13:39

I wouldn’t go. £500 will get you an Airbnb wherever you fancy for 5 nights.

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OneAugustNight · 29/08/2021 13:40

I would cancel.

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Howshouldibehave · 29/08/2021 13:40

@Ilikewinter

I'd tell your friend and if they dont want to stump up half then id cancel.

This.
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twinguilt · 29/08/2021 13:40

I think that they are being unreasonable - if they had said this a couple of days after their initial 'no, it's fine' response that would be one thing, but to say it a month later, and so close to when you are going when you really have no other option but to go is unreasonable.

I do know what would be best to do, but I know I'd feel upset if I were you, but also probably wouldn't have invited another friend along in the fist place.

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canigooutyet · 29/08/2021 13:40

And it sounded like if you had gone alone you would have treated it as a base/hotel and to come and go as you please. The dynamics have only changed slightly,

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LagunaBubbles · 29/08/2021 13:41

There's a big difference going to stay to see friends and then asking if someone else can come to, I think this has annoyed them no matter what they said.

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MinkeDinkie · 29/08/2021 13:41

It's unfair of them to change their mind a month later after you originally offered. A day or two maybe to think on it - but not weeks after.

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FangsForTheMemory · 29/08/2021 13:42

I’d cancel. They should not go back on their word like that. How do they know you can even afford £500?

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Tataru · 29/08/2021 13:43

Very unreasonable of them to change their mind so close to the trip. The cynic in me wonders if that was on purpose as you're unlikely to find anywhere else at such short notice.

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CanofCant · 29/08/2021 13:43

Yeah, perhaps they feel offended that their company isn't good enough for you and after stewing on it for a while feel taken advantage of and decided the only way forward is to treat it like a business transaction. Of course you know them and I'm only speculating.

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caughtinanet · 29/08/2021 13:43

Very tricky, would you be prepared to pay half if your friend was also prepared to? Could you explain the situation to them and see how they feel

I'd be a bit annoyed at the couple pretending that £500 was ro cover costs when it won't even be £50

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