Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Seadown Site Owner Damaged Our Pride and Joy

Having booked (and paid for in full) our pitch at a previously visited site last November we were looking forward to our stay over the bank holiday weekend with some camping friends.

After reports of flooding in the area, I called the site on the Monday before our trip and was told that it was very wet and that a decision regarding cancellations would be made mid/end of that week.  Bearing in mind we were travelling early Friday morning and having not heard from the site, I called again on the Wednesday to confirm our booking.  I stated my concerns about pitching on soft grass and asked for a hardstanding pitch.  I was told that no hardstandings would be allocated until the day of arrival but if we turned up at 11am (earliest book in time) then we may be lucky as it's first come first served.

On arrival at 11:10am I asked for a hardstanding pitch.  I was told that they had all been allocated already that morning so we would have to pitch on grass.  I told the office staff that I was not happy but was effectively told we had no choice!  I asked what happened if we got stuck and was told "well, we'll have to drag you off with our tractor!".  The receptionist did say that the grass pitch that they had originally allocated to us was 'soft/boggy' so she re-allocated us to another pitch (we assumed she knew what she was talking about and had checked the pitches beforehand?).

On reversing onto pitch 33 we were surprised at how small the pitch was especially as the office staff were fully aware of the size of our motorhome (having just booked us in!).  The nose/front of our 25ft motorhome was almost on the perimeter road and the pitch was uneven, meaning we needed our levelling blocks.  Before attempting to level up and hooking up to the EHU we walked around the site to see what the original pitch that they had allocated us was like and found it to be bigger, flatter and the ground was no softer than the pitch we'd been given, so I went to the office to see if we could change pitch.  This wasn't a problem.

Unfortunately, we could not get off pitch 33, due to it having a slight slope and a concrete lip to drive over, our wheels were spinning and getting us nowhere.  Off I went back to the office to tell them that we were stuck and that we needed their assistance with the tractor.  This was the point that all the barriers started to come up and the previously polite and courteous staff changed their attitude towards us.  I was told that they would have to find the site owner and he'd come and see us.

On his arrival his attitude from the start was disgusting and aggressive.  His first words were "well, why do you even want to move from this pitch?".  We didn't want to spend the weekend on an uneven pitch was one of the reasons.  There was also more rain forecast for the weekend which would obviously only make the pitch softer and we had to get off it eventually?! Finally he decided to wander off in a strop to get the tractor.  When he came back, OH suggested that the chain would be better if it was a bit shorter because he was unable to tow us off the pitch in a straight line (due to the size of his pitches!).  He obviously took offence to our 'interference' and said "it's my tractor, my chain and I know what I'm doing"!  He (and his side-kick) continued to connect the chain up to his tractor and then to our tow ring and then said they were ready.  He told OH to start the engine and put it into first gear, which he did.  Within seconds the tractor had jolted forward and he literally dragged us sideways pulling the tow ring into our bumper, tearing a hole in it and bending the steel tow ring!!!  I screamed at him to stop, he got off his tractor and the first thing he said to us was "I'm not liable for that, you asked me to tow you off, you can claim on your insurance that's what it's for!!!".  I could not believe what he was saying.  I told him that in fact he was liable as he'd done the damage but he continued to make excuses, even accusing OH of not having the engine on (it was still running as we all looked at the damage!), not having it in gear and having the steering wheel facing the wrong way!!! Fact of the matter was he didn't want to get his tractor out in the first place, then he was in a rush to get us off and he literally dragged us at a 45 degree angle.  We then asked him what he was going to do next to which he replied "nothing, you can stay there now and call the AA or RAC and they can get you off".  What a disgusting attitude. OH told him that he'd already done the damage to our motorhome so may as well just get us off the pitch.  He finally did this begrudgingly and then said he thought it was best if we went to the office, asked for a refund and left his site (cheeky sod made us feel like it was all our fault!).  We had absolutely no intention of staying on this campsite after that episode.  I told him that I would be in touch with Hoseasons head office, who I'd been lead to believe owned Seadown Holiday Park, to which he replied "what for I own the site not them" so I asked him for his name and he point blankly refused to give it to me.  What a rude, rude man he is!
We then went back to reception (where the woman who'd originally booked us in and allocated us pitch 33 had conveniently disappeared!!!) and requested a full refund (which was given).  I then asked for the full site details, including the owners full name (again I was refused the information!).  I stood there until finally the woman behind the desk (who I believe to be the owners wife) scrawled two names on a compliment slip.  I told them that they would be hearing from us and left the site.

In 15 years of camping, thankfully, this man **take a bow Mr Osborne** was the first, and the worst, rude, ignorant and aggressive campsite owner we've ever come across - and I sincerely hope he'll be the last.  I think he needs to brush up on his people skills if he wants people to continue to use his campsite - unfortunately we won't EVER be staying there again and would like to warn all our friends and fellow campers to steer well clear.

I did manage to take some photos of the pitch (you can clearly see the angle that he literally dragged us off) and the damage to our motorhome.  He was not happy about me taking photos either.  Clearly he's in the wrong but I am guessing that it'll be his word against ours regardless of our photographic evidence?  We did speak to a few other campers whilst waiting for his 'assistance' and were told that the office staff know nothing about the state of the pitches so should not be allocating soft grass to a 3 ton vehicle, let alone pitches that are obviously too small for the size of the vehicle in the first place.  They also said that the hardstandings are only allocated to regulars and/or campers staying for longer than a week so there was obviously no chance of us getting one in the first place.  Why we were not told that when I phoned to check the conditions (twice before we travelled) I will never know.  I guess they didn't want us to cancel - money, money, greed, greed!!


Our Life In A Caravan said...

That is shocking! I would of been inclined to call the police!

Kernow Camper said...

Unfortunately the way things are these days they probably wouldn't have the time to even get involved?! :-(

Tigermouse said...

What an awful situation and what a dreadful man! I don't think I would want to stay there again either after being treated like that.

It might be worth posting an FAO on UKCS for the legal guy who advises on members' problems - can't remember his full username but it's cwdc followed by a number - he'll probably be able to advise if you have any claim against the site owner for the damage.

Kernow Camper said...

Thanks Tigermouse.

We have legal cover through our CC insurance but you have to make a claim through insurance before that kicks in. Our excess is £500 and obviously if we claim it'll put our policy up next year so decided not to go through our insurance, just get it sorted, pay the bill and move on.