Duck and Hedges advertised a property to rent on Gumtree, which sounded fantastic. We contacted the number provided and despite it being out of hours, we had arranged to view the property at 10.15 the following morning.
I viewed the flat alone and thought it was fantastic so decided to put an offer down at a starting price recommended by the woman who showed me around. I was asked to fill out forms there and then to which I did. Every possible piece of information about you, you had to provide. This company also like to take not only the usual 1 weeks rent as a holding deposit, but also all prospective tenants property fees. Having done this and read that I should hear within 6 hours as Duck and Hedges ¢â‚¬ËœLike to move fast', I was on my way, readily waiting for a phone call from a manager named Wayne Duck.
It wasn't until 2 working days later that I actually heard from him to say that the offer hadn't been accepted. All Wayne duck had to say what that the flat was worth a lot more than it was advertised for and that nothing below the asking price would be taken. I didn't understand the relevance of him telling me this as to me, as all this did was tell me that they cant value a property properly.
Finally an offer was accepted. We called numerous times to try and arrange when to sign the contract etc but heard nothing. I decided to look again on Gumtree and the property I had paid to take off the market had been relisted. I called Wayne and asked what was going on. He then said that the offer had NOT been accepted. By this stage I was pleased to be shot of them, so asked for my money back, which he said would be processed on the day and take up to 5 days to be back in my account. Fine!
As if this wasn't trouble enough, their true colours then gleamed through.
I waited 6 days for the money to be back in my account. Nothing. So I called them and spoke to an incredibly sarcastic cowboy salesman who was so rude I decided to go along to their offices. When I walked in, not one person spoke to me. It was only when I said ¢â‚¬Å“Is anyone going to talk to me?¢â‚¬Â that I was asked to take a seat.
To cut a very long story short, the woman who deals with the accounts came and spoke to me saying it had only been given to her to refund the day before and that I had to wait. She brought along my file with her and put it on the desk so I picked it up and said that I didn't want them to have any of my information as they are so untrustworthy and asked why did they needed it now, considering the refund had gone through and that I had nothing more to do with them. The file was literally snatched out of my hand and told that it was not mine to take. So MY information is not MINE?
A man then appeared shouting in my face to get of out their office. I didn't. Then he threatened to call the police. I asked him who he was. It was only at this stage he introduced himself as ¢â‚¬Å“Greg Hedges, I own this company¢â‚¬Â. I explained I wasn't happy but all he did was continue to literally get in my face and shout at me. He then called 999. I found this incredibly insulting actually as I work along side the emergency services, and I know that it is a life and death service, not a number to be used as a treat to get people out of their office when they have a problem.
Embarrassingly for Greg, the police said that they would not attend as they could not see what the problem was having asked to speak to me in person. The operator explained to me that this was an issue for the two of us to resolve, not a police matter. As if I didn't know this already!
Having then continued to have Greg Hedges saliva spat into my face, I asked to speak to the woman again, as she was the only one who spoke to me in a rational, human way and not shouting. Greg dictated to the whole office, ¢â‚¬ËœMy staff will not speak to you.'
His departing words were ¢â‚¬Å“If you have a problem, write to us. Never come in my offices again.¢â‚¬Â
In all fairness to Greg, he did TEXT me a few hours later. These are his exact words:
I am Greg Hedges. You recently visited out offices regarding the holding deposit refunded to your card on: 7/2/12.
I called you earlier but your phone rang off.
I would like to apologise for my overreaction and hostile attitude whilst dealing with your issue in our offices earlier. I am not sure what came over me and can assure you it was completely out of character. The way in which you conducted yourself with my staff was unacceptable and the trigger, I only had their safety in mind. Nevertheless, this situation could have been handled a lot better by myself and therefore I apologise for my behaviour.
Unfortunately, I don't accept this as an apology. He clearly hasn't even understood the reason why I was in their office. The woman rationally explained to me that the refund had gone through, nothing more could be done about that. It was the fact they had all of my personal details that I had a problem with and that I did not trust them as far as I could throw them, understandably I hope you can agree. Maybe if he hadn't come shouting straight away, he could have understood that key piece of information. Some reassurance and understanding and I'm sure I would have been on my way hassle free. What a shame. And his staff's safety? I'm 5¢â‚¬Â4', small and female. I was sitting on the chair with my packed lunch on my lap. There were 10 people working in that office, mostly large men. Please!
So having experienced all of this, I felt it was important to share my situation with the rest of the poor swine's out there trying to find a place to rent in London. As if it isn't hard enough to find somewhere, you really don't need an estate agency like this!