Lady in Red - WARNING!!

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H Edwards

Lady in Red - WARNING!!

Post by H Edwards » Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:34 pm

We have just returned from T&T. We rented from LIB on Dec 22-23, 2005 as a recommendation from a close friend who owns a hotel on Crown Point.

We accepted the rental rate of $500 TT + $130 gas deposit for a 7-seat Honda for 1.5 days (cars were scarce at Christmas). We were told the going rate for the car was normally $550 TT/day.

Upon return, a "fresh" scratch was found on the plastic front bumper (rather quickly I might add when my back was turned) among the 15+ scratches that decorated this vehicle. They wanted $300 TT to buy sand paper and a pint of paint. I offered to puchase touch-up paint in Canada for $5 CAN, to no avail. After a long argument where religion was used to justify her business, we relented and paid another $170 TT on top of the $130 deposit she already had. Therefore, the rental cost was $800 TT.... May I also add that she wanted to charge me an additional 25% to use my American Express!!

What was curious is that the same thing happened to my relative a few days earlier. He avoided paying because he is Trinidadian. He also works for the T&T government.

I will be writing to the T&T and Canadian governments to register my complaint. If anyone would like the contact information, let me know!

In short, the LIR is NOT recommended, and should be avoided at all cost.

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:59 am

Hello H

It gives me no comfort to say "Pity you didn't read our Car Hire article before you went".

I've lost count of the number of cases I've be told of exactly like this. I issued warnings about Carmen (Lady In Red) a good year ago. I am told she is well aware of our warning and I had hoped that that would put an end to her greed, but obviously not.

Yes, H, please write to Mr Sumant Singh, Director of Tourism, Department of Tourism, Tobago House of Assembly, Doretta's Court, #197 Mt.Marie, Scarborough, Tobago, West Indies.
Steve Wooler
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Romana

Post by Romana » Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:38 am

Just curious, is 'Lady in Red' the name of the rental place?

Theresal

LADY IN RED CAR HIRE! RED STANDS FOR DANGER!!!BEWARE .......

Post by Theresal » Mon May 15, 2006 4:33 pm

Yes, another victim of the LADY IN RED car rental company!!! I booked a car for 2 weeks(3500TT) and they STILL ripped me off!! Never go there if you're a solo traveller and in the low season- you 'll be perfect game for them....I was charged for a side panel which came loose during my first week - the chassis part was covered with glue so they had obviously ' repaired' it before, but because I was the driver who had possession of the vehicle when it fell off, I had to pay for it! The night before I came home, a tyre blew while I was on the main road, I searched out the spare tyre but there was no jack in the boot so I phoned the LADY IN RED office, told them the story , told them where the vehicle was, where I had hidden the key and asked them to pick it up. I couldn't do any more.
I rang in the morning to check the car had been collected and was bawled at and ordered to come to the office. I said that with the full 2weeks money plus a deposit of 400TT towards the 'repair' of the trim,plus an overpayment of 250tt and the non-use of the car for half a day, I reckoned that we were even.The summary of this was being threatened in a 'voodoo' type mobile message that I had better watch my family and children because I wouldn't want anything to happen to them or to myself while I was driving.......I was then surrounded by six of the L.I.R. mafiosa at the airport, blocking my way to Departures. When I refused to 'discuss' it with them the police were called!! Nice policeman, when he heard I was travelliing alone you could see him thinking- perfect victim! Choice - pay 2300TT more or miss flight and get criminal record. End of story...be warned........ :cry:

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Post by Steve Wooler » Mon May 15, 2006 7:53 pm

Hello Theresal

Welcome aboard! :lol:

I am SO sorry that your holiday was spoiled by Carmen and her nasty games. I just wish that you had read this forum and our Car Travel article before you went - I am naturally assuming that you didn't.

May I please make it clear that I would NEVER post a warning about any business on the island without VERY good reason. For a variety of reasons, people often don't want to post criticism or comment in public - particularly in a forum like this where we insist on proper names - but it doesn't stop people writing to me. One or two incidents could be accident. However when there is clear systematic abuse supported by similar reports from other non-competitive businesses on the ground, you have to take it seriously. Therefore, what you read on myTobago may only be the tip of the iceberg (for both legal and confidentiality reasons), but believe you me, if I issue a warning you would frankly daft to ignore it.

Anyway, thanks for posting details. Hopefully it will help to prevent someone else making the same mistake.

May I strongly recommend that you send a copy of your report to the Secretary of Tourism, Tobago House of Assembly, Department of Tourism, Doretta’s Court #197 Mt. Marie, Scarborough, Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. – you could always try emailing it to tourbago@tstt.net.tt but in honesty it could be a wasted transmission because they ignore, or at least don’t respond, to email.

May I also pass on some helpful consumer advice sent to me by Glyn Kirpalani.
My consumer advice is simple and may or may not succeed:
clients who feel their credit card deposit charges were unfair or even fraudulent (I guess one in the same thing) MUST apply for a credit card "charge-back" of the LIR debit when they return home and get the statement. Their card company must investigate and will firstly wish to see the written letter of complaint sent to LIR and her (I am guessing) failure to reply or her actual rebuff reply.
Then the overseas bank will contact her T&T cc merchant card company bank who in turn will write to her for comments stating that the amount will be charged back in the event of non-reply or admission of the wrongful debit etc etc. Maybe she will not bother to reply, or her useless local bank won't send a letter in time so the UK/other bank simply charges back. In cases like this the 3rd world inefficiency (which could include TTPOst failing or delaying letter delivery) = first world victim success.

My guess is that in the case of behaviour which might be described as intimidation (obtaining pecuniary advantage with menace) to get a signed cc debit agreement (assuming the latest girl paid by cc!!) then a UK police report might suffice to satisfy the cc company - especially if, as she says today, the airport police were in on it. But, it is also worth noting that the airport police have no right to intervene in a civil dispute - although they do regularly for hotels alleging theft of items which is clearly criminal - so there is no reason why (time?) someone intimidated like this could not call their high commission or embassy from their mobile phone and make a report that they have effectively been arrested without warrant or reason. Unlawfully detained. I imagine the last thing the airport police would want to do in the current F&Co climate is explain to the UK HC rep on the blower why they are illegally onstructing an embarking UK citizen (read the wording in the passport cover) over a civil dispute. Or, in such circs someone could call 999 and report themselves "kidnapped" - sounds crazy but entirely accurate if what she says is true. Then the municipal police would have to enter the airport to see what was occurring - although this could go wrong if everyone ganged up as seems likely here. Stick to the F&Co or demand to speak with a senior airport police officer is my advice.
Thanks, Glyn
Steve Wooler
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Sharon E

Post by Sharon E » Mon May 15, 2006 8:03 pm

Theresa has told you just a bit of the story, the whole story makes very nasty reading and I am taking this to Neil Wilson myself, I saw the "damage" to the car, all that had come off was the side trim, which had previously been glued back on, friends of mine out here said it would cost no more than 250TT to fix, the tyres where in poor condition and only one burst but they accused her of slashing the second one with a knife. When the tyre burst she rang Carmen who said to leave the car where it was and they would collect it, they then accused her of bumping the car upping the bill by a further $1000TT.

When she turned up here telling me who she had hired the car from, as a friend out here had recommended them, I showed her the forum and warned her of their reputation. Sadly she had paid cash for the hire so was stuck with it. That is why I believe they threatened mob handed at the airport as they had none of her credit card details.

Sorry edited to say when she told Carmen that she had read bad reports and how they over charge people and rip people off from this website, her answer was "well you shouldnt have hired from me then, should you"!!

It is totally unacceptable that a company threatens any visitor to the island and should if there is a genuine dispute over payments etc, do it legally not mob handed at the airport and threats over the phone.

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Paul Williams
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Post by Paul Williams » Mon May 15, 2006 8:41 pm

I find it sad that the 2 main subjects on the forum over the last couple of days ie Eulas restaurant at Englishmans Bay and the Lady in Red problems are the sort of things that will put potential travellers of going.
As Steve has pointed out on more than one occasion if the authorities continue to let these things happen people will be looking at other islands or even new places offering winter sunlike the Cape Verde islands,
As someone who has been lucky to escape problems on my 2 visits I am concerned that "my luck will run out soon"
Regards
Paul

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Post by Steve Wooler » Tue May 16, 2006 7:32 am

Hi Paul

Yes, it is sad when such topics dominate the forum. However, look on the bright sad. Isn't it great that there are so FEW issues on Tobago? And how many destinations have the opportunity to allow visitors to air their grievances in public like this?

We would all be kidding ourselves if we truly believed that Tobago had no problems of any sort and that every trader was as honest as the day is long. That is clearly not the case. However, I would argue that Tobago has far fewer rogues than most destinations - simply because the island is so small that word gets around very quickly and visitors are invariably warned off the baddies.

Yes, the Tobago Authorities have been guilty of inactivity. We've got to remember the sleepy back-water nature of this island. They've suddenly got a large degree of autonomy. Trouble is the willingness and desire to run their own affairs is not matched by their experience or ability. I understand that only one Secretary (Minister) has commercial experience. Thank heavens that that is Neil Wilson, the Secretary for Tourism. The truth is it taking them time to get to grips with putting their ideas into practise.

There is an even bigger problem, particularly when it comes to small-time rogues like Carmen of Lady In Red. The vast majority of visitors return their car on the day they are leaving the island. What are you going to do about it when a rogue rental firm tells you that you have damaged the car and must pay for it? Are you going to miss your flight in order to file complaints with the police and the Tourism Department? No, I don't think so. People just go home, bad-mouth the island and certainly never return and possibly just post details in a few forums. The bottom line is that the authorities just don't receive the complaints - which is needed as hard evidence before they can act.

I freely admit that I fan the flames of these cases, when my background knowledge of the firm/individual/situation involved indicates that they are genuinely bad news for Tobago. Its amazing how many private emails I get after every such airing, such as Theresal's post. Once I've got sufficient evidence, I can bring it to the attention of Neil Wilson. Trouble is, I clearly can't use reports sent to me in private emails. So, in a case like this, I can take a print out of all the forum posts complaining about LIR and send them to him Neil, or whoever, with the comment that in addition, I have received X private complaints along the same lines.

So, while these sort of situations may dampen the holiday spirit, please remember that this site is here to steer visitors to the best of Tobago and away from the worst. Thank God there's far more 'best' than 'worst'. If Theresal had found this site before her visit, hopefully she would have seen and heeded the warnings and not stepped into this situation. Sadly there are people getting off planes every day who have never heard of myTobago or Lady In Red.

It is only a couple of weeks since I posted a further warning of Carmen after she tried to 'kidnap' an arriving visitor, inisisting that she had come to deliver the car he had hired in advance from another operator.

Sharon. Thanks for you input. Its great to have somebody on the ground. Yes, PLEASE bring this to Mr Wilson's attention. Just do a search on the forum for "Lady In Red" and you'll see how much public evidence we have - and believe you me, I have a hell of a lot more in private emails (although I can't release them of course).
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

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Post by Paul Williams » Tue May 16, 2006 11:17 am

Thanks for those points Steve, you are correct as in my visits I have had to deal with about a dozen different businesses for things and have been treated superbly by all of them and with the exception of one I have ben able to check them out in advance on mytobago. And that exeption was good as it came on a recommendation from a reliable source.
Maybe my comment that my luck will run out should read that if I do my reseach I will be ok.
I am sure that Sharons input in letting Neil Wilson know will also help others in not getting stung.
Regards
Paul

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Post by Andy D » Tue May 16, 2006 12:48 pm

These thieving toads need to be taught a lesson! :evil: Lets hope more people read the advise given on this forum and steer well clear of them!

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