Cup bed stoush: Couple lose lodging

By Nicholas Jones

Kieran Lean and Chantal Hyom are stranded by the Bond St Motor Lodge's rate jump. Photo / Supplied
Kieran Lean and Chantal Hyom are stranded by the Bond St Motor Lodge's rate jump. Photo / Supplied

A couple have nowhere to stay during the Rugby World Cup after a central Auckland lodge scrapped the booking they made four months earlier and demanded more money.

Kieran Lean and his girlfriend, Chantal Hyom, both 19, booked a three-week stay at Bond St Motor Lodge in Kingsland during the cup at a rate of $278 a week.

The English couple made the booking in February, but were told the next day rooms were $350 a night during the World Cup.

The Herald reported in April that the lodge, only five minutes' walk from Eden Park, had increased its rates up to 1000 per cent during the tournament.

"I said, 'Okay, I can't pay that. I'll have to have my deposit refunded'," Mr Lean said.

"Then a week later [lodge manager Vicki Heaven] phoned back and said, ...'The prices we quoted you in the first place are actually right'."

A subsequent March 8 email, which has been supplied to the Herald, confirmed the booking.

But on Monday, lodge management contacted the couple to tell them the booking had been cancelled because of a change in ownership and plans to refurbish rooms during their stay.

Shocked, they enlisted the help of Mr Lean's mother, Mandy Lean, who immediately sent numerous emails and phoned the lodge for an explanation.

Mrs Lean - who uses a wheel-chair after a horse-riding accident in 2009 - made her resolve clear.

"I am disabled and have every spare moment of the day doing nothing, so can email and contact people to my heart's content," she wrote in one email.

"I am a member of the Federation of Small Businesses in England and if you have not changed management or will [not] be undergoing refurbishment ... I believe that can be called fraud."

An email in reply from the lodge said "changes to office staff and management" had caused confusion.

It said refurbishments would be completed before the couple's stay, but they would need to pay a rate of $350 a night to keep their booking.

"We are sad that you feel the need to bully and intimidate our staff with repeated threats," the lodge management said.

But Mrs Lean reiterated her demands, and waited in vain until 2am on Tuesday for a response.

When the Herald spoke to her yesterday, she was tired but determined.

"When it's your kids, you do anything for them ... They [the lodge managers] didn't count on me. I'm a bit like a dog with a bone."

Ms Heaven did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. A woman working at the lodge said she was not authorised to comment.

As well as the Herald, Mrs Lean contacted Rugby World Cup organisers, the Motel Association and Consumer NZ in an attempt to pressure the lodge's management into a backdown.

Motel Association chief executive Michael Baines said the answer was simple. The lodge entered into a contract and had to honour it.

"If you fail to do so, you are in breach of contract and the customer is entitled to redress through common law.

"It's just a dumb thing to do. If somebody made a mistake, then you've just got to live with it."

Mr Baines said it made little difference if the lodge's owners or management had changed, as assets and liabilities were part of any handover.

- NZ Herald

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