Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Petition calling halls “extortionate” reaches 100 signatures overnight

A petition calling for an end to apparent "unfair" and "unjustifiable" charges at Liberty Quays has attracted mass support

A petition branding Liberty Quays as “extortionate” and “opportunistic” has received over 100 signatures overnight.
The campaign, calling for the Medway student halls to address a number of issues from high check out charges to rodent problems, currently has over 140 signatures.
Set up by disgruntled student Jem Collins, the online page has attracted dozens of comments from students, families and members of the public.
She said: “I set up the page after having problems with my own experience when management insisted that I was the only one complaining and I thought this just can not be true.
“They’ve told me I’ve accrued over £200 worth of damage, but the only evidence I’ve received is a couple of photos showing pictures of a pen on a shelf and some paper on the floor”.
She added: “Management have been extremely rude and patronising throughout the whole procedure and aren’t taking anything seriously”.
Other complaints about the accommodation, which is owned by Liberty Living and is the only halls provider in Gillingham for University of Kent students, range from fictitious faults to rude and unhelpful staff.
One student said he was charged for a chair that was broken upon arrival, whilst another said that they had been refused access to pictures showing the alleged damage.
One student commented: “I was charged £10 for a key that was never given to me in the first place and then treated very rudely and disrespectful (sic), accused of lying and given absolutely ridiculous excuses by S.Triggs : ‘must have fallen off before you even realised you had it.’”
Deposit charges range from £15 to replace standard shower curtains, up to £30 for dust and £65 for replacement chairs.
When quizzed over the high prices, Mrs Triggs, manager at Liberty Quays, said: “Many of our items like the shower curtains are not of standard size and the cost reflects this”, though admitted they could be sourced as cheaply as £1.
She added: “These charges are necessary to ensure the standard of accommodation at Liberty Quays is maintained at a high level in an exceptionally short space of time to ensure the accommodation is ready for our summer students.”
She also said that she had encouraged students in the past to seek to buy the items from other places to avoid paying the charges set by Liberty Living.
Other comments from students included reports of a mice infestation, leaving students unable to use their kitchen for over a month.
In another incident, a number of flats were charged for faulty fire extinguishers that the halls provider claimed the students had tampered with.
However, following a similar petition and campaign, the faulty fire extinguishers were found to be untouched.
Ms Triggs said: “The fire extinguisher incident did not result in any charges to any students. ”
Other complaints have included faeces being left in a communal area for over three days and lack of proper security patrols, allowing members of the public to walk into flats freely.
In a statement from Mrs Triggs, who in a bizarre move has signed the petition herself, she said: “We take all complaints seriously and investigate each on its own merits.”

Have you had problems with Liberty Quays or did your stay go just fine? Let us know in the comments below!

Article taken from the Medwire student magazine, written by Kieran Watkins

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