Thursday, July 18, 2013
Our letter to KOA
Obviously left out some identifying info at the end but we gave them different ways to contact us and our VKR # which would also have all our info in their systems. I sent this out to the Nashville KOA and to the head office. I will also share with you how they handle this letter and what their response may be. Time will tell. Truly, we just want them to make it right. Big vacations only happen once a year and b/c of this, kids missed out on touring the Parthenon, going out to the Hard Rock Cafe and more than that, going to a water park they had been looking forward to. As a parent, you just want things made right so that you can tell your children see, people do care and will make a wrong right. Hope that made sense.
Kampgrounds of America, Inc.
PO Box 30558
Billings, MT 59114
To Whom It May Concern:
Our family has stayed at KOA campgrounds many times in the past and have never had an issue with any of them. It truly is the best option for a large family on a limited budget. In fact, we've enjoyed it so much, we have told everyone about our experiences via a blog and other social media outlets.
Recently, we went on our summer vacation. Now, this is not easy for a family of 13, let alone a family of 13 w/ multiple special needs children. This is why I have always, always called in advance to let the campgrounds know we need a site that will house an RV AND a tent. I always tell them it has to be able to accommodate both as we have to watch our children. When I had spoken to the Nashville KOA in advance back in the beginning of May, they told me the regular sites won't accommodate both but the deluxe sites have plenty of room. I said fine. They said but they'll cost more. I said fine, as long as we're together.
Arrived at the campgrounds and checked in. Awesome place to stay, I will give it that. Great hospitality and drove us to our site. Started to set up, even said hello to a few of the other campers we were around. Several campground staff had said hello and even collected trash. Slept there for the evening and hung around the campground all day the next day. Touring was going to be saved for the day after.
Second day, after being in the pool all day and other activities, our son comes to us at 7pm at night and says the campground people said we have to leave tonight. What? Surely there must be some mistake, we'll go check it out. Went into the office and waited in line. Our turn. They said yes, you must move due to safety concerns. What in the world?! Someone could run over the tent. I guess they could if they were drunk and swerving but truly, the odds of that were kind of nill. We said okay, what is your solution. Nashville KOA said they'd put our kids in the tent on the other side of the campground. Umm, NO. Can't separate, sorry. They called a manager. He had a solution. Put them in a site near the RV. Umm, again that won't work. You do not understand kids that have certain issues need to be watched. But, you can see it from the RV. Still, not an option. Plus, the tent site had no electrical hookup so they couldn't run the fan. Kind of hard for kids w/ temp regulating issues, you know? Also, site was by the dumpster and construction stuff laying around. And how is this safer people? You turn the corner there and much more likely to get hit than where the tent was. Any other solutions? No. So, to make sure that we weren't over reacting, we went to that tent site near the RV. With no hookup, just couldn't do it. Decided we had to leave.
Before leaving, we did call Jellystone which could have housed us but we just didn't have the extra money budgeted as we had already paid for these. So, no choice but to pack up everything and everyone as we were told we could not stay there another night w/out moving the tent. No room in the RV for all 11 kids. At 8 o'clock, I'm having to deal w/ telling our kids we're leaving. Now, I know most of you don't understand special needs of such intense variety, but deal w/ crying from an autistic deaf child w/ FAS and well, you have seen it all. Meltdown that I'm trying to deal with while holding the flashlight for my sons to unhook everything. Not going to lie, it was rough. On the way out, we wrote a note and stuck it to the door b/c they had already left for the evening. 12 hours in the middle of the night driving. Not fun.
This should have never happened. Never. On the way out, we saw empty sites. Why not put us on two regular sites side by side across from the construction zone? Made no sense. What was worse, not being given the money back for the nights we did not stay there. We were never refunded that money. No one from Nashville wrote us back. No one contacted us. No one apologized for any sort of inconvenience we had experienced.
We're preparing to go to Cape Hatteras KOA on Labor Day Weekend. In addition, preparing for next year's trips. In addition, preparing for a 3 to 4 week trip going cross country and back in 2015. I would hate for one bad apple to spoil the bunch so to speak. Truly, I just want things made right. That is all I'm asking. After writing about my experience on the blog, I've even had an attorney contact me! Several people telling me what KOA should do for us. What is sad is the KOA in WVA was excellent. Went out of their way and we love it so much, plan on going there next year twice. Yet, the Nashville KOA didn't seem to care about the inconvenience of having to leave or even providing alternative solutions to a problem that should really not have been a problem to begin with.
I just want the Nashville KOA to make things right. However they see fit. I'm not sure what that would look like but do know, refunding money for nights you do not get to stay there seemed like a pretty reasonable start. Just thought corporate KOA should be made aware of this as well. Please help us to avoid any misunderstanding in the future by outlining how we could have better presented our needs in such a way that this doesn't happen again. We enjoy KOA, and it is one of our preferred stop overs when we travel. We just do not want a repeat of this type of experience in our future travels. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us
Edward and Stephanie Boyd