Oh God, am I being duped?

Whenever we fly away on holiday, as we did last week, I book a "meet and greet" for the car at the airport. Aside from the huge convenience of dropping your car off at departures and having it returned to arrivals, it eliminates the hassles of humping my eldest daughter and her wheelchair on and off transit buses.

It's in my nature to hunt for the best price, no matter that the differential is a few pounds and the time cost is normally greater than that - I actually enjoy the hunt and also discovering how these services are marketed and how easy they are to book with.

Anyway, I was delighted to find a service called 1stmeetandgreet who were a staggering £50 for one week versus the general going rate of £78. What a bargain and a find. And then my doubts kicked in.

Why? Well, I was going to
- hand over my details including credit card information to a web site and company I'd never heard of before
- I was going to show up at the airport and hand over the keys to my car without protest to someone I'd never met before
- tell them how long I would be away from home and hence that the house would probably be unoccupied

Furthermore the website only had a telephone number (0800) and a mobile number - no address info or details about the company.

You see where I'm going with this?

Hmmmm. If this was a scam whereby this was simply a device to extract my credit card infomation, steal my car easily and rob my house then it would be a perfect crime. Would a police officer or the insurance people have any sympathy in such a situation. "So Sir, reading back through my notes you voluntarily gave them your information, credit car info and your car
after finding a web site on the internet. And you only realised your car had been stolen, your house ransacked and your credit card maxed out when you arrived back in the country Sir."



That is what matters when conducting commerce online or even offline, albeit to varying degrees. You trust that the in exchange for the money you hand over you will receive some goods. You trust that the thing you buy will work and if it doesn't that the retailer will still be there and willing to refund/exchange.

Yet how does one get a feeling of trustworthiness when dealing with a new service that you've not encountered before, nor had recommended, particularly in circumstances like the one above?

By the way, despite my reservations I went and booked it. Thankfully, as well as being by far the cheapest, 1stmeetandgreet were best service I've used by way of great personal service (timely, polite, friendly) at Gatwick and am happy to recommend them.


posted by John Wilson @ 9:16 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st meet and greet have been bought by a company by the name of rhino meet and greet, but the service standards will still be the same.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st meet and greet are now rhino meet and greet.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And have now gone out of business. They are uncontactable, the web-site is suspended due to non-payment and they didn't deliver the Service we paid £85 for. DON'T USE THEM!

At 5:23 PM, Blogger John Wilson said...

Nightmare. Both 1stmeetandgreet and the acquirer Rhino meet and greet do indeed look to have "gone away".

My immediate thought was what does anyone who has already left their car with this company do on their return to Gatwick? Being an offsite company, you have absolutely no idea where your car is stored!.


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