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Old 08.10.2020, 11:36
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Big problems w cleaning company

So the landlord-inspector-detective made a big fuss that the oven door wasn’t clean on the inside. Like in-between the two pieces of glass in the door. There were other cleaning problems too, and the cleaning company failed the handover completely (I had a guarantee). The inspector was talking to them in swiss german and then all of a sudden they're taking the oven door apart.

That evening while I'm moving the last of my furniture from the cellar I see 4 people going into my apartment to clean. Bear in mind this was 18:00, and they were in there for a couple of hours cleaning I assume.

The next day, at handover p2, the inspector arrives and complains about a few other things, but they are quickly remedied by the cleaning guys. She then tells me that because she's come a second time there's a charge of 250chf, she tells everyone in the room this and it is clear. The cleaner and 'more senior' cleaner understand this (This guy is clearly like a manager or something similar). As they failed the guarantee, they are responsible for this.

I am asked to sign the cleaning document, I do, but I write -250chf on the bill above my name.

So in the confirmation email before handover it says I should pay them in cash at handover, and if I don't pay then I have a 50chf charge. However, the guy says to me that they will just send the bill to the new address. So here's where I kinda messed up. I had the money in my pocket. I was ready to pay. But my understanding was that because of this -250, they had to modify the rechnung. He never explicitly told me this, but he just immediately said they will send me the bill. He never asked about whether I was ready to pay in cash.

So the amount I was quoted for cleaning was 369chf. Which I'm told is very cheap. All is included in this. Windows, oven, fridge, bathroom etc (it is a very small apartment though). With the issues I should pay them 119chf. Obviously this is very low for the man-hours put in. But they failed the handover, so I feel like they should take the loss.

Anyway so just a few hours later I get an email with a bill of 469chf. Not only are they ignoring the 250chf charge, but I am being asked to pay 100chf (Beardeitunggebuehren fur nicht Barzahlung) for not paying in cash (not the 50chf they wrote in previous emails). The email contains the following text:

"Bitte nehmen Sie zur Kenntnis, dass das demontieren, auseinandernehmen der Bachofentüre keine Standartleistung ist, und dies normalerweise nicht ausgeführt wird oder sicherlich mit Fr. 300.- bis Fr. 400.- verrechnet wird. Wir verzichten aber auf diesen Betrag wenn keine eventuellen Forderungen an uns gestellt werden!"

So it seems this oven door thing isn’t part of their normal work. They never discussed an additional cost beforehand. Nobody asked me about it. They just immediately went ahead with it. I'm not even sure if they can say that. The oven door is part of the oven, right?

So we've exchanged a few emails. The last one I made clear how displeased I was, but they're still playing games. I told them I wont pay anything until they send me a corrected rechnung of 119chf. It appears they don't care. But now I'm concerned about having a black mark on my name because of not paying. I guess I need some legal counsel
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Old 08.10.2020, 12:43
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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So the landlord-inspector-detective made a big fuss that the oven door wasn’t clean on the inside. Like in-between the two pieces of glass in the door. There were other cleaning problems too, and the cleaning company failed the handover completely (I had a guarantee). The inspector was talking to them in swiss german and then all of a sudden they're taking the oven door apart.

That evening while I'm moving the last of my furniture from the cellar I see 4 people going into my apartment to clean. Bear in mind this was 18:00, and they were in there for a couple of hours cleaning I assume.

The next day, at handover p2, the inspector arrives and complains about a few other things, but they are quickly remedied by the cleaning guys. She then tells me that because she's come a second time there's a charge of 250chf, she tells everyone in the room this and it is clear. The cleaner and 'more senior' cleaner understand this (This guy is clearly like a manager or something similar). As they failed the guarantee, they are responsible for this.

I am asked to sign the cleaning document, I do, but I write -250chf on the bill above my name.

So in the confirmation email before handover it says I should pay them in cash at handover, and if I don't pay then I have a 50chf charge. However, the guy says to me that they will just send the bill to the new address. So here's where I kinda messed up. I had the money in my pocket. I was ready to pay. But my understanding was that because of this -250, they had to modify the rechnung. He never explicitly told me this, but he just immediately said they will send me the bill. He never asked about whether I was ready to pay in cash.

So the amount I was quoted for cleaning was 369chf. Which I'm told is very cheap. All is included in this. Windows, oven, fridge, bathroom etc (it is a very small apartment though). With the issues I should pay them 119chf. Obviously this is very low for the man-hours put in. But they failed the handover, so I feel like they should take the loss.

Anyway so just a few hours later I get an email with a bill of 469chf. Not only are they ignoring the 250chf charge, but I am being asked to pay 100chf (Beardeitunggebuehren fur nicht Barzahlung) for not paying in cash (not the 50chf they wrote in previous emails). The email contains the following text:

"Bitte nehmen Sie zur Kenntnis, dass das demontieren, auseinandernehmen der Bachofentüre keine Standartleistung ist, und dies normalerweise nicht ausgeführt wird oder sicherlich mit Fr. 300.- bis Fr. 400.- verrechnet wird. Wir verzichten aber auf diesen Betrag wenn keine eventuellen Forderungen an uns gestellt werden!"

So it seems this oven door thing isn’t part of their normal work. They never discussed an additional cost beforehand. Nobody asked me about it. They just immediately went ahead with it. I'm not even sure if they can say that. The oven door is part of the oven, right?

So we've exchanged a few emails. The last one I made clear how displeased I was, but they're still playing games. I told them I wont pay anything until they send me a corrected rechnung of 119chf. It appears they don't care. But now I'm concerned about having a black mark on my name because of not paying. I guess I need some legal counsel
"She then tells me that because she's come a second time there's a charge of 250chf, she tells everyone in the room this and it is clear."

Unless such is stipulated in your contract, this is not chargeable, until you signed the agreement to pay.
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Old 08.10.2020, 12:59
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

Unless you have something written to the contrary, cleaning the oven properly would most definitely be on the normal list - it's checked by the property agent, so it has to be clean.

Similarly if you hired a regular cleaner they would do this, probably once a month or something like that.

I'd go back to them and say that the guarantee is to meet the normal handover standard of cleaning, and unless they can point to a written confirmation that the oven is excluded then it definitely is part of the requirement.

If you have the 50CHF for non-cash payment in writing then it is binding, no discussion.

As fmf says, the 250 CHF charge is not OK or normal, making more than one visit is pretty common and I'm not surprised the cleaning company aren't entertaining paying that. I'd go back to the property company and just say no until they provide written evidence of this fee in a contract.

So your payment to the cleaning company should be 419 CHF as agreed, and nothing to the property agent.
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Old 08.10.2020, 13:22
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

Ok well this complicates things enormously. It probably is written somewhere in one document from the landlord, but I don't really want to go about fighting two companies on this. I have had to fight them on other things, and I finally got it all resolved.

The landlord, or I should say the company acting as landlord, made it clear that they must charge otherwise they have to return again and again. They said this is definitely a cost the cleaning company will pay. When the inspector said about the 250chf charge I saw in their faces that they were upset by it, indicating to me they knew that was their cost.
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Old 08.10.2020, 13:27
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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Ok well this complicates things enormously. It probably is written somewhere in one document from the landlord, but I don't really want to go about fighting two companies on this. I have had to fight them on other things, and I finally got it all resolved.

The landlord, or I should say the company acting as landlord, made it clear that they must charge otherwise they have to return again and again. They said this is definitely a cost the cleaning company will pay. When the inspector said about the 250chf charge I saw in their faces that they were upset by it, indicating to me they knew that was their cost.
Then I would pay the CHF 119 plus send a registered letter to the cleaning company detailing why.
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Old 08.10.2020, 14:24
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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Ok well this complicates things enormously. It probably is written somewhere in one document from the landlord, but I don't really want to go about fighting two companies on this. I have had to fight them on other things, and I finally got it all resolved.

The landlord, or I should say the company acting as landlord, made it clear that they must charge otherwise they have to return again and again. They said this is definitely a cost the cleaning company will pay. When the inspector said about the 250chf charge I saw in their faces that they were upset by it, indicating to me they knew that was their cost.

But there is no contractual relationship between the landlord and the cleaning company, so you need to settle you bill with the landlord and recover your costs from the cleaning company - deduct it from their invoice I guess.
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Old 08.10.2020, 22:55
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

So in the old apartment contract signed when I moved in, on the last page at the bottom, it says the following:

die Wohnung bei der Abnahme nicht gründlich gereinigt, wird für jede weitere Nachabnahme Fr. 250.00 in Rechnung gestellt.

So at the very least I am on the hook for 250 from the landlord. The question is whether it is reasonable to expect this figure from the cleaning company.
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Old 08.10.2020, 23:54
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

So it seems this oven door thing isn’t part of their normal work. They never discussed an additional cost beforehand. Nobody asked me about it. They just immediately went ahead with it. I'm not even sure if they can say that. The oven door is part of the oven, right?

Sorry, this happened to you... horrible!
I think you just hired an unprofessional cleaning company. I had my windows cleaned yesterday and my 2 ovens as well. It's normal... and I saw them do it... they took off the doors of the ovens to clean all around the door. And they cleaned all the areas between the windows and the tracks. Squeaky clean like new.
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Old 09.10.2020, 10:18
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

Errrmmmm are we not missing the point here a little bit people..... how the hell can these cleaners work for such a ridiculously small amount of money?
I've never seen a cleaning quote for less than CHF1000 and even then I worry about what the actual people doing the work will actually get paid.
I would not expect anything 'extra' to be included in such a low quote. Really!
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Old 09.10.2020, 16:08
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

As I understand it, they had to clean the oven between the 2 glass panels. This is quite a tricky procedure and normally people do not to get that dirty. What does your contract with the cleaning company say about this?
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Old 09.10.2020, 17:01
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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Errrmmmm are we not missing the point here a little bit people..... how the hell can these cleaners work for such a ridiculously small amount of money?
I've never seen a cleaning quote for less than CHF1000 and even then I worry about what the actual people doing the work will actually get paid.
I would not expect anything 'extra' to be included in such a low quote. Really!
Plus they want cash and apply a penalty if you pay by ‘normal’ means. What does that tell you?
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Old 09.10.2020, 18:00
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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Plus they want cash and apply a penalty if you pay by ‘normal’ means. What does that tell you?
Normal means is cash, actually.

Tom
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Old 09.10.2020, 18:10
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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Errrmmmm are we not missing the point here a little bit people..... how the hell can these cleaners work for such a ridiculously small amount of money?
I've never seen a cleaning quote for less than CHF1000 and even then I worry about what the actual people doing the work will actually get paid.
I would not expect anything 'extra' to be included in such a low quote. Really!
Well the apartment is tiny. Not even close to 40m2 and part of that is a long hallway. Not a lot to do really. But yeah, the next highest quote I had was 550 or something. So it’s low. No doubt about it.
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Old 09.10.2020, 18:16
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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As I understand it, they had to clean the oven between the 2 glass panels. This is quite a tricky procedure and normally people do not to get that dirty. What does your contract with the cleaning company say about this?
Cleaning company details say the oven will be cleaned.

• Performance guarantee
• Cleaning of the kitchen (including descaling, oven, dishwasher, steam
extractor, inside and outside of cabinets, drawers, cooker and fridge)
• Cleaning of the shutters, blinds, slat blinds as specified in the PDF
• Cleaning of the windows and the window frames
• Cleaning of all bathrooms (including descaling, bathtubs, showers,
toilets, sinks and mirror cabinets)
• Cleaning of all floors, doors and door frames and removal of spider webs from walls

Interestingly I got my ear chewed for the state of the extractor fan detachable vent thing. The inspector wanted to replace it for 190chf. All I did was run it through the dishwasher and it was brand new. But here in the cleaners details it looks like that was their job too.
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Old 09.10.2020, 18:17
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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As I understand it, they had to clean the oven between the 2 glass panels. This is quite a tricky procedure and normally people do not to get that dirty. What does your contract with the cleaning company say about this?
Clearly I have some special cooking skills then. No idea how it happened.
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Old 09.10.2020, 21:29
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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As I understand it, they had to clean the oven between the 2 glass panels. This is quite a tricky procedure and normally people do not to get that dirty. What does your contract with the cleaning company say about this?
"That dirty"? It's a Swiss handover inspection, if they breathed on the glass after cleaning it would fail!
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Old 09.10.2020, 22:45
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

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Clearly I have some special cooking skills then. No idea how it happened.
It may happen if you let water drop in whilst cleaning etc. Could even be they did it whilst cleaning. I am just saying this specific procedure is quite tricky so perhaps it says somewhere that it's not included - it's not the simple "oven cleaning".
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Old 14.10.2020, 12:04
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

So I'm now having an issue with the landlord too that I'm quite sure is illegal.

I had automatic rent payments set up at my old place. Although I moved out in September, I forgot to cancel the payment. Now they have a rent payment for October even though I don't live there.

I sent them an email asking for this money back, and was told they will hold onto it and offset it from the final invoice (small repairs are being made). I was told previously that the ordering of new cupboards will take approx 3 months, as they are custom built. So best case scenario I will be without this money for months. Worst case they dip into it without even asking me.

Can they hold an accidental rent payment, and potentially use it for other means? seems totally out of order to me.
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Old 14.10.2020, 12:29
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

Have they already returned your deposit? If not - that is what the deposit is for, hopefully it should cover whatever damage you did to the cupboards. So I don't think they can withhold the rent.

As for hiring people at the lowest cost: I love a bargain as much as the next person, but I have a rule that people being paid for their time should not be getting less than 25 francs per hour. If there are materials involved and travel time, those should be taken into account as well as their agency taking a cut. Assuming a full-time job, this would allow people to make at around 4000 francs per month. Not a great wage in Switzerland but you can live off it. Obviously, if they are paid by the hour, then that means no paid holiday or sick pay (except for longer illnesses), so my cleaning lady gets 25 francs but I pay the social security and taxes that would be due on that salary. That means she only has to budget for her holidays.

If you genuinely cannot afford to pay people a decent wage, you should simply do the job yourself. None of my family members have ever paid for an apartment to be cleaned professionally, my brother moved out of a place recently and borrowed my steam cleaner and window cleaner to help with the job. There was no problem with the handover.
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Old 14.10.2020, 12:41
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Re: Big problems w cleaning company

They can't keep the rent as a deposit, I would just politely let them know that you need the money back now but of course know there is an invoice to follow for the repairs that you've accepted need to be done.

If they still say no, you can ask your bank, who will ask their bank, who will then ask the landlord - who may respond differently to that sort of formal approach...
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