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Forest Hill Cars
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Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2010

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Post: #1
17-08-2014 07:11 PM

I had a negative experience with Forest Hill cars a couple of weekends ago which was both surprising and disappointing. The end result is that I won’t be using them again. I thought I would set it out here to see what other members of this forum think.

After a lovely meal in the Camberwell Arms my wife and I needed to get back quickly. The baby sitter had phoned us to say that our youngest (22 month old boy) had woken and was inconsolable and we felt we needed to get back as quickly as possible. It was 11.30pm. I phoned Forest Hill Cars (having paid £14 to them to take us there in the first place) who said that it would take half an hour for a car to get to us. This seemed like too long so I also phoned Greyhound Cars who also said it would take about half an hour. I decided that I would cancel whoever didn’t make it there first.

Greyhound turned up after about fifteen minutes. So I called Forest Hill Cars to cancel. This is the bit that was surprising and disappointing. The lady at Forest Hill cars got very angry that I was cancelling. I explained that I had to get home urgently and that I felt I had given sufficient notice. I was met with a barrage of abuse which culminated in being told to f* off. She also said that I would be put on their black list. I think this was totally disproportionate and completely unprofessional. The fact is that I phoned and cancelled. A lot of people I assume would not have done so. On top of this, I have been a loyal customer of Forest Hill Cars for several years and this isn’t how I would expect to be treated. They are not the only cab firm in town and I doubt if abusing and threatening hitherto loyal customers is a sound way to conduct their business. What are other residents’ experiences of Forest Hill Cars? I won’t be using them again out of principle.

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Posts: 187
Joined: May 2010

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Post: #2
17-08-2014 07:47 PM

Whilst you were treated unprofessionally I also think your policy of ordering multiple cabs with a view to cancelling whichever one doesn't turn up first is totally wrong. Mini cab drivers don't typically work for the company, they work for themselves and pay the cab company a monthly finders fee. They then have a gadget (like a pager) that alerts them when the company sends them a fare. They often live many miles from the cab office you call. When you call a cab and cancel it, factor in that you have wasted the drivers fuel, his time, and his place in the job queue. Driving a cab is not well-paid work. Most have to work 70 or 80 hours a week to make ends meet.

If you are looking for a company with an excellent standard of independent drivers in their books try Panther cars in East Dulwich or Linkway on HOP. Both have never let me down

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Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2014

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Post: #3
18-08-2014 07:57 AM

Forest Hill Cars shouldn't have sworn at you but I totally understand their eminently reasonable anger.

You were totally out of order.

>>I decided that I would cancel whoever didn’t make it there first.

It seems clear that you didn't tell either company that they were involved in a race for your oh so precious favour/business.

Forest Hill cars sound professional in giving you a realistic arrival time. They could have given you a falsely optimistic time to get the business but didn't. They were honourable.

Forest Hill Cars are better off without you.

I hope they are reading this.

I have no connection with them.

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Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2013

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Post: #4
18-08-2014 08:36 AM

I thought I would set it out here to see what other members of this forum think.

Well you asked...

You are totally in the wrong here. As the previous poster pointed out the drivers work long hours to make ends meet and can't afford to miss out on business because you can't wait for the amount of time that they quoted and you agreed to wait for.

I'm sure that both they and the caller in the office would also rather have been out having a good time on Saturday night rather than working to pick up people who can't even honour the reasonable arrangements that they've entered into.

And to cap it all you come on this forum looking for sympathy. You clearly don't realize how poor your behaviour is and unlike the other posters I think the caller was perfectly right to tell you what she thinks of you. They are also right to put you on their black list as you clearly are an unreliable customer.

I have always found them to be a reliable cab service and will continue to use them in the future - in fact more so now that I realize that the are people like you out there.

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Posts: 71
Joined: Nov 2009

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Post: #5
18-08-2014 01:12 PM


I don't think it is appropriate to swear at customers.

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Posts: 626
Joined: Mar 2005

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Post: #6
18-08-2014 01:26 PM

Totally agree Shaman. There is never a good reason to do that.

I also agree with other posters though that OP's plan to cancel the later cab arrival is shabby. I appreciate the urgency in this case but I think in these instances it is better to plan ahead your escape route as best as possible. Get Data Cars (née Handy) number (not so local but uber reliable) and consider using Hailo too.

This post was last modified: 18-08-2014 01:27 PM by lacb.

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Posts: 1,383
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Post: #7
18-08-2014 01:32 PM

You are completely wrong. You made a contract with two minicab companies knowing that you were unable to travel with both. By the time you cancelled Forest Hill Cars the cab was half way to you. Therefore, the driver had to turn round and come back to Forest Hill. You have wasted his time and money and taken a cab out of the area causing other customers to wait longer than necessary.

I have used Forest Hill Cars many times and found them reliable and reasonably priced.

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Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2010

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Post: #8
18-08-2014 02:01 PM

Not good to swear at customers, though. Could have been more helpful if the Forest Cars employee had explained that the double-booking and cancelling was costing them money, rather than hurling abuse.

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Post: #9
18-08-2014 02:25 PM

bad behaviour on all sides.

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Posts: 179
Joined: Oct 2011

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Post: #10
18-08-2014 07:31 PM

I've got a great idea. Why doesn't Stevjohn take the fare he paid to greyhound and go and pay it to Forest Hill cars too with an apology and ask to come off the blacklist. They will probably accept and he can use them again and they may even say sorry for swearing at him. Everyone will be happy. He can then repost that this episode is closed, we will all think better of him and the world will be a better place for all.

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Posts: 49
Joined: Jan 2011

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Post: #11
18-08-2014 09:49 PM

I agree that ordering two cabs and seeing which one arrives first is out of order. However, I will never use Forest Hill Cars again as I've found them rude and unhelpful on too many occasions now. It costs nothing to be polite when answering calls and often they are not.

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Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2014

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Post: #12
20-08-2014 03:10 PM

They are not as good as they were. They seem to have had an influx or drivers who are unprofessional. I had a driver texting as he was driving the other day, and another who needed Satnav to travel from Sainsbury to Kirkdale, and they all seem to have really scruffy cars/clothes. 15 years ago I would have recommended them to anyone; now I would use them as a last resort if all the other firms are busy.

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Posts: 273
Joined: Aug 2008

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Post: #13
21-08-2014 11:07 AM

I have used Forest Hill cars for about 15 years and have always found them reliable. Most recently I used them to go to and from the vet with a sick cat (sadly he could not be saved Sad ) and they tolerated his howls throughout the journey with good grace so I would always recommend them

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Posts: 189
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Post: #14
21-08-2014 12:15 PM

Sorry about the cat, Poppy.

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Emma may

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Joined: Aug 2014

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Post: #15
29-08-2014 10:17 PM

I have generally used Carlton Cars, who until recently have been extremely reliable but the last two times I used them they let me down, one of those times particularly badly as I had pre- booked several days before as I needed to get a specific train to make a flight in time. Half an hour before the pick up, they called to say they couldn't fulfill the booking. I called Forest Hill Cars instead and they were there spot on time. They also bailed me out on the second occcasion too so my recent impression of them is pretty good. While I absolutely agree that swearing at a customer is not acceptable, I also agree with others who have said it isn't really fair to overbook taxis with the intention of cancelling.

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Posts: 84
Joined: Jun 2005

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Post: #16
01-09-2014 10:21 AM

I've always found them great for local trips, particularly when I had to get ringingcodling1 to Lewisham hospital in the middle of the night. However they dropped me right in it for a 5.30am pickup once, causing me to miss the train I was booked on from Euston so I had to buy another - expensive - ticket. So it's Addison Lee for business.

This post was last modified: 01-09-2014 10:21 AM by ringingcod.

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Posts: 10
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Post: #17
01-09-2014 01:52 PM

I've been using Forest Hill Cars for years for both business and pleasure. There have been ocassions when they've let me down but in the main I still use them as the positive still way outstrip the negative.

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Posts: 285
Joined: Feb 2006

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Post: #18
01-09-2014 09:17 PM

My experiences have been similar to ringingcod.

If I call them for a car in the afternoon or evening, it's generally pretty good.

On the two occasions where I pre-booked a car before 6am (despite giving them several days notice), they let me down. Despite on the second occasion, me calling them the night before to check that all was OK and it was definitely in their books. Both times, they didn't contact me. I phoned them 5 minutes after the pick up time for them to tell me that they were going to be 30-45 minutes late.

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Posts: 557
Joined: May 2010

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Post: #19
02-09-2014 05:57 AM

We have used them for years but our last experience was not good. They were very late with the pick up because of 'heavy traffic' which should not be a surprise if the journey is in the rush hour.

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Posts: 43
Joined: Sep 2012

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Post: #20
02-09-2014 09:00 AM

Just standard small minicab company. Basically all minicab operations like this have similar issues and rely heavily on the small number of staff to represent them. So majority of the time they're fine. But they don't really have the resources to help if something goes wrong/driver is late.

If you want a company that has a bigger network, then you go for Addison Lee but then you are paying more. So it's all a trade off. And I've even had issues with them before.

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