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Oriana – A Very Proud Legacy!

Today 9th August with a tear in our eye, we said goodbye to Oriana for the very last time. Gerrards have maintained the carpets upholstery and soft furnishings on board
MV Oriana since her maiden voyage back in 1995.

Back in the early 1990’s P&O took a huge gamble with their vision of UK cruising into the 21st Century. I don’t think even the most optimistic of those in the industry at that time could have ever envisaged just what the UK cruise market would become by 2019.

When she was built in 1995, Oriana was the first new ship commissioned for P&O Cruises, and the first to be designed specifically for the British cruise market. She was also designed in the style of an ocean liner to facilitate long distance voyages and world cruises. She is the longest serving ship in the fleet, having been in continuous service with the company since she was launched. Her design was so well thought out, that even today, her passenger space is hard to beat.

        Here are some old photographs of us working on board Oriana back in 1995.

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                                                                        Oriana 1995

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                                                                        Oriana 2019

Oriana throughout her service held the Golden Cockerel as the fastest ship in the
 P&O Cruises fleet, replacing SS Canberra. When Oriana left the fleet today the Golden Cockerel was handed over to her sister ship, Arcadia. Oriana was the oldest, and longest-serving, ship in the P&O fleet.

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                                                                    One last look.

                                                             

Her final port of call as ‘Oriana’ was to Belfast on August 7th, 2019 before returning to Southampton one final time. She was sold to a Chinese company and has now been
re-named ‘Piano Land’. She had been leased back to P&O for the last few months in order to complete her final voyages with P&O. The ship will sail to China and be re-fitted before sailing out of Xiamen for her newly formed owners, Well Star Travel Cruises.

We wish MV Piano Land all the very best for her future!

How to avoid being scammed by the Bait & Switch technique!

Whilst most carpet and upholstery cleaning companies do their very best to provide a high-quality service at a fair price, there are some individuals and carpet cleaning franchises that are less ethical and employ bait-and-switch tactics on unsuspecting customers.

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The bait-and-switch con is usually spotted in online or leaflet advertising with a company permanently promoting particularly cheap offers such as prices starting at £15, one room any size for £15, or a whole house for £50 etc.

What then usually happens is that the carpet cleaning representative will try to raise the agreed price with additional hidden charges. These are often explained by stating that “you were quoted for a basic clean, but your carpets need a deep clean” or “you need specific additional chemicals or special process not covered by the offer to remove these types of stains.”

Simply put, the “bait” is the misleading offer, and the “switch” is the attempt to scam the customer into paying an inflated price. And if the customer doesn’t agree to the new price, the clean is usually very rushed and the offending company out the door as soon as possible to minimise time and money spent on the job.

Unfortunately, this tactic is still being used in the UK even though it became illegal in 2008.

How to avoid being scammed by bait-and-switch

Firstly, we recommend avoiding any company that is currently advertising any suspiciously cheap deals. It’s simple mathematics:

A carpet cleaning franchise operator simply wouldn’t make a reasonable living if he were to clean carpets at the prices advertised (after paying franchise fees, running costs etc.).

And if they did manage to do so, it would be at the expense of any sort of quality service because jobs would have to be completed at breakneck speed in order to cram as many appointments as possible into their working week.

Granted, there are sometimes genuine reasons for having to increase the price of a job:
The rooms may be significantly larger than described.
There may be additional areas or rooms added.

But aggressively pushing an inflated price on a customer and then carrying out a sub standard service when they decline is simply not acceptable. 

Always do your homework and if possible get recommendations from family and friends.

Do Something Funny for Money!

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On Friday 15 March, people across the UK will be coming together to do things big and small, that will add up to something massive. We at Gerrards are no exception. We are not comedians or celebrities so our bit isn’t quite so sensational but it will still count and we are asking for your help!

ALL WE ASK YOU TO DO IS HEAD OVER TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE BY CLICKING HERE: Read our reviews on FacebookAND LIKE OUR PAGE! 
For every new LIKE we receive between now and 15th March we will donate £1.00 to Comic Relief 2019.

 

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But the best part of all of this is the people that can be helped with the funds that are raised. Since Red Nose Day 2017, Comic Relief have helped nearly 15 million people across the UK and in some of the world’s poorest communities. 2.6 million of them are children and vulnerable young adults.

At their core they are working to create a just world, free from poverty, and ensure that their charitable grants and funds reach those who need them the most.

RND 2019

It’s that time of year again!

For over 8 years during the Winter months of January and into February  many of the Gerrards team head over to Dunkirk, France travelling via Dover to join a number of ships – car ferries to be exact for DFDS. 

DFDS is a Danish international shipping and logistics company. It is the busiest shipping company of its kind in Northern Europe and one of the busiest in Europe. The company’s name is an abbreviation of Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab (literally The United Steamship Company). DFDS was founded in 1866, when C.F. Tietgen merged the three biggest Danish steamship companies of that day.
Although DFDS has generally concentrated on freight and passenger traffic on the North Sea and to the Baltic Sea, it has also operated freight services to the USA, South America and the Mediterranean in the past. Since the eighties, DFDS’ focus for shipping has been northern Europe. Today, DFDS operates a network of 25 routes with 50 freight and passenger ships in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and the English Channel under the name DFDS Seaways. The rail and land based haulage and container activities are operated by DFDS Logistics.      

dfds-vector-logo                                                                                                                                                                     Our role is to clean and maintain all the carpeted passenger and crew areas and all the upholstered chairs, stools and fixed seating. The number of days the ships are in dry dock depends on what repairs or renovations are necessary. The DFDS ships we are working on cover the Dover to Dunkerque route daily – Dunkerque Seaways, Delft Seaways and Dover Seaways. This week we are working on Delft Seaways, we have already completed Dunkerque Seaways and have Dover Seaways to start next week. “Its a busy life but someone’s got to do it!”

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Gerrards are the most experienced marine carpet and upholstery cleaners in the UK and have been working in the marine sector for over 25 years.

Saying that, life on board during a refit is not quite as glamorous as it sounds… 

 

And sometimes it’s positively freezing!!!

DFDS 1

 

Wigan Council Good Trader Scheme

Gerrards Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners are very proud to be members of the Wigan Council Good Trader Scheme.

good trader-001

The Scheme is operated by Wigan Council Trading Standards Service and provides consumers with a list of local businesses who have committed to trade fairly and honestly. The Scheme covers all aspects of home improvement and repair work, including building, carpentry, external property repairs, gardening, decorating and home security.
Whilst Wigan Council do not approve the traders on the Scheme checks are carried out on the business prior to inclusion on the Scheme and additional checks to ensure they comply with relevant legislation, have necessary insurance policies in place and are members of any regulatory bodies they are legally required to be registered with. Businesses are also required to have been trading for a minimum of 12 months and before being admitted on the Scheme business are required to agree to abide by the Code of Practice of the Scheme.

Gerrards joined the scheme in 2015 and that year won the award for Good Trader of the Year Best Newcomer Award. We have continued to win Certificate of Excellence Awards each year since. Here are a few of our certificates:

good trader-001

 

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