Report on a meeting with the contractor providing laundry facilities to International Hall

To address the growing concerns that residents of International Hall had with the laundry services a meeting was organized earlier this month with a representative from Washstation (WS), the contractor which provides laundry facilities to International Hall and other halls of residence for the University of London.

Attendance: International Hall was represented by the IH Hall Manager, Mr. Bandu Baya and IH Assistant Hall Manager, Ms Renata Byrtusova, Senior Members Arthur Eirich and Sudhir Selvaraj and five IH residents Ignacio Orrego, Katie Pysher, Aditya Ravishankar, Nicole Maib, and Natalia Bravo.

Issues Raised: 

20171215222032_IMG_0160.JPG

Issues regarding laundry services were raised in three ways to the WS representative. The first was through direct feedback from the residents present. The second was through a compilation of the posts on the Facebook groups regarding laundry (by Sudhir). And finally, Arthur presented findings from previous years student surveys. With this we feel that we provided a broad perspective for the WS Rep. The key issues identified through these can be grouped as below:

  1.  Machines breakdown quite easily and quite frequently
  2.  The time taken for repair of broken machines was very long
  3.  Number of machines are not sufficient for the number of residents and therefore, availability of the machines throughout the day is low and they are busy at certain times of the day
  4.  Instructions on how to use machines could be clearer

Response from the Washstation Representative:

1.      The representative apologized for issues with breakdowns, slow service and loss of money in the machines. He explained that Washstation had been taken over by another company and the last few months of transition had caused issues with customer service and normal maintenance response times. He suggested that under new management, these concerns will be better addressed. We have scheduled a follow-up meeting in early February to discuss progress on this.

2.      For now, he advised that the best thing to do is to contact Washstation directly for any concerns so that immediate action could be provided to residents. The telephone number is 0800 141 2331 and the team who answers calls work between 7am and 6pm on Weekdays and 8am and 3pm on Saturday and 9am – 1pm on Sunday.  Outside of these hours, individuals contact details will be taken and follow up action arranged.

3.      The WS representative said that weekly site-visits which their engineers execute include lint filter clearing, cleaning inside the machine and checking of machine temperatures. The engineers will address any faults found at the time of the visit, or logging to return with parts. Additionally, he said that under the new management response time for machine breakdown will be 4-8 hours.

4.      Relating to the availability of machines, he mentioned that the ratio of machines to residents is on par with other halls and recommended limits. Additionally, he recommended students use -http://www.washstation.co.uk/online to check when machines were in use.

5.      It was further discussed that some machines cause marks on clothes. While acknowledging that this can be due to the machine itself, he advised that another reason could be the use of low cost detergents which do not dissolve in lower temperatures like 30 degrees. He recommended using two-in-one capsules from known brands such as Surf, Persil which are better products for use on 30-degree washes. He also suggested filling each (washing and drying) cycle with less clothes.

Our Recommendation to Residents:

  1. While Sudhir and Arthur brought up that we were unhappy with the poor communication and service offered by Washstaiton during their change in management, a decision has been made to take the transition into consideration and monitor their progress closely until the next meeting in February.
  2. As advised, please do contact Washstation directly (0800 141 2331) or by using our ‘Report it’ function on the website.
  3. Please also remember to practice courteous laundry etiquette such as collecting your clothes immediately when the time is up.

Submitted by:

Arthur Eirich (arthur@internationalhall.com) and
Sudhir Selvaraj (sudhir@internationalhall.com)
Senior Members of International Hall on behalf of the Warden’s Team
12/16/2017