Vacation Rentals By Owner [VRBO] — unable to obtain refund after family emergency crisis
In July our son was in a very severe accident. We contacted the cabin owners (Benwares) to ask for a refund 2 DAYS after the 30 day cancellation date.
Our son was in ICCU for 15 days, Critical care for 5 days and then regular hospitalization for 3 weeks.
I sent a picture of him in a medically induced coma to the Benwares and offered to forward medical evidence (photo attached). At first, Cathy was very concerned. She said she would re-list the property and was certain it would rent. (Our 5 days would be the ONLY 5 days available for the remainder of summer - their place is so popular.)
The week prior to when we were supposed to go, we looked online and saw that the cabin was booked! We have a screenshot of the listing showing it was rented for our week. (attached, taken Aug. 7 showing our dates - Aug 10-16 were filled.)
Several weeks after, when we didn't hear anything, I sent the Benwares an email. They said that they tried to rent the cabin but was unable to. Therefore, we were entitled to 1/2 of the rental and the entire cleaning deposit..
The remainder of the money, $911.75, we would not get back because the cabin didn't rent. They did offer us a credit towards next year.
We feel that the Benwares DID NOT ever remove our listing and that's why no one rented, it appeared online as though it was rented.
Because of the severity of our families crisis (my son still cannot move his left arm or left ankle due to nerve damage) and the fact that we were told the property would be RELISTED and it wasn't, that we should be entitled to a full refund.
We've gone back and forth through the years renting through Vrbo in several places. There are plenty of sites to rent from and we have never experienced a problem - granted, we never has an emergency such as this. I find it hard to believe that successful owners of vacation rentals cannot use their better judgement in an unusual situation such as this. That money is desperately needed too. When a child has through the roof medical bills, school loans and credit card debt and is hospitalized and unable to work for several months, the bills don't stop... Interest keeps accruing, life moves on. I certainly expected an organization that rents to families would be concerned about the families using the site.
We want to receive the remainder of our deposit back. Holding onto that deposit for next year will not help us if our son is still unable to hike, swim, boat, etc next year. We may not be able to afford a nice vacation with the medical bills we are currently paying and if we can, without a full refund, we will never book with Vrbo or any of their affiliates.
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