Author Topic: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?  (Read 1122 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« on: August 19, 2019, 02:30:31 AM »
Hey all

We booked a condo in Maui which we thought would be great. Oceanfront, great views, supposed ocean breezes, and great location. We did it privately direct through the property management company (part paid via credit card and part paid via check). It's our first night tonight and it turns out a lot of stuff isn't right: front screen door is doesn't close all the way (to the point where we can close it and lock it), sliding glass/screen doors off-track or difficult to close, bathroom faucet knob difficult to turn due to rusting out, fridge is barely working (and we bought a bunch of food...now hoping it won't spoil). To  top it off, this place is stuffy and super hot. No AC but the standard glass panes (which they tell you to close and lock at night...go figure), which don't seem to really be conducive to cooling things down. Just ceiling fans and box fans. No AC - we knew there was no AC but I've stayed in places in Maui before with no AC and they definitely weren't this crazy stuffy. So much for that "ocean breeze"

The property manager seems *reasonable* but to a certain point it sounds like she also could care less. She said she would send a maintenance person out tomorrow to take care of all these things but not sure what's going to happen with the food. And the heat is just another thing. I'm dripping sweat as I'm typing this and have been this way non-stop since getting to the condo. At first I thought it was just from all the travel (because I tend to sweat a lot from all the moving around and carrying bags), but it's beyond that. My FIL is sitting awake outside right now because of how uncomfortable it is inside the condo. I feel really awful.

Anyway, I figure we're probably SOL but just wondering if there might be *anything* we could do to make things right.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 02:32:11 AM by jeromedawg »

former player

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4593
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2019, 03:29:21 AM »
How to Complain Efffectively - https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/effective-complaints.html

If you got a cheaper than expected deal, or are at a bad time of year for the weather, your complaints about the heat will be less effective.

I think your immediate goals might be -

1) A fridge that works well, the same day.  Your alternative to put to the property management company could be reimbursement for the food you bought that will not be safe to give to elderly/young/chronically ill persons in your party, plus the costs of eating out in place of catering for yourselves.

2) Immediate repairs to the two sets of doors so that all the members of your party can open and close and lock them without difficulty, and so that the screen doors can function effectively to allow air to move through the property while staying secure.

3) Immediate replacement of the bathroom faucet, which is essential to the hygiene of your party.

4) Better fans as the ones provided do not work effectively.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1753
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2019, 05:28:59 AM »
You can expect them to fix things, but if you knew there was no a/c then that's on you.

norajean

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2019, 05:42:08 AM »
Make life a living hell for them and maybe they can switch you to another unit.  Otherwise, your choices are to tough it out or bail out and move to another place.  You can tell them the place is unlivable and demand a partial refund. 

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2019, 11:24:16 PM »
We are planning to ask for a partial refund. Wondering if we should wait to do it until the end of the trip/after or if I should send the email now. The no AC part is bearable now that we've figured out how to optimally cool this place down (3-4 box fans running with all the screens open). She sent a maintenance guy out and he 'temporarily' fixed the sliding screen door by flipping it upside down lol. Said the front door screen won't be fixed till after we leave. Basically, nothing I reported is going to be fixed while we're here. So there's definitely some bargaining chips here. Internet has been spotty the whole time too.

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2492
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2019, 02:15:16 AM »
Send the email now, as it is possible they will move you to another property if you ask and if they have something. Is it so bad that you are prepared to leave at your own expense? To me, that is my measuring stick. I have left places at my own expense.

If it doesn't reach that level of problems:
If you stay there, then you should be prepared to pay for the entire time you are there. Because if it is unlivable, then you should be prepared move yourself to another location . . . after all, you are someone who can afford to vacation in Hawaii, so staying for the duration and then claiming it was unlivable after the fact is probably not going to sway anyone.

"Spotty" internet happens all the time at expensive hotels as well . . . stick to the main problems with the property in your complaints. Really the only thing that you have described as completely broken at this point is the front screen door that won't close properly.  Everything else you have described falls into the category where I feel like many people might think it works fine, which is probably why your property manager is coming across as somewhat indifferent to your complaints.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2019, 03:00:41 PM »
Send the email now, as it is possible they will move you to another property if you ask and if they have something. Is it so bad that you are prepared to leave at your own expense? To me, that is my measuring stick. I have left places at my own expense.

If it doesn't reach that level of problems:
If you stay there, then you should be prepared to pay for the entire time you are there. Because if it is unlivable, then you should be prepared move yourself to another location . . . after all, you are someone who can afford to vacation in Hawaii, so staying for the duration and then claiming it was unlivable after the fact is probably not going to sway anyone.

"Spotty" internet happens all the time at expensive hotels as well . . . stick to the main problems with the property in your complaints. Really the only thing that you have described as completely broken at this point is the front screen door that won't close properly.  Everything else you have described falls into the category where I feel like many people might think it works fine, which is probably why your property manager is coming across as somewhat indifferent to your complaints.


So I ended up drafting up an email talking about the broken screen doors and how none of the issues we brought up actually would have been resolved. And especially for the screen doors it's reasonable to expect that they should have been fully functional. She initially offered a refund of $100 but I countered back asking for a refund for a full night, leveraging the issues with the refrigerator and how a lot of our food nearly spoiled - actually, we discovered that some of the salad we bought went bad and had to toss out part of it. The first night we we frustrated and concerned about the food spoiling due to the fridge acting weird. She called me back the day we were leaving and said she talked to the owners and they agreed to refund me for one night's stay. Of course, all this was verbal so I will have to write back to confirm with her the refund.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6436
  • Location: BC
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2019, 01:28:13 PM »
In my experience, only the fridge issue is one that would be fixed (or things like a completely broken faucet, BBQ out of propane, or door that won't lock at all, not just a screen door locking issue)....

AND.... that when you load up a fridge with not very cold items (drinks, juice, warm fruit), it can take 24 hours to adjust back to cold while your salad is slowly warming up.  Sometimes, you need to buy a foam cooler and block of ice for the day and load the fridge slowly in a warm climate....  So the fridge issue(s) I have seen usually take up to 2 days to fix. -- one day for them to verify that it is a mechanical, not user, problem, and one day to fix or replace.

I think you are lucky to get a one night rebate, actually.   Some wear and tear and slow to fix are to be expected with owner rentals.  I once had a place that did not have  a toilet seat or a full set of sheets for each bed (even though we booked the number of people in advance).   I usually pay in the middle of the road to low middle, which is a huge savings over hotels.

lutorm

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Recourse for private vacation rental bookings gone wrong?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2019, 10:45:18 PM »
A few words about the climate in Hawaii: Most places that aren't "resorts" here won't have AC because power is really expensive and it's not needed. Usually the weather is fairly mild and houses are designed to let the trades blow through, so it won't get too hot. However, if you have a place that's not exposed to the breeze, is poorly designed, or it happens to be one of the few days per year when the trades don't blow, it can get quite warm. (It's also very much a matter of what conditions you've acclimated yourself to, if you're used to sleeping in a conditioned, 68F space, then you'll probably be uncomfortable. Personally, I feel like what's the point of living in Hawaii if you're going to seal yourself in.)