Surf or Sound CEO speaks out as renters get relief from homeowners
Owners of vacation rental homes are stepping up to help guests after their property management company wouldn't.Posted — Updated
When Dare County decided to close access to visitors in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, many vacation plans were canceled.
Ever since, customers who booked through Surf or Sound Realty in Avon have been on a bit of a roller-coaster with their payments.
Initially, Surf or Sound said no refunds. Then, after 5 On Your Side questioned the policy with the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, the commission issued an opinion saying refunds were due.
The rental company then told customers refunds were in process. But at the end of May, Surf or Sound backtracked, emailing customers that they decided not to issue cash refunds. Instead, they offered credit toward another stay.
"I was livid because they had already offered me a refund," Juliet Seymour said.
Seymour paid $970 for her rental home last April. After getting that last "no refund" email, she reached out to the property owner.
"I feel like he's doing right by me," Seymour said, "so I'm appreciative of that."
Others in the group have also reached out to property owners.
Some are appealing through their credit card company, saying that, so far, Surf or Sound has not challenged those cases.
"We understand that our decisions during the Dare County road closure were confusing at times. We apologize those decisions made a difficult time more challenging for some guests," Petty said in the statement.
He said that he "sought to find a reasonable option that would serve the interests of both homeowners and guests" and that he's "committed to finding a resolution for each and every individual."
The state Attorney General's Office and the Real Estate Commission are both investigating Surf or Sound. Both say refunds are owed.
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