Easy Way Really Easiest?

This summer, we rented a beach house in Florida through VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). It’s a conglomeration of different people that want to rent out their vacation homes to travelers and tourists. They are usually very reasonably priced and you can get good treatment, because you’re not just dealing with a management company. Sounds like a good deal, right? Not so fast. After we arrived at the house, only to find that it was a staggering 85 degrees inside, in the smoldering hot almost-100-degree summer Florida, we should have taken that as a sign. We didn’t. We just called the owner and told her about it. She called a repairman out to repair it. By about 10:00 that night, it was finally down to about 74. Well, by about 8 the next morning, it was already 80 again…inside. Not acceptable for a vacation home, in my opinion. That first day, we went to Publix (grocery chain down there) and bought over $100 worth of groceries (Milk for Alan…ribs…ice cream…veggies and fruit…etc). By that next morning when we noticed that the air was still not functioning properly, the items in the refrigerator didn’t seem very cold either. Just to test this theory, when the AC man came out again, and has his equipment, I had him test out the fridge. He said the air in the fridge was 65 degrees…barely cooler than room temperature. (well, normal room temp, that is) I then called the owner about this issue. So the AC man left, but not before we had to tear a hole in the wall. The owner had built a permanent bookshelf over the AC unit and we had to break out the back of that to get to it. Therefore, the rest of our vacation (this was only the 2nd day), there was a giant hole in the wall with an exposed AC unit. Oh, and just an added bonus, it was quite a bit noisier. At this point, I really didn’t care because it was cooling properly…a long overdue amenity for our newly rented beach house. Each time I’m calling the owner about something else that’s not working, she is trying to explain to me how it was new and should not be doing this. I keep explaining to her that I really don’t care what it “is supposed to do or not do” it isn’t doing it. Throughout this time, I’m keeping calm. I’ve not so much as raised my voice at her. I’m quite proud of this fact. The next night, we awoke to a loud CARAAASH! It came from the kitchen, and I thought someone had broken in. I jumped up, and grabbed my flashlight to see what was happening. I could not find anything. Finally though, I saw something in the kitchen…something had fallen off of the wall. She had some key hooks that were on a very nice board that matched the modernly decorated kitchen and house. The whole board had come crashing down on the tile below!

The next day, after a long day at the beach, we put Alan in the tub to get the sand out of every crevasse. We just kept waiting and waiting and waiting on the water to get warm. It never did. We were committed at this point. We had to finish bathing him. He was screaming his head off and for that, I don’t blame him. I let that one ride and decided to call the owner about it the next morning. After calling her and not hearing back for an hour, we decided to pack up and head to the beach. After all, this was our vacation and we wanted to get some beach time out of it. SIDE NOTE: it was about a mile walk to the beach. Yep. We were told it was 2 blocks. Slight misguidance on the part of the owner. After getting back from the beach that day, we decided to bathe Alan again. It was still not hot, but we just had to power through it. Poor guy, he did not like baths for a bit after that. That was the last straw. I had taken enough blows at this point. I called her up and let her know I was very dissatisfied with everything and I would like some of my money back. She was upset enough that she offered me a full refund. I, not being like most people, told her that we would talk about it the next day, because it would be better to work it would when I was not so mad. She sighed and sounded relieved. The next day, we agreed that half of my money back would be reasonable for the awfulness that was that week. By the next to last day there, we were having a bad enough time that we packed up and drove home. We did not want to spend one more night there…especially since we were getting half of our money back. Once home, we started receiving emails from the owner, trying to downplay our discomfort over that week. We went back and forth, and I kept making her feel guilty for not sticking to what she agreed. She finally said she would do it, but it would take her a while to get the money together. 5 weeks later, I just did a PayPal transfer of the correct amount. (I did not even mention all of the things that went wrong with this house…like the wifi not working properly…which was part of why we booked this one; or there not being any light outside by the grill…of which we bought some nice steaks for that very fact.)

I can tell you this…that was a “vacation” we will never forget!


Bruce A. Ulrich
1,000 Words Photography
Sent from my iPad


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