Vacation Rental Diamond Head Tiki Estate

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May 7, 2019
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#1

Company you have a question or comment about: HomeAway.Com and Grand Welcome

I rented a vacation home on HomeAway.com for 4 nights in Honolulu, HI (Mar. 26 - Mar. 30, 2019). 6 senior citizen women stayed in the house for our high school reunion. As soon as I posted a negative review of the vacation rental, the management company (Grand Welcome) took the rental off of the HomeAway website but it is still on VRBO. The home is called Diamond Head Tiki Estate, Honolulu, HI.
Below are the problems we encountered with the rental:

The Studio Apt.:
1) One of the guests stepped on a piece of glass in the shower stall and cut her foot.
2) The bedroom and bathroom were dark because light bulbs were.
3) The shower was either cold of tepid.
4) The bathroom sink stopper got stuck in the closed position so we had to remove the stopper to prevent the sink from overflowing.
5) TV did not work.

Master bedroom:
1) Bedroom smelled like mildew.
2) Bathroom tiles had mold.
3) Missing a bathmat in the tub, and one guest almost slipped and fell. We had to use a towel in the tub for a bathmat.
4) Only bathroom with hot water for showers, so all of the guests had use in the master bath if they wanted a hot shower.

2nd bedroom:
1) A noise sporadically emanated from the hall toilet, disturbing the sleep of guests in the 2nd bedroom. (We have a recording of the noise).
2) The shower was either cold of tepid.
3) TV did not work, could not get reception.

Hall Bathroom:
Two guests got locked in the bathroom. The guests simply closed the door and found it locked when they attempted to exit. The door could not be unlocked from the inside. They had to exit to the outside to get out of the bathroom.

Living Room:
The house was advertised with AC, so it was very disappointing to find that it did not extend to the living room. The living area was hot and stuffy unless the sliding doors were open, which allowed insects to fly in. The fan did not sufficiently keep the room cool. The living room screens were not useful because they did not pull out easily and did not extend far enough to cover the open doors.

Had I known AC was limited to the bedrooms, I wouldn’t have rented the house.

General issues:
I am requesting a refund of the $60.00 fee for early entry. We arrived at 3:45 p.m. and check in time was 4:00pm. We had difficulties opening the lockbox. It took about 30 minutes to open the lock box and 2 calls to Michelle Look from the Grand Welcome management company to finally figure out how to open the lockbox. Instructions should have been provided.

2) The contract clearly states that the departure time is at 11:00 am. On the morning of Mar. 30th, I received a voicemail advising me that my party should have exited by 10:00 a.m. We just happended to leave by 10:00am but they still charged my credit card a late exit fee.

I was then charged $60.00 for the late departure. All but one of the guests departed before 10:00 a.m. and the last guest exited at 11:00 a.m., but was waiting for her Uber ride outside the property with her bags when the housekeeper arrived. (She observed the housekeeper also had a lot of difficulty opening the lockbox.) To charge $60.00 for a late departure is unreasonable.

3) All the bathrooms ran out of toilet paper and we had to go out and buy our own.

4) After the first night, I called Michelle Look about some of the above issues and her response was only to say she “walked through the house 6 times”. Apparently, simply “walking through” is not sufficient. Perhaps turning on a light switch might be more proactive.

Our stay at this property fell well short of our expectations. We should not have to endure a lack of hot water and toilet paper, bathroom noises, disturbed sleep, a dark bedroom, getting trapped in the bathroom, and glass in the shower floor, etc.

This was a trip I had planned for my guests and looked forward to for over six months. It was disappointing and embarrassing to host them in a house that was so lacking in comfort and amenities.

Finally, everyone in my party are seniors and I’m concerned that many of the problems identified poses safety hazards and we were lucky no one was seriously injured.

What's your desired resolution?
Due to these issue, we feel we should get at 50% refund ($2,920.15) which we requested from Michelle Look and Homeaway but have not heard anything back.
I am requesting a refund for the following:
Rental fee: 2,800.15. (50%)
Early entry fee: $ 60.00
Late departure fee: $ 60.00
Total Refund: $2,920.15

Date of transaction/travel date: Mar. 26 Arrival and Mar. 30 check -out

By submitting this form, I authorize representatives of this site and its affiliates to disclose information I have provided to a third party. I understand this authorization also applies to past and future correspondence with representatives of this site and its affiliates. The information may be used in a news story. I release and hold harmless this site and its affiliates from any liability and/or claims in connection with the disclosure of the information.


Status: Active

Referred by: I read your newspaper column.


Case notes:


Note- edited by moderator to remove case number.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Jul 30, 2018
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#2
Vacation rentals are not like hotel rooms. Supplies such as paper products, soap and toiletries, dishwasher detergent and trash bags are only stocked at the beginning of the rental (it's usually called a 'starter supply') and not replenished for the duration of the stay. In my experience 'starter supply' has run the gammat of one roll of bath tissue per bathroom to an entire Costco sized package in the linen closet. My point is that if you decide to use a vacation rental, you should expect to have to purchase supplies at some point.

Did you discuss the issue of limited hot water with the manager? Did the person who cut their foot need medical care? If the manager did not adequately resolve your issues, the next step would have been to contact Homeaway within 12 hours of your arrival, per the Homeaway guarantee policy. They would have been able to assist you in either resolving the issues with the owner/manager or moving you to another property.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
Have you done a vacation rental before? The complaint about the toilet paper running out makes me think not. It is not a hotel, one is expected to buy toilet paper if it runs out.

Did you contact homeaway about the issues? How much contact did you have with the manager about this?

As for the late check out, what time is on the confirmation you received?

The listing on vrbo says check out is 10 and that there is only a/c in bedrooms. Did homeaway have the incorrect information?

The time to deal with problems is when on the property.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,092
15,580
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
I can only agree with my colleagues - it sounds like you were looking for a hotel experience and not a home rental.

You stayed and didn’t leave despite all this so you aren’t due a full refund. And any type of refund request needed to be dealt with as soon as you found the issues. The late exit fee should be the only piece you dispute as you had a contract that stated 11 am.

Did you contact the owner or Hone Away while you were there?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
I'm sorry to say this seems like a case of missed expectations. Almost all of the problems you mention are annoyances, not reason for a refund. Glass in the shower and being locked in the bath (TWO people were locked in a bathroom together??), no TV ... you don't mention that they refused to fix your reported problems. Did you report all the problems as they came up? Things like lacking a bathmat, insufficient wattage light bulbs, not enough bath tissue are challenges that should be taken care of by the tenant. I'm very empathetic that this rental was "yours" and it's mortifying to have all these negatives make the reunion not so special. One of the first rentals my sister arranged (she's now done more than 50) was out in the boonies south of Paris. A family trip, the farmhouse was not very appealing, but it wasn't that bad. She was really upset, blaming herself ... which is ridiculous, none of us blamed her. And your friends probably don't blame you either ... but I know how you feel.

It's important to remember that the internet is not your friend. You have to read every word, scrutinize all the reviews, ask all your questions long before you book a place. Even then, experienced vacation renters sometimes end up with less than great accommodations. You should read some of the threads on our "Vacation Rental" forums! A much better solution for inexperienced travellers is 2 or 3 large hotel rooms/suites, perhaps with a kitchenette. I do hope that your group enjoyed Hawaii together, in spite of the accommodations ... I suspect that you did.
 
May 7, 2019
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#6
You are focused on the wrong issues. The toilet paper and supplies are a minor issues.
Do you rent a home and pay over $1,200 day and expect to not have not water for showers and find a piece of glass on the shower floor. I called the management company (Grand Welcome) the next day and they did nothing. I was not expecting hotel experience I was expecting a safe comfortable vacation. I think hot water is not an unreasonable expectation.
 
Likes: bignevermo
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
You are focused on the wrong issues. The toilet paper and supplies are a minor issues.
Do you rent a home and pay over $1,200 day and expect to not have not water for showers and find a piece of glass on the shower floor. I called the management company (Grand Welcome) the next day and they did nothing. I was not expecting hotel experience I was expecting a safe comfortable vacation. I think hot water is not an unreasonable expectation.
Did you contact Homeaway as required in their book with confidence guarantee?
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#9
A refund of the Early & Late Departure Fee absolutely should be returned. I’m not sure you should expect much more.
Hopefully you discussed the “Cleanliness” issues, hot water and AC issues while you there.
 
Mar 13, 2017
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#10
Just a small aside from experiences with my condo rental in Hilo. Regarding the "low wattage light bulbs". We had a tenant who gave us a belated complaint about the same problem. However, the lights she complained about are on adjustable dimmer switches. We get a fair number of foreign guests (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) who are likely not familiar with those.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#11
Just a small aside from experiences with my condo rental in Hilo. Regarding the "low wattage light bulbs". We had a tenant who gave us a belated complaint about the same problem. However, the lights she complained about are on adjustable dimmer switches. We get a fair number of foreign guests (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) who are likely not familiar with those.
Good point. We just stayed at a friends house and the lights were so dim when we arrived in the evening we could not see the dimmer controls until the next day when the sun was out.
 
May 7, 2019
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#12
I contacted the management company after the 1st night and then I contacted HomeAway when I returned. I haven't received any reply to my phone calls or emails.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
I contacted the management company after the 1st night and then I contacted HomeAway when I returned. I haven't received any reply to my phone calls or emails.
Homeaway requires people to contact them within 12 hours of checking in or 24 hours after complaining about a problem and it not being resolved.

That is the biggest hurdle you have right now — you contacted homeaway after returning home.
 
Sep 20, 2018
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#14
Just a small aside from experiences with my condo rental in Hilo. Regarding the "low wattage light bulbs". We had a tenant who gave us a belated complaint about the same problem. However, the lights she complained about are on adjustable dimmer switches. We get a fair number of foreign guests (Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) who are likely not familiar with those.
Not for nothing...but I will be in Hilo in aug for 10 days... well, Pepeekeo!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,092
15,580
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
I contacted the management company after the 1st night and then I contacted HomeAway when I returned. I haven't received any reply to my phone calls or emails
Did you contact HomeAway per their guarantee:

To be eligible for the Book with Confidence Guarantee, you must meet the following requirements:
Reservations must be paid for through the HomeAway checkout.
If the property is significantly not as described, unsafe, or you are denied access, you must contact Customer Support within the first twelve (12) hours of the event.
If your reservation has been canceled less than 30 days from your stay and you are unable to locate a similar property available during the same period.
You must contact Customer Support within 30 days of the incident (or by phone within 12 hours of entering the property on the first day of the stay in the event that it is materially not as described or uninhabitable)
 
May 7, 2019
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#16
I emailed and called HomeAway as soon as I returned from Honolulu. The departure date was Mar. 30 and I emailed and called HomeAway on Apr. 4th, so I think I am within the time period required. I still have not heard anything from HomeAway except an email confirming they have my complaint and a case number.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#18
I emailed and called HomeAway as soon as I returned from Honolulu. The departure date was Mar. 30 and I emailed and called HomeAway on Apr. 4th, so I think I am within the time period required. I still have not heard anything from HomeAway except an email confirming they have my complaint and a case number.
The time period is 12 hours of check in or 24 hours after a problem has not been resolved to invoke the guarantee.

I wonder if that is why the case is being ignored. But no matter the date Homeaway should respond in a month.

Follow Neil’s advice.