Paul Kenny pre-paid for a condo on Kauai for 15 nights, but he and his wife only stayed for one. The reason? “The condo was dirty, bug-infested, and uninhabitable,” he says.
Kenny wants a full refund. He had caught the management company misrepresenting certain facts and had photos of the bug bites his wife allegedly suffered. He’d disputed the charges on his credit card, but said American Express was having a hard time determining who was at fault. Perhaps my involvement would help.
I reviewed the paperwork and thought he might have a reasonably good case. I was wrong.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s review what went wrong. It’s quite a list.
Kenny and his wife checked into their unit and decided to go for a swim. When they returned, they found that their keys didn’t work. “We had to bother the downstairs neighbor to call the front desk,” he says. “We waited and waited, flagged down two employees to have each of them call the front desk as well, before someone finally arrived.”
After help arrived, the Kennys noticed a screen door was down. “Bugs were coming in, so it became stifling hot very quickly,” he says.
They also discovered the actual unit was in disrepair. The refrigerator was missing shelves. The Wi-Fi didn’t work. “I managed a few minutes here and there, pirating off of nearby connections, but kept getting thrown off. It was more than frustrating,” he says.
The oven and stove didn’t work, either. “We tried to make tea, but there was no power to the cooking appliance,” he says.
He says the condo unit was not clean. The tub and shower had mold.
“In the kitchen, there were greasy marks on the wall by the garbage can cabinet. The other walls also had yucky marks. Dead bugs covered the outside of the light fixture in the shower room, and the insides of all the light fixtures harbored scores of bug carcasses,” Kenny says.
It was a sharp contrast to the photos of the unit posted online, which showed a light and clean unit.
“In reality,” he says, “it was old and used.”
Kenny asked to be moved to another unit, giving the management company until 10:30 a.m. the next day to respond. They missed the deadline.
“We proceeded to book a condo through Marriott, and packed all our belongings in the car,” he says. “At 10:38 they called to say they could put us in [another] unit, but we would have to pay for a minimum of three days as a booking fee. I told them they were too late, that we had already taken care of ourselves.”
I have to be honest: If all of those things had happened as described, I would have probably done the same thing. So I thought Kenny had a strong case.
I contacted the management company, The Parrish Collection, on his behalf. Here’s its response:
The Kenny Party checked in on 11/3/15 and had a 15-night reservation. The condominium that they booked with us can be seen using this weblink.
The guest initially checked in late in the day and reported some maintenance items. We did send a property manager to assess the situation the next morning and the guest would not let him in the unit.
They asked to relocate and although not our normal policy, we agreed to move them to the unit they requested. Kenny called back and advised us that they were checking out. He didn’t allow us to relocate them, per their request, or address any of the items they initially mentioned were a problem.
The guest did agree to our terms and conditions which clearly review our payment and cancellation policies. We did receive a dispute via American Express two times for this guest, and both times American Express agreed with The Parrish Collection.
It’s clear that the management company and the guest had very different perceptions of what happened. Still, even if only half of what Kenny claims is true, it seems like an awful rental. And the company sure took its time responding to him.
Could Kenny have been more patient? Less demanding? Perhaps. But one thing is clear: This was not an ideal situation, and just because Amex sided with Parrish doesn’t mean Parrish is right.
Case closed? I’m afraid so.