Elsa Chung’s Hotwire booking goes “awry” after her promo code doesn’t work and the hotel isn’t what she expected. What should she do?
Today’s question isn’t about whether I should try to mediate Deb DiSandro’s case. She paid $3,203 for a vacation rental in Oahu that she obviously didn’t get. I’m going to try to help her.
It’s more a question of who has her money — and who is responsible for her refund. That’s where I could use your help.
One year ago, DiSandro pre-paid for a condo at the Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort. There were numerous warning signs from the very beginning. The owner wanted to be paid in full by PayPal weeks before she checked in. Initially, he didn’t want to honor the rate that DiSandro saw online for the two bedroom unit on the top fourth floor on the north side of the oceanside tower, but then agreed to, as a favor.
It just didn’t look right. And sure enough, it wasn’t.
“About two weeks before our June arrival, the person we rented the condo from called to tell us that we no longer had a place to stay,” she says. The unit had gone into foreclosure and was now owned by a bank.
Maybe David and Mary Sue Conner didn’t tell their rental homeowner they were in Oahu for a family vacation of a lifetime. But when you drop $25,000 for a one-month stay in Hawaii, and the whole ohana is there, that probably goes without saying: this is a special event, and everything needs to be perfect.
It wasn’t. The problems ranged from minor, such as a faulty air conditioning unit and a broken dryer on the owner-managed rental, to something many guests would consider a real deal-breaker: insects. Lot’s of ‘em.
“We noticed as we were unpacking that there were ant traps throughout the house,” remembers Mary Sue Conner. “We didn’t give it much notice since we were in the tropics and bugs come with the territory. But on the second morning my husband noticed that the window sills in the great room had piles of ant hills across the entire length. It’s almost 30 feet long. We found ants everywhere.”
Flight delays happen. But the one experienced by Nigel Goring-Morris and his companion on their flight from Tel Aviv to Honolulu by way of Los Angeles was so long, and the initial compensation so inadequate, that I’m considering getting involved.
Maybe you can help me sort this one out.
Goring-Morris’ entire trip was booked through American Airlines, but his first leg was on American’s codeshare partner, British Airways. The first part of that flight, from Tel Aviv to London, went off without a hitch. But the connection to LA was delayed by 10 hours, and they missed their next connection to Honolulu.
Result: The passengers missed an entire day of their planned vacation. But that’s not all.
We haven’t moved. Many of you have asked if we’ve relocated to Hawaii. Answer: No, but we kinda wish we had. Our last stop is in Waikiki, where we’re staying at the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort. This is easily the most frenetic of the Holiday Inn Resorts we’ve checked into for our Away is Home family travel blog project — and I mean that in a good way. There’s a surfing museum here, a Jimmy Buffett’s (ah, you know we’re in the right place if there’s a Jimmy Buffett’s!) and a magic show.
The Beachcomber is right in the middle of everything in Waikiki. It’s directly across the street from an Apple store, a Ferrari store, and there’s a Macy’s on the first floor. I say again: a Macy’s. On the first floor.
Saying good-bye. Our monthlong adventure in Hawaii is almost over. We’re at Ko Olina today, where we’re checking out of a vacation rental property my family has fallen in love with. But we’re also excited, because for the next few days, we’ll be staying at the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort (only four more Holiday Inn Resorts to go on our ambitious Away is Home project to visit every one).