As the sharing economy grows, booking vacations is becoming easier and cheaper, but one Connecticut couple is reminding others to be careful what you click on and confirm.
The Pasquales contacted the Eyewitness News I-Team, claiming a vacation rental was misleading, disgusting, and worse, they haven’t gotten a refund.
The couple booked the Westerly home via Homeaway.com, where the photos looked nice and the reviews were glowing, but when they arrived they were in for a surprise.
“This was to be our honeymoon, we got married last June but we never took a honeymoon,” said Christine Pasquale, of Middlefield.
Giant bugs crawling on the bathroom floor, a crusty paint brush sitting on the sink, stacks of magazines, and even someone’s dirty underwear greeted them at the home.
The home was booked for nearly $2,000 for six days.
When the Pasquales pulled into the driveway, they thought it was the garage, but it turned out it was the house itself. You have to go around to the back to get inside. They say it was in horrible shape.
“He gave us a tour and said ‘you look concerned’ and he said ‘you guys are early’ and ‘I need a few more hours to clean’,” Christine Pasquale said.
Several hours later, she said it was “disgusting” and they weren’t even comfortable sitting down anywhere.
They stayed for nine hours, mainly because it was a popular party weekend, and felt it was safer to stay off the roads.
The owner of the rental, Ted Faraone, said his home was perfectly neat when the Pasquales visited.
“It was clean, all I had to do was mop the floors,” Faraone said. And he remembered the paint brush, saying “I think there might have been a paint brush.”
The morning after the couple arrived, Christine Pasquale told Faraone that they would never be back, and wrote emails seeking a refund.
She also wrote a negative review on the HomeAway website, and emailed the company.
After Faraone initially offered a partial refund, he took it right back.
“His exact words were that we had now dropped the atomic bomb on him and he would not be working with us and if we wanted to take it to court we could,” Christine Pasquale said.
Faraone pointed out a rental agreement that stated “On the first day of the rental, no refund will be given for any reason.”
Now the couple is filing paperwork with small claims court in Rhode Island to hold Faroane’s feet to the fire.
“I want all my money back, I don’t want part of it,” Michael Pasquale said.
Beyond their money, the couple wants consumers to be skeptical when using a website like HomeAway or even Air B&B, which Faraone said lists his home.
Despite high ratings, the couple said you never know what you’re getting until you visit. By then it could be too late to get your cash back.
The I-Team reviewed emails between Faraone and HomeAway, but is still waiting back to hear from the company. Faraone said it sided with him.
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