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Family fighting for RI rental refund after canceling trip due to pandemic

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As we head into the heart of tourism season in Rhode Island, some out-of-staters have found themselves at a loss since they’re not being reimbursed for their rental property despite restrictions and concerns over the pandemic.

The Quinn family from Long Island, New York, tells Target 12 they reserved a vacation home in Narragansett back in November and put down a deposit of nearly $7,000, which is 50% of the rental cost.

Bob Quinn said he’s vacationed in Rhode Island before but last month, his family made the tough decision to cancel because they weren’t ready to go on a trip together.

“In our group, we had two essential front-line workers,” he said. “We’ve got an NYPD police officer, we’ve got an ER nurse, and my daughter-in-law is also expecting.”

But the contract the family signed, which they shared with Target 12, states: “No refunds of monies paid. However, if you return your reservation paid in full and our office can rent the same house for the same price you will receive all moneys less than 10% of the total rental amount plus the reservation fee. If the rental is for less than the original reservation then cancel or will pay the difference in addition to 10% penalty plus the reservation fee or forfeit money. We recommend travel insurance which is usually purchased for between 5-10% of the rental cost.”

“We weren’t questioning the legality of anything, we’re just pretty much appealing to the moral of this whole thing going on in the world,” Quinn added.

Target 12 spoke with the owner of the real estate company, who said: “We’ve made hundreds of concessions which were satisfactory, some unsatisfactory.”

“We’d love to have a full refund, because we’re actually not getting, not benefiting anything from a vacation,” Quinn added. “I don’t know if he’s going to be able to re-rent the property with COVID going on.”

The company’s owner said in order for people to receive a refund, they need a “really, really good reason not to come to the rental. Restaurants aren’t open, beaches are social distancing isn’t a good enough reason.”

He also said they have granted date changes and extensions because of the pandemic.

“We weren’t going to give him the other 50%, even with the 10-day extension, and we just continued to ask a full refund,” Quinn said. “We even put some olive branches out there to have him keep 10%, which is the first part of his cancellation policy.”

“This is not our fault, it’s not his fault, it’s no one’s fault, but obviously he thinks it’s our problem and not his,” he continued.

The owner said they’ve given refunds to members of high-risk populations like the elderly, as well as people who’ve had a death in the family. Target 12 reached out to Attorney General Peter Neronha’s Office, who said even if the contract denies you a refund, you can try to work with the property owner.

If you still feel like you’re being treated unfairly, reach out to their Consumer Protection Division.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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