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Mainers having trouble getting vacation rental refunds due to COVID-19 coronavirus

Two Mainers said they were not given refunds for cancelling their trips because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

MAINE, USA — EDITOR'S NOTE: In the above video, NEWS CENTER Maine's Clay Gordon demonstrates one of the proper ways to take off protective gloves.

A lot of Mainers go away for April school vacation, but because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many had to cancel plans.

"Nobody in Maine wants to cancel their April trips," said Marnie MacLean.

Marnie MacLean and her family were supposed to be staying in a home in Arizona next week. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and her husband's underlying health conditions, she cancelled her reservation at the home.

She expected to get her nearly $3,000 back.

"I reached out to the homeowner who said you signed a contract I expect you to hold up your end of the bargain," said MacLean.

MacLean originally booked the home through Vrbo, a vacation rental platform. She didn't buy travelers insurance. 

According to Vrbo's website, the company says in part:

"We are strongly encouraging property owners and managers to issue at least a partial refund for situations in which a flexible credit cannot be accommodated. Please contact the owner or property manager to discuss cancellation and refund options."

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"I'm really struggling to wrap my head around how someone can be completely inflexible in this situation," said MacLean.

MacLean isn't alone. Daniel Kraus also booked a rental property in Delaware for nearly $600 through Vrbo.

He tried cancelling, but said the owner of the property, 'Evolve Vacation Rental', only offered him a travel credit he could use in the next twelve to thirteen months.

"At that point, I told them that's no use to me because I don't know how long this is going to last," said Kraus

NEWS CENTER Maine reached out to Evolve Vacation Rental.

It said it is offering guests with check-in dates between now and May 31st the ability to reschedule or receive a travel credit, which the traveler will have two years to use.

Kraus said he wants his money back now.

"It's extremely frustrating in the fact that people are losing their jobs, people are getting sick, people are trying to afford to pay their rent, their car insurance, car payment, and you have a company that's blatantly keeping you money," said Kraus.

Kraus ended up taking the travel credit. Both he and MacLean advise people to do research and be careful about what platform you use to make your reservation.

We reached out to the person who owns the home MacLean was supposed to stay in. He said while he is sympathetic, he said she did not purchase travel insurance, so he will not refund her because he has to pay his staff.

MacLean said he did refund her for the cleaning fee, but nothing else.

Marnie MacLean was a former NEWS CENTER Maine freelance reporter. 

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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