7 On Your Side: Hamptons headache as summer rental disappears

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022
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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda steps in to help a group of friends after their summer rental in the Hamptons is accidentally double booked.

EAST HAMPTON, Suffolk County (WABC) -- It was supposed to be the perfect summer Hamptons hideaway but it turned out to be a huge headache. All after a group of friends paid for and then got locked out of a rental.

"We got there. It was exactly as advertised. Perfect little beach house. We just threw our stuff down and headed to the beach," Grace von Simson said.

It was a few short hours of beachside bliss before the summer rental for eight friends turned into an epic nightmare involving the police.

"We walked up to the house and there was a couple standing on the porch," Abby Blakeman said.

"They said our 'daughter is renting this house,'" von Simson said.

The other family said they rented directly from the owner of the West Hampton Bungalow last August after staying there last summer.

Friends Grace and Abbey found the listing on thevacation rental online marketplaceVRBO and paid in full for a two-month stay last February.

"We paid the whole thing, $20,000," von Simson said.

"The police got they were as confused as we were. He called the real estate agent who said he never listed it on VRBO and we were trespassing," Blakeman said.

It was July 4th weekend and everything nearby was booked, so the girls had to re-pack a summer's worth of supplies, pay for a rideshare and find a hotel.

In total, they paid out of pocket another $2,500 to stay in Port Jefferson for the weekend.

"This was really unnerving to not have any other place to go and we were supposed to be there for two months," von Simson said.

And when they tried to reach anyone at the rental website for a refund or a new rental, they said they were on the phone for days.

Until they contacted 7 On Your Side, and we flagged VRBO asking to help the girls ASAP, letting them know some in their group had no place to live and were relying on the two-month rental they got kicked out of.

"Good news we got our money back! Everything sped up when you got involved. $20,000 - it's going to be a chargeback," von Simson said.

And even better news, VRBO which said it mistakenly double-booked the West Hampton bungalow apologized and true to their 'Book with Confidence Guarantee' kicked in another $20,000 to move the group to a 4-bedroom chic celebrity-surrounded East Hampton rental with a pool.

"Thanks so much, we couldn't have done it without you," von Simson said.

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