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Review 825: Clearwater Beach Rentals, Narcissus Beach House


Not Recommended
Review by Brian R from MN

2bed/2bath, Clearwater Beach, Florida


March, 2004, 2 weeks


In February, 2004 we (my wife and I and our two children ages two years old and the other two months old) rented a home on Narcissus Avenue, Clearwater Beach, Florida from Clay and Susan Withers (“Withers”) for the period of February 28th through March 13th, 2004 for $2,011.50 including a 11% tax they charged us.

Upon arrival we found the front door open and the house to be generally dirty and in disrepair (open electrical boxes with exposed wires, doors that didn’t work, broken window blinds, and a pool that was only partially filled), we figured we had already spent so much on airfare and travel that we would make the best out of the situation. However that evening after purchasing two weeks of food and supplies, and almost immediately after we put everything away, we were horrified by the sight of cockroaches, which begin crawling out of cracks and crevices located around the kitchen as they begin swarming around any food (such as a sealed bag of bread and fruit) left on the counters in the house.

We notified Clay Withers immediately of the cockroach infestation, at which point he told us he didn’t have any other alternative accommodations. Given the ages of our small children and the general poor condition of the inside of the house and the diseases known to be carried by cockroaches, we told him the current situation was unacceptable and that if he didn’t have any other alternatives for us we would try to find alternative lodging else where, and if we couldn’t find any we would be leaving and flying home the next day. He then told us to call him in the morning and let him know what we decided to do. I promptly called him at 8:00a.m. the next morning and told him, given the high season in Clearwater Beach at this time of the year, we were not able to find any alternative lodging options on such short notice. I also notified him at that time that since we had no place to stay, we decided we didn’t have any alternative but to purchase additional airline tickets to return home.

Given the lack of alternative housing and the unlivable condition of the home we rented we asked the Withers for our money back less a reasonable amount for one night of lodging. The Withers then became irate and belligerent and told us they would not refund our money “just because you had seen a few bugs”. After spending 20-30 minutes trying to reason with them and showing the Withers cockroach excrement located all over the kitchen, they still refused to refund our money. Clay Withers then told us that they get thousands of e-mails a day and that he was confident that they would be able to re-rent the house for the period we had signed up for once they had the house exterminated and probably would be able to return most if not all of our money to us.

During the ensuing four weeks, I left several messages and e-mails (Clay stopped accepting my calls and Susan would only say they were still thinking about it) for the Withers inquiring as to how much they had rented the house for after we left. Finally more than four weeks after we left, Susan told me that they had re rented the house, but since it was so much trouble for them they would be only willing to refund $100!

Let me summarize the situation as this point. I paid them $2,011.50 for the rental of what was supposed to be a vacation house, for which they gave us a dirty, cockroach infested house in poor condition. They ruined what was to be a nice family vacation and turned it into a stress-filled nightmare, cost us thousands of dollars, and it was too much trouble for them? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not only did they steal thousands of dollars from us, but they re-rented the house (they were paid twice for the same time period), they didn’t provide the services they said they would, and they still refused to refund our money.

I would hope that you find this situation and the behavior of the Withers to be as dishonest and disgusting as we do.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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