Thank you so much for three excellent replies via virtualtourist.com. I lost almost $300 due to my naiveté. I reserved three nights four months in advance and had every intention of staying in the home I found on the homeaway website. When unforeseen circumstances arose shortly after I made the reservation, I called the owner (part of a group of owners in a holding company), because I assumed cancellation within a few hours would be acceptable. But no. They had processed my online credit card payment immediately and emailed a link for my receipt. On the receipt was the list of charges (all of which I expected), which included $35 application fee, $225 cleaning fee, $45 insurance fee, $250 security deposit, plus the rental and tax fees, the total of which was the basis for the 20% deposit. Beneath the receipt was an agreement letter saying that even if they booked another party for the dates I cancelled, they would retain 20% of the entire obligation, which is, of course, the amount they charged my credit card, so I get nothing back. When I offered to pay the transaction fees to reverse the charge, the woman said that when I clicked on the receipt link, that acted as a signature on a contract (never heard of that before), and there would be no return. She claimed that in those four hours the property was off the market (even though my reservation was never reflected on the online calendar), she had another call to rent the property and she had to turn them down because of my reservation. My response was that if she had a potential renter within four hours of my call, and she had four more months to rent the property, was there not a strong chance that someone else would call to rent the property? I was willing to wait for a refund, even a reduced refund in the event she was able to rent the property on the days I reserved. She was not moved. It was something of a shock, but their contract, judging by the legal language on pages and pages, must have been written by an attorney and should have given me pause. All of you are right: I should have CAREFULLY read the cancellation policy and thought about what would happen in the worst case scenario. Given the brief number of hours between making and cancelling the reservation, I would have expected some element of fairness, but it is a lesson learned that some owners don't believe in being fair. Never again will I become entangled with a property that has application fees, insurance fees, and a contract that would do the credit card industry proud. Your replies and advice were sound, and I very much appreciate the time you took to write. It was very helpful.
What a fantastic place this is!! Hot tub right on the beach (scheduled time no sharing :) ). Wonderful food. The kayaking in the morning was too much fun. The owners and staff are amazing and made our stay one to remember. Each room (we peeked) is wonderful. Ours had a fireplace and claw foot tub. Want to go for a hike? Then just step outdside the door and onto the trails. The island is just right to bring your bike and explore. Local state park has many trails to hike and mountain bike. Great little downtown area in town. If you want to get away and relax in the San Juans this is it!
It's worth the drive to Orcas Island if even just for the breakfast! Peter & Helen Allen, the Innkeepers make you feel at home in their home. Can't wait to come back for a visit!
Central location - just a mile north of Eastsound’s restaurants and shops
No minimum stay
Romantic garden hot tub - sign up for your private time
Delicious full breakfast
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