Family unhappy with rental found on popular website - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Family unhappy with rental found on popular website

Source: Ashley Walker-Cole Source: Ashley Walker-Cole
Source: Ashley Walker-Cole Source: Ashley Walker-Cole
Source: Ashley Walker-Cole Source: Ashley Walker-Cole
Source: Ashley Walker-Cole Source: Ashley Walker-Cole
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    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-07-23 23:57:40 GMT
    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Reports of rental scams associated with Craigslist have surfaced. Thieves try to rent homes they don't own, leaving renters out a lot of money. Recently, it appears criminalsMore >>
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GARDEN CITY, SC (WMBF) - A family booked one week condo at Whispering Sands through the online site VRBO for $700, but soon after walking through the door, they knew they could not stay. 

The listing's pictures on VRBO.com, an acronym for Vacation Rentals By Owner, show granite counter tops, new cabinets, and a clean living room with captions like "completely remodeled" "brand new tile floors" and "brand new appliances."

But that is not what Kelly Blankenship and her family say they walked into.

Instead, they were greeted by stained mattresses, dirty tables, and collected dirt and dust around the AC unit. At first she was going to try to make it through the night, because it was so late by the time they had arrived. 

"I took the mattress cover off the bed, thinking I could take two sheets and put them together or what have you, just to make do, and when I took the mattress cover off it was filled with holes and stains!" Blankenship said.

Neighbors say many people own condos at the Whispering Sands and rent them out, but the conditions vary by owner. Through VRBO you can see the listings, pictures, rates, and contact information.

Another family using VRBO this week sees it as a hit or miss because you never quite know what you are going to get, and the process can be scary, but her husband pointed out they should at least have an agreement.

"Yeah he definitely wanted an agreement, which I didn't even think about that. I was like she wants my card number! I'm giving her my card number! A random private person!" explains Sarah Swisher.

The family says the owner said he would refund their money in the beginning, but after multiple conversations it was clear he was not going to.

Blankenship called VRBO and even though they guarantee their properties and provide insurance, she says VRBO told her she had to go through the owner and they would get back to her. 

"Things aren't portrayed as they are on websites, whether it's a hotel website or it's on VRBO, they only show the best," Kelli Blankenship says.

Blankenship has used VRBO in the past, but she never had an experience quite like this.

She says she is now wishing she looked deeper into the reviews. She says although not everyone has the best experience, she believes the reviews are your best bet to really know what you are getting.

The other family using VRBO says although they did not share the same traumatic experience, they spent a 12-hour car ride thinking "what if."

"You read the reviews and they all say it's a nightmare...the process is scary."

Blankenship is still waiting on VRBO to get back to her. A VRBO spokesperson says they are looking into the matter. 

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    KPLC's Black History Month profiles wrap up with a man who has a voice for radio.  As a kid he called radio stations, he helped carry equipment and even started working a station for free starting out. But that persistence was all Erik Tee needed to help him make it in the world of radio.  Every car radio turned to 107.5 has probably heard that voice.  The voice of radio personality Erik Tee.   "This is my getaway," said Erik. "This is ...

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    KPLC's Black History Month profiles wrap up with a man who has a voice for radio.  As a kid he called radio stations, he helped carry equipment and even started working a station for free starting out. But that persistence was all Erik Tee needed to help him make it in the world of radio.  Every car radio turned to 107.5 has probably heard that voice.  The voice of radio personality Erik Tee.   "This is my getaway," said Erik. "This is ...

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    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)
    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)

    The whole country seems to be on edge after the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. A number of proposals are already on the table to try and prevent another mass shooting from happening. Earlier in the week, President Trump suggested arming certain teachers and ending gun-free zones. Terry Johnson, President of the Calcasieu Federation of Teachers, said teachers shouldn't have to take on that kind of responsibility. "Let's leave that to the police," Johnson sai...

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    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)
    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)

    Police are urging everyone to not leave firearms unattended in their vehicles. The Lake Charles Police Department stated that between Jan. 1, 2018 and Feb. 16, 2018 there have been a total of 27 vehicle burglaries where a firearm has been stolen. That means 27 firearms are in the hands of a thief that could possibly be resold or used to commit a violent crime. The police officers must then come into contact with these violent offenders and result in a possible armed confrontatio...

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