Woman waits for refund from Raleigh inn

September 10, 2012 2:45:16 PM PDT
A newcomer to the area was looking for a place to rent short-term until she bought a house. She thought she found a place at the Velvet Cloak in Raleigh, but canceled the reservation within a day.

When Luba Cehelska was unsuccessful in getting her money back from the business, she contacted me.

On July 31, Luba wrote a check for more than $1,200 for a one-month stay. Just one day later, she decided the Velvet Cloak wasn't the place for her. She went back and tried to cancel the reservation.

"There were things at the Velvet Cloak that I was still wanting.  There were no dishes there, no hot plate there, no pots and pans there," Luba said. "I decided to cancel because the place in Cary was more suitable."

Luba cancelled more than 24 hours before her scheduled move-in date.

"She said to me there would be no cancelation fee, but she could not retrieve the check that I had written the day before because the check was in a locked drawer," Luba said.

Luba said she was told the check would be mailed to her. When she called back to the Velvet Cloak to check on her refund, she said she was told something different.

"The refund would be made as soon as the check cleared but there would be a $200 cancelation penalty," Luba said.

This is not something Luba expected, especially since she was emailed the confirmation that states she was not charged a cancellation fee.

Luba reached out to the owner of the Velvet Cloak. They corresponded back and forth via email and voicemail, but weeks later Luba still had not received her $200 deposit or the one month's rent she also gave.

"It looked like I was going to lose almost $1,300, which is a lot of money," Luba said.

Then Luba got in touch with me and I contacted the manager of the Velvet Cloak. He told me their cancellation policy is one week before move-in, not 24 hours.

He added that he made several attempts to resolve this situation, but Luba would not talk to him on the phone.

The manager said the Velvet Cloak is a small business and they believe in good customer service. As a courtesy he refunded Luba her deposit, even though they are not obligated to do so.

Within days Luba received her deposit and one month's rent, a combined total of $1,271 back.

The manager of the Velvet Cloak added that they have learned a great lesson from this experience and will be sure customers clearly understand their cancelation policy.

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