Little known North Carolina law allowed evicted Durham mom to get back $500 from extended stay hotel

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Job loss and tough financial times during the COVID pandemic are forcing some people out of their homes.

It happened to a Durham mother and son after they fell on tough times. They turned to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson when it came to getting the motel to follow North Carolina law.

"The pandemic hit, and then we didn't have as much work, so we ended up getting evicted," Cynthia Bullock said.

With no place to call home, Bullock and her son ended up at the Red Roof Inn of Durham off North Pointe Drive.

"Not thinking that I would be here very long, but it just happened to turn into a lot longer than we had planned," Bullock said.

To be exact, they lived at the Red Roof Inn for more than 90 days. In North Carolina, anyone who stays in the same hotel for 90 days straight doesn't have to keep paying sales tax. Plus, the business has to refund the sales tax you already paid.

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Armed with that information, Bullock went to the staff at the Red Roof Inn where she was staying.

"The management here told me that they didn't do that." Bullock says she contacted the customer service of Red Roof.

"Corporate said that they couldn't handle it there but the management here could help. So I went back to the management again, and they're just sending me back and forth to one another. Meanwhile, not getting anything done," Bullock said.

It's not a small amount of money Bullock paid in sales tax--so far, it adds up to more than $500.

"We're not asking for anything extra. We're just asking for them to follow the law, you know?"

Frustrated, Bullock turned to Wilson for help. "You were actually my last resort before giving up."

Wilson reached out to Red Roof Inn locally and also the corporate customer service.

A representative for Red Roof Inn in Durham said: "During this guest's stay, we worked with her in an effort to accommodate her needs. The guest will receive a full rebate for the occupancy tax as she requested. That rebate has been processed, so the guest will receive it promptly."

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The representative also added that the hotel has done everything possible to treat the guest fairly and properly. It didn't take long and Bullock had her more than $500 refund.

"I appreciate you doing this because I know a lot of people have bigger problems than I do," she said.

If you find yourself in this situation, you can report the business to the NC Attorney General's Office and the Department of Revenue.
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