MONTCLAIR (CBSLA) — An Inland Empire couple thought that their wedding day was going to be a dream come true, but it quickly turned into a nightmare as the coronavirus pandemic forced widespread cancellations.
The couple thought they had found the perfect venue for their summer wedding when they clicked on the posting for a gorgeous estate with a saltwater pool that sleeps 22 in Murrieta.
“My whole family from back east was coming to the wedding, and we figured we could all stay together in this house,” bride Nicole Hill said.
Hill, a health care worker, and her fiancé Joseph, who works in law enforcement, have been together for 10 years. They were best friends in high school and booked the property for a time of year that meant something to them both.
“Memorial Day is special for us,” Hill said. “It’s the time of year that we met.”
But with stays in vacation homes currently prohibited, they said their reservation was canceled because of the pandemic — but the owner of the property refused to refund their $4,000 security deposit on the property.
“She reminded me of her no refund policy,” Hill said.
Hill made the reservation through VRBO, but paid the owner through PayPal, which is why VRBO said it could not refund her money.
VRBO’s COVID-19 policy states that it was asking homeowners and property managers to offer a credit for a flexible stay date within the next year. And if travelers are unwilling to accept a credit, VRBO advised partners to issue a refund of at least 50% for the canceled stay.
When CBS Los Angeles reached out to the owner of the Murrieta property, she said in part that she did not have to offer Hill new days, “but I’m a nice person, and that is my policy, even though it clearly states no cancellations when she booked.”
The owner said Hill could book the space for sometime in the next year and would have all of her money applied to the new dates.
“We work hard for our money,” Hill said. “This was out of our control.”
Hill and her fiancé said they felt that it was well within the owner’s control to show them a little compassion in light of the situation.
“I would hope you would find it in your heart to give us our money back,” Hill said.
Hill said that because her family also had to cancel all of their travel plans, she was not sure when the couple would be able to get everyone together again for a wedding.