So much for things being all set and easy leading up to everyone traveling. Both Dominica and I got hit with a lot of stuff today, far more her than me.
The day started off just fine. But it was not long into the day when it was determined that I was going to have to work through the night on a major infrastructure upgrade. So the plan was that I would knock off early, take a break and then start working again around six and go into the early morning. But late in the day that plan go changed and I needed to instead go to bed early tonight and start work at six in the morning, instead of at noon, my normal time. This was actually much harder as I normally go to bed between two and three and get up around nine or ten. So this was shifting my schedule a lot.
This afternoon the poo really hit the fan. Dominica got contacted by the company that they are renting the house from in Florida (renting it tomorrow, keep in mind) and they decided to tell her today that they don’t have any houses for her and that there is nothing that they can do, sorry. Oh, but if she cancels her reservation with AirBnB and pays an extra $300 that they will put her into a more expensive house, but even though they are required to provider her a place equal to or better than what she has paid for, they aren’t going to. So too bad.
Clearly this is extortion. They know that our money is tied up in the deposit. They know that the vacation starts tomorrow. They knew that they had her over a barrel and that she had no leverage. She checked online reviews and it turns out that since she originally made the reservations that this company had been doing this a lot and their reviews from the last few weeks were full of people getting things cancelled, prices raised and bait and switches. No question, this is a rental company that knows how to make people panic and extort a lot of money. They also know that if they do this not only can they get an extra $300 from us but they also manage to cancel the AirBnB reservation allowing them to make extra money from not paying them too. And, of course, once AirBnB is out of the picture there is no protection at all, the money is gone and they don’t need to have any house for you at all.
Dominica was in quite a panic. She had no idea what to do. She agreed, though, that they were completely attempting a blatant extortion scam and that there was nothing more dangerous than trying to keep working with them. So she reached out to AirBnB and they were on it as quickly as they could be. They had her look for other options in the area and she spent all evening working on that.
She was a mess tonight. The evil extortionist kept calling and yelling at her and trying to make her feel bad. Once they realized that she was turning them in to AirBnB (which likes will get them sued as they weren’t just screwing customers but actually stealing from AirBnB as well) they tried to make it look like the house they told us was not available “magically become available just minutes after they had a chat with AirBnB.” But there is no way to trust them. They are scammers.
There was very little that Dominica could do tonight. It was so late by the time that this went down, which was of course the design otherwise the extortion ploy would never work, that she could not reach any other places that showed house inventory to see if they could make a reservation for us for tomorrow. She was a wreck all evening and did not want to discuss it with anyone and send everyone else into a panic too. So that made it so much worse because she really could not talk about it either.
Dominica was so stressed out that she really was not able to sleep tonight and was sick most of the night. She knows that AirBnB will help her in the morning, but they leave for Florida at 2:30 in the afternoon, that does not leave very much time to figure things out before they have to leave. There are a lot of people depending on that house so this is a big deal.
I had Dominica make backup hotel plans just in case there was something so wrong that they were unable to get a house for her tomorrow. At least adding that much peace of mind to an already crazily stressful situation.
So tonight was not a happy night. It isn’t like this is simply a one week family vacation to Florida. Tomorrow afternoon is when Dominica, Liesl and Luciana begin their journey towards Europe too! Dominica had so many things that she was planning to be working on today and tomorrow. Now she is in a complete panic to be able to get things done so that she can just deal with Florida!
This was pretty bad planning to have Dominica stuck with all of the planning for the Florida trip when it backed up against our first time heading overseas to live. There are just so many moving pieces going on over the next two weeks. This was going to be stressful enough without having to oversee this stuff too. She is a mess.
Tomorrow is one week until I head to Florida. And one week and one day until we head to Ireland. This is all coming up on us very quickly. It is hard to believe that we will be there next week!!