Canceling A ResortQuest Reservation? It'll Cost You $190 In Taxes And $95 In Fees

ResortQuest hit William’s wife with over $285 in fees when she canceled less than a day after making her reservation. Over $190 ostensibly went towards taxes, which raised William’s eyebrow and led him to fire off an Executive Email Carpet Bomb demanding an explanation.

That alone was enough to shake out a full refund. William writes:

My wife recently reserved a vacation rental from ResortQuest in Panama City beach for our family vacation. She called back less than 24 hours later to cancel as we found a better rental at another location. ResortQuest informed her that they would not refund any portion of the 330 dollar deposit. She was sent a “cancellation statement” that listed 95.70 in reservation fees and 190.92 dollars in “taxes”.

I performed as an effective EECB that I could though the addresses were very hard to find and not all of them got replies.

I made mention in all of my emails that I wanted to know who assessed and collected these taxes on canceled reservations.

Before I got any reply emails I got a rep on the phone and went through the motions of requesting the refund and when told no I started asking the taxes questions and let the representative know that I had sent all of the emails. She went and “discussed this with her manager” then returned and informed me she would be issuing a full refund. However she could not give me any paperwork confirming the refund and that it might take as many as three weeks to refund.

Later in the day after talking to a nice lady from corporate who assured me that the matter would be taken care of. Later in the day the manager of the Panama City office did contact me via email and provide me an “email confirmation” of the refund.

As of 14 days later the refund had been credited.

Notes:

We reserved the condo on a website http://www.vrbo.com which is supposed to be by owners only and not commercial outfits.

Nowhere on the ad or during the reservation phone call was it mentioned they would keep the reservation fee if canceled.

I would understand if you canceled the week or month before, but the next morning, three months in advance.

I still did not find out who was getting the 190 dollars in “taxes.”

Has anyone else had shady experiences with ResortQuest? Tell us in the comments.

(Photo: fotografar)

Comments

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  1. DogTown says:

    Because ResortQuest will not disclose who assessed and collected these taxes on canceled reservations, makes this sound like a fraud scam that the FCC and the district attorney in the jurisdiction in Panama City should be asked to investigate.

  2. bigvicproton says:

    It would appear this is their policy if you book on their site (not sure if it should apply to VRBO), though a crappy one indeed. The tax people might like to see invoices of taxes collected for nothing. I probably would have just called the credit card company and said i never even made the reservation no idea whats going on. Nice to know though, so I will never book anything from them ever.

    from the Resortquest website:

    “Cancellation before final payment will result in a loss
    equal to the advance payment made (up to a maximum of
    15% of the total due). Guests covered under ResortQuest’s
    travel insurance are exempt from this loss if the reason for
    cancellation is covered under the travel insurance. The
    travel insurance fee is non-refundable.
    Cancellation after final payment will result in a 100%
    loss of the total cost of the stay. The 100% cancellation loss
    can be avoided if: 1) ResortQuest’s travel insurance was
    purchased and the reason for cancellation is covered under
    the travel insurance policy; or 2) ResortQuest can re-rent
    the unit for the full term of the original rental period, in
    which case the guest will be charged a 10% rebooking fee in
    addition to the reservations fee. The travel insurance fee is
    non-refundable”

  3. bigvicproton says:

    a

  4. dragonfire81 says:

    For every person like the man in the story who actually calls the corporations on scams like this (and lets face it, many fees are just scams to prop up the bottom line) there’s 10, 100, maybe 1000s that don’t and as result these companies just end up with fatter and fatter wallets.

    We as a people need to become more questioning of these tactics if they are ever to stop.

  5. richcreamerybutter says:

    She went and “discussed this with her manager” then returned and informed me she would be issuing a full refund.

    I’m trying to visualize this conversation. Does she put the phone down upon the desk, sigh heavily, pat her head to make sure the hairs are in place and timidly approach a sterile room that functions as the “manager’s” office? Does she softly knock, hesitant to disturb the angry little man with his head in one meaty palm, combover now perpendicular to his greasy forehead?

    Perhaps the office door is shut, and through the window you see much wild gesturing as she explains the situation, and finally how the customer has executed the Executive Email Carpet Bomb. Perhaps he slumps in his chair despondent. Perhaps he then waves her away with flaccid penisy fingers, and she then slowly leaves the office to give William the good news.

  6. B Tex says:

    We have used ResortQuest in Maui and canceled to go through an individual owner because it was cheaper and had no issues cancelling. I find that Panama City in general has very crappy customer service so it may just be the attitude of service folks in that city.

  7. Carencey says:

    @bigvicproton: looks like they really want to sell that travel insurance, huh?

  8. ivanthemute says:

    @richcreamerybutter: That’s more of an image than I ever really would want…

  9. Copper says:

    @richcreamerybutter: She probably put the guy on mute and IMed her manager.

  10. plustax says:

    I know Florida has some steep taxes on the travel and tourism industry but as with all taxes it must be based upon something, there must be a basis from which to tax from or else it would be considered more of a fee than a tax. Panama City is in Bay County which if I remember right has a 6 and half percent sales tax rate. As far as hotel and occupational type taxes I can’t pull that one out of my ass so easily.

    I’d like to assume the statement they received was mis-worded or badly presented. If these people agreed to a cancelation fee (whether or not it was on a giant neon sign for the whole world to see or not) I’d be fine with that. I think for me I’d try a back door approach and try to dig my into the administrative side of the company and find their tax director or some other tax accountant at the company who could explain the taxes in more detail. Or if you’re even more creative call as someone from the Florida Department of Revenue and inquire about a consumer complaint made to the department and that they would like some more clarification for this investigation. Of course you really need to know what you are talking about if you try this. It helps that I’m a former tax auditor with the government and I’ve worked in both public accounting and private industry. Of course you could just get a hold of the state and file a complaint but you many never hear anything about what happened and would not be as much fun pretending to be a G man.

  11. MightyWeasel says:

    @plustax: So, did you actually just recommend that someone impersonate an agent of the State of Florida? I’m no lawyer, but I would be shocked if that weren’t highly illegal.

  12. Blueskylaw says:

    1). Guests covered under ResortQuest’s
    travel insurance are exempt from this loss if the reason for
    cancellation is covered under the travel insurance.

    ResortQuest can re-rent
    the unit for the full term of the original rental period, in
    which case the guest will be charged a 10% rebooking fee in
    addition to the reservations fee.

    @bigvicproton:

    1). Your reason for cancelling will never be accepted, therefore no refund.

    2). They will re-rent your room and take your money anyway. How will you prove them wrong? Why charge only 10% when you can take the whole pie.

  13. plustax says:

    @MightyWeasel: I’m not entirely sure if that would be illegal or not but if you were to say “I’m calling from the State of Florida” that might work. except of course if you were in the State of New Jersey at the time. Again, I was not entirely serious about doing that and would not recommend it unless you know the law as well as or better than an agent in state governement.

    Now that you mention it, I didn’t like my post either after reading again. I just had driven 6 hours back from Phoenix so I’m pleading insanity on the posting. My bad (I’m faint from the tax return printer toner dust flying around the room 8 days before April 15th).

  14. orllycc says:

    Hey guys, I read this site often at home but never left a comment.

    I work for ResortQuest and have for some time. Unfortunately you were just talking to the wrong person. We usually refund deposits for cancelations within 24 hours. I can’t refund it now, since it has been two years, but if you have him call ResortQuest and ask for Christine in Perdido Key I can credit what he lost and get him a great deal.