A family member had planned her wedding for Columbus Day weekend 2016 on Topsail Island and many family members rented houses on the island for the weekend so that they could attend the celebration. I thought I was booking 360 Degrees of Heaven directly with the owner on VRBO but I found out later I'd been shifted to dealing with Starfish Rentals & Realty. Not sure who is more to blame for what followed but I would avoid dealing with Starfish and this property, in particular, in the future to be safe.
Unfortunately, Hurricane Matthew hit the area that very weekend. Luckily, it was a well-forecasted storm and we knew more than a week in advance that there was no way the wedding could actually take place that weekend. The southern coast of North Carolina was the bullseye for a record-breaking hurricane precisely on the day we were scheduled to arrive.
I didn't really anticipate a problem since the record-breaking storm hitting Florida and then South and North Carolina was all anyone was talking about on the national news for at least a week. Unfortunately, I was wrong. When we tried to cancel our reservation, Starfish told me it was "business as usual" on Topsail and refused to let us cancel our reservation or even move the booking to another date when the area wasn't under the threat of a major storm.
They insisted on keeping our full rental fee as well as the added charge for rented linens (bed sheets) for a home that was never used. Their reasoning was that somehow the rental company and homeowner were incurring a loss on account of our cancellation. Makes total sense in a situation where there is rain in the forecast so your guests opt to cancel their vacation. But that is far from what happened here.
To suggest that there was an opportunity cost incurred because the reservation had been held for us -- instead of making the property available to others who may want to rent the home -- was a complete joke. The southern coast of North Carolina was the bulls eye for a record breaking hurricane. Flights into and out of Wilmington were cancelled. Portions of interstate 95 were closed. Everyone already on the island was being told, emphatically, to leave town. And we've all seen the videos of the aftermath on Topsail - major flooding. Not only would it have been unrealistic and unsafe for anyone to be heading to the island on Friday October 7th but -- if anyone made it there -- they likely would have left with significant damage to property including vehicles.
Still interested in visiting Topsail but will not work with this company again. Can you recommend an alternative?