HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group of visitors from Houston allege that a vacation rental scam has fleeced them of more than $6,200.
Donna Bailey says she had been planning a Hawaii reunion with her closest friends for more than a year and thought she found the ideal property when she came across this Sunset Beach home on the Internet.
But the rental turned out to be a house of horrors.
"This place is a dump and seeing that now, I just can't believe people would do that to other people and ruin their vacation," Bailey said.
In ads on the Internet, the home is pictured with scenic beachfront, a backyard swimming pool and comfortable, island-style interiors.
But when Bailey visited the residence for the first time today she found: broken glass everywhere, rat droppings, dead roaches.
"Sick, just sick," she said.
Bailey gave Hawaii News Now a tour around the five-bedroom, five-bathroom home shortly after she arrived.
We found two of the sliding doors shattered into thousands of pieces, windows apparently shot by a BB-gun, battered television sets and bathroom commodes smashed into tiny bits of porcelain.
The swimming pool in the backyard contained greenish sludge and dozens of mosquito larvae.
"All of the patios have been boarded up, there no way you can use this restroom," said Bailey, as she gave a walking tour of the house.
"The master bathroom ... it's ridiculous. You can tell it didn't happen the last month or so, it's been going on a while."
Bailey says she rented the home for a week-long reunion with several of her closest friends, some were celebrating their wedding anniversaries, others their sixtieth birthdays.
Bailey says she contacted the owner and tried to get the group's money back. The owner, the Cabello Family Trust, told her that the property had been vandalized recently and that she would get her money back in March. She's still waiting.
Hawaii News Now tried to reach the trust and attempted to get in touch with the caretaker of the property but neither was available.
Neighbors said the home has been in disrepair for months. They say a number of visitors have complained about the problem.
"It really takes the excitement from your trip knowing that someone has put the screws to you for sixty-two hundred dollars," Bailey said.
Bailey said she plans to take the owner to Small Claims Court in Honolulu. But she adds the financial setback won't keep her group from enjoying their week-long stay here.
"I'm sure after a few beers we'll have some tears but you know we'll be back to being ourselves," she said.