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Pierce Property Management (aka Seaside Rentals at www.seasiderentalsmaine.com) Complaint - Beware of unethical vacation rental agent in Maine and on VRBO.com

Review by FrequentTraveler on 2009-09-12
The village of Stonington, Maine, has many nice shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, our week there was ruined by the appalling treatment we received from Pierce Property Management (aka Seaside Rentals www.seasiderentalsmaine.com, PO Box 38, Sunset, Maine 04683) who rented us our vacation home. We paid more than $2000 upfront for a one-week rental on Bayview Street in Stonington, Maine via VRBO.com/85379. We could have tolerated the fact that much of the house smelled strongly of mold; that the unrenovated first floor was home to numerous bugs and spiders; that the puddle-filled basement was like a scene from a horror movie; and that this rental was adjacent to a loud and unsightly lobster business. By themselves, these issues would not have been nearly enough to ruin our vacation or compel us to call the agent, let alone write a negative review. As frequent vacation-home renters, we can adapt to a variety of circumstances and "surprises" not mentioned in the listing advertisement. But we do expect the things listed to be present, and that we will be treated honestly and professionally by the people we do business with. The VRBO ad for this property listed a "Dishwasher" among its amenities. The fact that the house didn't have one was a misrepresentation that annoyed us a lot. This was an amenity which we had paid for and which mattered to us. Much worse, however, was the fact that after we complained by voicemail to the broker, instead of calling us back and apologizing, she altered the listing and lied about doing so. As soon as we left her a first voicemail message mentioning the Dishwasher problem, she deleted the item "Dishwasher" from the list of amenities on her VRBO page and from that point on, everyone associated with the company attempted to conceal and/or lie that this change had been made or that the word "Dishwasher" had ever appeared on the VRBO page. On the two occasions when anyone associated with this broker actually answered the phone (these people were not even office staff but a housekeeper and a lobsterman; and we don't think there actually is an office staff) we were promised swift return phone calls from "the boss" (the broker). These never came. Our request for an apology or explanation about this situation resulted in us being treated in an insulting and offensive manner, by the housekeeper mentioned above (who's also the broker's mother, we later found out) who goaded us with, "Well, I hope you have a printout because it doesn't say dishwasher now!" To add insult to injury, when we finally heard from the broker -- 10-days after our initial complaint on a 7-day rental -- it was not to apologize or explain but to insult us and continue the lies. Pierce Property Management (aka Seaside Rentals) of Sunset, Maine is not a company you should do business with. This broker has other listings on VRBO, including VRBO.com/54893 and VRBO.com/85783. We are experienced travelers who have had many good experiences with VRBO and other vacation rentals and have never before written a complaint. We just do not like being lied to and treated badly. It's a shame we had this experience because the renovated half of the house was acceptable, the view was nice from the upstairs balcony and the town of Stonington has man y charming shops and restaurants. We only wish we could have enjoyed them more. We wrote this comment as a public service, hoping it will help other travelers make a better choice than we did in Stonington.
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