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TROUBLESHOOTERS: Vacation home not what it was touted to be

READ MORE: TROUBLESHOOTERS: Vacation home not what it was touted to be

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It's the height of tourist season at area beaches, and we've received some complaints from visitors lately who were less than pleased with their accommodations. The problems seems to be people who are advertising their homes for rent, promising luxury accommodations, and failing to deliver.

Marcie Corral found an ad on Craig's List for an oceanfront house in Kure Beach. She booked it, and then drove here from Raleigh with her family to find that the house did not live up to the images in the pictures. She took some pictures of her own, before calling the owner to ask for a refund.

"Went in to what would have been the master bedroom, and it looked nothing like the photo," Corral said. "There were different, older, stained bed covers and an opening to a washer and dryer that was covered in rust and dirt, and nasty pillows hanging out of everywhere. It was just filthy."

The house's owner, Catherine Marvel, refused to give Corral a refund, saying she turned down a dozen other potential renters once Corral had booked the house. Corral says she highly doubts that, considering she booked the trip the day before she came. Regardless, Corral says this is false advertising, and she is now trying to get her money back through the bank, since her family ended up staying somewhere else.

She also called the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce to Complain. They've gotten enough complaints about Marvel, who also owns the Mermaid Manor Inn, to yank her membership. "It also only takes one person to turn a number of people off the opportunity to enjoy Pleasure Island, and so we're very very conscious that our reputation is everything, and without it, we're just another destination that's trying to get visitors," explained the Chamber's Bruce Holsten, of the standards they expect of their members.

Catherine Marvel declined our request to go on camera, but says Corral's allegations are just not true. She says she's been in business for 20 years, and has received plenty of positive feedback.

While you can save money by going through sites like Craig's List, you also expose yourself to some serious risk, as Corral learned the hardway. In the future, she plans to use a more repuatable agency, so she has some recourse if her accommodations don't live up to her expectations.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


re I DID ask for a refund

ok ,if that is the case let the people know you are going too call the cops to solve this depute then proceed to dial 911.

no service was rendered ,they are in the fault... you get your money back.

haha...I did call the cops

haha...I did call the cops right away...have a police report, but this is considered a civil matter, so in actuality, the only recourse is to pay more money to take things to small claims court. If you don't know much about that process, I have a good friend that is a lawyer and there is nothing that can be done if a defendant just doesn't show recourse for getting her pay or anything. Trust me, I have been extremely smart about every step I have taken with this, and I have no doubt after my thorough research and proof, my bank will be getting my money back. On a side note, I have made 2 other contacts I have found through tripadvisor that had the EXACT SAME thing happen to them at the Mermaid Manor. I just want other people to be warned before it goes this far...


We have rented several vacation homes from Vacation Rentals By Owner-(VRBO.COM) and have never had a problem.
They post photos and people can leave comments about their experience.
Use your head with Craigslist!
They tell you up front to deal locally with people in person on Craigslist.


craigslist really?

but anyway why not ask for a refund before you even unpacked your bags?

I DID ask for a refund

I DID ask for a refund BEFORE unpacking my bags. I never took one of them into the house. The only time I spent in the dump was the 15 minutes taking 100s of photos like the few you have seen on here. Trust me I would have rather stayed crammed in my car with my entire family, and slept there...rather than at this place. It was advertised as a 4 bdrm house, and I was shocked to find I was only being given the roadside half with no direct access to the beach on top of it all. If the owner had only been more understanding, things might not have had to go this far. I am not alone in this either. I have spoken with 3 other people that went through the same mess with her. Now, I am just trying to help other people to know ahead of time...

This isn't a Craigslist problem.... is a purchasers problem! I've bought and sold thousands of dollars of merchandise to include boats, cars, motorcycles, boat slips, sporting equipment and furniture, all with 100% satisfaction, but never a property rental. Craigslist is only a portal for the buyer and seller and requires that the buyer scruitinize each purchase to his/her satisfaction. I understand this person locked in on the rental one day before her vacation started. I can hardly call that planning or scruitinization in any form!

Unfortunately, our society is full of crooks and thieves that are willing to pull a scam and ANY opportunity to put your money in their pocket. Anything involving money has a band of thieves hovering like vultures, just waiting for the next victim. Craigslist does not promote this kind of activity, tries to thwart it when possible AND posts large, emphatic statements about "buyers beware" with methods to avoid being scammed.

In this situation, I would be inclined to seek a rental from a real estate brokerage that is well established, especially if I were from out of town.


I just have to say, I am glad this story was covered. I was about to call and book the Flag House today, but saw a link to this video posted on Craigslist. I am from Clayton, and I am glad I didn't waste my time, money or gas. Thank you so much! I also checked out tripadvisor and there are a lot of nasty pics on there, and other people who seem to share the same sentiment. What a nightmare for you. I am sorry!

Mermaid Manor

I also stayed at the Mermaid Manor and had a HORRIBLE experience with the owners. I was made to pay before seeing the place, and immediately wanted to run! The owner was not willing to work with me at all to give me my money back. I did however get it back through my credit card company fighting for me. On top of that, yes her place is oceanfront, but I couldn't even see the ocean from where I was supposed to stay. I also was unable to go anywhere else, because she got me with the "get friendly" thing. I would do anything to stop this woman, and I am so glad to see this Corral woman has done as much as she has. I was also one of the many to complain in writing to the Chamber of Commerce. If Catherine fully believed these accusations to be false, then why not stand up and defend her place instead of hiding from the Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau and the News Reporter who all looked to her for explanation!? Even if she and the co-owner had been kind to me and understanding when I stayed at Mermaid Manor, I would have been a little more understanding. Their standard of clean is a joke, and their customer service is even worse!

vacation rental

What do you expect from Craigs list? I have heard so many horror stories from people that used Craigs list its not even funny. My parents home was fraudulently listed on Craigs list for rent, they had people showing up at their door to look at it. The lister claimed to be on a humanitarian mission in Germany and wanted 500.00 cash and he would mail the keys. The house was never for rent, just another Craigs list SCAM.

Reputable rental companies will work with you if you are not happy. We rented a beautiful 5 bedroom ocean front on Hatteras last year, it was fabulous and was exactly like the photos, even better. You try and be cheap you are going to get cheap.

You can never go by photos.

You can never go by photos. You have plenty of rust around salt water. If she stayed there, she has to pay. If she left and stayed elsewhere, she might could get part of it back. Sounds like she is after a free vacation.

This girl is not the only

This girl is not the only one to have gone through this with this woman...I too tried to get my money back IMMEDIATELY after a 4 hour drive with my family based on her misleading Ads -- wonder how long ago her pics were taken anyway? I was denied my money although I did not stay at that dump called Mermaid Manor. I am glad to see someone bringing the truth to light on here.

FREE Vacation?

This comment sounds like one made by Ms. Marvel. No one else would even suggest such a thing.
I've seen this dump, and I would sleep right on the beach before I'd stay there. Pitiful for hard-working families to spend so much money, only to arrive at this nasty place.
Have you ever purchased something at Wal-Mart, taken it home, only to find it to be defective, or missing parts? How would you feel if you went to return or exchange it, and they only gave you a partial refund?
If you would stop devoting so much time to making crude apologetics and put even half that energy into improving your rentals, the world would be a better place.

If I bought something

If I bought something defective and returned it, I would expect to get my money back. If I kept it, I would not expect to get my money back. I ask again, did she stay in the rental or go elsewhere?

It is always important to

It is always important to read/view an entire story before passing judgment!! Ms Corral NEVER EVEN TOOK A BAG into the place. She requested a refund immediately and was denied. She is not the only one that has gone through this with this woman. Please contact the chamber of commerce or BBB and you will find a stack of ignored complaints on Katie or Catherine Marvel!

Wow, twice

So Guest789, you ask "again" if she stayed elsewhere? Why not read all the words in the story, not just the little ones. If you did, you would have read this part: "Regardless, Corral says this is false advertising, and she is now trying to get her money back through the bank, since her family ended up staying somewhere else."

There is a difference in who you use

Here is a tip...
If you rent, rent only from a property manager who is an active Realtor... (Yes there is a diffrence between a Realtor and Real Estate Agent)...
Here is why.. a Realtor is bound by the National Association of Realtors and their local Realtor Association to a stict code of ethics.

This lady (looking at the local agent list on and the North Carolina Real Estate COmission site) is not a licensed agent, therefor she is not bound to anything...
Had she been a Realtor, a complaint could have been filed.. If the rental was in the MLS, then it would have been a misrepresentation of material fact... A Realtor can get their Real Estate Licensed snatched up rather quickly, where it takes a bit more for a non-Realtor to get in trouble with the commish. and someone who does not hold a license and who is not a Realtor, can pretty mucgh do whatever they want... Think of a Realtor as using an extra, double-layered insurance policy so you don't get screwed, you are protected from both fraud and misrepresentation, and you (most of the time) actually get someone who knows what they are talking about...
Not trying to ptomote them, am not one of them, but I own a few properties and hades would freeze over before I made a purchase, sold, rented etc. unless the person was an active member of a Realtor Association.. It's the only insurance I have as a homeowner that I won't get screwed over... Like I said.. HUGE difference between a Realtor and just a plain ol Real Estate Agent... HUGE difference..
If I am not a Realtor, then how do I know? Because to save a few hindred bucks, I used someone who was not a Realtor, who had an active Real Estate License, and I ended up being bilked for thousands... Not again...

I didn't know that Realtors

I didn't know that Realtors had ethics.


Then apparently you have never used one...

Mermaid Manor

I stayed at the Mermaid Manor, same situation. My pictures are on (pookat).

Wow, I just looked at the

Wow, I just looked at the photos on Trip Advisor...that place should be condemned. I really hate people who try to take advantage of just makes me so angry. I would love to see her run off the island.

Thank you for posting this

Thank you for posting this link!! What a dump!! I commend you for going this far with this fight for others' sake! It truly appears that any good comments that are posted on tripadvisor are fake advertising measures by the owner herself...that or all the guests must be blind! GROSS!!