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Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

Chicago, Illinois
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Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

I write this after being engaged in a several month battle with this rental company based out of Indianapolis, IN. I follow these forums closely when I travel, but this is my first post and felt it necessary to share my experience with other travelers. I rented a house in Anini with a group of physicians for a yearly event we have. I initially rented and paid a deposit in Oct 2011. Then in Jan 2012, I called to ask a few questions about the property and I was told that it wasn't available to rent at all. Strange. Anyhow, after a frustrating few days of choosing different rentals, then finding they were booked, we considered a house in Princeville. During this time, a few red flags were raised, the company seemed disorganized in general. Though we had given a verbal agreement over the phone for the Princeville house, a contract was never signed. We ended up finding a house that suited our needs much better from a local owner. We then asked Beachfront to refund us our deposit, but they refused to return the deposit until the Princeville house was rented. They told us that the owner took the deposit and would not give it back. Having not signed a contract, this did not seem fair. It turns out that they lied to us about the house not being rented for several months, when it actually was indeed rented. During this time, multiple emails and phone calls went unreturned. We were able to track down the owner of the Princeville house, who told us that she did not take any deposit from Beachfront. In the end, I was able to file a claim with my credit card company and all of the deposit was returned to me. However, this was an exhausting and frustrating process that I hope future renters will not have to endure. I have serious concerns about this company and would encourage others to find other ways to rent on Kauai.

Kauai, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Kapaa
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24,320 posts
58 reviews
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1. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

I've never even heard of this company. Why on earth would you rent through a mainland company? Why didn't you consult us first?

At least you had the advantage of having paid with a credit card.

Richmond, Canada
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866 posts
12 reviews
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2. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

Yikes, how frustrating for you and good for you for pursuing this and finally getting your money back.

Trabuco Canyon...
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933 posts
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3. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

Their website shows them as members of the BBB I would file a complaint with the BBB as well

Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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4. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!


Actually, there have been some threads about this operation. Here are two:


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1,281 posts
9 reviews
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5. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

Why would you have ever sent money (paid a deposit) without a rental contract/agreement?

Not implying this is at all your fault, and sorry this happened but I would never send money without a clear contract.

New York City, New...
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607 posts
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6. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

Shame on the lack of ethics and sad tactics of Beachfront Travel.... Thanks for exposing them via this Trip Advisor Forum to countless other Kauai travelers that could have fallen victum to their corrupt practices....

Moorpark, California
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Catalina Island
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14,875 posts
57 reviews
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7. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

Here's there listing on the BBB site. We've heard complaints about this company in the past.


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8. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

I also suggest you contact the BBB. Good for you for tracking down the owner of the house direct.

So let me get this straight...

1. you paid a deposit for a house in Anini

2. you were then told a few months later this house now wasn't available. (this is probably because it was sold, the owners decided not to rent it anymore or the long term renters stayed longer than they thought they could etc)

3. You then verbally accepted another house through the same agency

4. You had that deposit forwarded to that house?

5. You found something you liked better while this agency held the Princeville house reservation for you.

Depending on how close this was to your arrival date, I can understand why they wouldn't release your deposit right away, but it still stinks, I know.

To me it sounds like this "agency" is shady, not forthcoming and they don't know what they are doing. Also shame on the owner of the Princeville house for allowing them to do any business with them. It sounds like they are a 3rd of 4th party (they call another local rental agency to book the house) and this is never good.

Lessons learned and glad you got it resolved. At least it was only a deposit and not the entire amount.

Kauai, Hawaii
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8,506 posts
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9. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

You know...we have been renting accomodations on Kauai, and other islands for lots of years and go on good research, reviews, and most of all recomendations, and NEVER , EVER HAD A PROBLEM.

When reading experiences like the OP has been thru with a company that is generally unknown, and those wronged and who did not listen to any referal ideas from those who have posted positive experiences on T/A/......, I really do not understand.

Wtih all the positive , happy and pleased posts on acommodations, for future travelers, you all might consider the many posts on positive experiences.

Also, there are plenty of helpful ideas on trustworthy property managers that are constantly being posted.


Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Beachfront Travel (Travel by Design)-- BEWARE!

I appreciate the responses to my original post. To pzp, everything is 20/20 in retrospect now. I found the Anini house on VRBO through Beachfront and did initially try to find it by owner on another site, but was unable to. I had several conversations with the company prior to sending in my deposit. It seemed like they rented a bunch of properties on the island, were a member of the BBB, and were fairly put together. I was wrong about this.

I wish I had seen the threads on this forum which eluded to some issues with the group. I do plan on filing with the BBB as well. I unfortunately booked this house not doing the full amount of research I should have, due to some timing constraints on my part.

To honeymooner09, I paid the deposit for the Anini house at the same time I signed the contract for that house. The house then was not available, and after I gave the verbal agreement for the Princeville house, Beachfront transferred my deposit (which was a larger deposit than the new house) to the Princeville house.

To jebett, you've got the story straight, I know my first post was a bit longwinded! It was Feb 2012 when we agreed to the Princeville house. This was about the same time we found the other house we liked better that we could rent directly from the owner. Our trip was planned in Aug 2012. We told them as soon as we found the other house that we did not want to rent the Princeville one. They told us that it was not rented, and if it did not rent, then we would not get back our entire deposit. If the house did rent, then our contract stated that we would get back all but $350 cancellation fee, which was described in our contract.

We were surprised that the house did not rent quickly, because they pushed us into it and told us everything was booking very early. This raised some concerns with our group in June when we were told the house had still not rented, and many phone calls/emails went unanswered (we were told due to family emergencies). So we went online to various websites such as homeaway and FlipKey and found the Princeville house on 3 websites showing as rented.

When we confronted Beachfront, they told us, yes, actually the house had been rented, but not by their group, therefore, they were loosing money and felt it was okay to keep our deposit. This was not in our contract. They then offered to give us back all of our deposit, except for $700, as they wanted us to pay both $350 cancellation fees for the houses. Which did not make sense, because the Anini house was not available to rent in the first place and we did not sign a contract for the Princeville house. At this point, we decided it best to cut off any communication with Beachfront and take it to the credit card company. We did eventually track down the owner of the Princeville house to make them aware of the situation.

Throughout this ordeal, we found Beachfront to be disorganized at best, shady and dishonest at worst. This was not a great way to start what was otherwise a peaceful and relaxing vacation, and I hope I can help others from making the same mistakes I did.