By Outer Banks Voice on June 26, 2020
Several weeks after renters filed a June 9 lawsuit against Surf or Sound Realty claiming they were entitled to reimbursements for reservations when the Outer Banks was closed to visitors because of COVID-19, the company has agreed to pay refunds on those reservations.
“During this unprecedented time, it’s been challenging to create fair compromises for all involved,” the June 26 Surf or Sound statement read. “And, our intent has always been to find an acceptable resolution for each and every individual.
Yesterday we began the refund process for guests affected by the Dare County road closure who did not transfer their reservations to later this year or to 2021. We have been in contact with these guests and are working to provide refunds as quickly as possible. In fact, they should be receiving their refunds within a week of us receiving their signed agreements.
We understand this has been a frustrating situation for all and we apologize for our part in it. As we have since 1978, we remain committed to serving our guests, our community, and our homeowners with integrity for years to come.”
Surf or Sound’s prior refusal to pay refunds for vacations scheduled during the closure of Dare County from March 17 to May 16 had created a considerable backlash.
Surf or Sound tenants started a private Facebook group that numbered at least 500 individuals and both the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) have said they were investigating complaints against the company. The NCREC had issued the opinion that renters were entitled to refunds if their vacation destination was closed to visitors at the time.
In an earlier interview with the Voice, Surf or Sound attorney Lloyd Smith said the company’s position was that since Dare County officials made the decision to close the county to visitors, the tenants’ grievances were against the government, and not the landlord.