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Tourists fighting to get money back after booking vacation rental

Posted: 2:04 PM, Feb 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-01 21:57:01-05
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DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Tourists visiting Delray Beach turned to WPTV after losing thousands of dollars.

Two different people say they paid for a vacation rental in Delray Beach, but when they showed up for their reservation, they say the place was already booked. Now they are fighting to get their money back.

Both say they found their rental on FloridaRentals.com and booked a one bedroom cottage.

"I was all excited and looking forward to it," said Denise Jeffery.

Jeffery thought she booked 17 days at a Delray Beach vacation rental for the end of January. She said she talked on the phone and showed text messages she had with a woman named Linsey Kurtis-Goodchild, confirming her reservation.

In July of 2018, she says she sent a cashiers check to Kurtis-Goodchild for $1,825 and $300 through the cash app Zelle to hold the place. When Jeffery showed up for her Jan. 24 reservation, she said the place was already taken.

"I had a 17-day vacation and I have been stranded in different hotels," Jeffery said.

"I found it in March of 2018," said James Lapointe.

Lapointe and his wife, Mary Anne, thought they booked the same place for February and March. They said they spoke with the same woman through phone calls and text messages. They sent Kurtis-Goodchild a $1000 check in March and another $1000 check in August. In November, Lapointe said he received a text saying the owner messed up their reservation.

"We were just out of luck," said James Lapointe.

"She said, 'Well I am sorry, they can’t stay here, that’s life,' and my sister said you won’t give them back their money and she said 'no.'" said Mary Anna Lapointe.

Jeffery and Lapointe say they are frustrated because they can’t get their money back.

"She cut off all communication," said James Lapointe.

"They locked the door and you can’t even get to them, its a bunch of lies," said Jeffery.

The house on Palm Drive belongs to a company called Palm Drive Cottages Vacation Rentals. The company is registered to a Christopher Moale on Sunbiz.org.

Jeffery filed a report with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office and that report says Moale is Kurtis-Goodchild’s boyfriend.

"He has called us, promised us our money back in December of 2018," said Lapointe.

Lapointe said Moale promised them money several times, even signing a letter promising money by Feb. 1.

Both agree they might never get their money back, but they want to warn others.

"As far we are concerned, this was nothing but a scam," said Lapointe.

WPTV did speak with Kurtis-Goodchild. She did not want to go on camera, but she said her ex-husband took all of her money and she is working to pay everyone back. Christopher Moale could not be reached.

FloridaRentals.com also did not return a request for comment.

Jeffery and Lapointe plan to file a civil lawsuit.

To help avoid losing money when booking a vacation rental, click here.