Lights, Camera, Action – My Outer Banks Nightmare

I am on vacation with Joe and several friends in the Outer Banks – and I need to share our horrible experience so far.   Really, I am not one to complain about things – I don’t like conflict – but this house rental in the Outer Banks through Carolina Designs is unacceptable.   

Lights, Camera, Action – house rental number 646 from Carolina Designs is the biggest dissppointment I have ever had on a vacation – seriously.  

We are renting this house from September 6 -13 – the total cost of the rental came to over $4500.  The description of the house is a complete lie.  The rental description boasts about a volleyball court, horseshoe pit and outside gas grill.  This is what we arrived to at Lights, Camera, Action in the Outer Banks.  Here you go, Lights, Camera, Action!

The lovely volleyball court - full of burrs and broken shells
The lovely volleyball court – full of burrs and broken shells

The “volleyball court” at Lights, Camera, Action was full of weeds, burrs and broken shells.  The net is barely hanging on.  We actually weeded the court, and it still looks like this.   Next to the volleyball court is the horseshoe pit…exactly that, a pit.  There may be no horseshoes, but you get a bunch of complimentary cigarette butts and empty beer cans.

Anyone want to play?
Anyone want to play?

The pool at Lights, Camera, Action which was suppose to be cleaned on the Sunday in which we arrived was full of dirt and funk:

it is Tuesday, and I am still looking at the same dirt in the pool.
Hum, it is Tuesday, and I am still looking at the same dirt in the pool.

So yes, Carolina Designs could “fix” the issues and I wouldn’t be doing this – but it is Tuesday, day three of our trip, and I am overlooking the same dirty ass pool and run down volleyball court.

How about a dip in the crystal clear pool!
How about a dip in the crystal clear pool?

Ok, so we can’t play volleyball, how about a nice steak on the grill?  Would you cook on this thing?  Ha, well don’t worry – you can’t!  It doesn’t even work.

Would you cook on this thing?
Would you cook on this thing?
Is that a chicken bone?
Is that a chicken bone?

So, the grill at Lights, Camera, Action doesn’t work – what are we gonna have for dinner?  How about something out of the fridge?  There was enough food and gunk left on the counters, in the cupboards and in the fridge to keep the bugs happy for weeks.  We all spent hours cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom when we arrived.  Just what you like to do on your vacation, clean someone else’s dirty house.

Now, in Carolina Design’s defense, when they called me back the next day they did say they would have come out to “fix’ the issues if we would have called earlier than we did.  Mind you, check in time was 4:00PM, they close the office at 5:00PM.  So, I would have had to pick up my keys at 4:00PM, drive 30 minutes, get into the house and stage my complaint within that hour.  They say, we  shouldn’t have cleaned, but rather left the house as it was until the next day.  I doubt anyone would have left the house as it was.  It was gross and unsanitary.

To give you an idea of the dust and grim…take a look at what the vents look like:

Clean huh?  Disgusting.
Clean huh? Disgusting.

The reason I am so upset is because we rented this house specifically because of all the amenities – because of the outside grill area – because of the volleyball court – because of the horseshoe pit – because of the 2 whirlpool tubs (there was only one) – because of the video library (10 bad movies) – because of the games and puzzles (1 game with missing pieces and some scattered lincoln logs) – because of all the so called “amenities”.  All falsly advertised. 

And you know what I asked for as compensation?  All I wanted was the owner of the house, or Carolina Designs, to cover the $400 pool heating fee.  That is all.  This is the response I received from Carolina Designs:


I sent your initial email to the owner this morning in an effort to expedite a resolution as I await your official request. I asked for his thoughts regarding complimentary pool heat and he has declined to offer approval.

We can certainly contact the pool vendor and have the heat turned on for you; however, by our policy, the full fee of $400 plus tax will be required before it can be activated.  The reason for this follows: the fee is a fuel fee, and the majority of fuel is used in actually getting the pool up to the maximum temperature of 85 degrees. So, even if you add the heat option several days into your visit the same fee applies.”

Seriously…you won’t cover the cost of the heating of the dirty pool?  Nice!  We cleaned your house, 6 of us, for probably about 2 hours each – 6 times 2 equals 12 hours of work.  12 hours!  My time is valuable, even more so when I am on vacation.   

Just take responsibility and do something about it - that’s all.  The maintenance man was here yesterday to fix some minor things – broken chairs, missing toilet paper holders, broken door handles – but claimed “to be the wrong person to complain to”.  Of course. 

Again, in Carolina Design’s defense, my rental agent explained to me that I personally signed item #15 in my lease that clearly states that no refunds will be offered, no matter what circumstance.  Obviously, not likely written in those same terms – but in some round about way.    The only way to get any sort of refund is if the house is “deemed legally uninhabitable.”  Well, I would hope so. 

My rental agent from Carolina Designs then proceeded to explain to me that the reason that the house was in such a shambles was because it was late in the season and because it was so popular.  “Things like this happen”, she explained.  That was their excuse.  Honestly, I don’t care.  I still paid full price.  Not to mention, I didn’t even complain when I received a bill for an additional $40.70, well after the final payment was due and had been paid,  because they miscalculated or didn’t account for a tax increase.   

So thank you Carolina Designs;  thank you owners of Lights, Camera, Action house rental #646 in Corolla, North Carolina; thank you for making my vacation to the Outer Banks vacation so “special”. 

 UPDATE – it is 11:44AM on Tuesday – we finally got a new volleyball net.  The sand has still not been raked and nothing else fixed. 

12:18 – The landscaper is working on the weeds in the volleyball court – thank god.  Oh, but mentioned we should watch out for the Black Widows nest.  Wow, it keeps getting better.

 12:49 – Wow, the volleyball court is back to normal.  Weeds removed, new net, raked out – looks great.  On to the grill now.

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14 Responses to “Lights, Camera, Action – My Outer Banks Nightmare”

  1. cherry Says:

    oh my – i’m sorry you’re having such a miserable time! :( i would send a letter to the Better Business Bureau…it might make you feel a teeny bit better (i hope).

  2. Anonymous Says:

    my family is going at the end of july in 2010 in additon to about 6 other familys do u think it will all be better by then?

  3. Megan Says:

    I would call them in advance and let them know that you saw a post online about the state of the house – and that you want to make sure that the house is EXTRA clean – this means fridges, counters, cupboards etc. You also want to make sure that all amenities are available and ready for use. This includes volleyball court, horseshoe pit, pool, grill etc.

    I think all of the issues we had were due to the fact that they go so long between “serious” cleanings. We went at the very end of high season. Good Luck!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    We were going to rent this house for next summer, but we were written a letter stating the owner “pulled” the house from listing w/ Carolina Designs. I am sure it is because Carolina Designs were suppose to maintain the property and they obviously were not.

  5. Megan Says:

    wow, that is interesting. Yes, it seemed the issue was certainly with Carolina Designs not maintaining the property. I have rented several homes throughout the years, and never had one so dirty. I wish you luck with your search for a new house to rent.

  6. Karol Says:

    Rented the same house in Sept. ’07,it was new on the market to be rented. The house was honestly everything we could have wanted. Neat , clean , well maintained, and a perfect house for a large family. Was looking foward to possibby renting it again-I am surprised and saddened to read the comments.. Guess I’ll have to look further for another “perfect” summer rental.

  7. Megan Says:

    Hi Karol…
    I was told that this house is not even available through Carolina Designs anymore. You may want to call and check. Perhaps it is available through another rental agency – which may mean that it is being properly maintained again.

    Good Luck with your hunt.

  8. B H Says:

    i was to rent this house this year (april2010) and i received a letter saying that Carolina
    designs no longer had this house does any one know who rents it out now . also rented another house the shell game the first year (2008 ) it was great the next year not
    so good it wasn’t very clean the heater in the pool didn’t work just wasn’t good at all
    i believe it the company CAROLINA DESIGNS

  9. Ross Says:

    It’s under new management and new home ownership. Check out G127 at to see the new pictures.

  10. Evan Says:

    BH, you are correct the house is no longer with Carolina Designs and I believe a lot of the issues you’ve talked about have been taken care of as most stem from the rental company.

    Twiddy & Company now has the house and they are a top notch organization so I doubt many problems would be repeated.

    here is the house on their website

  11. Evan Says:

    after a quick call to Twiddy & Company I can also tell you that the issues you had with this house were when it was in foreclosure. That’s no excuse though, the rental company should have taken care of it.

  12. Megan Says:

    Glad to hear the house is listed with a new rental agency. It is a nice house, with lots of amenities. If anyone rents this house via Twiddy and Company…please do come back and post to let us know how it is. We would be very interested to find out. Thank you for all your comments.

  13. Susan Says:

    We are renting Lights, Camera, Action the week August 15, and we will let you how it goes.

  14. Mike Says:

    looking to rent this house in 2013, has anyone had any issues/experiences since? thanks

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