PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A married couple who are pediatric nurses in Portland is receiving a refund for a $3,400 lodging expense after their plan to work as crisis relief workers amid COVID-19 in New York City was canceled and the hotel company they intended to stay with originally refused a refund.
The couple had booked a stay with hotel company Sonder via Airbnb as they planned to work at Cornell Medical Center in New York for 13 weeks after being awarded a travel nurse contract to help with the city’s COVID-19 response. However, the work contract was canceled due to the hospital not being as overwhelmed with patients as originally estimated.
Jake and Courtney Cotner had asked to cancel their lodging reservation 12 days before their first night’s stay on April 18. Their first month’s payment for the housing could not be refunded, Airbnb and Sonder told them, as it did not fall within either company’s cancellation policies. The couple had budgeted for the housing based on a housing stipend stated in the work contract.
Oregon nurses left with bill after NY COVID crisis work canceled
After KOIN 6 News published a story about the couple’s inability to get a refund, Sonder has now given the couple their money back for the full $3,381.60 as a “one-time courtesy.”
“I’m thankful that Sonder decided to do the right thing, but I’m frustrated that it took so much pressure,” said Courtney Cotner via email. She added that she is thankful for all the people sharing the story and for the work contract company, AMN Healthcare.
Jake Cotner said the Vice President of AMN Healthcare called him and said they’d be willing to cover the entire bill and Airbnb also offered a credit for the full amount to be used toward future Airbnb reservations.
“In the end, we accepted the refund offer from Sonder, and are happy to just move forward,” Cotner said.
AMN Healtcare told the couple they would like to compensate them for the “inconvenience,” the exact details of which are still being worked out.
Cotner added he understands it’s a “difficult time” for the entire travel and accommodations industry. He said he is sorry that companies like Sonder and others “are suffering.”
“I am grateful to them for the decision they have made in our case, and I do feel sorry to the many other people who have yet to receive refunds for their derailed travel plans from Sonder, Airbnb, or any of many other companies. This was a difficult situation, and I am very glad that it is over.”
In addition, the couple said they received a $100 donation from someone over Facebook in “an incredible show of generosity and good will.” The Cotners are planning to give that money, with a matched $100 donation, to a local food pantry.
Sonder emailed KOIN 6 News and confirmed that they issued a refund to the couple on Monday.