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Franklin man offers home after Calif. family says motel resold their room for eclipse

A California family has filed a price gouging complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and Federal Trade Commission after a Franklin motel canceled its reservations to view the solar eclipse later this month. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

A California family has filed a price gouging complaint with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and Federal Trade Commission after a Franklin motel canceled its reservations to view the solar eclipse later this month.

Rick Wilkinson made reservations at the Microtel motel more than a year ago. But he said he just got a notice the reservation was canceled.

The motel cited ongoing construction and the possibility the room wouldn't be available and wanted to give him about three weeks’ notice to make other plans.

Wilkinson believes it has more to do with Microtel and its corporate owner, Wyndham, wanting to maximize profit during the eclipse. Local Microtel management denied the allegation.

Wilkinson took his complaint to the Franklin Chamber of Commerce.

“We have had some phone calls and had some rooms that we're canceled. And we have been able to find alternate locations for some of these people,” Chamber President Frank Montgomery said.

Friday, Microtel said it worked things out with contractors and made Wilkinson’s room available to him again.

But Wilkinson said he doesn’t trust the motel and is taking up the offer of a local businessman to stay at his home.

"I feel like I'm representing Franklin, North Carolina, we're a small town in a great way, by helping out and lending a hand,” said Mike Wood, who runs Wayah Insurance offices in Franklin and Highlands.

“And he's really come through because in a small town you can do that,” Wilkinson said. “That part of this couldn’t have turned out any better.”

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