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42 Reviews & Complaints

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VRBO is a huge risk for renters
Posted by Sonofabeachivebeenscrewed on 12/11/2009
I recently decided to rent a cottage in a Florida beachside development for a few days between Christmas and New Years. I contacted an owner through the site VRBO.com and the owner and I agreed on a price for my stay and he assured me he would be in touch. This was before Thanksgiving. I then attempted to contact him several times after the holiday to attempt to send my deposit and pay for the unit. Each time he would say he was really busy but he would get back to me. His last response was yesterday when he notified me he had rented the unit out long term to another couple that he had been negotiating with. This is two weeks before our trip. VRBO says there is nothing they can do and will not even ban him from the site or pay the difference between our former rate and the rate we are being forced to pay now for another unit.
Basicly VRBO is siding with the landlord that acted in bad faith. When you Rent VRBO you are renting at your own risk.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-12-11:
Money talks!
Posted by Nancy on 2013-02-09:
I totally agree that renting from VRBO is a huge risk. I am currently in a small, noisy and dirty room that was advertised as a luxury 1 bedroom condo. I realize that many people have low expectations when they travel, but it's impossible to accept that every review has 5 stars and nobody complained about anything. The owner lied to me and said if I were unhappy, she would refund my money and prorate the rent. I called her and received a reply by email with a charge that was more than 50% of the monthly rent for only 4 nights. She also wanted to add a "cleaning fee" which is a joke, since there was burned food in the stove and oven. The drip pans and oven rack are covered in grease. I even had to wipe out the microwave. However, now that I've been able to clean enough to make this place bearable, if I could get some rest, this nightmare would end. I can't afford to lose an entire month's rent.
Posted by Lynne on 2013-07-16:
You were foolish to think you had a place when he hadn't taken the deposit. The deposit secures the reservation. There was no rental contract entered into and that's why VRBO doesn't care...what you had was an agreement to negotiate, that's it.
Posted by vlmelendez on 2013-07-17:
We have a property on vrbo and present ours fairly but have had renters negotiate a deal, assuring us they are sending deposit and signed contract only to delsy, delay delay until they advise us they have rented elsewhere. We learned not to take it off the market until deposit is received.
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Cabin Renters With Attitude... And Mold!
Posted by TheGoodGuys on 09/15/2008
ROBBINSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- My in-laws INVITED US on a weekend getaway with parents, aunt, little brother & wife (ministers) and our six year old niece. One room was so damaged by moisture, we had to sleep on the floor to accommodate everyone. The cabins are so full of mold (from the creek) we needed anti-histamine just to make it through the night. The owner interrupted our Sunday Morning breakfast and told us we had missed our checkout time & had to "GET OUT NOW!" We were so shaken by his rude behavior we stopped eating & left immediately. True, we didn't realize the checkout time was so early, but that's no reason to be ugly.

We then contacted Renter to recover an item left in the cabin. WOW! what a nasty email Phylis wrote! I responded to her venom filled rant with five points of reasoning. No use!

BEWARE a A Breath of Moldy Air-at the Waters Edge is no place to rent!
     
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Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2008-09-15:
VRBO.com is just a web site and clearing house for properties for rent by owner. Your beef is with an individual property and property owner - no need to condemn VRBO. I've used them several times and have always had a great stay.
Posted by madconsumer on 2008-09-15:
i would like to hear the managements point on this issue. there has to be more than being told. management just doesn't demand someone to leave unless they are squating on the room.

cabins are known to be filled ewith allergines, even mold.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2008-09-15:
I'm with madc..like to hear the other side
Posted by TheGoodGuys on 2009-01-28:
I'm sure you would get a vastly different story from them. It's seldom seen the same. I usually let things go, but this was outrageous!
I'm sure VRBO is a fine service... We only have issues with that particular renter. If you want to stay there, that's your choice. Caveat Emptor.
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VRBO Sucks
Posted by Vrbo sucks on 03/27/2009
RHINEBECK, NEW YORK -- VRBO stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner and it is just that-- a website geared to helping owners rent their properties NOT helping travelers have a nice vacation. I rented vrbo.com/182419 "Secluded 1770 House and Cottage..." and the owner stole my deposit. It is almost a year later and vrbo has done nothing to help. Don't trust the vrbo guestbooks. Although a traveler can post a comment on the guestbook of a property, the owner of the property can delete negative comments so prospective travelers only get to read the good comments. Be especially aware that if a property has 0 comments in the guestbook, it is either because it is new to vrbo and never been rented or the owner has deleted all comments because they were not favorable. In either case, do not rent from an owner with 0 comments in the guestbook. Do not rent from the owner of 182419 at 474 Field Road in Milan, NY USA. The vrbo listing says Rhinebeck but it is not in Rhinebeck.
     
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Posted by zepp on 2009-07-23:
I agree. I didn't know this and booked. Bad experience, wrote a review and owner did not approve it, nothing I can do. Plus they can reset the guestbook, so the whole thing is ridiculous.
Posted by jj3177 on 2010-09-06:
Very bad experience on both sides. VRBO might have gotten some notoriety with that silly Cameron Diaz - Drew Barrymore movie but I got to tell you - there's a free alternative especially for people who need to list their homes for rent at http://rentalspot.com. Worth checking out because it has an interesting map-search functionality with wicked photo galleries. Bottom line: you don't have to pay to list your home anymore.
Posted by Linda on 2013-07-04:
2060 Huston Ave, Whitefish MT
Owner has cats claims to have cleaned it, bad smells and cat dander,. I got very sick and was told to bad my wife is a lawyer. Old home, lots not working, no airconditing, paid $5,500 a week and had to sleep abovevthe garage. They pretended to be nice until we tried to discuss the house problems. I would not recomend this home for rental.
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VRBO #50260 - BEWARE!
Posted by PaulJ on 08/19/2010
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- In Jan 10, I entered into a rental agreement with the owner (a real estate agent) of a house in Phoenix, AZ, listed under VRBO #50260. The house was normally rented by the month, but with no Jan occupancy of the property she willingly agreed to a “last minute” rental for a one week period commencing 18 Jan 10.

On 18 Jan a major winter storm shut down our transportation hub and we were unable to get to Phoenix without incurring significant alternate transportation costs. I called the owner that morning to discuss options. She agreed to a postponement for a week to be determined later in 2010. She retained our cleaning & refurbishing and rent monies for the later week. So far, so good.

In May I called to arrange for a week in Nov 10 that was convenient for her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. She reopened negotiations on what I thought was a done deal. After many follow-up calls and e-mails, she indicated we could only rent for a minimum half month even though she had no bookings for Nov. She also said we had to pay an additional $90 for cleaning & refurb, on top of the $90 already paid. We settled on a 12 day agreement. When the contract arrived, it called for 11 days for the price of the 12, and demanded yet another $90 for cleaning & refurb (for a total cleaning bill of $270). So much for the week postponement.

I questioned the additional charges. She realized I was unwilling to enter into an inflated arrangement. She decided to return the rent payment. She said she would be retaining the $90 because it was spent on cleaning and refurbishing in advance of our planned arrival in Jan. Interestingly, the owner was the last to inhabit the house in early Jan.

Three weeks later she decided to renege on her decision to return our rent.

The owner realizes I am prepared not to let this rest. In the interim, I have offered her the opportunity to make things right, which I will report here. Further action is being considered. Until that time, do not trust her to keep her word; in fact, be very careful about entering into a rental arrangement with her unless you are prepared to forfeit some of your funds.
     
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Posted by oldisgood on 2010-08-20:
Hello, I think "small claims court" action is called for. The owner is absolutely wrong in every respect.
Posted by trp2hevn on 2010-08-20:
Was there anything in the contract about forfeiting all monies paid if you cancel within a certain amount of time from your arrival date?
Posted by Lifemates on 2010-09-02:
Nasty as the owner was at least she gave back the bulk of your money. There are some nasty people that will not let go of your money once they have their hands on it. Maybe she has some other good points.
Posted by PaulJ on 2010-09-08:
I am pleased to say that the owner has had third thoughts and chosen to do the right thing. She has returned the rent as initially promised. I appreciate the support provided by the site and the reviewers who submitted their thoughts.
Posted by Pat on 2012-01-28:
For information, VRBO 50260 has been de-listed and re-listed as VRBO 350550
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Vrbo reviews are not reflecting truth
Posted by Ril123 on 10/25/2012
KIHEI MAUI, HAWAII -- We rented this unit a year ago for a month on the first day found out it was infested with bed bugs. Needless to say we left his condo and rented another. After much discussion the owner refused to reimburse actually had the audacity to accuse us of bringing the bed bugs into his unit which the mattress was blackened from bed bug feces. We were contacted after from another woman who had dealt with the same thing in September. Then another man in April of 2012 also had rented this condo with almost the story as us and the same results. I actually contacted the latter and we both had written in our complaints to Vrbo. Neither one got posted but miraculously I see two postings now on his site and amazingly both go on about what a great guy he is and how lovely his condo is. The pictures on his site have the same delapated lamps and the mattress covers are the same ones that had the bed bugs all over them. Also somehow when you Google Vrbo and his condo number it has a 5 star rating.?? This is sad that he can get away with these comments and advertising it as a 5 star rating. Don t know how that can even be possible? .... So don't go by the reviews as they don't reflect the truth Read tripadisor...
     
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Posted by bob932304 on 2012-10-25:
Thanks. I am going to Maui and now I know which VRBO to NOT use.
Posted by Ril123 on 2012-11-05:
Commenting on my own review.. If nothing else I see he has removed the 5 star rating of his condo from google. Google tripadvisor B304 Maui these are the comments that VRBO would not post on this site.
Posted by Nancy on 2013-02-09:
I am convinced VRBO allows the owners to edit and/or delete the reviews. I am currently experiencing a nightmare after paying for the entire month of February for a condo that is not only dirty, but very noisy. It was advertised as a 1 bedroom, sleeps 4-6, but it's just one room. I always use the filter so I don't rent a studio or efficiency. This was a last minute rental and I read the reviews more carefully after I arrived. One said it was not as described, which I pointed out to the owner. I don't see that review any more.
Posted by Owner on 2013-07-30:
Owners do NOT have the ability to edit a review. I know, I am an owner. BUT, keep in mind, they can have anyone write one.
Posted by Joanne on 2013-10-18:
VRBO wouldn't post our reviews or the reviews of another individual who had rented this unit with a bed bug problem as well as the same deteriorated conditions the reviews are describing today of this unit 2 years later. We have the (pictures and reviews on tripadvisor B304 Maui ). Vrbo are finally allowing reviews that are honestly reflecting the condition of this Unit (VRBO 101865) on the site. Yeah!! He did comment and as always blames the tenants for the condition of his unit. He hasn't fixed or upgraded one thing from 2 years ago. As the owner who commented above said owners can have anyone write one. His anonymous review should not even been allowed as it was definitely written by him it says that everything had been upgraded or fixed. Well I am looking at the site right now and there is nothing new or upgraded in his pictures. The bedspread is there that was blackened with bed bug debris and lamps and sofa in the living room which had bed bugs as well in it are all there still from 2 years ago. No one that has ever stayed in this unit would ever write a review that like the ones he has about it been clean and upgraded.
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Vacation rental owners BEWARE OF HOMEAWAY's FATAL FLAW
Posted by FLAGIRL7 on 05/24/2010
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- I was a happy customer of Homeaway until I found out their fatal flaw!

As owners we charge security deposits to cover damage done by guests.

I am now fearful to deduct the cost of damages done because of their ability to then retaliate an post negative reviews about your property.

Homeaway allows these slanderous reviews to be posted and gives owners almost no consideration. Owners are coerced into waiving fees for damage done because of the fear of retaliation.

By allowing this, they cripple the owners ability to enforce their rental agreements. As an owner we pay to advertise on the site.

We are the customers.

It is very upsetting that we, the customers who pay to purchase ads, are not given more consideration and have no control over what is posted on the ad page that we are paying for.

This is a problem.

The only recourse an owner had is to cancel the ad and to lose the money they paid to run it for an entire year. Homeaway does not issue refunds for the balance of unused time if you do this.

Homeaway is a Monopoly

Unfortunately, with huge investments from Wall Street, homeaway has bought up other independent sites and become a sort of monopoly.

One bad review can do a multitude of damage the reputation of a rental.

Other sites have better policies. VRBO allows you to “Opt out” of reviews and Trip advisers allows only reviews from guests that you request to submit one. I highly recommend Homeaway review & and amend their policy. It seem to otherwise be a good company with one fatal flaw. Remember your customers. I welcome anyone to visit our property and inspect it. It is beautifully furnished and kept in immaculate condition.
     
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Posted by GlitteringFirefly on 2010-05-24:
Where is your property? I am looking for a location for a wedding reception near the beach.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-24:
Homeaway allows owners to post rebuttals to any review positive or negative or even post a review of their own property.

So I gather from this write-up you fear honest feedback. You consider it a 'fatal flaw'. What you would like to see is no feedback or only allow guests you choose to offer up feedback. Basically, you only want positive feedback to show up on your Homeaway listings or no feedback at all. Interesting.

Well, I've used Homeaway many times to locate rentals in the Fair Hope AL area. I as a user of Homeaway find great value in the reviews BECAUSE they allow honest feedback both positive and negative. It adds value to the service Homeaway provides. I pay particular attention to the home owners responses to negative feedback and also if there is a general pattern to the negative feedback.

Honestly though most feedback on Homeaway I've run across is overwhelmingly positive. A good collection of positive reviews is a good selling point to me.

I'd suggest to you that you offer up honest and rational rebuttal to posted complaints and then let the market decide.

Very well written and easy to read review. Good job!
Posted by FLAGIRL7 on 2010-05-25:

Stew, So glad you have asked these question and given me the opportunity to answer. PLEASE, DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT
Please check the BBB and other internet sites to see the many other similar complaints.

THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY

Imagine the Ad HOMEAWAY ran on the SUPERBOWL, followed by all of the complaints submitted to the BBB about them? I am not sure they would be happy about that ~ in fact, I Know they would not. Why is there not a section to post reviews about HOMEAWAY on HOMEAWAY'S website if they so strongly believe in the idea? Why don’t they have a section to warn other owner’s about bad guests? “Guests from hell?” Believe me, I wish I had been warned about these two.

Reviews from guests that are TRUE and well founded and who honor the terms of the rental agreement are one thing but, As I stated in my post, and you may have missed, only twice in five years has damage been so extensive that we retained a security deposit. Both times the guests posted exaggerated and disparaging remarks. These were the only negative reviews posted about our Three Million dollar property ever. They were unfounded ,untrue and outrageous and very damaging.

When a guest defaults on their rental agreement by damaging or destroying property they should lose any other rights associated with the rental. I find it outrageous that Homeaway should then allow them to further damage an owner by posting slanderous remarks.
I do not think an owner should be fearful to claim a damage deposit for fear of retribution.
Further, Homeaway is an advertising venue. The ads are paid for by the owner of the property advertised ~ not by the guests. If I run an ad on TV,a magazine, newspaper, and most other internet venues, etc. they do not include opinions from any person who happened to want to share one without permission of the advertiser.

That means I, THE CUSTOMER, am paying HOMEAWAY to advertise false and misleading information about my product.

SO TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION

No, I do not think reviews should be included at all in a advertisement paid for by a customer.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-05-25:
Now personally... I'm for feedback both positive and negative.

I have more faith in a sites that don't delete negative feedback.

The question of the day perhaps is "is the feedback libelous?"
If it's negative but true then no, even if it's damaging.

Now if it's an entire lie then yes it would be libel.


Now as for the concept of not having reviews at all linked to an advertisement....
I can understand that. You're paying them for a service of making you look good.
So, yes, I can understand not listing ANY feedbacks with the advert, good or bad.



I hope you can find someone better to list with.
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Caution
Posted by Coe on 07/15/2010
Just because you are going through VRBO.com DO NOT be fooled into thinking you are renting a legitimate vacation rental. I answered an ad on the resort website for a penthouse unit in Myrtle Beach which had pictures all labled with the VRBo logo. When I sent an email wanting to rent it went to VRBO who in turn forwarded the email to the "owner". The owner contacted me and set me up payment via PayPal. All good so far....

After 5 months and 30 days prior to my vacation I contacted the "owner" to take the final payment on my room. Humm...no response after several attempts. I was disgusted to find that it was all a scam. Amazing what Google can do for someone looking for information. I found the "owner" under two assumed names and started contacting her friends on Facebook. I also sent her an e-mail to the last known email address informing her the police would be involved.

The police found her and I have learned that I am one of five people this woman has scammed. One got there money back because of their credit card fraud protection. The rest of us lose out because PayPal will do NOTHING if the transaction is 60 days old. This woman has since been posting rentals in the Florida area.

My message - Confirm who the owner actually is because VRBO does not. Do not use Pay Pal unless your stay is within 60 days. Use a credit card with fraud protection only! Be careful, there are a lot of slimy unethical people out there ready to take the money you worked for and the vacation you deserve.
     
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Posted by fast327 on 2010-07-15:
Your last sentence just about sums it up!
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VRBO Coronado Listing #70356 - Won't Return Security Deposit
Posted by Jrm_cle on 05/22/2010
Do not rent from this owner! The condo itself was nice and as-advertised. However, she did not return my security deposit ($600). She said that she was having financial problems and kept promising to send the money in a couple of weeks. When I finally complained to VRBO, she said that she wouldn't refund my deposit because I damaged her printer?!?! VRBO has basically been useless in helping to resolve this matter.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-22:
Thanks for the info! I travel with my wife and kids every summer to various destinations in California. We've been thinking about swithching things up and using a similar service, as opposed to the more traditional hotel/motel type of trip. I often wondered what could prevent the home owner from making accusations and keeping the deposits, especially with some far exceeding the $600 you shelled out. Apparently, nothing. At least not the VRBO company. Sad. I hope the best for you in getting your money back. Great review!!!
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2010-05-22:
Justice - for what it's worth, I have used VRBO several times for properties near Disney World, Washington DC and Williamsburg. Every time I have rented, I have received exactly what was advertised and had absolutely no problems. But I always pay with a credit card, so I have another level of protection if the owner or VRBO were to fail to deliver.

A house or a condo is a nice alternative to a hotel room, especially when traveling with kids.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-22:
Thanks Hugh! I may still give it a chance and let my own experience speak for itself. Thanks!
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Ad's Are Not Correct!!!!
Posted by Keelie20121954 on 03/18/2014
Sick of trying to rent from VRBO ! Their ad's are NOT correct. The price on the ad will say $850.00 but when you contact owner or manager the amount has jumped hundred's of dollars. Also a $100.00 pet deposit for a 6 lb Yorkie, my GOD what's she going to do eat the sofa? SICK of VRBO and the idiots that have rental property they are trying to bilk people with.
     
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Posted by Jack in a box on 2014-03-18:
I hate ads like that. There is a mandatory cleaning fee of whatever amount, that should be in the price. Some places (seems outside the US) will charge you for the utilities you use.

Pets have 'accidents' and that takes special cleaning, especially in carpeting. Also, even little dogs like to chew on things, like bedspreads, cushions, etc. The $100 is a 'deposit' so you should get that back if there has been no damage or extra cleaning.
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StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
VRBO: Beware
Posted by Cmt_702 on 02/27/2014
Had a negative experience with the owner of a rental property #499787, associated with Victory Luxury Rentals in Miami, through VRBO.

Apparently, negative reviews are not accepted, so you have no idea what you are getting into and there's no recourse when things go bad. I would not recommend booking through this site.
     
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