ST AUGUSTINE, MICHIGAN -- We had a horrible experience staying in unit B33 at Ocean Village Club this past winter. When I posted a review on VRBO to try and ward off other potential renters, the owner responded with untruthful comments and tried to turn it around to make me look like I was a difficult renter (all lies)!! I tried to post a rebuttal to his comments, but VRBO would not post it because they said it would be considered a duplicate review!! So essentially, if you are unhappy and post a review and the owner responds, anyone reading the review will see owner comments and figure that is the last word!!!
And also, VRBO should be aware what bad condition this unit is in. Needs major updating and maintenance. The owner won't spend $$ on buying a new microwave (all rusted out) or replacing the moldy shower curtains. Terrible mold odor throughout. Holes in the bathroom baseboard, chipped floor tile throughout, no window screens, very uncomfortable furniture.
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- We rented a place for 2 weeks in Mexico through VRBO. We planned ahead by booking in March and even took out their vacation insurance. Upon arrival, we noticed a very strong odor, almost like very bad body odor. At first, we thought it was the property manager who let us in. After spending some time in the house, we noticed black mold on the electric outlets, in corners and crevices, on ceiling fans. We tried to stay in the house, but were overcome by the stench and our inability to breathe.
We promptly called the owner and let her know our concerns. She was rude and basically said we were screwed. Being that we were in Mexico, our only way to communicate with VRBO was through email. It took a long time to get anything meaningful back from the company. In fact, we didn't really get sufficient information from the company until we got back to the U.S.
Long and short of it, they did not honor their travel insurance because we did not return the keys to the owner within a 2 hour time window. We held the keys as collateral until we heard from VRBO and eventually folded when we didn't get a meaningful directive from them. I will NEVER use this company again as they do not fully vet their properties or their owners. You are better off working with a hotel. (By the way, the credit card company Fifth Third Bank was super unhelpful as well. They didn't even wait to hear my side of the story before commencing the investigation.)
For a homeowner - Every year they charge more and offer less. Now, you are forced to use their online payment system or have a terrible ranking. We use a management company and can't use their payment system, which means a much lower ranking. My experiences with their customer service have been brutal as well.
For a customer - If you use the online payment through VRBO and have a problem, vrbo customer service is horrific. You have very little recourse and will just be frustrated and probably lose $. All our reservations run through a great management company with fantastic customer service. In 8 years, there have been no customer service problems. Booking our place through them is a much safer and overall much better experience.
If you have a problem after arrival (water leak, heater failure, phone doesn't work, internet doesn't work, etc.), who will you call? VRBO? Good luck getting them to help. The owner? Maybe helpful but also could live far far away and make things much harder and time consuming to get fixed, or not get fixed. If there were a problem in our place, you have 24 hr access to help and very fast turnaround.
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Back in November of 2015, I booked a 4-bedroom home in downtown Rapid City, SD, well in advance of a family summer vacation in July of 2017. I did this early because I wanted a nice, clean home that suited my family's needs. 5 MONTHS later, the owner broke the lease and the only other home in that area that I would have considered renting was booked solid for my dates. I ended up reserving another home through Flipkey, 3 bedrooms, 15 miles from where I wanted to be. As a result, the smaller home forced some of my family members to stay home, after purchasing non-refundable plane tickets.
I am quite devastated over this and very angry about the fact that a Homeaway owner can, at will, pull the plug on a client who has dealt with her in good faith. Apparently, Homeaway/VRBO does not impress upon their owners the importance of commitment and responsibility. I probably won't be booking with Homeaway/VRBO again since I guess their owners can get away with this kind of behavior. I'm just wondering now how many people out there have had the same unfortunate experience? Surely I can't be the only one…
FLORIDA -- Since you deleted my friend's review from your Facebook page the next best place to go for a FAIR review would be your own page. I had a friend get married and book her condo with this service. She paid for a condo with the beach front access; however, upon arrival she realized that there was construction that did not allow said beach front access resulting in not ever stepping foot on the property she rented!!
After trying to get a hold of the property manager without success, go figure, she tried once returning home to give them one last chance to rectify the situation and they blew her off, yet again. So, she left a review on their Facebook page which they promptly deleted and then emailed her saying she was no longer eligible to post a review on the page because she was 'blackmailing' and 'attempting to extort' the property managers for money!!
Not telling a renter that they won't get what they paid for and then ignoring them when they are trying to get to the bottom of the situation IS EXTORTION!! She NEVER asked for money, only to speak with someone that could fairly address the situation. Be careful when renting from this company because they do NOT provide what they promised, nor do they want the public to know about it, hence deleting her comment from Facebook. OH DID I MENTION THAT SHE RENTED THE PROPERTY FOR HER WEDDING!!?
I have been a homeowner member of VRBO/Homeaway for almost 2 years with a property in Wildwood and wasting time writing this. The changes that are being made to paying customers are unbelievable. My plan is to not renew my membership as I have other ways to list without being given grief and aggravation. This was once a great site but no more.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- Watch out for post #741411 Orlando for the Wyndham Bonnet Creek. There's an owner, SCOTT **, that takes your money and does not provide a reservation. His voice mail box is full, doesn't respond to emails. He screwed up my family vacation 7 days before I am to arrive on March 26. No reservation, had to scramble to find accommodations a week before spring break in Orlando and double the cost. Never again will I book through VRBO, they don't seem to have any idea or control over these owners.
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- The site is OK for renters, but they aren't the customers of Home Away/VRBO because renters deal primarily with property owners. The property owners are the customers of HA/VRBO & they seem to agree that they are HORRIBLE!! Because they are the largest, they seem to think that they have a monopoly, so they can care less about their customers/property owners.
I have been with using Home Away & VRBO for over 7 years. I have 3 properties listed with each, i.e. 6 listing at the highest levels offered. Last year I paid them over $7,000, but I won't b renewing my subscriptions because I am getting no bookings. That's because my listing priority is so low. For example, on Home Away using all applicable filters, my 2 BR cabins are # 54 & 55 out of 150. Without filters, & on VRBO it's even lower. The problem is that they keep changing priority criteria so they can get more $ & some recent priority requirements are things I don't control.
When I 1st started years ago, the only priority was length of time someone has been with them. Then they added priority based on the # of listings we had. Then they added subscription levels & then more subscription levels. Then it was whether or not we paid more $ for a "featured listing." Even though the cost kept increasing, I could understand that, i.e. priority based on longevity, # of listings, & amount paid. However, they then added priority based on reviews. I have no control over whether or not someone writes a review, what they consider a "good" review, or when someone is using a review as coercion.
I've had guests write a good review but give a 3-star rating. I asked them about it & they said they thought 3 stars was a "good" rating. I've also had people stay in a cabin for a week or so with no complaints, but a month later contact me & complain, making it clear that they were going to write a bad review unless I did something to compensate for their "bad experience," i.e. unless I gave them a refund, they would write a bad review.
Last year, Home Away said priority was based on whether or not we OFFERED online booking, so I added online booking. The problem is that if a guest uses online booking, funds go directly into my account, but I don't know who the funds are from nor which cabin it's for (as I said, I have 3 cabins listed on Home Away & VRBO). Therefore, I don't use online booking.
This year, Home Away has changed again & has made priority based on whether on not we USE online booking. As I said, last year I paid Home Away/VRBO over $7,000, but I'm not getting any bookings. All my bookings are coming from Vacation Home Rentals (not Vacation Rentals) or Flip Key & paying less than 1/2 what I paid Home Away/VRBO. Both of those are on Trip Advisor. In other words, I paid over $7,000 to Home Away/VRBO & I have gotten nothing for it, so that money was just wasted.
CHESTERTOWN, NEW JERSEY -- Because I mentioned the amount of the security deposit, VRBO won't publish my review, and they refuse to respond to the help request I sent asking them to revise it. My emails go unanswered. Here is my review: We and three other couples rented this house for a long weekend. The PROS: The house is very nice and the kitchen was furnished for cooking. It's got nice rooms, a nice property & I like that we didn't all have to share one bathroom.
The CONS: I was disappointed that after we agreed on a price the owner informed us that the hot tub was broken but didn't offer to give us a discount. I felt that would have been fair, but let it go. After dinner the first night the sink garbage disposal got clogged. When we started to gather in the living room to play games we couldn't get the living room lights on, and found one of the leather sling chair's stitching was loose so that we couldn't use it.
It was late for calling the caretaker, so I called the next morning. I told her about the 3 items & informed the man who came to fix the disposal & the lights that the wood under the sink was rotten & moldy from the disposal having a long term leak. He took care of the lights (circuit breaker issue), took the chair with him & fixed the clog in the disposal. So far so good.
A month later & I still hadn't received my $300 security deposit. I call the owner & he informs me that the chair is being looked at by the insurance adjuster & that he's holding my deposit. I told him that we didn't break the chair -- that the stitching was loose & I was merely letting them know as a courtesy, same as I'd like renters to let me know of anything that needs attention in my own rental. He then proceeds to challenge me: the chair was fine the day before when it was dusted. He hadn't seen it broken the last time he was there, etc.
When I explained that we never even had the opportunity to use the chair, he got a bit heated & insisted that all was well prior to our arrival. (Luckily he didn't accuse us of causing the rotten, mildewed floor under the sink, too, since no one had apparently ever noticed that, either!) He eventually agreed to send my deposit back, but not after basically calling me a liar & getting quite nasty.
We've rented houses for years both in the US & in Europe. I've generally been pleased & often we end up returning to places year after year. One couple we were with was going to rent this home until I told them about the homeowner's behavior, when they decided to steer clear. The whole incident left a very bad taste in my mouth & ruined what otherwise would have been a very nice weekend.