I have used VRBO a few times now, and about to again but my intuition is telling me not to. I shouldn't ignore the facts. My first VRBO rental was disgusting. The owner posted pictures of a home that had clearly been taken years earlier when the house actually was livable. Everything in the home was broken and it looked like a foreclosure property. The pool didn't work, the grass was overgrown, every cabinet and door knob was missing, there were holes in the walls and stains in the carpet. They took aerial photos of the properties which were just wide enough to NOT show the plethora of garbage and broken down fences which surrounded the property.
My second rental in Tucson was better - the owner was very attentive, yet it was clear that the home had not been cleaned sufficiently before we arrived. It was a nice home but had only received a light "wipe down" and a quick vacuum before we arrived. There's something about someone else's sticky glass stains that gross me out... The last rental was a similar process I have been noticing on VRBO. Many people will post very beautiful properties with attractive rates, show availability, yet when you email them, they are NEVER available and direct you to their private websites for their other properties, cutting VRBO and your protection out of the equation.
These are horrible, unethical tactics, but clearly there is no supervision or consumer protection to prevent this from happening. Finally - here's what has happened to me FOUR times now... an owner agrees to the dates and rates via email and I wait patiently for the contract, which never comes, because they use my confirmation as a way to negotiate the rate up to another renter who is willing to pay more, never giving me a chance to rebid because VRBO prohibits bidding wars. So people do it in private and never tell you, thus screwing the renter yet again.
What's sad is that most renters leave the properties in better condition than when they arrived and are held hostage by not knowing a particular location or if the crime in the area is rampant - you can do all the internet searching you want but unless you've physically been to a specific location, you are at the mercy of the property owner, who I have found, is typically a huge liar.
A friend and I booked this property via vrbo.com for two nights (including New Year's Eve) and immediately wired payment, including a $25 cleaning fee. Joe **, the owner, assured us that the condo would be ready for our 2 pm arrival. I arrived early (approximately 11 am), and the condo was an absolute horror show; it had not been cleaned from the previous guests.
The sink was piled high with dirty dishes, trash was everywhere (including beer bottles both in and around the property), dirty towels were on the floor, and the entire condo reeked of smoke. The shower was filled with sand -- so much sand, in fact, that the water could not drain properly. All three beds had been slept in and were unmade. To top it all off, there were broken eggs littering the entrance.
I immediately contacted Joe via email; I gave him the benefit of the doubt since I was three hours early. To his credit, he wrote back immediately. He told me that I needed to find the cleaning lady and get her working on it. Of course, I did not know the cleaning lady and it wasn't until 2:30 pm when she finally showed up on her bicycle. She told me that the condo would be ready by 3:30, so we waited. And waited. And waited some more. We sat outside the condo from 11 am until 5:30 pm, when the cleaning job was finally completed, sort of. The towels that she gave us were damp, and the bedding consisted of only a fitted sheet and a flat sheet (no mattress pad or bedspread).
By 5:30 pm, we had lost both an entire day in Jaco as well as qualitative planning time, since we had hoped to book an excursion to Tortuga Island for the following day. I emailed Joe to give him an update and let him know that we were finally able to get into the condo at 5:30 pm. He wrote back that he, too, was on vacation and had been disappointed because his rental didn't have internet and had not been cleaned either. I regret that he had a similar experience, but it does not lessen the fact that he manages the Jaco property and should have been responsible for ensuring that it was ready for our arrival.
I tried to resolve this amicably with Joe via email, and he offered me a free night in Jaco. I explained that I do not plan on returning to Jaco, in part because of my rental experience at rentjaco.com, and requested monetary compensation to cover lost time. Joe has not responded to my request. I would not recommend this property to anyone. There are much nicer, cleaner properties throughout Jaco; do not waste your time and money at this rental. Unfortunately, vrbo.com allows owners to "opt out" of reviews. So, any potentially negative reviews will not be seen by prospective renters. Shame on VRBO!
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.
They posted my negative review of a property - which two people found useful. Next thing I know I have a note from VRBO saying the review they posted wasn't posted, and an email from the property owner trying to make up by refunding part of a security deposit she withheld from me. VRBO is a disappointment and NOT trustworthy. Do Not Rely On Their Information. The property is listing # 233549. Here's my review, in case anyone else has the misfortune of renting here. It's a home n Santa Cruz, CA.
We stayed three nights in May to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The house is cozy and charming, and feels larger than it is. The backyard is also very pretty. It is two blocks from the beach, but this route to the beach is inaccessible during high tide, and you must walk about seven blocks down a busy road to reach a more reliable access point. Beyond that, the home is well equipped and comfortable. It comes with music, wi-fi, movies, plenty of dishes and cooking utensils, and most kitchen Staples.
We encountered two drawbacks. The first was the owner, who was intrusive. She sent the gardener over twice to check up on us. It's uncomfortable staying in a house, especially a small one, with a stranger in the backyard. After we left she counted the number of empty bottles of alcohol that we had placed in the outside recycling bin and reported this to us in a letter. We had a dinner party for eight one night to celebrate our wedding anniversary. She charged us $50, ostensibly because my sister and brother stayed over that one night, but in a letter to me she mentioned that she also had to remove bottles from the recycling bin.
The owner lists the property as dog-friendly but there are a lot of ticks in the area, which was the second drawback. We let our Labradoodle into the backyard once, supervised and on a leash, and pulled 16 ticks off of her. We found three more crawling in the house and one dead on the bedroom floor. The owner also charged us $50 for “trampled” plants – allegedly by our dog, who didn't go out back unsupervised. I suspect it was more likely a wild animal, raccoon or skunk or whatever brings the ticks in.
I want to give the owner the benefit of the doubt, which is why I'm giving this property three stars instead of two. Perhaps she was worried about the dog and in that case should not list this property as pet-friendly. Or maybe she likes cataloguing her tenant's refuse (however if use of recycling bins is not permitted then the contract should make this clear, or steer clear of making assumptions about her renters). But the gardener and the bottle counting lead me to believe that this home might be better if it were owner-occupied.
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 dilapidated 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 Tripadvisor...
A friend of mine who owns a condo in Myrtle Beach and has a website on VRBO.com asked me to take over running his rental property this summer because he's getting older and just doesn't want to do it. He had a guy last year running it who totally ripped him off, so I have been trying to edit the property page on the website. I log into his account, and cannot edit the page. First it tells me there are technical problems and to try back later. Now it's telling me there are no properties to edit. Then when I try to click on edit from the page itself, I get an error telling me page can't be found... Fantastic.
So I log onto the forum page for the website, and everyone on the site tells me they are having no troubles with the site. So I try to contact them and the ONLY way to contact them is either emailing them, or sending message them with YOUR phone number and they will call YOU? What the heck kind of BS is that? Of course they have a phone number on their site for "sales" calls in case you want to give them your hard earned money for crappy customer service! From what my friend tells me, he paid a LOT of money to advertise on this site too and this is the kind of BS you have to deal with?
I sent them an email and they tell me it can take up to 3 days for them to respond??? So meanwhile I am unable to get any inquiries or update for any potential renters while I wait for them to get to the email that apparently takes longer to get a response from than sending a letter with a stamp on it. So I try the phone number thing, thinking maybe I'll get a quicker response... I enter my phone number and hit submit and all I get is a blank screen. So I have no clue if they even got the message or not. Unbelievable. What a crock! If I had known about this site before he signed up, I never would have let him sign up for this crap!
My only personal review is in the attempt to book the property. They are not pet friendly. In the exact words of the owner, "Our greatest concern with accepting your beloved pet (we have dogs too and adore them) is for our future tenants health, especially when people may be allergic. For that reason we can only accept "non-shedding", hypo-allergenic dogs. I know that your dog is probably a real sweetheart, but the oils from his/her fur can become embedded in the furniture, or baseboards and create a real problem for some of our tenants. I am so sorry to have to place these limits on our rentals, but I'm sure that you can understand our concerns."
It's awesome that they look out for future tenants but just wanted to warn anybody desiring this property with a pet, you'll probably get this same response. I'm sure that they didn't want to rule out any potential tenants without the paw print but they may as well just limit the property to humans and not pets. All dogs shed and all have oils that get embedded on furniture, etc. It's not restricted to a 15 pound dog. When I told the owner very politely that I wouldn't compromise and continue to be patient in finding a place for my pup and I, she responded with "Good For You!" Ouch. Not only that? Beware.
A lot of these places say "steps from the beach" when they are actually a house or two or a block away. This is the case with this property. It sits behind a beachfront home with its back to it facing in the direction of the street. I'm so sick of being deceived by these beach communities trying to rent their properties. And YES I would pay a cleaning/painting deposit of $1000 or whatever it took to bring my pet along on my trip. I'm just SICK of the deception.
My issue here is that they said they are pet friendly and they are not. These places SAY a lot of things but when it comes down to it all it is bait. And YES it is an owner's property to do as they please with the rules they enforce, etc. but I'M the one paying their mortgage and property taxes on it when I CHOOSE to pay the $3000 grand or more per month.
Hate to hit you in the face with reality but it becomes MINE then for the time I'm there. The minute these places forget this is the minute that they need to and should get out of the business of renting out their properties. This forum is for customers protecting customers. You don't go around to any review and stick up for a place when you are on a site that is out there to be informational in order to protect the next guy that comes along.
DORSTE, MINNESOTA -- Beware VRBO #87085. We had many inconveniences while there. Tap Water was undrinkable, yellow, and smelled like eggs. We're told propane ready for grill when there was only enough to heat the grill for 5 min. Paddle Boat was broken. Cobwebs and dirt piles scattered around the house (not an inconvenience but the last thing you want to see after paying $2000 for a 3 bedroom rental). Kitchen utensils were sub par... no lids for any pans and the knives were very dull. Septic went out (very touchy septic went out because of a lot of rain!)
Horrible treacherous Driveway... the worst I've been on. Had to carry own garbage up the treacherous driveway to a dumpster even though we stayed there only 1 wk. Imagine if we had only a car (we had a trailer) And had to put that icky garbage in our car sloshing around with our things on the way to the dumpster?! The Pontoon Boat rental they recommended was late, said they tried to call but didn't since we had our cell phone there and there was great reception.
When we finally got a hold of them they made us wait, and dropped off a very wet pontoon on a very sunny day and were charged full price. We're guessing they were overbooked (Mehgana Marina). Lied about how many damage deposits they had kept... told us before we rented only 1 and when we're in disputes of the deposit that number went up!
THEN after we cleaned the home VERY WELL when we left (we thought about taking pictures but things looked great) they kept our damage deposit for extra cleaning, broken paddle boat, late departure (we were 30 min late), and a plumbing bill. They told us how nice they were not to charge us with the septic pumping bill also. We've gotten a portion of it back fighting tooth and nail, but they have stopped all contact. Beware, the place is falling apart I don't what this to happen to you!
1011 W 5TH STREET SUITE 300 AUSTIN, TEXAS -- As vacation rental property owner I advertised on VRBO. I had renters that destroyed my personal property, let their dogs urinate on my wall to wall carpet, after check-out made duplicate keys without my knowledge or consent & tried to re enter unit after check-out, verbally abusive to me, refused to clean up after their dog(s) in back courtyard. I even had one couple pay the deposit to hold date & I never heard from them again & I do have a business policy that is in writing & I do enforce which put them in breech & therefore forfeit deposit. After all, I have a business to operate & Florida winter season is only a short 4 months.
3 months later, this couple files a complaint against me w/ VRBO wanting a full refund. So VRBO contacts me & sides with the renters & wants me to pay the renters a full refund but the renters did not pay in full only a deposit. I could not get VRBO to understand this so I became the bad guy & quite a confused one because aren't I VRBO's client? Shouldn't VRBO be on my side? After all I "pay" to advertise w/ VRBO. I have never associated with a company that did not have its clients back covered! I also came to learn that VRBO has "no" support system for the property owners only for the renters that can write a bad review or just simply file an unjust complaint.
How about structure that would get some of these dead beat renters off of VRBO so after the renter leaves my property in shambles, it can't do that to another VRBO property owner. VRBO enforces their business policies so why can't the property owners? VRBO are hypocrites. And the "money ladder", ever wonder why some listing have a picture on the left side & some don't? The ones that don't have not paid enough money to VRBO to be entitled to a picture.
Property owners need "deep pockets". The more money the property owner pays to VRBO, the higher up the list/ladder your ad is. It's degrading. The only thing on VRBO's mind is money money money not running/operating a decent business!
This cabin was rented through VRBO and is listed as VRBO #4868 in Blue Ridge, Georgia. The cabin was not cleaned prior to our arrival and the owner would not answer our phone calls during our stay. I sent her an e-mail when we returned and asked for one-half of our 2 day rental to be returned to us as I had to clean the cabin that night and purchase items to do so.
I cleaned “before” we stayed – I paid you a cleaning fee for “after” we stayed – I'm not going to clean your cabin twice, believe me. Apparently you are not concerned about rat feces and the mess under the nasty rugs, etc. so that speaks volumes. I will simply post my comments and photos on websites like TripAdvisor, send a note to the Chamber of Commerce and file a complaint with VRBO. Your place was nasty and I was wrong to assume that you did not know this. I gave you too much credit.
Avoid this rental as there were many issues, including the rat feces, spider webs, old food, urine stains and smells and stagnant smoke smells. The photos of cabin are deceiving. Please see my other postings on TripAdvisor, etc. for actual photos of the cabin.