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Not so “Classic” Cape Cod, -Beware-
Posted by on
ORLEANS, MASSACHUSETTS -- At first we thought the house had just not been rented in a long time and just needed a quick touch up, we quickly discovered that the owner obvious does not use a cleaning service, we had to fully clean one bathroom and the other one we just closed the door and did not use it. There are several places where the paint is peeling and there is mold. The game tables are located in the unfinished basement, presenting an unsafe area to play as everything is out in the open, lawn mower, gas container, paints, gardening tools, fishing rods, line and hooks. The rental is listed as “Kid Friendly”. As for the listed features; the beds were not King or Queen, there was no ice maker, A/C is 2 window units (with exposed fiberglass insulation), the gas grill was rusty, The big TV did not work and the WiFi would not connect to the internet.

When we arrived the heat was not working, the oil tank was empty. The owner gave us instruction to buy diesel oil (a separate expense) & start the furnace ourselves. We ended up calling a local company to start the furnace, they did and informed us that the owner has an account with them for heating oil. There is only 1 smoke detector and no carbon monoxide detectors, I believe this is a rental code violation. We ended up not staying the full rental period.

After several emails with the owner he did agree to a partial refund, but never sent it. In one email the owner said, and I quote, “YOU WANTED CHEAP AND YOU GOT IT!”.

Renters beware, you get what you pay for, or in this case, a lot less than what you pay for.
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Alain on 2011-12-31:
Contact the Town of Orleans Health Department (Robert Canning, Health agent, I think) and see if this property is in violation of any codes. Even if it's not a health code, they can direct you to whatever agency takes care of problems like this. (508) 240-3700 extension 450.
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An Owner's Point of View
Posted by on
I've seen quite a few reviews on VRBO from the renter's point of view, but not many from owners. I would not say our experience has been a pleasant one. If you do not mind throwing your money away, go for it.

We decided to list our overseas vacation home, as we hardly get a chance to use it. Went onto their website to inquire about listing it there. I got a phone call right away, and the representative gave us the big happy picture of how they will help every step of the way with the listing, and how many hits we will get on our house, yada yada.

So I decided to go a head and pay the yearly fee, about $400.00 US Dollars. I started going through the steps on creating the listing and hit a dead end when it came time to enter the house address. For some reason it would not accept the address. I tried entering it different ways with no luck.

I called VRBO customer service, and the hold times were over an hour so I tried emailing several times instead. It took a week to get a response, and it was just a canned answer and did not help the issue whatsoever. Here it is weeks later, and my listing is still pending and I have not gotten any help, at all. Today I will be calling and holding for however long I need to, but it will be to cancel the service.

So beware. They will be very helpful and fast to respond before they get your money. But after that, good luck if you actually have an issue and need more help than a canned answer can provide!
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Alain on 2011-10-15:
We always listed with a local company when we had a cottage on the Outer Banks. They were more responsive and did a good job for a reasonable price.
NicoleM on 2011-10-15:
That's what we are going to do. The cost will be higher, but it is worth it!
trmn8r on 2011-10-15:
Great review. It sounds like their customer service is even worse than Verizon's, which is very hard to imagine.
NicoleM on 2011-10-15:
Thanks, trmn. It actually got worse than this yesterday. I logged on before I tried calling to cancel, and they had deleted my entire listing, which I had spent a few hours writing and editing photos for. It was just gone with no explanation, no trace of it saved anywhere.

Then right after that, they called and requested that we provide them with a copy of our passports or drivers license, a copy of proof of purchase of the house, tax records, AND at least one recent utility bill. No where in the listing process does it mention that any of these items are required, otherwise we would have known what to expect.

I told them I would never give an army of personal info to a company so incompetent, and to cancel the account. I also sent them the link to this complaint, so it will be interesting to see if they respond at all.
Venice09 on 2011-10-15:
What a waste of time on your part, Nicole. Sounds very frustrating. Giving them the link to this review was a great idea. But I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even bother to read it.
Chuck Hawley on 2012-08-07:
Our experience with VRBO is very similar. Our listing just disappeared after three years, and this was prior to the expiration date. They said it was a "software bug" and there was no compensation due, and no estimated time to resolve it, and no, they didn't care if I canceled my listing(s). What scam artists! I can't believe that they are successful. They also changed the order in which properties are listed by invoking some extremely high annual charges and did so without warning. I would NEVER do business with them again.
Rochelle on 2012-12-17:
Been with VRBO since their inception when it was run by a man and wife team out of Colorado, then somewhere in the Virgin Islands. They sold out, apparently. Definitely, not the same since it is now too big. Searching for a rental is difficult, one can never get anyone on the phone within a reasonable time. Costs going up. Placement on the website is crucial but one has to play their game which makes them more money. Since VRBO and homeaway are the same, it helps and hinders. Just today, I think I received a 'test' inquiry. I understand they have to do that, but it's a royal pain. Hope to sell our property soon and be done with renting.
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Sea Bright, NJ Rental VRBO property #355522
Posted by on
The owner of this house neglected to inform us that this house is literally ON TOP of bar called Donavon's Reef -- that plays music on the beach from 10am until 2:00am -- and has live bands beginning at 10pm on the weekends and 6pm on weekdays. This is very very annoying & makes it impossible to have a discussion in the house, let alone sleep. There are no window coverings in the bedrooms so the sun wakes you at 6:00am. There are no supplies -- no toaster, no coffee maker, no dish towels, no night stands, no coffee mugs, no wine glasses, no hangers. The downstairs AC did not work. The upstairs toilet overflowed. When we contacted the owner to let him know about the issues, he responded with "what did you expect? this is a summer rental, not the ritz." I have had very good luck on VRBO in the past and I also rent a condo on this site, so this experience was very disappointing. Watch our for this owner.
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Venice09 on 2011-07-31:
It's risky to rent a beach house sight unseen. Reminds of the movie "Summer Rental".
Churro on 2011-07-31:
Well of course most people rent vacation home rentals sight unseen at least the first time. What are you going to do drive across the country just to check out a property before you rent it?

This serves equally as complaint against VRBO since they let the property owners delete feedbacks which some owners do and of course only the negative ones. I do use VRBO quite often and I have been burned. I've learned to AVOID the listings with only SUNSHINE reviews. I tend to go for the ones with plenty of reviews and at least a few less than favorable. Still it's a crap shoot.

Great Review!
Venice09 on 2011-07-31:
If you rent a beach house sight unseen, it's a risk. Seems like a simple concept to me.
Anonymous on 2011-07-31:
Great review, very helpful +1
spiderman2 on 2011-08-01:
I agree Venice. When we used to go the shore in Jersey we drove down and looked at rentals with an agent. I had small children and needed to be assured of the safety of the decks, stairs, etc. It was a 4 hour trip each way, but it worked out better for me. We don't go to New Jersey anymore and the beach we frequent is too far to drive and look at so we relied on the internet and a reputable realtor and have not been disappointed. However, sight unseen can be a crap-shoot! One persons' idea of a dream house can be someone else's nightmare.
Churro on 2011-08-01:
Yeah it is a risk but it's not reasonable to think people can check out properties hundreds/thousands of miles away. I guess in the my3cents world it makes sense traveling a 1,000 miles to check out a vacation rental beforehand but in the real world it doesn't work that way.

You depend on word of mouth like the OP is providing. Supplying the VRBO # is awesome because it will get snagged in a google search when a prospective renter does their research. I applaud the OP for taking the time to post this review.
jktshff1 on 2011-08-01:
Word of mouth works well. Also, MapQuest and Google both have satellite images that, while not the best could help to give someone a heads up.
Good Review.
Lucy223 on 2011-08-01:
I live at the Jersey Shore and NEVER understood why people vacation here. I would use Bing.com birdseye view next time so you see where you are staying and what the surrounding areas are like.
Venice09 on 2011-08-01:
Churro, I never said people should personally check out properties hundreds/thousands of miles away. I merely said it is a risk to rent a beach house sight unseen. The internet, a reputable realtor (as spiderman suggested) and word of mouth are excellent ways to lower the risk. However, it's still a risk.

And yes, I've known people who have driven hundreds of miles to investigate vacation rentals before choosing one. It's not unusual.

This review is helpful in that it warns what can happen when renting sight unseen. As spiderman said, one persons' idea of a dream house can be someone else's nightmare.
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VRBO #274265 Benissimo Apartment in Tuscany
Posted by on
LORO CIUFFENA, AREZZO, ITALY -- Be aware before you rent this apartment. The website shows a lovely view of the town, but the view from the apartment looks down on roof tops and TV antennas, not the beautiful town or Tuscan countryside we expected. There are bell towers one block away which dong every half hour and on the hour. You'll get used to sleeping through them about the time you leave. Very small quaint town, but not much to do there. You must have a car and parking is difficult. Make sure you notify the owner on arrival of ALL preexisting maintenance and housekeeping issues, even if minor. The owner tried to charge us an additional 200 Euro for "repairs and cleaning"! The owner [snip] was very difficult for us to work with and we found her very aggravating. We should have been more aware there might be issues.

For a property to be rented since 2001, and only showing four reviews, quite widely spaced in time, of which one was submitted by the owner, we should have known better. Be aware.
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Posted by on
DORSTE, MINNESOTA -- Beware VRBO #87085 We had many inconveniences while there 1.)Tap Water was undrinkable, yellow, and smelled like eggs 2.)Were told propane ready for grill when there was only enough to heat the grill for 5 min 3.)Paddle Boat was broken 4.) 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) 5.)kitchen utensils were sub par...no lids for any pans and the knives were very dull 6.)Septic went out (very touchy septic went out because of a lot of rain!!) 7.) Horrible Treacherous Driveway...the worst I've been on. 8.) 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?! 9.) The Pontoon Boat rental they recommended was late, said they tried to call but didn't since we had our cellphone 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)10.) Lied about how many damage deposits they had kept...told us before we rented only 1 and when were were 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!!
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Buyer beware of vrbo.com
Posted by on
I used vrbo.com to book a vacation rental, Quarry Hill Farm, near Ashland, Oregon. The owners demanded full payment about 2 months before we were to arrive, which we paid. Then only 2 weeks before we were supposed to arrive, they announced that they had found longer term guests and would be canceling our reservations. We already had tickets to see several plays and had to scramble to find another (and much less nice) place to stay. We put a lot of time into choosing Quarry Hill Farm and feel they broke our contract. They did refund our money. When I complained to the VRBO website, they gave me the run around. First they kept asking me questions which I answered; then they repeated the questions which I answered again. Then I just started getting canned responses telling me they were "looking into it." It has now been almost 2 months since I've heard anything from them. They are obviously not going to do anything about my ill treatment by this rental owner.
I'm sure many of the people who list on this site are honest, but it would be impossible to tell. Anyone could list anything. VRBO takes no responsibility at all. Beware of them. And never book Quarry Hill Farm, no matter how nice the pictures look. The owners are irresponsible.
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Alain on 2010-10-12:
I haven't seen anything good about VRBO yet.
Nancy on 2013-02-09:
I've had both good and bad experiences, but I believe the owner has the choice of editing or deleting the comments. In fact, many of the reviews say "entered by owner" which is puzzling. If the renter doesn't use a computer, he wouldn't have found VRBO in the first place! So why would the review be "entered by owner?" Right now I am struggling to get through the month. I'm in-between homes and not really on vacation, and rented a so-called 1 bedroom condo for a month. It's one room - period. It's dirty, dingy and I can hear everything my neighbors say and do, even snoring and sneezing. I can't believe nobody has complained to VRBO about this place, especially since the ad is deceptive, although I admit the view of the beach is lovely. I thought the owner sounded nice on the phone, but even "little old ladies" who talk about their grandchildren can turn out to be liars!!
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Posted by on
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 knowldege 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!
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waikiki on 2011-02-03:
I too am a vacation rental owner who detests VRBO.

VRBO has a skewed perspective of just who pays the bills, but I'm beginning to believe that this is the new "internet paradigm" as far as these type of web sites go.

About two years ago, a couple from New Zealand made an inquiry about a five week rental one year prior to their actual arrival. As is our practice, we told them that we do not take reservations more than six months in advance, however they stated that the "homeaway.com" calendar indicated that we had availability at the time they wanted to come to Waikiki so we reluctantly agreed to the rental.

A year passed. The building in which this particular property is located was undergoing floor-by-floor renovations and those renovations were six weeks ahead of schedule by the time of the arrival of the couple from New Zealand. Although the apartment in which they stayed was not part of the overall renovation, they were subjected to the activities inherent in such projects--although those activities were limited to 9:00AM to 4:00PM Monday through Friday.

When the renters contacted us, we immediately offered them an alternative location--they declined. They continued to complain. We offered them a 50% reduction in the rental rate, free parking, and free in-room internet--all of which they accepted.

Then they wrote the nastiest review I've ever seen published on VRBO. I attempted to contact VRBO "customer service" (an oxymoron if ever there was one) only to be told that my side of the story didn't matter--the "traveler is always right".

Try vacationhomerentals.com. 1/3 of the price, and we're experiencing two times the number of inquiries. (VRBO is maybe the third worst designed web site ever to see the light of day.)
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Posted by on
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 labelled 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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fast327 on 2010-07-15:
Your last sentence just about sums it up!
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Vacation rental owners BEWARE OF HOMEAWAY's FATAL FLAW
Posted by on
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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GlitteringFirefly on 2010-05-24:
Where is your property? I am looking for a location for a wedding reception near the beach.
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!
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.


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.


No, I do not think reviews should be included at all in a advertisement paid for by a customer.
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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VRBO #4868 Blue Ridge, Georgia Rental Cabin
Posted by on
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. Her response and mine with names omitted is below:

Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 8:46 AM
To: Donna
Subject: Re: Blue Ridge Cabin

Donna, Fri, at noon the cabin was shown by a realtor, and later on in the afternoon by my self to ____________, When I put out the key, at that time there were no cookie crumbs on the floor "food" and no small childs hand print on the mirror over the sofa and on the window of the door, If you had cleaned as you said you did, the cookie crumb would have been gone when I arrived Monday to check things out, The cabin is in the woods and spider webs can happen in minutes. Sorry Arline

My response:
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.
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Anonymous on 2009-10-28:
DD, that had to be a total downer! Thanks for the heads up on this dump. A member here praises this place. Perhaps, you should confer with him regarding this incident.
Good luck in the future.

karleebarlee on 2009-10-28:
I'd say that in the woods, spider webs would be one thing. but the total mess you have described is atrocious. I hope you can get some kind of compensation!
MyNameIsBrandon on 2009-12-16:
I'm so sorry to hear about your recent experience. You can seek assistance from VRBO regarding this issue at: http://help.vrbo.com/help/RequestForAssistance.aspx
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