This condo I stayed at was much larger than the pic's can display - remodeled, OK, but that's not why you're going on a vacation is it? To look at a remodeled condo (or house)? Please be warned, I was promised a condo with "A/C, N/S, and a pool, sleeps 4-6 adults". AC was a tiny unit in the "master br", and the other bedroom smells like an ashtray - no amount of airing it out will help. I know because I stayed there for 11 days. "Japanese futon" was a 2" pad no bigger then a 5yo can sleep on. The pool was no larger than a typical hot tub.
So in reality at most this condo could sleep 3 adults. so, I was pretty upset having 4 adults there, one with asthma & the flu who had to go to ER for meds because smoke really exacerbated it (what was she to do, sleep outside, in the car?), and I had no recourse to boot, because VRBO does not stand behind the "home away guarantee" and I was stuck.
To quote, VRBO said, "this is highly unusual and we will contact the owner." Unfortunately you do not qualify for the $5000.00 guarantee." Really, all these lies to sell a condo? What does qualify? (I notice you now have to pay $70 for a $10,000.00 guarantee that I wonder if VRBO will ever pay out) It's not a pretty picture when you've planned a vacation 2 years in advance.
If you are going for an extended stay (21+days) a condo/home might be the way to go in my humble opinion - but there are other sites to help you find a good place to stay that are reliable and worth their salt. If you are going on vacation for a once in a lifetime trip, save up your $$ to make plans with a hotel or resort that will cater to your whims and fix things the second anything goes wrong (if anything goes wrong at all), because they care about their representative - VRBO does not care.
They think they don't have to care about their representative because negative comments like these are screened - any comment does not make it to the website unless the owner approves it! Come on, you have no way of finding out the truth of the condo (or home, cabin, etc), which is bad for the good eggs because now everything on VRBO is tainted.
Think about your trip and what you will do, and what you want to do at the end of your day. You have been sightseeing and you're now exhausted, so there is something extremely depressing about washing your own laundry, taking out the garbage, and doing dishes while on vacation! PS - Do not buy your airline tickets more than 3-5 months in advance - the airline will kill your pocketbook by about $400 extra per ticket, but you'll learn about that if you look at the Dr Mercola article "Roam the World Without Spending A Kings Ransom".
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.
ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA -- A condo was advertised for $449.00. Their calendar showed it available on the days I wanted. But, when I tried to book it, the manager/owner said that unit was not available but offered me a similar unit for $886.00. Whaaat? Yep. So I checked VRBO again and the original unit for $448.00 is still listed as available. Harris Properties owner/manager - VRBO. Emerald Skye look for yourself. However, They were not the only one using these tactics. It appears to be systemic deceit within HomeAway/Vrbo
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!