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Moments Tobago - Vacation Property Misrepresented - Fellow Travellers Beware!

VRBO 328066 - Complaint
Review by teresa.talyson on 2013-12-04
Rating: StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- Beware fellow travellers – the description of this villa is not accurate and is misleading. This villa is neither private, nor is it a retreat. My husband and I were looking for a romantic, private retreat to celebrate my 50th birthday. This is what their VRBO ad and their Moments Tobago website ad clearly states. We had gone through the write-ups and pictures with a fine-tooth comb on both of Moments Tobago’s sites, confirming to ourselves that it was ONE villa, private with its own private pool etc.

During our early communications with the homeowner, we specifically asked her if we could rent the whole house/villa for just the two of us as we wanted our privacy, and how much that would cost. This is word for word from her email: She replied "Received your inquiry. The house is available. Rate is $--- per night. Villa is only rented to one group at a time. you will need to confirm by paying 50% deposit by Oct 1….etc.” (all communications from her were blunt and abrupt) We honestly felt that with this question, we had asked if it's private, and her answer "confirmed" to us that is was indeed private. So we paid in full for ten days November 1 – 10, 2013. Obviously we were quite naive. We thought we were experienced in being able to read ads between the lines and truly learn what the property is like - obviously we have more to learn.

When we arrived, we realized there was another villa attached to "ours" and a woman was staying in it, sharing the same pool, the same Jacuzzi, and the same outdoor shower and tub! The decks are built closely together in a semi-circle surrounding the pool, facing each other with absolutely no privacy barrier. None of the photos in the ad show that there are two villas (attached) and none of the write-ups mentioned at all that there is another attached villa. We called the homeowner immediately after we arrived and discovered this situation. The homeowner was extremely rude to us, shouting, and calling us idiots for not realizing the property had two villas. She adamantly refused any type of reimbursement and to this day we have not received a penny towards a refund of our ten-night pre-payment.

Considering the privacy issue and how rude the owner was to us, there was no way we were going to stay under these circumstances, but thankfully the property manager knew of another PRIVATE property available, although it was twice the price as Moments. We left within 2 hours after arriving. Because we have not received a refund from the owner, we ended up paying 3xs the original budgeted cost for lodging in Tobago.
We have stayed in four vacation rentals in different parts of the world in the past three years and have never had a problem. This has become a very frustrating and expensive situation. Travellers, be warned!

The VRBO ad for this property has the title “PRIVATE CARIBBEAN RETREAT" in big bold letters at the top (at the time of this writing).

Definition of private (adj) Bing Dictionary 1. kept secret or restricted: not for other people to see or know about. 2. secluded: sufficiently secluded for people to be alone and not watched, heard, or disturbed by others. 3. personal: belonging to, restricted to, or intended for an individual person.

Definition of retreat (n.) Random House Webster's College Dictionary 1. the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement. 2. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy.

This villa was neither private, nor a retreat. In retrospect, when I look at the reviews on this property, all of the reviews on VRBO say “Guest comment entered by owner”. How accurate would a review be if a “guest” comment is entered by the owner? Also, the latest review is from early 2009! Why weren’t there any more recent reviews? I should have questioned this! It’s been a very expensive learning experience. Despite all these troubles, we thoroughly enjoyed our ten days in the other private villa, (with a charming and gracious owner!) and absolutely fell in love with Tobago, the culture, and the beauty that surrounded us!

Stay away from this villa; there are MUCH better options in Tobago!
Comments:3 Replies - Latest reply on 2013-12-12
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2013-12-05:
You may have to file suit against the property in small claims court to get your money back.
Posted by Likesbeefpies on 2013-12-05:
I'd like to know how you adjudicate an international claim using the suggest mechanism...
Source: me = lawyer.
Posted by Teresa Talyson on 2013-12-12:
Thank you for your feedback "Soaring Consumer". We are currently working on a claims report. Despite the owner's behavior and misrepresentation of her property, we had a great time in Tobago!

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