Consumer Complaints and Reviews
It has been a long time since I booked a vacation of any kind. I booked through VRBO and got charged 158.00 for a $1800.00 stay. On the payment information it says the fee is calculated as a variable of the percent of total reservation. Never would I have thought it would be this much money. I contacted the person I booked with and he told me this is not the first time he has encountered this. He pays VRBO a yearly rate and then they charge the consumer, so they are getting paid twice. Never would I use VRBO again.
Although VRBO has always charged me a yearly fee, I continued to use it for the majority of my rental bookings because I felt it offered me better professional service. Even, after they started charging my guests a service fee, I used them because they allowed me access to the guest's contact info which allowed me to offer my guest alternative payment options if they didn't want to pay the service fee. Many of my guests still chose to use VRBO because they felt more comfortable using their HomeAway Payment service. However, now, this has changed and my guests are now forced to use HomeAway and I am forced to pay VRBO's exorbitant credit card and foreign transaction fees for rentals.
In addition to that, their service has disintegrated. I recently realized that a guest that was arriving in 10 days had never been sent a request for the second half of his rental and the damage deposit. The first time I contacted VRBO their representative said he did not have access to whether the reminder had been sent, when I asked to be transferred to someone who did have access, he hung up on me. When I called right back, I got in contact with a representative who had no problem accessing the information and he confirmed that VRBO had not sent out a payment request although he could not give me an explanation. I still haven't received an explanation. I will be cancelling my VRBO subscription.
VRBO has changed their policies without owner consent. I have been with HomeAway since 2011, when it started out as an advertising site for homeowners. Over the past few years it is "streamlining" its site to make it a booking platform. We are a property management company and our homeowners have hired us to market and manage their homes. Last year, VRBO began charging guests a fee as well as the fee homeowners pay for advertising on the site. We paid our annual fees expecting to be able to contact prospective guests via telephone (a requirement by our homeowners) before they book and was informed now that HomeAway is changing policies again to not include guest information until after guests are booked and paid.
How can we adequately screen our guests? A lot can be discovered in a phone conversation with the potential renter. Is this a bachelor party? Beer party weekend? Underage (Prom) party? All are reasons not to allow a booking. The potential guests also want to speak on the phone with the property owner/manager to find out more about the area and home, etc. before making a reservation.
Secondly, VRBO now will "Hide our PAID listing" if we do not reply to a request within a 24 hour period. This is a ridiculously short time frame. I am a professional who travels frequently worldwide and may not have internet access for a few days. By blocking the PAID listing, we are losing potential guests. I have escalated a formal complaint and opened a case number with VRBO. I am hopeful that other homeowners and guests will do the same. If the new platform cannot be changed, I will most definitely seek other ways to promote and advertise my property other than VRBO.
VRBO are horribly unethical and are legally stealing billions. We have been advertising since 2012 on this site that promised only seller fees but now are charging every renter that rents through them A HUGE BOOKING FEE that does absolutely nothing for the renter. They lie and say that they are getting a "BOOKING GUARANTEE" which is a complete lie!!! Now that they have lured hundreds and thousands of people on this site they change their policy and STEAL BILLIONS FROM THE PUBLIC!!! They are a lying cheating MONOPOLY AND NEED TO BE STOPPED!!!
Caution to renters and owners: VRBO was not satisfied with running a consumer-friendly website and is in the process of introducing greedy changes to their rental platform. As owners renew their agreements they must enable online booking and pay VRBO a service fee of between 4 to 9%. Worse, renters will also be required to pay a "service fee" on a rental, so VRBO will now be gouging both owners and renters. Pretty greedy. Further, owners who don't aggressively rent their houses under this new booking agreement will be punished with lower rankings. I will renew my contract for one more year as I research my options. I had been very satisfied with VRBO, but now I'm extremely disappointed and disturbed by these changes.
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I used VRBO for many years to find vacation properties for our family's annual vacation in Florida. I was, for the most part, satisfied with the service they provided. So, when I became a vacation owner myself, I of course, went to VRBO. I paid an annual fee for listing my property. I had many inquiries. I was able to directly contact prospective renters to speak to them and get a feel as to whether or not they were a 'good fit' to rent my property for the 3 month high season in Florida.
We handled all contractual and monetary items either by email or snail mail. There was plenty of time to accomplish this, for checks to clear, etc. I had their deposit and rent 60 days prior to check in date, should they decide just to not show up, and leave me with no renter for the period. I had the damage deposit in MY possession, should I need to withhold any of it following my renter's departure. In short, I was very happy with the way things operated.
Then they started strongly 'suggesting' online bookings. Their 'suggestion' was so strong, that if I did not go along with it, I would have to pay an additional $150 per year! Coercion? Blackmail? Strong arm tactics? I was not in favor of this method, still wishing to be able to screen prospective renters and be in control of MY own funds. Then they dropped the big bomb. You could no longer have any contact with your renter UNTIL the reservation was completed and they collect and hold all funds! Whose property is it, anyway??? Wow! Forcing online bookings so that they could get an additional 'cut' from the traveler, and taking all control out of the hands of the homeowner, all the while trying to make you believe that they were doing all this for MY benefit? Yeah, right! I refused to relist my property with them.
If you have been looking for an alternative, try HomeEscape! They are growing quickly (I'll bet due to a plethora of disgruntled VRBO/HomeAway Expedia affiliates like myself). They are currently free, but will be moving to a monetary listing mode soon. If you are already in their system, I am told that you will be locked in for life at a lower rate. I sincerely hope they give money-grubbing Expedia a run for their money. As for me, I have just become a very happy HomeEscape customer. Good luck to you all.
First, let me tell you I have read the other recent reviews (that are all 1 star) and they are true. My review is more general and I encourage you to read the details in the other reviews. What I would like to emphasize is that not only are the bad reviews regarding the homeowners who want to list with VRBO (and it's other company homeaway) true but the experience to the renters are also very negative. They obviously paid way way too much to buy this company and are now destroying it trying to make their billions back at the expense of both the guests and the homeowners.
It is treating the vacation rentals by owner as if they are hotel rooms which is obviously not the case and removing the very important customer interactions to screen out the bad renters and pass on the good savings to the good renters. VRBO's comments are that there are lots of long term homeowners that are not happy with the changes. Well duh! It went from good to bad.
I have been with VRBO and Homeaway for over 7 years now. Let me tell you there is a solution. As soon as my paid subscription expired I transitioned to a free pay per booking subscription that will allow me to keep my reviews over the last 7 years long enough to build up good reviews with a new (and better for the renters) site. I might pass on some table scraps to VRBO (maybe 1 or 2 max) but just as they penalized me and my wonderful guests I will now penalize them as they deserve it and a new upcoming company deserves both my business (I'm a customer not an employee of VRBO but they don't get it) as well as the business of my guests.
This is the internet. Start up companies cost very little money and are dynamic. VRBO is the exact opposite. They are resting on the laurels of the previous company owners after having paid billions to buy it. I can only imagine the previous management is laughing at the horrendous mistake Expedia made in buying it for 3.9 billion dollars.
VRBO charges property owners a high rate to list vacation properties, the process was that guests inquired on the listing and their inquiry was forwarded to owners along with contact information so rentals could be discussed prior to booking. They have changed their policy now to not only charge for listing, but no longer providing the guests contact information and forcing the guest to book online and pay a high service fee, payable to VRBO. They moved from a listing site to a booking site, refunds should be issued to all property owners who signed up for a service that VRBO no longer offers.
VRBO has become a scam aimed at renters and homeowners. I have used them since 2009, but their transition to a solely revenue generator instead of a facilitator for renters and owners has become intolerable They used to charge an annual fee to the owners who advertised on VRBO. Owners could subscribe to different levels of listings at different pricing which ultimately, according to the listing level, positioned the property in their listing hierarchy. The more you paid the higher your listing. That methodology has changed to the more revenue they can generate from the guest and the owner the better off the listing.
Now, for instance, they charge a 3% credit card processing fee (a full 3/4% higher than industry standards for the service), they also charge the renter a "service fee" for which they provide no service what-so-ever. On my property last year, they increased their take from about $500 per year to $1800 per year adding no value to me or my guests, just revenue for them. Until the subscribers boycott in mass, they will continue to get away with their scam. The customer is always right, so be smart and don't use the VRBO site for your rentals.
With the "new ownership" of VRBO/HomeAway, my business has dramatically decreased. The "customer service" is virtually non-existent. I made over 10 calls to the "customer service" phone number because of a "virus" that affected my account - 5 WEEKS later, I was forwarded to a "technical agent" who finally resolved the issue. Prior to that I was instructed to "change my email address," "change my password," "send an email to email@example.com," "HomeAway Security hotline." ALL of which I did, no response in over 7 weeks from their email, their security hotline phone number goes to nothing!
ALL communication with potential customers is withheld until they pay! The dates are held up and there is no way to find out how the customer wants to pay. You cannot email or call them! Credit card fees are charged to the Home Owner - I have never accepted those charges and now I am forced to pay up to nearly $8,000 of gross profits - just in credit card fees. The Home Owner is also "forced" to "use the communication portal" - so that Home Away can get their fees paid for using the site. There is NO WAY to communicate with customers outside of the portal. All communications with the potential customers are edited and monitored.
A wonderful, easy to use, simple for both owners and renters has been ruined by Expedia. I've used them for 10 years with great success but now Expedia wants to control my investment and force fees on both parties. Plus, they HIDE your property if you fail to adhere to their corporate policies. Maddening and insulting treatment of their clients (homeowners) that have made them the #1 platform for now. Avoid supporting them, use other platforms and let your friends know that this is not a company to support.
I am an infrequent traveler but have used VRBO in the past. I was disturbed to see an unauthorized charge on my credit card after booking a condo through VRBO. I called the phone number associated with the charge. After being transferred several times through static, impaired lines and customer service reps with accents that made it difficult to understand, I was offered the direct phone number of the property owner. I declined since I was relatively certain they would refer me back to VRBO and I would ultimately end up no better off, angrier and exhausted by the run-around.
I have been using VRBO for several years, either to book trips for my family or for the property I manage for my father. I have definitely had some great experiences with VRBO, more good ones than bad but this one bad experience leaves a bad taste in my mouth and overshadows all the good that they can be. I have 3 apartments to manage in a small town that draws many visitors, especially during a 6 week period in the summer where prices go way up and the town is really buzzing with tourists.
During this time, I rent the largest apartment in 5 day minimum increments because it sleeps 7 and more in demand for short stays whereas the other 2 apartments are one bedrooms and more marketable for season long stays. I have a subscription for the larger apartment and experimented with the pay-per-booking for the other two, however have never rented those apartments through VRBO, rather with Craigslist or local realtors and repeat customers. With the pay-per-booking I found it very difficult to list my property for a specific time frame.
The site only allowed a minimum stay of 31/60/90/120 days stays. I tried so many times to list it for 48 days but to no avail, and I called over and over and over and over again and asked how and was given the wrong information overtime. Specifically, I was told to keep the listing open, no minimum days, and just notate the listing that it is only a season rental, then to price it by the night after dividing the entire season rate into 48 nights. People see the very low rate for the night and they don't see the note that's it's for the entire season. So, I was getting bombarded with requests to book for 1 and 2 night stays, NOT the entire season.
I do not have the time or the resources, such as a cleaner to come in that often and turnover the apartment and if she did it would cost more to do it than one night stay. I already had to turn inquiries away before this with the 31 day minimum I was forced to list it as and was getting "flagged" with warnings my account would be suspended if I continued to reject potential renters. So now it was worse with the open ended stay but I could not accept the potential renters for the above described reasons. Finally they "suspended" my listings and said it was because I was not booking any of the potential renters with them so I must be in violation of their policy and renting to their leads without paying them.
I explained that their site is not formatted for my needs and there must be a way and let's figure it out but to no avail. They said the only way they would reactivate the listing is if I buy a subscription. I argued that I do lots of business with them with the apartment upstairs and why would I suddenly be violating their policy? And that it's the faulty design of their site and the clueless representatives that directed me to make my listing open ended stay, ultimately causing the claims of violating their policy. I was assigned a "case number" but not after being treated like a common criminal by literally everyone I spoke with.
Not one person, management included, tried in any way to resolve the situation and I was only met with extremely rude people. I decided to let it go, I didn't need to list the other apartments with them anyway because their site has never brought me a renter for the other two apartments. I feel it's because I can never list it for the exact time period I need. Fast forward a year and it's weeks away from the summer season starting and one of my apartments is still available. A deal fell through and then many undesirable renters inquired so I am left with few options.
I already decreased the price and realtors have clients but require a hefty commission and the price is already lowered a lot. So, I thought I would give VRBO a try again. We have been having such success with the larger apartment, better year than ever, so why not? I listed it again and was contacted by their account manager to complete the listing process. To no avail though, the listing could not be activated and the amount manager, Nick, had no idea why. I told him the backstory and he said that's why and the only way I can list it is through a subscription.
I told him that I am only trying out this avenue and that historically I have never rented this apartment through VRBO so I don't want to commit $400 to it and then have to ultimately pay a relator another $500 or rent to someone from Craigslist like I normally do and be out $400 after already having lowered the price. I told him pay-per-booking is the best option right now and if I do get a season renter from the site that I would actually be paying more and wouldn't they prefer more? He said it doesn't matter, that the only way to activate the listing this time around is by buying a subscription.
I told him this sounds like bait and switch tactics. They say that I am violating policy because I am turning away renters for my own property, yet they have no proof I am and no methods in place to prove pay-per-booking customers are in violation of their policy, just that it's possible I am violating their policy. It sounds very suspicious to me. Why do they provide the contact number and email of the potential renter if it can rouse suspicions of violating their policy? Is it only to accuse their pay-per-booking customers of violating their policy so they can in turn require them to buy a subscription?
Pay-per-booking customers are those like me, who are not certain the subscription fee is worth paying if they get their bookings elsewhere or for another valid reason and NOT to spend all of our time lying and cheating and violating VRBO. It's a very unsavory attitude and even more so because I am a paying customers bring in thousands off my one listing with them. As it stands right now, the listing is still not activated and is assigned a "case number" and the techs are "looking into it."
Exactly where I left it last year. Meanwhile, I'm in contract to rent my property from a lead from another source. Oh, and for added fun, the reactivated an older listing that I have archived with them and I started getting hammered with requests because the listing price was an extremely low price from when I listed it 3 years ago in the winter months. I had to call 3 times to get it deactivated because I couldn't do it from my dashboard. They are a MESS over there!!!
I booked the apartment in Venice, and received the confirmation. 3 days before trip, started to check my emails to organized my travel information. I found my Venice rental been canceled and I have apartment at Murano island (I was not planning to go to Murano at all). When I called to VRBO helpline, after 1 h 32 min, they explained "I requested Murano Place myself," and they can not help me to cancel it. Phone service is ridiculous I was on hold too many times, without any result.
I have called VRBO several times to resolve a problem and each time I have gotten a different story as to the potential resolution. First I was told I would receive an email within 24-48 hours that would enable me to resolve the problem. When that email didn't appear I called back and was told that it actually would be 5 days before I would receive this email. After 5 days I called back and still my request has not been satisfied. I asked several times to speak with a supervisor and was told to hold and the phone rep would be able to get an answer for me. I was told the policy for this kind of problem had been changed and when I asked when the policy was changed, I was told the rep was not permitted to give me that information. I can't blame the phone rep, she has a script and can only deal with a limited number of problems.
I find that VRBO lacks transparency, is obstructive and seems to be inconsistent in their policy. I now await yet another email - once the matter has been passed through some other department - that will supposedly bring resolution. I was on the phone the last time a full 45 minutes. VRBO takes a % of the rent paid me and holds the rent until the renter has checked in before disbursing the money - so I suspect they are making money off my money by holding it for so long. The renters are required to make full payment well ahead of occupancy. Plus, I find their website rather user unfriendly.
VRBO is totally unprofessional in every way possible! They will take your money RIGHT NOW and try to get it back, good luck! They over charged me by $500 and wouldn't give me back the $500, they said your bank is holding it and provided me with complete BS numbers they referred to as "release codes". Of course being the trusting person I am presented the codes to my bank (CIBC) and wouldn't you know it, the codes are nothing but meaningless numbers coupled with a BS story. To put this already long rant short, I called and wrestled with VRBO so many times I lost count, threatened a lawsuit, you name I did it.
Anyway, being a valued customer of CIBC they refunded me and said they would deal with VRBO. So... SAVE your money people! VRBO is nothing but crooks... If you use VRBO you might as well create a profile on this Consumer Affairs now because after your surely negative experience you'll be back on this site writing a negative review. Good luck to ya!
I have been a paying member of the VRBO vacation home rental website for more than 10 years. I list my home as a vacation rental on their site. In the last two rental seasons of my home on their website I have witnessed my inquiry to bookings fall considerably. After calling and speaking numerous times with customer service agents I have been told that the "Ranking Metrics" (a set of data collected on my home and others like mine in the area) is being used to place me on their website's "search" page.
Most specifically, because of their "cancellation ranking" data information I have been placed on page 4 or 5 of the website. That means I am down close to 200 out of 300 listings. Who's going to find my place? Why is this an issue? Because all of the 3 cancellations (in the last 7 years) I received from travelers (two had deaths or family emergencies and one because of a forest fire near my home) I am punished by VRBO and placed so far down on their search pages that I have only 3 bookings for my summer rental season, when I used to get 23 or more bookings! Totally unfair business practice!
Next, is how they collect and hold onto my rental and security deposit fees. I don't have much control with the rental fees as I used to. It used to be, like all owners who list on VRBO, I would collect the rental fees and a security deposit fee. I would then hold onto the deposit until the damage assessment and cleaning was done, and then refund the security deposit. Now, VRBO holds the security deposit in their bank (while it collects interest for them) and releases it immediately, without my consent and without me being able to perform a damage assessment and cleaning of my home. Another unfair business practice! I will be finding an alternative to VRBO! It's too large of a headache to list with them anymore! If you are considering VRBO for your home, I suggest against it!
DO NOT USE HOMEAWAY OR VRBO!!! HomeAway and VRBO has changed their policies without owner consent. I have been with HomeAway since 2005, when it started out at an advertising site for homeowners. Over the past few years it is "stream-lining" its site to make it a booking platform. Last year it began charging guests a fee as well as the fee homeowners pay for advertising on the site. I paid my fees this past April expecting to be able to contact prospective guests before they book and was informed 2 days ago that HomeAway is changing policies again to not include guest information until after guests are booked and paid.
I take pride in the fact that I have personal contact with guests unlike the hotel experience. HA and VRBO has taken that away. This site does not support the homeowner in the least. On several occasions, I had guests cancel well after my 30 day cancellation policy and HomeAway gave them their full refund. After speaking with 3 different supervisors, I was told that I would not get my money back. They reached right into my bank account and took it. Needless to say, I will not be using HA/VRBO after this season is over.
I am a property owner who has been with VRBO for 10 years and very satisfied. Now, they are forcing us to book online and accept visa. By booking online, they can get a percentage of our rent. This is like putting an ad in the local newspaper to sell a car, etc. and then charging a percentage of our selling price. This CANNOT be legal. Also, even though we pay them to advertise, they insist on listing properties that are 60 miles from us to show what renters can get at a lower rental rate. THESE ARE OUR COMPETITORS! And they put them way ahead of my listing.
I've had tenants complain that they were looking for a house on Anna Maria, and when they clicked on one, it was in the Pinellas beaches, etc. Has anyone out there found another listing company? Maybe we should all go to a local realtor for one year til VRBO either goes out of business or just go back to their old format. If I were a renter, I would get the address of the property and look up the owner in the tax records and contact them direct.
I have used VRBO to advertise my vacation rental here in Central Florida with a positive experience and they have slowly increased their rates demanding that owners use their site for booking which gives my customers a lot of fees, hassles emails, and not the personal care and attention I have given since 2007. They are making it impossible for me to interact with my clients and I am losing business to people that are not comfortable with the way they want the process to go. Booking online is not something I'm interested in and I do not want to be forced into it. Just because they decided to change their business does not mean I want to change mine or the way I operate my business. I have all good reviews and I simply want to use VRBO as my way to advertise. I've had customer complaints over the last few weeks of being on hold and having poor customer care from VRBO. Extremely disappointed.
We found the Legacy in Gulfport online and it sounded so perfect for our family. We picked this new destination for our family vacation because mom and pop are in their 80's and needed a place nearer to their home. Daughter told rental agent when renting that a balcony overlooking the water was crucial because her parents weren't able to get around very good and enjoyed just relaxing out in the fresh air. We arrived on Monday and they assured us that the balcony would be opened by Wednesday but that didn't happen. Construction was ongoing and the balcony was locked. We were required to walk around the building to go to the pool because all the doors were locked. The carpet was dirty and there were gnats everywhere. We really tried to overlook all these problems and just enjoy being together for a week.
Finally on Friday we demanded to talk to somebody that could help us through all these obstacles and in minutes the bar on the balcony was removed. I read a review today that said they had a fire in the air conditioner closet in the unit just the week before we arrived. We weren't told of this but the air conditioner started leaking water out on the carpet the night before we were to go home. We reported it to the office and tried to clean up the water on the carpet with a carpet scrubber. Needless to say they blamed us for the air conditioner malfunction and said we would not get any money back for our troubles. Also note the lawn crew cut grass and swept the pool while we were lounging about. I don't know who is to blame for our bad experience but I do know we will never go back to Gulfport, Ms.
I have been trying to get a resolution of my payments from VRBO for over a week, I am seem up to be over $200 per rental and when reviewing with customer service they actually recognized the problem. They sent me to HomeAway payments to talk with them who then told me it was an issue with VRBO. I have a case # and no resolution, no calls, no response and of course I do not have the income from the properties I should be getting. This is my first season with VRBO and this is pathetic. At this moment I am on the phone with customer service again getting the same runaround. At this point I don't know if they are this poor at customer or that they are actually stealing money from their home owners they serve?
This past year VRBO has added a service fee to the cost of booking. Everyone knows it is just a way of getting more money from owner's rentals. There is no service being given for the fee. Now they are saying, "You must use online booking to keep your account." I have found a way to get around this for a while but vrbo continues to tighten the noose to get their fee. This practice simply needs to be stopped. It is nothing more than stealing.
VRBO is now in the business of running our homes and charging fees that most homeowners are not aware of. The "service Fee" anywhere from 5-12% . Then the renter must go thru VRBO to book and and pay! Then the home owner is charged 3% for the credit card use. After 14 years of using VRBO I am done! If more owners would stand up and quit this site maybe the "greedy and controlling Company" would see the light. Better yet let's start our own site and truly be what VRBO used to stand for. Vacation rental by OWNERS!
VRBO sneakily collected millions of committed property owners over the years, always promising that the firm would not charge fees. Now when they have loads of owners and travelers locked in, they force the owners to pay exorbitant fees and at the same time cut off all direct connection with potential guests. Or else they will kick them out. Promises broken, business wrecked. For some reason the VRBO owners have decided to commit corporate suicide. The ultimate effect of VRBO shafting their owners and guests with these outrageous fees and draconian laws will be the creation of another site where fairness will prevail. I will be there. See you soon!!
I have been with VRBO since 2009. My rental did well before VRBO. Now that VRBO has become a booking platform and is using obfuscating methods to bill owners' visas for fees via rental and the tourist renters, I will not renew with them. They have told inquiries that my property is available when it is not. They are now forcing owner members to only book through a credit card that they can bill; they now want to completely control the owner's investment and business by having access to financial billings.
Many people who use VRBO have no idea they are billing them close to $200.00 just to book. Then they add on fees. It's time that owners go back to advertising through local Chamber of Commerce and tourist associations. If you own a good rental and run it meticulously honestly, and check your renters via relationships established... you do not need VRBO. VRBO could and may be just a call centre with many employees who do not speak English very well. I don't believe they protect the owner or renter. They wouldn't reimburse some scammed renters in Mexico who were on the TV news whose story that aired.
So for all the owners out there who feel their business has suffered from VRBO... take the initiative to inform local tourist bureaus and Chambers that tourists do not need to pay these fees to a call centre in Texas or in the Pacific or wherever they are to advertise their rental. My opinion based on my experiences with VRBO which are very similar to what I have read here previously.
Originally, the VRBO website was great for getting out information about our cottage in order to secure rentals in a very cost-effective manner. Costs began to skyrocket with VRBO, and our property made its way further and further down the pecking order of properties. Today, I received the message that VRBO is making online reservations mandatory which means lining the company's pockets with additional costs for both the owner and the renter and they will not allow owners or renters to see each other's emails until rental is secure — quite a RIPOFF! So done!
I have used VRBO for years now to rent out two vacation rentals. While I found their fees for listing rather high, I still felt it was worthwhile and I got excellent guest experiences. They were bought by Expedia and now have changed their requirements to hurt both owners and guests. They now charge the guest a "service fee" which they don't clearly state when the guest is registering. It only shows once they've paid. This is bait and switch clearly.
They now will not allow the owner to see the guest's contact information, clearly because they realize the owner will call and ask them to book directly with them to avoid the extra fees. They also now require the owners to sign up for auto-booking with them and use their credit card processor which nets them another 3%. My own processor is much less but I'm not allowed to use them. This will eventually all come back to bite this business as guests will not use them a 2nd time after hearing about the extra fees, but I feel this is illegal and a shoddy way of running a business.
Beware - We booked a home to rent at **. Our funds were sent to Cheryl ** with HomeAway who advertised with VRBO.com. In an email Cheryl said it was her home, gave us her text number in order contact her before our arrival so she could give us the door code. All was fine until one week before our arrival. We received an email from Cheryl saying she was putting us in contact with the homeowner, Teresa ** and, from now on we are to be in contact with her. We talked to Teresa, she said she has been in the home rental business for over twenty years and is good friends with Cheryl **. Yet, because Cheryl did not give Teresa any money from our booking Teresa would not rent her home to us.
We contacted VRBO and they were sorry but it would have to be handled through the homeowner and the broker. Since we could not resolve this we were out of funds for our booking and our flight tickets from California. Cheryl ** is a broker, her husband Bob ** owns HomeAway as parent company of VRBO as well, owns 22 other domain names for vacation rentals... Do not rent from these people or these companies.
I am a condo owner who has rented my Maui condos with VRBO.com for 19 years. Not long ago VRBO.com was bought by HomeAway.com which was bought by Expedia. They changed their entire business model which has hurt my rentals dramatically. Not only are they dollaring my guests to death with booking fees the guest gets hit with 3% charges for using credit cards.
In addition, the new business model requires me to accept online booking. If I have 14 nights open an island hopper can book 4 nights in the middle of those 14 nights and screw up my rentals. I will have 6 nights on the front and 4 on the back end of the rental OPEN. Hardly anyone comes to Maui for 6 nights. It's almost always 7, 9 or 10 nights. In other words I get a 4 night rental and lose income for 10 nights. If I refuse to rent those 4 nights HomeAway knocks me down in their rankings. That means my condo is not seen until you get to about the 15th page, if that. I am always packed in July. As I write this I have zero rentals in July. Bad.
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