Consumer Complaints and Reviews
Homeaway sold 2 property annual subscriptions saying no guests fees, that they would continue to permit owners to use personal contact info. However, as soon as they got everyone to pay 3295 they changes their policy. They are cheats, low life, money grabbers. Stay away from them.
Spent days researching houses on Long Beach Island that are for rent, for the prices that they are listed for. Drove 3 hours with my family to go see the houses that we all agreed on and spent hours driving, looking, & driving back home. Upon reaching out to the owners of the houses to start a contract agreement, the houses that were listed for 2,000-3,800 for the week- were mysteriously all posted "incorrectly" and wound up being 3,000 more than listed prices. If this were the case, those houses we never would have considered. THANK YOU, for a waste of an entire day, miles on my car, & leaving a frustrated family with no options. RENTER BEWARE.
Rented a London flat from VRBO. Paid a 300 GBP refundable damage deposit using one credit card. Subsequently paid for the balance of the rental using a different credit card. VRBO refunded the damage deposit to the second credit card - not to the card I used to pay for the deposit. When I asked VRBO to correct their error, they stated refunds are made to the account/credit card used for the second payment... "by default". Why wouldn't you issue the refund to the credit card that was used to pay it? Sounds like VRBO was too lazy to correct the error. Won't use them again.
I concur with the many negative reviews by homeowner renters who object to VRBO's recent policies. I would like to sue to force the company to change it's name since it is no longer Vacation Rental By Owners. But I would like to hear from others about what alternatives they have chosen. It appears that VRBO can get away with its policies because the competition is just as bad or worse. What can be done?
Booked a vacation to Key West for Aug 30-Sept 4, 2016. Hurricane Hermine was forming in the gulf off the coast of Florida. Cancelled the trip with HomeAway and the property manager on the 29th due to multiple travel advisories for Florida. Trip was booked about 2 months before via the HomeAway app, travel insurance was purchased through the App at the time of booking. Was handed off to CSA Travel in San Diego for the claims process. This company is a complete scam as illustrated by other reviews found easily on any of the consumer sites. Emails and calls went unanswered, extended wait times when attempting a call.
We all know the story. I fly jets professionally and travel 200 days a year, I am realistic in my expectations. I have been a faithful user of HomeAway and VRBO having booked several vacations. That relationship ends today. Claim was denied and this company will use any and all reasons to not pay. Another company ruined by consolidation and growth. I will be an AirBnB consumer or a hotel guest from now on.
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I was contacted by owner to remove a bad review. I was offered 75.00 to do so. Initially I agreed to, but got to thinking, how would anyone else know the condo was a disaster and wouldn't everyone like to know that? I'm guessing, some of the bad reviews were taken down or bribed out of their fair review. My point... Buyer beware, you're probably only seeing the good ones, not the bad ones.
I was working as a property manager for 6-7 years and was listing properties with HA/VRBO and had to go through many problems with them: scam when HA emails with 'HA/VRBO inquiry' in subject line were captured by scammers. As an IT professional I contacted VRBO right away and told them about simple fix. They had to change a subject line to have an unique sequence num and they would stop the scam of so many, but they did not react on anything and kept blaming homeowners when it was a result of their poor system development. If you know other sites did not have this kind of scam as they used property number or inquiry number in the subject line.
We had a subscription for each property but we had no protection for any scam, or we were alone with every complaint. We had people who withdrew the payment through credit card after they stayed in our property. So for our own system it was easy to handle, but with VRBO YALP is a nightmare. They did not want to submit our responses. They demanded 250$ just to submit our response to the bank and said that there is not much they can do anyway. So any guest after they stay can call credit card company and say whatever and get money back. VRBO gives money back and takes these money from the owners. They don't care. So great - owners can't catch a break.
After thousands in subscriptions or 20-25% of whole price in HA fees, we are lucky to make only 10% and all the rest are expenses and we are getting cheated, property is getting destroyed or getting robbed. So this business was closed based on my evaluation and nonsense of making HA/vrbo, Expedia or someone else rich. VRBO Yalp never fought on our behalf and never submitted our response to the bank about withdrawn payment by our guests who successfully stayed with us before our closing. Now after our business closed VRBO put the owner to collection for money that YALP (vrbo PAYMENT dept) refunded back to the traveler for no reason but couldn't take from us, as we were already closed down. Looks like they never submitted our response to the bank.
This scam should be added to a long list of VRBO other scams and how they make money. They lead very dishonest business and I would never own their stock. Personally I would never list my property on VRBO/HA and I would never rent on this system. I would rather go to direct contact with the owner, use recommendations and use credit card or paypal.
I recently had to cancel a vacation rental reservation with VRBO. At least 3 places during the reservation process it showed the owner's cancellation policy to be 100% refundable if canceled over 60 days from scheduled arrival. My cancellation was 15 MONTHS ahead of arrival. The rental agreement, which wasn't available or sent to me until AFTER the reservation was complete, stated that 1 night's stay would be deducted from the deposit. Because the entire amount wasn't refunded, VRBO will not refund the over $200 service fee. I've used VRBO many times over the past 3 years to book vacation rentals, but they have become deceptive, misleading and unethical since being purchased by Expedia. I will never use them again.
We own a vacation home in Florida and have always done very well when it comes to rentals/bookings at our home, that was until VRBO changed their policy and decided to add charges to our renters. Since the policy change we have had less bookings by way of VRBO and the guests that have booked have come back to us after they have booked complaining about hidden charges. We do try to explain the situation to them but I am sure some of them just think we are bumping up the price. I have been researching other sites trying to bring our bookings back up and I have discovered that a lot of the sites only allow communication between myself and the potential guest by way of the site which means they control my communications.
I have signed up on one site that promotes direct contact between myself and my potential guests. I did run a test by asking a friend of mine to go on and inquire about my property and it worked. The communication was direct. I received his inquiry which included his email address and I was able to email him back directly. The site I found was Florida Vacation Homes By Owner (FVHBO.com), I hope this information can be of help to others. Thanks.
I must say, I feel a lot better having read the latest 50 or so reviews addressing the current VRBO scam. I knew there was a change, but didn't realize just how disruptive/dissatisfying it was to both home owners and renters alike. It now appears my outrage is matched by a large number of people. I have been with VRBO since 2005, and remained very satisfied until this year, despite an ever rising price structure. I paid an all time high $1500 in February 2016 for a "Platinum Membership". My listing for Sanibel Island dropped from 50ish to 384 in the last several months. Seemed like a contract violation given what I paid. I mean, all of us know we pay what we have to improve your listing's rank, right?
So I called them to ask why I paid the maximum for a one year subscription and did not retain my position. I was told that my drop in rankings would have been significantly worse had I not paid all that money. Boy, did I feel relieved. Not. This "book it now" business model is a joke. It is simple greed, and owners and renters alike agree. They have screwed up a very simple and successful idea. There must be some sort of class action we can implement. By the way, the founder and CEO of Homeaway just resigned. Smart.
I have been with VRBO/Homeaway for 10 years and no problem any time something went wrong. You called them and they fixed it. But since being bought out by Expedia they are no responsive and won't fix real problems. I own a house along the oceanfront that they show 2 miles away from the ocean. They have decided to gradually move listing to wherever google maps says a house is regardless if it is right or wrong. I have had a trouble ticket with them for 10 days and even gave them the correct gps location and no response. I even went to google maps and sent the correct location to them and google maps fixed it on their end within 24 hours and I then sent a copy of google maps to the VRBO/Homeaway team and nothing.
You call customer service and they say they cannot talk to these people only email them and don't know why it isn't fixed. My only recourse is to dispute charge with my credit card company since VRBO doesn't give refunds even if they advertise you incorrectly. Do not do business with them. They really need to be shut down for their business practices.
My wife has rented a condo we own in Hilton Head Island, S.C. through VRBO for numerous years as well as other properties. Their system and results were extremely good. Now with Expedia you are held hostage to signing their agreement to allow them to manage and charge for all services they offer. No direct contact with renters and fees for servicing we did not want and warranties we did not want. The worst part of all is my wife is accustomed to receiving five to ten inquiries per week on the HHI condo.
After Expedia's purchase we did not sign up to use their services due to their expensive fees which makes your property less competitive. The result was all inquiries about rentals for our property stopped. Zero. We had no requests for rental which is rather strange. How do we go from several a week to zero? Oh! We didn't sign up to allow Expedia to manage the property. I am mad as hell about these onerous tactics as you are left with no other choice than to sign their management agreement which my wife has done. Immediately we got one inquiry, no rental, due to added fees and warranty quotes. What are small renters to do against a large company such as Expedia? The only way I have to fight back is to join with others in a class action lawsuit, which I hope will be initiated like "HomeAway's" and I will not use Expedia for any other service, period.
I've used VRBO for at least 10 years, and I typically book through them 3-5 times per year. When I recently booked a trip on 8/29, I was charged a $222 service fee, which was not clearly communicated when the reservation was made over the phone. This new fee should be clearly communicated as a new charge that provides little to no value. I would not have booked on VRBO had I known in advance about this new fee, and I will never book through them again. The fee should be very clearly articulated both on the website as well as the agent when booking by phone like we did. These are deceptive trade practices.
A young woman going by the name of Shanice ** rented my place via VRBO and, while there, stole personal checks and made out thousands of dollars' worth of checks to cash for herself. When I threatened to press charges, she destroyed my home before I could have her removed by the police. She broke my bed, destroyed my couch, broke mirrors and lamps, and left soiled clothing items strewn about my unit. Drug bags and a crack pipe were left on my coffee table. She managed to break into a hidden drawer of personal items and stole jewelry, glassware, linens, and other personal effects.
VRBO and Home Away have done NOTHING to assist or reimburse me. According to their policies, guests may purchase insurance to cover property damage, which was my understanding with this guest. But because the guest in question is a felon and scam artists, her card on file is bogus and cannot be charged. I would recommend AirBnB over VRBO any day. This business has provided zero help or support in the wake of this nightmare. It's shameful and outrageous.
They have restructured their company to benefit themselves, and owners wishing to advertise their properties, and guests, are suffering as a result. They have removed owners' phone numbers from websites. You are forced to purchase a VRBO listing at $499 each to advertise on their site, and because you do not use their BOOK IT feature which costs guests 9% booking fee, which we do not, our ads are placed at the bottom of same type condo listings. They need to change their name from Vacation Rental by Owner to Vacation Rental by Expedia. I have 25 properties, and looking for a new company and getting out of VRBO.
As a homeowner, I share the same experiences shared by many of you in the most recent posts regarding HomeAway and VRBO and their decision to begin charging end-customers (guests) fees on top of homeowner rental fees - so I don't think I need to add anything more about that part of the change to their business model. What I find equally concerning is the deceptive and untrue tactics used to scare potential guests. Our VRBO page now features a message stating: "The owner has been emailed. To book this property, you need to complete your booking through checkout on the VRBO website. We can't protect your payment if we don't know you've booked through us. Learn more."
Deceptive: implying that guests must book through for protection. Absurd and deceitful. My wife and I have enjoyed working directly with guests through VRBO for 6 years without an issue. Suddenly we're not to be trusted? (come on guys - really?) Untrue: guests CAN book our property directly through us from the our VRBO page (if they can find us now), by simply clicking 'Send Email'. Brian et al - I hope you see all these posts. You must have forgotten - without all of us homeowners - you wouldn't exist (you're welcome). Your greed will be your demise.
I started using VRBO in 2009 and had a great experience until they were purchased by Expedia. The other reviews are correct, they change their pricing without regard or notification to their clients, which I put up with because the platform was fairly decent until now. We got a ONE star review on our 5 star property for a time when it was not rented (we were using it). The notice from VRBO said they were reviewing a property in Indiana, ours is in NJ. When I called they said we have to get a case number (which they gave me) and they would review it and get back to me and they would NOT temporarily take it off while they investigated. Then they emailed us with a case number (which we already had) and did NOTHING until we would write back to them again.
I called and the people that work there are like robots with no power, not even any skills to show some compassion. They AGAIN could do NOTHING, not even block the review from viewing. I wrote back and am hopeful someone will respond. Anyone can write a review about any property at any time, even if they have never stayed there! We are in pursuit of other avenues to showcase our property at this point.
VRBO advised me to post a review for **. We have been unable to get our refundable deposit back from James ** with Vacation Rentals in the Desert. We cancelled 8 months prior to our planned stay because we discovered the home was listed on auction.com as well as listed for sale. VRBO actually has set up their review system so that you can't submit a review unless you have actually stayed in the property. We wanted to warn others that the property manager is a scam artist. We are very displeased with our dealings with VRBO.
When looking through VRBO listings, one tends to send enquiries to more than one listing at a time. There might be questions, better properties may come up, prices need to be confirmed, etc... so sending an enquiry should not be a commitment to rent. Some listings require banking information in order to submit enquiries. There is no warning noting that your bank account will be debited for the full amount of rental, insurance, etc for each enquiry. I did not even receive replies for some of the enquiries, yet my bank account was debited and now I am being told that funds will be held for 7 days. I will never use VRBO again. A scam.
Having been a client of VRBO since 2007, I have been consistently disappointed with the ever changing fee structure and concept of the site. VRBO as "Vacation Rental by Owner" was the site I originally signed up for. I rent my home to guests who appreciate living like a local. I do not own a hotel, this is my personal residence and I want to have contact with the guests before approving a stay, to be able to weed out the scams (which consist of a grand majority of inquiries). Since being bought by HomeAway and then Expedia the amount of hubris management has shown is exceptional. I signed a one year contract and paid top dollar in January 2016. In July 2016 a new program was rolled out charging my guests a 9% fee. How in the world is it legal to change the structure in the middle of a contract?
I renewed again before July 2016 for one more year (so till January 2018) as they claimed I could keep my current listing status if I did so. This is completely false. Instead of keeping current status, they added the "book now" button, put me at the bottom of the list and I've had exactly one inquiry since March. The one inquiry included the new "service fee" of 9% and offered the guests direct payment. I am unclear as to how VRBO can accept payment for my property and offer "insurance" on it, when they have no means of getting payment to me. I have never given them authorization, nor do they have my banking information. The patronizing video that Expedia's CEO filmed explaining the new plan was full of misinformation and I not longer will be doing business with them. If anyone out there knows of another site where the original concept of a homeowner renting directly to guests, I'd be happy to hear of it.
Owner review of me/plus extra fees - Always got a great review and returned to many places in SoCal, but got a bad VRBO review. No easy way to respond. I'm hoping someone at VRBO sees this and responds. I tried to email VRBO, but the system kept stopping me. Meanwhile, VRBO adds a fee when you go to pay that is not listed in the cost of the place. The owner apologized and promise to reimburse the fee, but didn't. No more VRBO for me.
So customers can give reviews on VRBO but they lie and VRBO doesn't request any proof and they get all the bad reviews approved but landlord can't do anything about when a dishonest customer want something for free and play the game, "Give me a free day or I will give you a bad review." My customer through VRBO dashboard told me that would give me a bad review because I told him I wouldn't give him a free stay and VRBO read all my history and did nothing to defend me when I pay lots of money to this crap company that now I hate and I will not renew my ad. Customer are dishonest and use reviews against landlords and VRBO does nothing. Now I'm advertising at Florida premier and it's way different and better. LANDLORDS PLEASE DON'T RENEW YOUR AD. GIVE UP ON VRBO SO THEY WILL BE FORCED TO CHANGE THEIR STUPIDS RULES. We pay lots of money to this crap, I hate VRBO! Hate it!
I'm writing this to warn anyone who uses VRBO that you will be quoted a price you'll book it and pay and lo and behold you will get a charge from HomeAway in addition. This has happened to me twice already. After disputing the charge with the rental company (Hilton Head Golf and Rental) they told me to call HomeAway... What a joke... After 1 hour on the phone they told me to look at the very bottom of the VRBO website and find terms and conditions... It is in very small type way at the bottom of the page and it is under #9 that there may be an additional service charge. If you go to the VRBO website go way to the bottom and click on terms and conditions and look it up. I will never book through them again... I will go direct to the rental agent.
I have been paying VRBO contract for over 8 years. They continue to change their requirements for their posting position according to "their needs" not their "paying customers". Since Expedia took over, it is spiraling down. I paid $1200 this past year and $1000 a year for 2 years before that and I have had probably 75% less inquiries even when I signed up for online payments but VRBO gives you the option to contact the owner and call them. When you do, I think they block you for other inquiries. Looking for other options in the future. I dropped online payments as no one who rents my home wants to pay a service fee for something I as an owner are paying to list my property.
My rental property is a seasonal rental. It's in Florida and always rents for January-April. This year, I couldn't figure out why it isn't rented. I went to my VRBO listing and realized it wasn't to be found. I called VRBO and they said it was removed because I didn't update my calendar. I have no reason to update it because I have no rentals May through December. So what gives them the right to remove my listing? They said, 1) I didn't update my calendar, and 2) I am hidden and when I do update my calendar, I am WAY down on the list because I am not doing their online booking. Now, online booking of course gives them 2.9% of my renters money. Well, on a 90 day rental, it is almost $400 more dollars. This isn't right!
Homeowners on VRBO should be very careful about their fees. The first year my membership was not automatically renewed as I understood it would be - I was told "you have to renew it every year." The next year - after not using the site and taking my home out of the rental market - they automatically charged me for a full year. That's after not using their site for under a year. They just keep changing their policy so they can charge you - but don't always notify you. On follow up many times with them, they refused to assist and were really very rude. In the end they didn't refund and we had to call back a 6th time to endure it was in fact cancelled. It wasn't - after all that conversation about cancelling it they still didn't bother to cancel it. Terrible service, unprofessional, and unacceptable. If I didn't call back to double check I would have been charged again next year!!!
I will NEVER use VRBO again. I was hit with a service fee that wasn't disclosed in any way. When I contacted VRBO customer service I was given a runaround. I contacted the owner of the property and was told that the fee is something new. He said that he pays VRBO a yearly fee to list his property on the web and, until recently, had never had to deal with an additional charge to the renter. In this case I have, to my way of thinking, had $59.31 stolen from me by VRBO and apparently there is not a darn thing I can do about it.
Does anyone know if this the latest scam from VRBO/HomeAway? I responded direct to VRBO on listing number 301526. A beautiful home in Brentwood, CA, that seemed almost too good to be true - and more about that soon. My wife and I wanted to reserve the first two weeks of October. We were excited to find the listing! The home and grounds looked awesome! I submitted a question prior to committing and instead of an answer I got a phone call from VRBO telling me that in actuality listing 301526 is NOT AVAILABLE NOW OR IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE due to it being under "LONG TERM LEASE". However, in a very authoritative and practiced voice, the sales scum says "But we (VRBO) have many other wonderful and delightful homes in the area!!! Wow well la-di-da. Isn't this tactic of offering what you have no intention of delivering against the law? Or just against every moral and ethical business practice known to mankind.
I have had three London properties on VRBO since 2001, and it was our main source of income after my partner got injured in hospital in 2000. Every January we pay £1000 per property to advertise with them. They have now tried to force their 'book and pay through them' policy onto us and yesterday when I went to see my inbox for enquiries, this pop-up box popped up and there is no 'X' to close it down. I can't access my inbox and yet still have another five months worth of advertising paid up in advance with them. It's a SHAM!!!
VRBO, HOMEAWAY, AND VACATION RENTALS now strongarms owners to make them use the BOOK IT NOW system where travelers are forced to book thru VRBO instead of booking through the owner. VRBO implements the book it now system, and charges the traveler a 6-10% extra fee (nothing to do with the homeowner) and when traveler tries to book directly with homeowner, they suspend homeowner's ad or put them at the bottom of the list. This is a purely wasted fee! Don't book thru VRBO. Use Flipkey and save yourself money! Go find the same house on Flipkey. Save yourself hundreds of dollars!
Here is a quote: 5 nights $4750.00, cleaning fee $400.00, Property Damage Protection $59.00, Service Fee $283.25, Tax: $691.13, Sub-total: $6183.38. The SERVICE FEE IS FOR NOTHING! A VRBO CREAM THE PROFIT OFF THE TOP AND CHARGE EVERY TRAVELER FOR NOTHING. They don't guarantee your rental. They don't verify that the house is owned by the person posting the ad. Beware! Don't use VRBO, HomeAway or Vacation Rentals.
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