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I have been a customer of theirs since 2007. At that point in time, the product they were offering was satisfactory to very good. I was able to screen and converse with my guests, collect the rents, and felt that the advertising and promotion they offered was satisfactory for the cost. When rates went up, I was unhappy, but paid them as I knew the cost of doing business had probably gone up. Well, I renewed with them in April 2017 for an additional year, but did it unhappily. I found out that Expedia had bought them out, and not only had the rates to the owner doubled, but they list properties in my area that are NOT in my area, so that they can bury the ones who are not allowing them to collect their money, book their calendar, charge the guest, charge the owner more with each booking, charge credit card fees, damage insurance, and most importantly, not allow us to talk or communicate with the guest.
The only reason I renewed was that I could not find another site at the last minute to switch to, and they were holding my clients hostage. They were also telling my guests that they needed to be protected from the owners who, although screened, could not guarantee that there would be no fraud or theft of their money. After I signed up, VRBO, without notification, then scrapped the professional video of my home that I spent $500 for as it was branded with my name and phone number. And, they now require an email address on the booking, even though they already have one from their own guests. I cannot put one of my own bookings on the calendar without it, and need to do this in order to keep my calendar accurate and all in one place. So, then my personal clients start getting all of the extra charge advertising, which I consider spam. I am livid and will not be renewing next year.
I have been a vacation rental owner on Kauai for over 40 years and have had a great track record. What VRBO/Expedia is doing is creating a "scare package" to lure customers away from owner representation. They told me last year that they have less than a 1% loss factor, so the fraud is a lie. My take is that another good business has gone sideways after being taken over by a corrupt greedy corporation who will milk the situation dry and then abandon it. I am looking for a new venue, and will take my clients and fellow vacation owners who I have known for all of those 40 years with me. I checked out Airbnb... They are no better. I am looking at one company that is a startup in the face of the VRBO change, and would be happy to advise any other vacation rental owners once and if I find they are the solution.
My family and I rented a large home 6 months in advance, paying the agreed upon 50% deposit. My brother's family cancelled on us and we cancelled the reservation, 4 months in advance. The cancellation policy clearly stated on the VRBO site "see owner's rental agreement for cancellation policy." It states with cancellations made >30 days prior to the arrival date will incur a penalty equal to 10% of the deposit. This would be 362.60. Our penalty was 777.00, per the balance that was refunded to me. I contacted VRBO twice, via email, and both times got a ‘beat around the bush, convoluted response.'
FRUSTRATED. They suggested I contact the owner for a full refund, and IF he agreed, they'd return their part too. I forwarded all the emails to him, who replied he'd also been dinged with fees and was keeping his 10%, and wasn't returning anything. This means that VRBO received 415.00 for my cancellation. HUH? How is this right?! No response from VRBO.
I booked two nights on VRBO to have a peaceful getaway in an accommodation at Seagrove Beach called Zen Retreat with owner James ** a few days before my vacation, it became clear my mother was extremely ill. And I thought she might not survive. She died prematurely and unexpectedly and I was in full communication with James **. I canceled my trip hoping someone would be able to rent the accommodation. James refused to give me a refund or credit or switch dates despite the fact that my mother died about 24 hours after I canceled. Sometime on that day he closed the opportunity for someone to reserve one of the nights and increased the price for the nightly for the following day more than 200%.
We own three condos in Las Vegas at the Signature MGM. VRBO and HomeAway were great for our vacation rental business until this year. They changed their format and even when I type in the search engine "Signature MGM" I get tons of other properties that are NOT The Signature MGM. Our business has dropped significantly. August and September are usually our biggest booking months for the next year. We have not booked a property for over two weeks. This is ridiculous. Where is the ROI for the fees we are paying?
What once was good is now as bad as it can get... In short, before Expedia bought them, vrbo.com was a great site, and worth the money 500 a year. We paid to list and now they have so frustrated the process of vetting guests and getting to know them and getting paid, by anyone but them or even paying them and us, to a point where with filtered phone numbers that I am getting out of the business as it’s not worth the extra effort that used to bring in extra income. Airbnb is by far the better site if you have to go through all this, uncertainty and frustration and risk and neither is any good anymore for the absent owner.
They have a right to get paid but now they have lost sight of what customer service is... They are basically in bed with vacationrentalpayment.com to make it look fraudulent... but it’s designed to get their fee. Their customer service satisfaction guarantee is fundamentally worthless. If you are thinking of getting into the business, be prepared to be frustrated. This is not the same company it used to be and I have about seven rentals and been doing it for 8 years. After the city state and licensing bureaus run you through the mill, and tax and require paperwork like crazy, it’s another instance of all the hands biting the hands that feed them.
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We rented two vacation homes through VRBO the last 2 years. Both times the homes were not as represented by the owners in the advertising. The furniture was very uncomfortable, the homes were dirty and messy, one living room sofa was damaged, stained and even had a hole in it. (The sofa in the photos on VRBO website makes it look new.) One of these owners did not have anyone really check her property before the new traveler gets there. In our case, the owner actually asked us what the property looked like when we called her complaining the TV did not work! Both times we stayed in the vacation rental because we felt we had no choice.
VRBO does not check the reality of what is being offered on their site. They appear oblivious that the owners may not know how to present or even describe their own property. I am a property manager so I know what renters look for in residential property. They do NOT want dusty personal items with lots of knick knacks or personal "family" pictures all over. They also want very clean and organized kitchens. We realize that VRBO is not aware of what they are doing and they are not professional in dealing with their own clients. We have decided to move on to use professional hotels where they know what they are doing or we will only rent from owners through a website that is professional and they actually CHECK the property personally. What a learning experience for our family! We will not suffer again due to VRBO sloppiness.
We stayed at a VRBO/HomeAway rental that was poorly maintained and unclean. I wrote a detailed complaint to VRBO and included photos of some of the issues. Essentially the bottom line is that I can file a complaint, which will be forwarded to the property owner, but then it is up to the property owner as to whether or not they will make any changes. VRBO/HomeAway, when I contacted them following my written complaint said there is no recourse unless the property was misrepresented. I said, "This property was listed as a 'cozy cottage' but I wouldn't describe it as that. The VRBO representative said would not constitute misrepresentation; she meant if the property was listed as a four bedroom but only had three bedrooms. I commented that we were told there would be a grill out for our use but there wasn't. That still was not enough of a disparity between listing and actuality.
I mentioned that one of the four mattresses and box spring were still covered in the hard plastic they come in, but apparently if there is a bed that meets the standard. Not to mention that one of the other beds was like a taco where it came together in the middle when we slept on it. This is just part of the complaint with the property. My main complaint is that VRBO/HomeAway doesn't have any policies to deal with these sorts of situations, so renters are on their own if they have a bad experience!!! Renters are supposed to work things out with the homeowners, but if the homeowners were interested in providing a good experience for renters they wouldn't be renting a property that is dirty and poorly maintained in the first place. This rental needed more than just a quick "wipe down," which they claim they do between renters! Even the windows and microwave were filthy.
I tried to upload and pay for a new listing. I was sent an email from a third party company that VRBO and HomeAway have decided to do business with called Vacation Rent Payment. That is when everything went south. I called and left messages to the number provided in the email and I never got a callback after several days. I called again and was able to speak to someone and they put me on hold and sent my call to the same person who never called back. So, I called again and asked to speak to management; they asked what it was about.
After going through the entire story I was placed on hold again. I waited 20 minutes when someone answered saying they were with the resolution department and gave their first name, (Tina) and it then switched over to their recorded survey. I, of course, responded with the most negative response allowed. Not that it will do any good. I then called back and got yet another person. She asked the questions to make sure I was a legitimate customer; I then asked to speak with someone in their resolution department. She asked that I tell her what my concern was; I said I don't want to go through all of it again with her, only to do it again with the resolution person. She asked me three times to tell her; I then told her if she asked again I will take my business elsewhere. Again, she asked and I told her "Goodbye".
I am sorry VRBO has sold out to a company so large that customer service with the companies they do business with and requires everyone to deal with this horrible customer service that I truly believe the overall business will suffer greatly. I will be surprised if it doesn't. I will not be doing any further business with any vacation rental company that deals with Vacation Rent Payment. I'm just sad I have other listings that I have to wait for the listing to expire before I can move them to a different company.
VRBO use to be fantastic! I have had my property listed since 2011 and loved it. I was able to navigate the site and my guests were able to reach me. I like getting to know my guests before they arrived and them me. I have many returning year after year. Now I have very little contact with my guests and feel I have very little control. I also do not like the online banking. This is my business and my money. They should not have anything to do with my banking!! Ridiculous and just a money grab for the home away company. We need another site that will be like the old VRBO, owner having the control!
Beware if you are Canadian and renting a Canadian cottage you can be charged American funds. With no notice just a $ sign!!! According to VBRO a dollar sign $ is suppose to Mean American funds??? Being Canadian I didn't know that a dollar sign wasn't Canadian funds... I called and tried to get to bottom of this and that is what customer service rep told Me... $ sign is American money... I guess our Canadian money isn't Real money!!! Next time I will Make sure I am booking with my "fake money" so I am not shocked at my Visa statement!
I've have been using VRBO & Home Away to list vacation rentals in Daytona Beach since 2007. We pay a yearly fee to be listed on their website. This fee isn't cheap, if I'm not mistaken the renewal on 1 of the 5 condos we have listed with them is coming up and it is about $500 per year. I would be good if VRBO & Home Away raised their fees back up to around the &1000.00 amount I was paying when I started in 2007, if they would just go back to the way it was then. It was so much better when they were just a listing site not a booking site. As of now I'm hoping before my next renewal comes up I can find another web site that is what VRBO & Home Away use to be, or maybe I'll just have to build a website to list my condos on and do advertising for it on the internet.
When I first stated listing on their website, I'd get an email from a potential renter and I could either email them back or call them. I always did both, this way I could confirm that our condo was a good fit for them and they for our condo. There are association rules, rules we have, that need to be explain along with questions I have and questions they. This all needs to be handled before we even decide if they want to rent the condo. I do not accept credit cards or PayPal and have always had my renters to just mail me a check. I require the deposit 1st and don't require the 2nd payment for the rental fee until 2 weeks before their arrival.
Now VRBO & Home Away won't release the phone number or email address to me or the potential renter until I accept the rental and the renter pays for their rental thru VRBO & Home Away. They require this at the time of booking and sometimes that is months before they arrive. I am now booking for 2018 and there is no sense in a renter having to pay more than the deposit that far in advance.
I booked a vacation rental house back in Oct 2016 for my extended family of 12. I paid in full along with $1000 security deposit. 3 weeks to my trip, I get an email from the owner of the property that because of the city code issue, they can no longer rent the property. I did get a full refund back but the point is my family has been looking forward to this trip for a year and even took days off from work. We were trying to locate another property but it was too expensive. We had to cancel our long awaited vacation. I feel that the owner should find a comparable property but all he did was recommend a few places.
I have to agree with Nelson of Loveland, CO, VRBO which was bought by HomeAway in 2006, was great for all our other rentals up until now. Since Expedia bought HomeAway in 2015, I've never paid such ridiculous fees. They don't let the owners or managers communicate with the renters or us with them. Our last rental the manager didn't even know we were coming until a couple days before our arrival. The property was almost double booked. Their customer service is a joke and a waste of time. We will never use anything that Expedia has bought ever again.
I am losing business by using the new VRBO. I have been using VRBO since 2005. This year I have had my property hidden. I have had 2 weeks of vacancy in July due to hidden property. I pay VRBO to show my place on their website LOTS OF MONEY. It is my business how I handle my potential renters. I want them to call me and I want to call them. VRBO won't show my number. I am ready for a class action law suit. Anyone else?
Second time that I have experienced unprofessional customer service reps and sales department reps. I have been with VRBO for 8 years and loved the old VRBO. I sang their praises, even wrote articles about them as a travel writer. I will no longer be doing this. They are charging fees to renters/owners and taking the vacation renters by OWNER away entirely. My renewal is up today, I was going to renew and then again so mistreated by the reps and the customer service. They state renters will pay 5-12% fee when renting depending on the rent but can not provide a scale. They charge owners credit card fees and charge renters service fees and charge a yearly subscription for what? I hope they lose all the good rentals by owner and it becomes vacations beware! Really who wants to work with a company that treats its clients with such hostility.
VRBO with a great reputation was bought out by HOMEAWAY double charging first me $400 now my guest $70 a guest or more. I have to sign in every time with passwords every time. My home is in a rural area with bad phone service. Now every time I'm sent some email no service to sign in. I never get to talk to my return guest or any they're booking when they're already booked. The customer service 15 minute wait they say but it's longer going to India somewhere. I've always been paid before arrival. Nowadays after checking out HOLDING payment For 1 Month before I get paid. Ripping people off. 5 years NEVER had to call VRBO. Now 6 Times a month no good.
My family rented a house for the first full week in July in the mountains of North Carolina. When we arrived to check in it was unacceptable. It was littered with cat hair (not stated in rental proposal that cats inhabited house) and a rail up a steep hill was detached and created hazard for climbing up steps. We could not stay without severe allergy response and danger at entering. Homeowner only refunded 50%.
Even the cleaning fee was not refunded. We did not unpack and were probably there 10 minutes with the owner. VRBO was not helpful in any way. They were not advocates for a larger refund and this property is still listed on their site. They quickly washed their hands of it, even though it was misrepresented in their ad. They also promised an additional response within a week from their team and it was never executed. I called back last week (about one month later) and three people up the food chain gave the same unhelpful responses. Their last leader left a message instead of speaking to me personally. DO NOT RENT FROM THIS Organization. They are not customer-friendly!!! This whole incident, including additional housing expenses, cost me more than an extra $1,000.
Be cautious when using VRBO/HomeAway to book rental properties. They charge a fee in addition to any charges associated with the owner's rental agreement. They list this as "Service Fee" on the rental request email confirm. Here's how it worked: I found the property that I wanted to rent on VRBO/HomeAway; they sent a confirmation via email that lists the "Service Fee" Charge after you have provided credit card info (in my case $264.00); The confirm told me that the owner's rental agent (travel agent) would be contacting me within 24 hours; I then proceeded to book with the agent direct (not VRBO/HomeAway) after negotiating terms of the agreement with agent.
Not sure how VRBO/HomeAway factors their value into this equation, but I know that the owners also pay a fee to list properties as well. VRBO/HomeAway has sneakily structured the transaction to lure the renter into indirectly reserving a property, only to book with the owner's rental agent. I suggest finding the property you like, then book direct to avoid this fee, if at all possible.
Is anyone aware of all the scammers that have taken to renting homes thru the vacation websites. I was scammed by a group of girls that paid with a fraudulent credit card. I had a bad feeling about them and called VRBO before they checked in. VRBO would not give me any information about the person that actually booked. All their profile said was she was a member since 2017 which means she could have opened her account 2 days before (Which I found out she opened it one day before). It took 4 weeks for HomeAway to notify me the card was fraudulent and the money was charged back out of my account.
I wanted to leave a review warning others but they told me I could not leave a review because the 14 day period was up. REALLY?! I can't warn my fellow owners to be aware of these girls. Just let them go on to steal from more people. I have been hit four more times in the past month but this time I did not accept their reservation.
To warn you all. They typically book the night before and only book for one or two nights. That way they are gone before you find out the credit card was fraudulent. Their accounts are new. That way there is no complaints filed yet. I have been asked 3 times in the past month if I would take cashiers checks. Obviously I would never. My complaint with VRBO/ HomeAway is that they are the ones that took the credit card. They should be responsible for the frauds. They refused to tell me when the person actually opened the account. If I knew it was within the past week that would have helped me with my suspicions. If you cancel bookings too many times you can get your account closed or lose your good status. With more and more of these disgusting scammers trying to book our places I am going to have to cancel more bookings and I hope my account will not get closed.
I just sent this to a representative of VRBO, a company that was once good but is simply awful now: We have decided not to renew our listings with VRBO. We long ago grew tired of constantly being strong-armed by VRBO to conduct OUR business to better suit/benefit VRBO. Among our too many to detail fully complaints is the fact that the amount we were told we would make from a listing was nowhere near the amount we did make. We went round and round with VRBO over this because it screwed up our accounting and took a ridiculous amount of time to figure out each payment. VRBO acts as though the CC processor is another entity and oh gee, they can't possibly factor the CC fee into the computations to give us a clean net amount.
Other items in the ANGRY column include but are not limited to: Paying a ridiculously high annual rate per listing and then facing never-ending increases in those charges along with reductions in what we got for that money. Being told we had to enable online bookings to maintain our placement. Being told we were NOT ACCEPTING ENOUGH BOOKINGS THROUGH VRBO [and in danger of maintaining anywhere near a healthy bottom line for OUR company].
The "service fee" instituted to rip off the guests; we have told almost every one of the people who contacted us through VRBO they needed to look at the list of charges and note the service fee was just another money grab. The way VRBO tries to convince guests and hosts the other is a creep and the only safe way to book is through VRBO. Funny how we have operated our many businesses by working directly with our customers for over 40 years and for the most part have never had a problem.
The list goes on but I have many things I need to take care of and as I learned from years of pitching a fit over all of this with VRBO, the company doesn't care at all. We are spending more time maximizing our AIRBNB, Glamping, Trip Advisor and other third party listings as well as tending our own website and although we will miss the VRBO leads, we are thrilled to be free of the smarmy tactics of VRBO.
Good luck with the even higher rates coupled with far less control for hosts. There is a reason when you Google "I hate VRBO," so many sites spring up. As soon as I finish this email to you at VRBO, I am posting it on the Consumer Affairs website. I see our complaints are echoed by many, many others on all of these sites about how good VRBO once was and how detestable it is now.
I just rented my property for the first time through VRBO. I learned today that they received approximately $5,000 from the person renting the property. In three months they collect the rest. They keep this money using it for their own purposes and four months from now they send the money to the owner. I wish I had read the fine print.
I have purchased an add on VRBO since 1991, the old company was great! Over the years I increased my level so I was higher to the top of their page. Then they sold out last year, ** in a hand basket! I paid for inquiries, I got the person name, phone number, email and personal address. I contacted them to talk to the potential renter, gave them an idea of our complex rules and ours, found out their age and how many cars and how many people would be staying. Our complex has rules to age! Now all I get is a message from VRBO or HomeAway that I have an interested renter, I get no Idea of their age, how many cars!
Then they tack on a 10 percent service fee, then a fee to put my money in my account! In the past I could go to my account and look up past renters info that I paid for! They even took those away from me. In June someone sent a reply to a potential renter that I had texted that I was booked. They said I had a cancellation and wanted the renter to mail 1/2 of the rental amount to a bank on the other side of the USA, I reported it to VRBO, never heard back from them! I will never refer this company to anyone! Renter or homeowner wanting to rent!
I made two reservation and paid for it. I even got confirmation from them that my reservation was confirmed. I get to airport in Thailand. I look at my email. It showed both of my reservation are canceled for reverse charge by the bank. I called my Bank. They told me the VRBO has not tried to charge the booking, I called the VRBO. They are telling me they sorry and they will get back to me in 48 hours. I always used Airbnb. This time I wanted to try this company, I will never book any of my vacation rental with this company.
The recent changes VRBO has made requiring an owner to have a traveler book their rental using VRBO's online booking causes us to drop VRBO. We have always worked directly with the traveler renting our vacation homes. It has worked well for us. We communicate directly with the renter, quote the availability and pricing, reduce everything to writing in a rental agreement for our mutual understanding. We charge the renter directly, which means we receive our money and don't have to depend on VRBO for our funds. (We believe that using VRBO's online booking the owner doesn't receive their money until after the occupancy has taken place. Not good.) VRBO is hiding the owner from the renter and vice-versa in an effort to control the owners. VRBO is looking to gouge both the owners and the renters. We don't need them. Yes, the listings have been helpful, but not at the cost and change to how we do business VRBO is now requiring.
We are on the hunt for an online vacation rental model that works like VRBO used to before they stuck it to us. We have been using VRBO for six years. We hated dealing with them. They have always treated the owners like crap. They were constantly sneaking changes, costs and sly methods into the process leading up to the latest changes requiring booking through them. Luckily we prepared for this and have developed our own website over the years. We are done with VRBO. We would still like to have listing on sites for referral. Have been considering HomeToGo and HomeEscape. Owners: The best way to beat this sneaky company (VRBO) is to leave them and find another method.
My family and I have used VRBO and HomeAway in the past and have had good results. Our most recent experience will keep us from ever using their service again. We rented a beach house in Ventura, CA for one week, and while the location was fabulous, the condition of the property was only tolerable. The listing had Air Conditioning as an amenity, yet there was none, and the owner "doubted" that it was listed until I showed her property manager the listing. It was also stated that there was a TV in the master bedroom, but there was not. It turned out that those were minor issues compared to the water leak which caused the bathroom and linen cupboard to smell so strongly of mildew, that it was difficult for me and my family to use that room.
On the first day I laundered all of the towels and stored them in the living room because of the disgusting smell in the bathroom. There was also mold all around the bathtub, but I was told that at least it was functional. Next problem was the furniture in the family room. Two faux leather chairs had the surface of the arms and seats wearing away to the point that the floor in front of them had little bits of the covering all over it - no matter how often we cleaned it up. The sofa had also seen better days. It had so many stains that I don't think Goodwill would take it. The owner did reimburse us for a $25 fan and an $8 plunger to fix the toilet, after he said he thought he had just recently put a plunger in the bathroom. Guess they knew it stopped up, but chose not to have it repaired.
I talked with both the owner and manager about the issues, but they made no apology and did not offer any reduction in fees. I looked on HomeAway's website and it basically said that you can ask the owner for a discount, but if they refuse, your only recourse is to write an honest review, which has the potential to damage the owner's business, but leaves me feeling as though our family has been totally ripped off! I believe HomeAway and VRBO should have a verification process so that consumers who spend thousands of dollars on what they believe will be a nice vacation unit will actually be able to get that!
I have been renting my beach condo through VRBO for over 10 years and stuck with them even though the annual subscription fees kept going up significantly over the years, because I was getting quality renters and had total control on screening and collection of security deposits and rents. Ever since they merged with HomeAway and VacationRentals and were acquired by Expedia, the business model has rapidly deteriorated. I think this happened shortly after the original founder and Chairman retired in Sep. 2016 and John Kim was hired as President to run the operation. My subscription expires Aug. 31, 2017 and I sent a letter today via FedEx to Mr. Kim and enclosed copies of all of the below complaints (at least 13 pages that I could print out -- there are probably a lot more).
I told him I was not renewing my subscription because I would not agree to online booking before I could even screen renters, mandatory payments through VRBO, exorbitant service fees to renters, mandatory non-refundable insurance charge to renters, 3% credit card charges to owners and much, much more. I agree with so many of your comments that VRBO is supposed to be an advertising platform, not a booking and collection service. I think a "class action" lawsuit may be in order here. Also, wonder if there is a Federal watchdog that could be brought into the investigation. I'm not an attorney, but it sounds like a lot of what they are doing is illegal -- like collecting rent from travelers and refusing to remit it to owners! Or refusing to return travelers' prepaid rent when they cancel a reservation! Totally disgusting. I predict they will be out of business soon if they stick with this model. Hope so!
I have listed 23 properties and booked nearly 5,000 guests via VRBO since 2007, but new owner Expedia, which bought all the HomeAway/VRBO brands, has turned the brilliant business on its head. Originally a listing service a la Craigslist (albeit with "advertising" fees of up to $1,000 per property), Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) quickly grew into the premier marketplace for vacation homeowners to connect with quality renters. Not content to make millions of dollars off the simple site, Expedia elected to make billions by beginning to charge not only owners for their listings but renters up to 10% of the total rent for each booking. For example, a 3-night booking of a luxury home for $2,000 now incurs renters a $200 "service fee."
For this fee, VRBO makes it effectively mandatory for homeowners to use HomeAway's "automatic" booking service, credit-card processors and damage insurance "partners." Did I mention that the damage protection is nonrefundable and costs $99? Formerly, owners collected a 100% refundable security deposit and good renters got back every penny. To recap, now owners get less control over who rents their (potentially) million-dollar properties, and renters spend hundreds of dollars more for each booking than they did before.
VRBO wasn't broken (or broke!), but Expedia has certainly fixed it in their favor, leaving owners and renters feeling ripped off. VRBO still has the power of numbers with its 1 million property listings, but has Expedia considered that it would take minimal effort for a new competitor to recreate VRBO's original business model and make the bastardized HomeAway brand a bad memory? Maybe some altruistic entrepreneur a la Craisglist's founder Craig Newman will create the new site and charge nothing for listings like at Craigslist. Regardless, Expedia needs to put the "owner" back into Vacation Rentals by Owner.
A number of reviewers have complained about the changes that VRBO / Homeaway are forcing on its customers, and the exorbitant fees for both owners and renters that go along with it. I completely agree with them. I have been renting our treasured holiday home out for 5 years, very successfully and have received consistent 5-star ratings from guests. This has been partly due to the personal contact and engagement with each guest and their specific circumstances. Now, VRBO is getting in the middle of that relationship - sending out canned emails to guests (it's hard to know WHAT guests are receiving). Forcing bookings through the website and charging fees to everyone. $151 "Service Fee" was going to be charged to a guest for a 3-night stay, ostensibly to fund the maintenance of the website. Who in their right mind would pay that fee. As Owners, we pay a fee to use the website. This is just gouging!
To top it off, now that the website is forcing online booking, it is actually not working for my potential guests and they cannot book online, receiving an error message saying they cannot book at this time. Ticket logged with VRBO Support over a week ago and no response - despite 4 calls to their support desk - every time being told to call at another time. When I requested an update on the issue I was told it was not "procedure" to notify an owner until the ticket is resolved. No idea when! I'm very frustrated and very disappointed that the reputation I've built on VRBO through a large number of guest reviews will be lost, as I will not be continuing with VRBO. As soon as I get set up elsewhere, I will take my business elsewhere. What an arrogant organization!
I am the owner of www.castlestoneinn.net and VRBO has no policy or protections for its customers and the American Disabilities Act. Owners that cannot use online booking have no protection and paid ad fees then are dropped because they do not book thru VRBO when they physically cannot use the online booking yet they paid contract ad fees. VRBO and HomeAway operate under federal laws of the United States and the ACLU is investigating. This company is NON CLIENT AND NON CONSUMER FRIENDLY.
I have been a homeowner with VRBO for 4 years and because we do not live near our rental home we use a local property manager and do our booking directly with them. This has worked just fine for 3 years but now that Expedia has bought VRBO they are finding ways to not only screw renters but also homeowners. First they do not allow us to access to inquirers emails or phone numbers so we cannot contact them directly. Then they stopped emailing me the inquiries so I have to go onto the site to check on a regular basis. Finally about a month ago they decided that since we weren't booking the house on their website that it wasn't being rented so they just took my house off the website.
I have a contract through the end of the year and they never once emailed me to ask me what was going on or to tell me that they were doing this. Apparently they are not satisfied with the annual fee to host my house on their website even though it really costs them nothing to do so. They had no right to do this as per the contract that I paid for in January and they knew it, they just went right ahead and did it. I called and immediately they put it back on the website because they knew this is a violation of their contract with an owner. The excuse was that their analytics just pick this up and do it automatically but they are more than willing to screw the homeowner if they can. I am beyond pissed off and I will not renew with these people because they do not operate in good faith which is really too bad because this was a great business in the past.
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