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Vacation Rentals By Owner [VRBO]

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Complaints & Reviews

owner rights

As a recent owner of a vacation property, I immediately thought to use VRBO/Home Away to rent it out. I have been on the other side as a traveler and have generally had good experiences using their site. However, I am appalled at the fees they not only charge the traveler now but also the owner. In addition, if you do not subscribe to their service, they with hold your money until the renter has "checked in". I feel I should be able to deposit security deposits, etc. as necessary to uphold the property and it essentially, feels like the owner has no control over their property and income for it. I am very unhappy with their service and I am planning to withdraw the property from their site as it is not fair to travelers and owners alike.

refuse to give us our refund from our cancellation

Booked a condo on August 21st 2015 and had to cancell due to a family matter we had put down 292 dollars which was half the weekly rate that was listed. Have contacted the customer service dept several times with no luck yet and when we try to reach the home owner theres never a answer. We have traveled a lot over the last 30 years and this is the worst company I have ever dealt with

booking a home on vrbo or homeaway

The VRBO or Homeaway "Book it Now" feature is a rip off. Those companies are charging travelers and owners for travelers to be able to book the home "now". Travelers are charged an extra fee that, if the traveler books directly thru the owner, the traveler would not be charged. The owner is charged an extra fee. The only winner is VRBO. There is absolutely NO advantage to book thru Homeaway or VRBO. They have recently discontinued their cancellation insurance for Travelers.
You are better off speaking with the owner directly and avoid using VRBO "book it now" to book your vacation.

  • Jr
    [email protected]!# Jun 08, 2016

    yes this was true for us also, we learned our lesson. booked for next year directly w/the property and it's $700 less (plus it's a different unit and it is larger and much, much nicer ).

    0 Votes

service fee, and deceptive presentation of our listings

Member since 1999 I always had the premiere listing in our market, I paid top fee and did everything that was required to keep the premiere space. Now vrbo has put so many sub areas that they have decreased our leads by over 75%. Not only that when someone does find our site they are also furnished alternatives, usually cheaper). Now where they are deceptive they create hits on other owner sits giving the impression that vrbo is creating a massive amount of leads. To cap it off they also offer immediate transfer from our listings to the resorts that they represent. This is a very corrupt system that now even punishes our customers that list with us. In their main web sites they don't suggest that clients of the resorts check us out. We will now pay the least price we can get from vrbo and we will rent as many listings out of the vrbo network as possible.

  • Ke
    Kelly Finn Mar 12, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Yes the new "service" fee will help Expedia increase profits and reduce the quality of VRBO and likely result in fewer bookings for owners. It's time to create a true vacation rentals by owners website (i.e. without corporate Expedia).

    1 Votes
  • Ka
    karenw729 Apr 04, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am a frequent vrbo renter. No more with this new service fee. What a rip off! I tried to contact vrbo/homeway to complain and there's no way to contact them. So obviously this new service fee is nothing but a gimmick to enrich them at the expense of property owners and renters. Sorry vrbo property owners but I'm going to back to traditional methods of finding vacation properties. All you property owners need to complain to homeaway or move your properties to a new site which is truly "by owner."

    1 Votes
  • Tl
    T L Howard Apr 18, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I agree the new service fee for booking on VRBO and Homeaway is a total rip off. I also have been an advertiser on VRBO for 12 years. No more after May 30, 2016. Thomas Howard

    1 Votes
  • Ma
    Mary Hopple May 16, 2016

    I am a VRBO owner who has paid for and listed my property for over two years. Since Expedia has bought the site my inquiries and reservations have dropped by 95%. I believe this is due to the new fees VRBO is charging guests to book as well as sending potential guest to other sites and resorts that are owned by Expedia. I am disgusted by what Expedia/VRBO has done to the owners and guests. I am now putting my property on other sites and will not renew my contract with VRBO. The contract renewal fee is like dropping money down a bottomless pit. In good faith you pay the fee for listing and now get nothing in return. I can't believe Expedia has destroyed what use to be a good website for both owner and guests. Someone please create a new website that is once again is rental by owner!

    1 Votes
  • Mi
    Michele Cobb Blair Nov 28, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Mary Hopple I am also a Property owner that is discusted with vrbo . WE NEED TO UNITE AND START A REAL VACATION BY OWNER SITE ! 810-241-8199 I am IN !

    0 Votes

extra fee / "new" business perspective

So we talked to VRBO's "customer service" yesterday, and just to let everyone know what their new "business perspective" is, and I quote "we do not see the renters as your (the home owners) customer, we see them as our customers providing them the service." Last time I checked, I paid the mortgage, I deal with any problems, I keep the customer satisfied and returning year after year. VRBO is a listing/advertising service PERIOD!! Apparently the home owners are not customers, even though we pay them thousands of dollars a year! Oh, buy the way, they also said that we should not be dealing with the renter directly, solely using their sytem and if we didn't should still be charging the 4-10% fee. HUH????? This company has gone Bat S*** Crazy.
Did some research...VacationHomeRentals.com (associated with Trip Advisor), utilizes the old system that VRBO used, which served everyone well, and kept the business between the renter and the owner. It is also about half of the price. I'm taking my four properties and heading out of dodge, before I have to pay for a renewal!!
VRBO got greedy and will be their downfall. I am spreading the word, to all that I know who use VRBO (which is a lot), to start heading to this other site, as well as bypassing the "book now" system and deal directly with the home owner.
ByeBye VRBO

  • Ba
    badbusiness_practises Mar 11, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    This is a terrible scam, so many scams.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    Janet Whittemore May 03, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am very disappointed in VRBO's administrative changes that force me to use their automatic booking system so they can charge my
    customers an extra fee and penalize me if I do not choose to use their booking process. I have been using this site since cyberrental.
    I have paid a premium price for platinum for several years and check and update my site daily. I am so unhappy with this administrative
    change and feel this company should not dip into the pockets of the renters with their new booking policies. It seems to me we are
    dealing with cooperate greed. I will consider not renewing my contract after using this site for the past 20 years. The platinum promise
    for better visibility is a service that does not work and is controlled by this company to force the owners to use their automatic booking service.
    I have found my website buried because I refuse to sign up for their booking process after paying this very high premium.
    weneedavacation works well here on Cape Cod and myself and a number of Cape Codders do not plan to be bullied by VRBO that has
    become too greedy. We have already started a coalition here to inform home owners and plan not to renew with VRBO in protest of their
    corporate greed.

    0 Votes
  • St
    Steven J. Slater Dec 11, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @VRBO Why do owners get charged for cc transactions between renters and VRBO? That's VRBO;s cost of doing business, not the owners. (supported by your posting, answer from customer service.) In the new business model, VRBO is set up as the retailer selling our products vs. the former - a market service that charged owners annual fees. Along that allegory, without supply, VRBO has no business. So am confused they charge the owners vs. renters (their customers). To compensate, we raise our rates, becoming less competitive on the market . . . consequently, our rates no longer match with Airbnb's, and, our bookings are way down this year compared to last 10 - (economics 101). So, why do we need VRBO marketing services anymore?

    0 Votes

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new fee

VRBO has implemented an outrageous new fee charged to the traveler. We have been loyal customers for years. We have listed 2 properties and have rented from other owners all over the world too many times to count. This fee completely ruins the business model we loved and makes VRBO look like a greedy corporation. They implemented this fee after we paid our advertising fee with no warningand are offering no refunds. We are actively looking for a new website on which to list. What a huge disappointment.

  • Sl
    SleepyP Mar 11, 2016

    So we talked to VRBO's "customer service" yesterday, and just to let everyone know what their new "business perspective" is, and I quote "we do not see the renters as your (the home owners) customer, we see them as our customers providing them the service." Last time I checked, I paid the mortgage, I deal with any problems, I keep the customer satisfied and returning year after year. VRBO is a listing/advertising service PERIOD!! Apparently the home owners are not customers, even though we pay them thousands of dollars a year! Oh, buy the way, they also said that we should not be dealing with the renter directly, solely using their sytem and if we didn't should still be charging the 4-10% fee. HUH????? This company has gone Bat S*** Crazy.
    Did some research...VacationHomeRentals.com (associated with Trip Advisor), utilizes the old system that VRBO used, which served everyone well, and kept the business between the renter and the owner. It is also about half of the price. I'm taking my four properties and heading out of dodge, before I have to pay for a renewal!!
    VRBO got greedy and will be their downfall. I am spreading the word, to all that I know who use VRBO (which is a lot), to start heading to this other site, as well as bypassing the "book now" system and deal directly with the home owner.
    ByeBye VRBO

    0 Votes
  • La
    lakeshish May 03, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hello,
    We are also vacation home owners as well as renters. Pretty disgusted with the new greedy direction that VRBO has headed and would also consider switching to another advertising company. Any other suggestions out there besides Trip Advisor (going to check that out soon)? Hopefully, another company will rise to the top and let owners be in charge. Vacation Rental by Owners needs to remember the "by owners" part!!

    0 Votes

vrbo new fee!

As a rental owner I'm extremely frustrated with this new service fee! It is absolutely unacceptable and I am appalled by this new fee. At first they were charging only the owners and now also the guests. This new fee completely disregards any agreements that were in place with existing owners and renters. I will be looking for another service! VRBO is absolutely unprofessional, no respect! They need only money and they don't care about anything!

  • Ke
    Kelly Finn Mar 12, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    It is based on them increasing profits and owners decreasing bookings

    1 Votes

new service fee

I am a homeowner and I am appalled by this new service fee being charged to my guests! I was completely shocked when I found out about these new fees from my renters! They describe it as a small fee but it is completely ridiculous. They charge people for nothing, just to earn more money! Since these fees have taken effect, not only have I had no rentals, but not very many inquiries either. I think I wont be using this service anymore.

  • Ma
    Marsha Schmitt Mar 10, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am also a homeowner and have used VRBo/Homeaway since 2013. They have recently started a very sneaky campaign leading towards taking all of the control from the homeowner's and then charging this "service fee"
    The first thing I noticed was on my payment receipt, they removed the traveler/guest's address. Next, they removed all email addresses from the correspondence between owner's and traveler's in the body of the email. Then they "encouraged" homeowner's to use their payment processor and collect all payments online. Next, they pushed howeowner's to let them book the traveler without the owner/manager having to review and decide if this guest(s) was someone whom they would wanted to let stay at their property. Also, at this same time VRBO/ha was encouraging the HO to use the online calendar and to keep it updated. Here's the real kicker, they told the HOs that by using the online calendar and keeping it updated, collecting payments through their payment processor, VacationRentPayment, booking online, and then the BOOK Now button that that was how they determined where your property came up in the que, whether at or close to the top, midway or towards the bottom! The more of these tools the Ho/manager used the higher up in the que. In other words you were rewarded for using these options. Well, I know this is not a fact, as I have a friend who has a comparable property located on the same road as mine, ( I have 2) and she does not keep her calendar online, she does not book online and she does not collect payments electronically through them and HER PROPERTIES SHOW UP IN THE QUE WELL BEFORE MINE. And the only thing I don't do is use the "book it now button", she uses none of these tools.

    This whole campaign was just a ruse to coerce the Homeowner's into using these features so that they would be able to charge this quote unquote Service Fee. On the very few inquiries I have received since it's initiation, ( I have gotten very few inquiries and only one booking, that I took offline) they are trying to charge almost 10% of all rental fees, including the departure cleaning fee! They say they are protecting the traveler from problems with the booking due to homeowners/managers! I wish I had the exact quote in front of me, but the way it is phrased, the Homeowner is someone they need protection from! So, they are biting the hand that feeds them. I am just appalled. As to service, they are simply an "advertising website" which is what I was told from the Customer Service rep, after 3 days of calling, with no answer, then a 25 minute wait before finally answering. We, the Homeowner's and Managers are the ones who take care of the property and if any issues arise with it, we are responsible for remedying it, not them, as they are just a website. This fee is totally unwarranted, but again, here is the kicker, on the quote the fee shows up without it clearly stating that it is being charged by vrbo/ha and looks like the property owner/manager is charging it. And the prospective guest I spoke with, again I have not gotten but a few inquiries since they started charging this fee, thought that I had added this fee and thought it strange that an owner would, as she had only seen a fee like this before charged by a property that was managed by a company. As I said very sneaky and add deceptive to this whole issue. I could go on and on...

    2 Votes
  • Sl
    SleepyP Mar 11, 2016

    So we talked to VRBO's "customer service" yesterday, and just to let everyone know what their new "business perspective" is, and I quote "we do not see the renters as your (the home owners) customer, we see them as our customers providing them the service." Last time I checked, I paid the mortgage, I deal with any problems, I keep the customer satisfied and returning year after year. VRBO is a listing/advertising service PERIOD!! Apparently the home owners are not customers, even though we pay them thousands of dollars a year! Oh, buy the way, they also said that we should not be dealing with the renter directly, solely using their sytem and if we didn't should still be charging the 4-10% fee. HUH????? This company has gone Bat S*** Crazy.
    Did some research...VacationHomeRentals.com (associated with Trip Advisor), utilizes the old system that VRBO used, which served everyone well, and kept the business between the renter and the owner. It is also about half of the price. I'm taking my four properties and heading out of dodge, before I have to pay for a renewal!!
    VRBO got greedy and will be their downfall. I am spreading the word, to all that I know who use VRBO (which is a lot), to start heading to this other site, as well as bypassing the "book now" system and deal directly with the home owner.

    4 Votes
  • Cv
    Cvhaynes Mar 23, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have been renting through vrbo for 13 years and have always been more than pleased, especially because I never had to pay useless fees that ultimately reduce the number of trips I can take each year. I recently see a Vrbo fee and a mandatory damage insurance. I feel confident enough in my ability to not damage anything that I would prefer to pay a security deposit. I am not certain vrbo is moving in a direction that will keep me interested ... Too bad ;(

    4 Votes
  • Ka
    karenw729 Apr 04, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am a frequent vrbo user to rent vacation property. However I see this new service fee and I am totally turned off. Why should renters pay more when we already pay nightly rates, tax, and cleaning fees? I tried to email homeaway customer service but guess what...there is not customer service! What the heck am I getting in return for this ridiculous service fee?

    2 Votes
  • Az
    AZ rentals Apr 07, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Let me add my voice to the chorus of property owners disgusted with VRBO and their institution of this new "service fee" - to be paid by renters. I had been wondering why rental inquiries for my properties had recently dwindled so drastically. Upon receiving an inquiry today I went to the dashboard and was horrified to see a 9% service fee added onto the price quote breakdown for my potential future renter. I called VRBO customer service voiced my extreme dissatisfaction, only to be greeted by an agent doing her very best to try and justify this additional charge. There is NO JUSTIFICATION for it. VRBO substantially increased their advertising charges less than 18 months ago. My platinum level charges increased by almost 30% per year. Now it appears VRBO is looking for further revenue and this time it its the renters who have to pay. All this does for property owners, is diminishes the number of inquires and ultimate rentals. I am going to look at moving my properties elsewhere and in the meantime - until my subscription runs out, inform anyone inquiring about renting over VRBO that this new "service fee" has nothing to do with me. It is just VRBO being greedy. I intend to give potential renters alternative options for rental - where they will not have to pay this fee. I echo the voice of a previous poster ... VRBO have got too greedy - this will be their downfall.

    4 Votes
  • To
    TopC May 31, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My property has been on vrbo for years, and all my returning guests are very unhappy. I am unhappy. Interestingly, I just booked a large house in Palm Springs for a group of 8 for 2017, and the management company clearly encourages people to contact them directly through their web site to avoid the vrbo fees. I did that. Saved me a TON. My question is, "how many people are dealing with renters directly now instead of going through vrbo?"

    1 Votes

unethical practices

Vrbo has now done three things in the last 6 months to increase their profits with no consideration of the...

vrbo did nothing to help

I had used VRBO in the past and rented a place. The property ended up being a fraud, so I cancelled it. Then I called the owner and asked him to return my damaged deposit of $300, but he refused to give my money back. I told him that his property description was a fraud and he must return the money, I gave him 24 hours to do that. Later I received a message from the owner saying he'll come to my house and deal with me personally! I contacted the VRBO immediately and they promised to do something. I thought they'll ban that owner or call the police, but they did nothing at all! In the end owner just changed the description of his property and never returned my money. I'm very disappointed with VRBO.

unethical

I had a negative experience at the Lotus Lake House in Grass Valley, CA, listed on VRBO. I posted a factual review and the owner was allowed to attack me personally both on and off the website. He wrote harassing emails and left voicemails threatening me if I did not remove the review. Apparently this practice is allowed by VRBO. The owner was then allowed to post personal information about me on the website and VRBO refused to remove the listing even after I escalated the problem to a manager. So there is a reason there are very few negative reviews posted on VRBO.

vrbo scam

I paid a $4, 500 deposit on a condo at "Aston at the Whaler on Kaanapali beach" on February 21, 2015. The advertiser/owner (Brian Mead/William Watts) ended up being a fraud and I lost my deposit. I only caught on to the scam because I was sent an email by someone purporting to be VRBO's Trust Dept telling me that the advertiser was a fraud. I found out that this email I received was actually a phishing email to try to get me to call them and give them money as well. The email told me to call one of two numbers and they would help me find another, presumably, legitimate, rental. (Looks like I was being scammed by two different crooks). I called Brian Mead to try and get my deposit back and he tried "stringing me along" telling me that he was "legit" and would be there waiting for me to hand me the keys to the condo when I arrived there. However, he wouldn't provide any contract and when I demanded my money back, he quit answering my calls or my emails. His name, probably false, was Brian Mead. His phone number was [protected]. His email was [protected]@gmail.com. I tracked his phone number to a Chapel Hill, North Carolina address. He had me wire my deposit to a bank account in the name of William Watts in Cudahy, Wisconsin. I've rented from VRBO before and had no problems so I had my guard down. Now I'll be cautious again but I'll never use VRBO.com again. They are impossible to get hold of by phone and, obviously, don't have the security in place to keep these scammers off their website.

  • So
    Sonce Jan 11, 2013
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    We used VRBO a couple times. We had issues and I wanted to share our experiences. I was unable to post a review, even though I got emails asking me to rate the properties! Apparently the post is only accepted if it is positive. I won't be using the site anymore and I warn anyone who uses it to beware.

    0 Votes
  • Va
    Valoose Jan 17, 2013
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    As a host the sales team calls you up and promises you all sorts of services as reservation manager, however this is outsourced and as soon as you set it up it wont allow you without SS# BUYER BEWARE.

    0 Votes

fake contact info and impossible to reach the online agent

I registered on the website www.vrbo.co, but I was disappointed. I tried to find a house for my vacation, but the website worked so slowly and all provided info there was real scam. I checked several phones numbers and all of them were fakes. I tried to contact the online chat agents, but they kept silence. I wonder if there are other people, who had the same experience. Let’s share views about this website.

arm-bending tactics

I've been advertising my house as a vacation rental on vrbo.com for two years, and I really dislike this company. They are fixated on getting homeowners to sign up for the online booking program. Constant emails about it. Finally, they've decide to actually punish those of us who don't want to use the online booking system. If we don't sign up for it, we have to pay $50 more for a subscription. However, I did sign up for a couple of years ago, and it was a nightmare. Homeowners have very little manual control over the payments, so very often, renters will make a payment, and the homeaway system continues to send them emails (automatic) saying they have to pay. They refuse to separate the credit card option with the direct deposit option, and since most people would opt to make a credit card payment, we owners get whacked with credit card fees. When you have ten weeks to make your rental income, those fees really hurt. I opted out, both because of the fees and because it was such a pain in the derriere to use, and all went perfectly fine with renters sending the rent to me directly via check. I have an excellent rapport with my tenants, and one of the reason is because I want to keep the whole thing very personal, between them and me. But Homeaway is going the way of so many big companies in this country, acting like WE, their customers, owe THEM, and bending our arms to buy stuff we don't want or need if we want to continue using their primary service, which is advertising our houses and making them known to people looking for houses to rent. It's so sleazy and dirty. It's also arrogant. So we are punished financially now either via homeaway charging us more, or lowering our listing, if we don't opt in for online booking…OR we're penalized by paying ridiculous credit card fees! I hate this company.

terrible service

I have used this company to list my rental in Mexico since 2009. I have never had any problems until this month when the company must have changed ownership to HomeAway. I received no notice of the change to the website which is significant and very hard to use now, or to any changes of their policies. This month I got a request from a prospective renter and needed help with using the webiste. I did manage to talk to someone on the phone after waiting 1/2 an hour. Next, I got a request from another renter and the payment was not handled correctly. Renters are to pay a $200 security deposit and then the rent and cleaning fee 30 days before arrival. The renter did pay the entire amount but only after I sent a request for the security deposit. After all was confirmed the renter complained about the fact that the terms of my rental were not honored by requesting the entire amount immediately. I am waiting to hear from VRBO by email about this matter but so far no response. I will not be renewing my lisiting with them for 2015 but will seek other means to rent the property. They are TERRIBLE, avoid them at all costs.

double billed

I rented a house in Florida through the VRBO/HomeAway website. I entered my debit card number and my account...

won't allow negative honest post

VRBO won't let us post our review because they say it doesn't help travelers. I believe it does ...

bug-ridden and filthy villa

Shockingly filthy! We recently stayedat "Moments Tobago" (VRBO 328066) on our 2nd year anniversary, andwere shocked at the condition of the accommodations. First of all, food andketchup(?) were stuck on several plates, AND we found acockroach in the glasses cupboard, and also a dead one in the pots andpans cupboard. The dishes weren't clean; greasy fingerprints on almost all ofthe dishes, plus there were ants crawling on the kitchen counter and inthe cupboards...<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The pool was slimy, green, and cloudy - iactually slipped and fell as I was walking down the steps into the pool - itwas that slimy. We didn't venture back in.
The microwave didn't work, the ovenwas moldy and obviously hadn't been cleaned in awhile, plus thecoffee maker is probably from 1970s - AND dirty.
On our third night, we both started itching andscratching - little red bumps came up, and we were horribly uncomfortable!We're still not sure where this "rash" came from, but we'resuspecting the bedding.
Although we reported the unhealthy status ofMoments Tobago, the owner(s) quite rudely refused any kind of refund. We endedup renting a different villa in Tobago, and had the MOST amazing time! Pleasedo not let this review turn you away from Tobago - definitely the most amazingisland and people! Just find a different place to stay, rather than MomentsTobago.

  • Ni
    Niagara Traveller Mar 23, 2015

    I just stayed there last week and the place was very clean and we saw very few bugs. This was my 12th trip to Tobago and there were fewer bugs of any sort than I have seen at any other place that I have stayed.

    0 Votes

[Resolved] seeking refund on bad property/owner won't reply

As one who looks for good in just about everything, I will start with what I liked about VRBO property...

elizabeth lewis

My family and I rented Property #256913 in Edisto Beach, SC through your website, for the week of August...