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Vacation Rentals By Owner [VRBO] review: Dishonest rental experience

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Formal complaint VRBO holiday home platform
Property_ID: 10192494ha
Location: Arcos de La Frontera, Andalusia, Spain
Property address:
23 Av. del Santiscal
El Santiscal, AL 11638

On July 29th 2021 we arrived at the villa, owned by mr. Philip Lee.
We planned to enjoy the villa from 29th of July till 5th of August and paid the total amount of 1259GBP for the villa plus 279GBP for the casita, the additional building to ensure our 3 oldest kids had enough space.

Exploring the place we had to figure out that it was heavily deteriorated and totally polluted. In total we have made 26 photos to illustrate the state we found the property in.
Basically the spaces/facilities that you could label as "decent" were the pool, the living room and the garden. The rest was at an absolute unacceptable level of hygiene, safety and/or quality.

Main kitchen:
The main kitchen wasn't cleaned for a log period; all devices, such as watercooker, coffee-machine, refrigerator, oven, microwave were filthy and food remains were all over/in them.
The functional kitchen furniture, such as tables, chairs were also dirty, clearly not cleaned at all.

The main bathroom:
There were cockroaches at the floor, the toilet was polluted, the shower cell deteriorated and dirty, shampoo/soap leftovers from previous visitors were left behind.

Airconditioning and utilities:
During the first day, the main electricity of the villa went down and we couldn't recover or reset it. During our search for a resettable fuse box we found out that the overall wiring and systems were totally unsafe. Open ended cables all over the place, open junction boxes with unisolated wires could have electrocuted someone easily. Imagine our 7 year old daughter would step on an unisolated power cable left openly at the floor of the pavement around te house. Not even mentioning the risk of fire by short-circuiting.

The casita:
The little bathroom in the casita was unusable because it was deteriorated and incredibly dirty. The shower head was spraying all over the place, except in the shower area.
The towels provided were worn out, had holes in them and blood stains were found on some.

The refrigerator was covered with fungus all around the door seal. No one would put any food in there.
The beds were way too short for normal European people up to 185cm tall. Lying yourself being on the bed for a 180cm tall person would mean that you had to put your feet outside the bed.
The springs in the matrasses were poking in your body so sleeping was impossible anyway.

The airconditioning wasn't working and the fan spreaded a very unpleasant air that wasn't good to breath in.

Finding this place in te described conditions we immediately tried to contact the property owner, Philip Lee. When he responded after half a day trying to call and Whatsapp him, he initially seemed to be willing to listen and resolve the acute problems with the electricity and airco systems, sending the Spanish housekeeper.
They inspected the airconditioning of the casita and were able to get the main electricity of the villa back on again. The casita's airco would be repaired the next day, we were told. The latter didn't happen, unfortunately.

After some family evaluation among the 6 of us we concluded that staying for the planned duration, would ruin our vacation completely. On day 3, the kids hadn't slept at all because of the failed airco and the poor beds of the casita.
We had sent the photos to Philip Lee where he started to deny the situation, treating us with more outdated promoting videos to prove we were wrong. We kindly asked for a decent settlement of our cost, leaving it to him what exact amount he would refund to save our holiday. We urgently booked a property somewhere else when concluded we needed to leave asap, so we have faced double cost until this point in time.

Our aims:
During the ongoing discussions with Philip Lee, asking him to settle for our financial damage, he finally promised twice to discharge us with a refund. Unfortunately until this point in time he has let us down and we can't conclude anything else than this property owner can not be trusted.
The videos and photos at the VRBO site are absolutely not in line with the photos and videos we have made. The property is not worth the money charged for it and we would like to see VRBO taking the responsibility to save other prospects running into the same situation.
We explained to Philip Lee that we are not the type of people that try to claim money back in our favour against the cost of an honest property owner. But Mr. Lee has proven to be distrustful person, fooling a well-paying client with an unacceptable level of quality and empty promises.

We thank you for confirmation on how VRBO will handle this case. We are more than happy to elaborate further on the case with additional evidence and communication threads of required.


Wilco Hekkert
Gradi van Ittersum

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Suite 300, 1011 W. Fifth Street, Texas United States