VRBOnew service fee

A Mar 02, 2016 Review updated:

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.


  • M
      Mar 10, 2016

    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
  • S
      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 (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
  • C
      Mar 23, 2016

    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
  • K
      Apr 04, 2016

    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
  • A
      Apr 07, 2016

    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.

    +3 Votes
  • T
      May 31, 2016

    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

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