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VRBO’s Questionable Review Policy / Shame on VRBO

For those of you who use Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO), I’ve recently become aware of a policy that is quite disconcerting:  I believe that their reviews are more geared for making property owners look good than to be useful, transparent and truthful to potential renters.

My fiance and I recently rented a place from the website in Yountville, CA.  The landlord used his good reviews on the site to convince that we’d be very happy with our selection of his house.  Unfortunately the house was rat infested and the landlord was hard to deal with, didn’t want to fix the problem and then fought paying us our money back.

While life is too short to sue for the money, it isn’t too short for me to write review.  I wrote this review of the property:

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First, VRBO informed me that the post would be reviewed by the editors at VRBO to make sure the post conformed to their “standards” (whatever that meant).  Then it took a week to post and when they did,  I noticed that the the listing of the rental place was taken off the site.

Today, the listing is back without my review included. [Note, as of 1/23, the listing has put reviews back on the listing including mine.] So bottom line, VRBO is giving a heads up to their property owners about bad reviews and is allowing them to unpost and repost (with the same web link!) without any ramifications for screwing one of their renters.

Shame on you VRBO.  Your credibility is totally shot now.

January 3rd, 2011     Categories: Uncategorized    
  • patricia

    “Thank you for making my wish true! I was totally devastated when Frank left me. It was like all my world vanishing into sorrow and pain. But your kind words when I first emailed you gave me hope. I felt how sincere, honest and authentic you were from your first email. I know it sounds weird but out of all the casters I contacted, ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com you were the only one to give me that impression of being so true and caring. More than your words, it’s the fantastic work you accomplished for me that I will keep in mind. You brought my lover back and you made all my wishes come true. He’s now loyal, pays attention to me, he offers me flowers every Sunday, and we often go out at the cinema or at the restaurant. I will be forever thankful for turning my life from hell to heaven!”

  • Nancy

    I stayed in 2 different rentals I found on VRBO in Jan and Feb 2013. One was a 1 bedroom condo in Destin FL and the other was in Gulf Shores AL, about 100 miles west of Destin. After I checked out of the first condo, I immediately received an email requesting a review. The place was clean and cozy so I was going to give it 4 stars because the bedroom overlooked a parking lot which was not shown in any of the photos posted in the ad, There was nothing wrong with the unit, but I’m a light sleeper and probably would have stayed elsewhere. I still would have given it a very good review, but I hesitated saying anything that wasn’t 100% positive because she kept asking me to post a comment BEFORE returning my security deposit. (think about it) She didn’t tell me she was holding onto it for that reason, but why take a chance? I posted my review and she returned my deposit. The next rental unit was entirely different. First, it was falsely advertised. It was one room and listed as a 1 bedroom condo. Even the owner’s personal web site shows a “family area” and there was no “area.” There was a sleep sofa right next to the bed. In other words, It was a small motel room with a place to cook, so it should have been listed as an efficiency, not a 1 bedroom. I didn’t even want to sleep in the bed because of the stains on the sheets and blankets. As I wrote in another review on TripAdvisor, I bought a blanket at Walmart the next day. There were roaches crawling around at night too. The walls were so thin that I could hear someone snoring. When it rained, the windows rattled and water came into the room. So far I have not been able to post a review and the last one for this listing says “very clean” so I wonder if any of the reviews are real. I mean, how can someone write “just as described?” when it is in no way, shape or form “as described?” The number of rooms is not an opinion, it’s a fact. I’m still waiting for a chance to write a review.

  • Joan Black Dooley

    We were scammed for $3200 this past year after “securing” a property through VRBO. We contacted an “owner” on a property in Michigan who evidently didn’t have a secured email. Consequently our inquiry was diverted to a fraudulent owner who told us the dates were available and to wire the money to reserve the property. We did. However, upon our arrival another family had the house. The local rental agent was contacted and she told us that this happened before and that VRBO is aware of the situation. When I contacted VRBO to complain about my plight, the customer service people weren’t surprised. They told me VRBO is “working” on securing emails but have nothing in place at present. I was directed to submit a claim of up to $1000 reimbursement through an arduous process. So every time you use VRBO it is a gamble whether you’re communicating with an legit owner or not. There are no warnings about dubious practices you should watch out for on the VRBO site. I have told numerous users of VRBO and will continue to warn people about the very high risk of being ripped off using this site.

  • stacey Bruno

    I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who’s name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one’s gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com.

  • Martha leonardi

    I am an owner of a vrbo listed property with consistent great reviews in southern California. I would like to see a site to review guests on vrbo so I can screen destructive
    guests who consistently damage properties they stay in. I had a guest who stayed in my property for 3 months and didn’t bother to report to me a leak- 40,000.00 worth of damage as a result. The same review process should be a available for the protection on owners as well. We try to provide an excellent vacation experience for our guests.

  • D Jensen

    My family rented VRBO 240500 in Stowe Vermont. We were asked to provide a separate check for the (very large) security deposit of $750. Prior to our arrival I wrote the owner and asked if we could bring our dog.

    She replied IF I was willing to pay for additional cleaning costs. However, I was able to find another place for my dog while we were traveling and did not bring it.

    The homeowner met us at the house and took us around for about 30 minutes, telling us to take off our shoes, how to open and close the windows and window coverings, how to work the tv, etc.

    She could clearly see we did not have a dog with us, did not ask to see a dog, did not ask about a dog, and was there when the rest of the group finished emptying the car.

    When it came time to get my security deposit back, she had cashed and KEPT the check, saying she was keeping it because we brought a dog.

    The terms of the contract say that after the property is found to be in good condition, the deposit would be returned. I have contact the owner, as well as VRBO, but the owner refuses to return the deposit. Further, she has not even documented what her “additional expenses” were, but simply kept the entire amount.

    VRBO does not stand behind the contracts, and the owner certainly did not comply with hers.

    In addition, the property was noisy with 3 different construction projects going on around it, starting at 7AM 6 days a week.

    VRBO would not publish my review because it said I was demanding money. In realty, I was only asking that the owner comply with her contract terms and refund the security deposit.