VRBO - Different Scenario

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Jul 7, 2020
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She didn’t have to offer anything if you booked a nonrefundable rate.

I also would have suggested splitting the cost and asking half the money back.
Offering me full credit for cancelling early, then not allowing me to use the credit is like not offering me anything.....
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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Offering me full credit for cancelling early, then not allowing me to use the credit is like not offering me anything.....
Again- she didn’t have to offer anything. Were you argumentative with her at all when she offered the credit? There might have been something in the correspondence that offended her enough for her to withdraw the offer and not want to rent to you at all.
 
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Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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And how would I do that, if the owner won’t answer my phone calls or emails. I doubt VRBO will pony up.
By continuing to work with VRBO. Use the company contacts at the top of the page to write to the execs, one at a time. With the written promise of a future credit, they may be able to strong arm the owner into honoring it. They can do that by threatening to pull her rental and rescind her ability to use their platform in the future. Don't give up! Be persistent, patient and, most of all, professional. Keep your cool and you will eventually find someone within the company who will help you.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I disagree with some of the other advocates.

In this specific circumstance, the OP has written communication through VRBO's internal messaging offering a 100% credit for rebooking provided that the OP canceled the reservation. Unfortunately the owner was not able to re-rent the property due to the eventual ban on vacation home rentals. Stonewalling the OP is not good business practice.

In my opinion, a full refund is the right thing to do. It is likely the owner does not be in the financial position to refund the $3000. Had the OP not canceled on the owner's request, the reservation would have been automatically canceled on March 29th when the executive order went into effect. I get that airlines and other corporations have gotten away with issuing credits when they cancel, but that doesn't make it right.

The only leverage that the OP has is VRBO, and VRBO has limited leverage. The only "leverage" VRBO has is to penalize the property listing and the owner may or may not care. Comparing VRBO and AirBnB, it appears that in this situation, AirBnB is more consumer friendly.

Here is VRBO's COVID-19 policy:
Option 1 (Default): If the booking is for stay dates up to and including June 30, offer a credit for full value and flexible stay dates within the next year to travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19.

Option 2: If the traveler is unwilling to accept a credit, we advise partners to issue them a refund. If partners are unable to accommodate a full refund, Vrbo expects partners to provide at least a 50% refund if the traveler cancels during this time.

If a traveler is eligible for a full refund per the cancellation policy, you must honor that legal agreement.

Here’s how Vrbo will enforce the policy stated above:
  • Vrbo will reward partners with additional visibility in traveler searches. The more partners do now for travelers, the more we will reward them moving forward (so a 100% credit/refund will count more than 50% refund). This applies to bookings with stay dates through 6/30
  • Partners who do not abide by these standards (offering a 100% credit/refund of at least a 50%) will be disadvantaged vis-a-vis those who act within our policy. This applies to bookings that were cancelled after 3/13 with stay dates between 3/13 and 4/30.
  • Encouragement of travelers to violate local laws to complete a stay may result in permanent removal from Vrbo and Expedia Group.
So, unless I am missing something, VRBO cannot enforce option1 or option 2 except "disadvantage" the listing. Wow! That's some threat!



I'm sorry I don't have better advice. Perhaps the take home message is use VRBO with caution. But, I do think the right thing to do in this specific case is for the owner to refund.
 
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justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Chris, I think one additional thing was what was the policy when the OP first canceled. I'm pretty sure VRBO didn't include stays up to June. There likely was something, but the end of March was still at the beginning of this mess and I seem to recall VRBO and Airbnb weren't acting super quick, but I could be remembering wrong since I had no reservations so wasn't paying attention.

ETA What county was your rental in OP? Several in central Florida enacted shelter in place rules before the entire state did. I'm fuzzy on the dates, but if you search covid and the county they all have a history of executive orders and you can see if there was one in place when you cancelled.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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I think VRBO's policy and Florida's policy are quite irrelevant to this dispute. The owner said (apparently in an e-mail) if you cancel right now I will give you a credit for a future stay. It doesn't matter that the problem was a pandemic or just that OP stubbed his big toe. The owner has apparently had a change of heart, perhaps driven by economic circumstances. VRBO ought to go to bat for our OP; that it wont speaks volumes about how it treats its customers.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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I realize this is a long shot, but not impossible. Perhaps the owner became incapacitated, or even passed away, and that is the reason for the lack of response?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I think VRBO's policy and Florida's policy are quite irrelevant to this dispute. The owner said (apparently in an e-mail) if you cancel right now I will give you a credit for a future stay. It doesn't matter that the problem was a pandemic or just that OP stubbed his big toe. The owner has apparently had a change of heart, perhaps driven by economic circumstances. VRBO ought to go to bat for our OP; that it wont speaks volumes about how it treats its customers.
And that’s exactly right- it re-enforces what VRBO is- a classified ad. They take no responsibility for anything if the rental doesn’t go perfectly.
 
Jul 7, 2020
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Again- she didn’t have to offer anything. Were you argumentative with her at all when she offered the credit? There might have been something in the correspondence that offended her enough for her to withdraw the offer and not want to rent to you at all.
It was just a straight-forward email. Cancel two weeks before your stay and you will receive a future credit. No arguments, just lies and deceit on the part of the homeowner, in hopes of double-dipping on the rental. If nothing had been offered, we would have attempted to drive down and stay at the property. $3000 is a lot to lose, with nothing to show for it.
 
Jul 7, 2020
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I realize this is a long shot, but not impossible. Perhaps the owner became incapacitated, or even passed away, and that is the reason for the lack of response?
The first time I called her, she told me she wasn’t in her office and to call later. Now, she won’t answer her phone or email.
 
Jul 7, 2020
12
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Wow
I disagree with some of the other advocates.

In this specific circumstance, the OP has written communication through VRBO's internal messaging offering a 100% credit for rebooking provided that the OP canceled the reservation. Unfortunately the owner was not able to re-rent the property due to the eventual ban on vacation home rentals. Stonewalling the OP is not good business practice.

In my opinion, a full refund is the right thing to do. It is likely the owner does not be in the financial position to refund the $3000. Had the OP not canceled on the owner's request, the reservation would have been automatically canceled on March 29th when the executive order went into effect. I get that airlines and other corporations have gotten away with issuing credits when they cancel, but that doesn't make it right.

The only leverage that the OP has is VRBO, and VRBO has limited leverage. The only "leverage" VRBO has is to penalize the property listing and the owner may or may not care. Comparing VRBO and AirBnB, it appears that in this situation, AirBnB is more consumer friendly.

Here is VRBO's COVID-19 policy:
Option 1 (Default): If the booking is for stay dates up to and including June 30, offer a credit for full value and flexible stay dates within the next year to travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19.

Option 2: If the traveler is unwilling to accept a credit, we advise partners to issue them a refund. If partners are unable to accommodate a full refund, Vrbo expects partners to provide at least a 50% refund if the traveler cancels during this time.

If a traveler is eligible for a full refund per the cancellation policy, you must honor that legal agreement.

Here’s how Vrbo will enforce the policy stated above:
  • Vrbo will reward partners with additional visibility in traveler searches. The more partners do now for travelers, the more we will reward them moving forward (so a 100% credit/refund will count more than 50% refund). This applies to bookings with stay dates through 6/30
  • Partners who do not abide by these standards (offering a 100% credit/refund of at least a 50%) will be disadvantaged vis-a-vis those who act within our policy. This applies to bookings that were cancelled after 3/13 with stay dates between 3/13 and 4/30.
  • Encouragement of travelers to violate local laws to complete a stay may result in permanent removal from Vrbo and Expedia Group.
So, unless I am missing something, VRBO cannot enforce option1 or option 2 except "disadvantage" the listing. Wow! That's some threat!



I'm sorry I don't have better advice. Perhaps the take home message is use VRBO with caution. But, I do think the right thing to do in this specific case is for the owner to refund.
You hit the nail on the head!
 
Jul 7, 2020
12
0
1
65
Th
By continuing to work with VRBO. Use the company contacts at the top of the page to write to the execs, one at a time. With the written promise of a future credit, they may be able to strong arm the owner into honoring it. They can do that by threatening to pull her rental and rescind her ability to use their platform in the future. Don't give up! Be persistent, patient and, most of all, professional. Keep your cool and you will eventually find someone within the company who will help you.
I have emailed the President and CEO, who passed it off to the “Executive Customer Relations” person, who has done nothing more than repeat VRBI’s policy.
 
May 30, 2019
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I have emailed the President and CEO, who passed it off to the “Executive Customer Relations” person, who has done nothing more than repeat VRBI’s policy.
Oh, dear.

When you start with the company contacts, if someone does not get you the desired result, you have someone else to try. However, you started at the top. You received a response from a delegate of the CEO. That means that you do not have anyone else at VRBO to which to appeal.

I'll put this question to some of the other people on this forum: Given the response received, it worth the OP's time to go through the Company Contacts?
 
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Sep 27, 2018
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Sorry about the lousy situation.

Here's a metaphor: If you responded to an advertisement in the newspaper and had the same situation, you would not expect the newspaper to give you a goodwill gesture. If you sue, as suggested in Post #2, you may not win. My suggestion in the context of self-advocacy would be to use the credit when you can or see if it is transferable.
The metaphor is only valid if the newspaper acts as a middleman by collecting money through their own payment system, take a percentage cut of the rental and offers extras for the rental such as damage insurance. VRBO, etal. likes to hide behind that they are only a classified ad, yet many of the things they do are very similar to a real estate agent.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,405
23,376
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
You
The metaphor is only valid if the newspaper acts as a middleman by collecting money through their own payment system, take a percentage cut of the rental and offers extras for the rental such as damage insurance. VRBO, etal. likes to hide behind that they are only a classified ad, yet many of the things they do are very similar to a real estate agent.
The problem is that this is a totally unregulated business and there is no oversight by any regulatory agencies to force these sites to be consumer friendly.

The sites openly defy city laws against short term rentals in many areas yet they still allow those rentals to continue.

If you are angry about how they are treating consumers in a pandemic, talk with your pocketbook and stop booking through them.
 
Sep 27, 2018
202
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You

The problem is that this is a totally unregulated business and there is no oversight by any regulatory agencies to force these sites to be consumer friendly.

The sites openly defy city laws against short term rentals in many areas yet they still allow those rentals to continue.

If you are angry about how they are treating consumers in a pandemic, talk with your pocketbook and stop booking through them.
Never truer words were written about this industry. And while we have never been burned by these outfits, we are thinking long and hard about what to do on our next vacation, whenever that may come. Hopefully others are reading your columns and having similar thoughts.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I have little experience with VRs, but it was positive. Spend some time reading the threads on this forum. You may come to the same conclusion I have. Look at the Vacation Rental business like you'd observe the Wild West. VR people make up their own rules, nobody enforces anything, VRBO/Abb can threaten to dump their property if they don't pay the VRBO/Abb fees. But that's about it. Unless the whole booking is done with a very strong credit card, the renter is almost totally at the mercy of the owner. Many times that's great, but when it's not great, there's little you as a renter can do. This, unfortunately, is the reality of the VR biz.