Want to avoid vacation rental surprises? Read this

When it comes to vacation rental surprises, there are surprises — and there are surprises.
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A berry good time in Southern California, Temecula edition

Temecula may be one of California’s best-known wine regions, but I’ll always remember it for something else: the fresh fruit we harvested on a recent visit to this out-of-the-way Southern California destination. Read more “A berry good time in Southern California, Temecula edition”

Oh, you wanted electricity with your VRBO rental?

When Jason Burns and his family arrive at their Parisienne houseboat rental, they are shocked to find that it is missing one important element: electricity. Surely this qualifies the clan for a VRBO refund. Or does it? Read more “Oh, you wanted electricity with your VRBO rental?”

Excuse me, your vacation rental is missing something

If you rented a vacation home this summer, you probably have a story like Michelle Lawson’s. She has lost count of the times she has checked into an apartment, only to find that it’s lacking something important, such as towels, soap, a working dishwasher or an Internet connection. Read more “Excuse me, your vacation rental is missing something”

I survived a week in this “charming” Airbnb. Here’s what I learned

It’s 2 a.m. and it’s 49 degrees in my bedroom. I wrap myself in a cover and hobble through a pitch-black living room, feel my way past the tiny kitchen, and jab the thermostat in the hallway.

50 degrees, it lights up. Read more “I survived a week in this “charming” Airbnb. Here’s what I learned”

Hello, relaxation? Not with this Booking.com reservation

Vivian Mello’s vacation rental in Maui is uninhabitable. So why won’t Booking.com refund her money? Read more “Hello, relaxation? Not with this Booking.com reservation”

Don’t get scammed by your next vacation rental – here’s how

The vacation rental had “great pictures” but no reviews on Airbnb.com. Maybe that should have tipped off Melissa Mesku when she found the house during a popular convention week in Austin.

When she checked in, Mesku discovered the camera had lied.
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I didn’t scratch the floor on my vacation rental – why should I have to pay?

1-imageThe circumstances of Saundra Lyon-Reiser’s recent home rental were less than ideal. She’d gathered her extended family in Aptos, Calif., to bury her mother and grieve their collective loss.

So when Lyon-Reiser was notified that her rental company would pocket her $500 security deposit for allegedly scratching a hardwood floor — damage she insists she did not do — it added insult to her injury.

Now, she wants me to help her get the deposit back, even though there are photos of the damage (above), which she says are inconclusive.

But before we get to the matter of the bill, let’s rewind to the start of the three-night rental. At first glance, Lyon-Reiser says the home looked “perfect” for her family.
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Help, my Mexican vacation rental pocketed my deposit!

Blue Orange/ShutterstockNancie Thomas had no reason to believe the owner of her vacation rental in Akumal, Mexico, would keep her $1,000 deposit. Her friends had rented the same house on three separate occasions, “and had a great experience each time,” she says.

Alas, the fourth time wasn’t a charm for Thomas.

Her first warning? The method of payment.

“We were surprised when the owner asked for a deposit check rather than credit card,” she recalls. “But we confirmed with our friends that they had always made the deposit by check.”

(Let me stop right here and say it: Always, always insist on paying by credit card. If Thomas had done that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.)
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