A Bad Experience with VRBO#7xxxxx

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Mar 23, 2018
    • Recently (November, 2017), my family and I, (which included my wife,
      son, son-in-law, daughter (6 months pregnant), and my 22 month old
      grand-daughter), rented VRBO property #79xxxx. It was a very bad

      When considering the description of this property on-line, (description
      was "wonderful", "4.9/5"), I was skeptical upon first entering the
      premises. The overall condition of the premises was inconsistent with
      the aforementioned description, but with a van full of people and
      luggage, it was not easy just to pack up again and leave. However,
      after dealing with lizards, roaches, and a general lack of proper
      maintenance/cleanliness, we moved out.

      Our original reservation was for five nights (11-6-17 through
      11-10-17). Because of the living conditions, we left one night early.
      At a minimum, I would expect to be reimbursed for the one night
      ($660), including the applicable pro-rated amount of taxes ($105), and
      including the cleaning fee ($500) and the service fee ($228), for a
      total of $1,493.

      My response from the owner/manager failed to address most of the
      issues and misrepresented some of the facts. I also contacted Citi
      Cards since the cost was placed on a Visa Citi credit card. Citi Cards indicated that too much time had passed since the charge was first billed. This seems inequitable to me.

I fully paid for the five-night rental of this VRBO property on February 27, 2017, but obviously it was not reasonable for me to inspect this property because it was in Hawaii and I live in the Chicagoland area.

After failing to receive the aforementioned reasonable amount from the owner/manager of this property, I submitted my complaint to Citi Cards on December 19, 2017; 39 calendar days after leaving the subject VRBO property, and 44 calendar days after first having any knowledge of the condition of the subject premises.

Here are several bullet points for additional information:.

-In my opinion, much of the property lacked proper maintenance/cleaning.

-Roaches in various rooms inside property. Prevalence of this condition was evidenced by roach killing baits. Two of such roach traps were noted in upstairs kitchen area. (See attachment for sample of one of the roaches which was noted in upstairs kitchen cabinet.)

-Various lizards inside property. (See attachment for example.)

-Multiple holes in and around screens/doors making it easier for insects and lizards to enter.

-Locks on several doors were not functioning properly.

-BBQ grill needed major cleaning.

-Faucets on second sink in upstairs kitchen were inoperable.

-It should be HIGHLY noted that the owner and/or property manager offered me a certain sum IF I would write a 5 Star or highly favorable review. In my opinion, this approach eliminates the integrity of the VRBO review process.

I have attached five documents that provide more information with regard to this issue. (Unfortunately, three of them could not be attached.)

Thanks for your attention to this problem.

Gary Gehm


Last edited:
Sep 19, 2015
I used to go to Hawaii a lot when I lived on the west coast. lizards are a part of life there as are roaches. Roaches in NYC (where I live) have nothing to do with cleanliness — I have seen them in empty Park Avenue apartments.

If it was so terrible why stay 4 out of 5 days?

I see you already left a negative review on VRBO. The owner claims you asked for $3,000 compensation for emotional distress. Is this true?
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Here is the problem- did you follow VRBOs process for problems? You must contact them immediately. Did you do that? And why did you stay 4 days and then leave?

Was this your first visit to Hawaii? As indicated by the previous posters- the geckos and “roaches” are all over Hawaii- this is native to the country and part of the ecosystem.
Mar 23, 2018
Here is the problem- did you follow VRBOs process for problems? You must contact them immediately. Did you do that? And why did you stay 4 days and then leave?

Was this your first visit to Hawaii? As indicated by the previous posters- the geckos and “roaches” are all over Hawaii- this is native to the country and part of the ecosystem.
I did contact the respective VRBO with the complaint. I presume they pursued as much as they could. The stay worsened as the days continued. Lizards were noted in the house around the third day and roaches after that. Moving a van full of people, including my pregnant daughter and our 2 year old granddaughter, along with a van full of luggage, is not all that easy, especially when we had no other reservations for the applicable days. Roaches and lizards may be part of the ecosystem, but I did not expect to live amongst them.


Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that generally speaking, you should probably opt for a good hotel when you travel and leave the house exchange option out of the question.
I live in SWFL and dislike roaches intensely. We have paid a pest control company monthly for over 30 years to mitigate the problem. I say mitigate because no one can get rid of roaches permanently. They are tenacious. I have been told they can survive by eating the glue from the back of wallpaper. They eat cardboard boxes! When it is dry outside they come into the house looking for water. It is a continuous battle.
Gekkos (lizards) are not yucky at all to me. We occasionally get one who lives in a particular room in the house for a while. We give them a name and are then are sad when we find them dried up on the floor/windowsill, etc. They eat bugs. They are not dirty. They don’t bother anyone. I understand you think they are gross, hence you should stay as far away from the outside as possible. A high floor of a good hotel would be perfect for your vacation.


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
Tough love from mmb, Gary - and I agree completely with her. I was thinking the same thing while I read your post. While I am comfortable anywhere and "with" anything, my husband would run screaming out the door if he saw a big bug or lizard in our rooms. He would also refuse to move in if the place weren't nice and clean. Vacation rentals are not for him and I'd never subject him (or myself) to that kind of stress. Travellers have two choices, especially with a large group, particularly one including children. A VR is almost always the best bet for the space, privacy and convenience of kitchen, laundry, backyard, etc. You can chose to grin and bear it for the sake of everyone else, or put everyone up in a hotel.
Likes: Qorx
Oct 30, 2015
North Laurasia
mmb is correct regarding roaches. They predate the dinosaurs and will undoubtedly be here long after we humans have eradicated ourselves from the planet. No one likes having them in one's living quarters, but..you were in Hawaii, a place with the perfect living conditions for bugs, especially roaches (which, sad to say, were introduced to the Islands, just like just about everything else). The geckos are harmless and as mmb noted, they are insectivores.
Roaches are not always an indication of filthy living conditions.
Personally I abhor roaches. I won't live with them, and I'm a biologist. It's why I try to live in places where I can open the doors and freeze them out...but it means my house plants die, too.
The lizards, though, are your friends.
Please understand that it's not just Hawaii that has a roach problem. I tried to find a job and a place to live in Tulsa, years ago. I was looking at a rental, opened up the cupboard under the sink and a roach that one could probably have saddled crawled out. I immediately said, NO THANKS and the landlord said, oh come on, give me a break, this is Oklahoma.

Your many problems with the property are undoubtedly warranted but the one that bothers me most of all is the offer to bribe you to post a '5 star review' on the property. While I don't know a thing about VRBO, I am on Trip Advisor, and depend on honest reviews to make my plans. If anyone were to bribe ME, I'd immediately write it up as such as well as contact TA's staff and let them know.
Likes: jsn55