HomeAway Unit Uninhabitable and Capital One Visa NO HELP

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Jun 7, 2018
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#1
Recently retired and on a fixed income, we have been traveling to visit relatives. We booked a one-week stay for a studio apartment through HomeAway. All we needed was a simple, functional place to stay. Although certainly barebones,it looked clean and nice. We were aware there was no microwave or television and we would have to provide our own paper goods, including toilet paper. This was completely acceptable as we knew in this price range the accommodations would be basic.
We arrived and found the unit had not been cleaned from the prior occupant. The bed was unmade, there was dirt at the entrance and towels spread on the bathroom floor and around the toilet, and a strong odor was present in the unit. We immediately contacted the merchant with photos. We accepted this inconvenience as perhaps a simple communication error between the unit manager and the cleaning staff and were content to remain in spite of the inconvenience.
During our first and only evening there, we noticed significant problems with the plumbing. They included a kitchen faucet that spun around uncontrollably making it difficult to turn the water on and nearly impossible to tell if you would be getting hot or cold water.
Moreover, the bathroom shower water controls were not secured whatsoever to the shower wall and the hot and cold were reversed. This, of course, was an inconvenience, but not a major complaint.
We soon learned why there were towels on the floor surrounding the toilet. The inner mechanism that controlled the intake of water was broken and sprayed whenever the toilet was flushed.
But, the very next morning we encountered the major issue which plainly told us that the unit was unfit for human habitation.The toilet was not secured whatsoever to the floor. In fact, one of us nearly toppled over while cleaning our self when using it. This on top of everything else made us realize we could not tolerate being there. We took photos and videos of the conditions.
That morning, we immediately began packing our luggage and contacted the merchant to inform him of the situation. In our text message exchange he told us “I definitely don’t want you to stay somewhere you aren’t happy with.”
Moreover, we cleaned the unit and left it in better shape than what we found it. We sent a text message to the housekeeper and told her we were vacating the unit and asked her to assure the property manager we left it in clean condition.
During our morning phone conversation with the merchant, he said if we had “certain expectations” we should increase our budget. Regardless of a rental’s pricing, basic conditions of cleanliness, properly functioning plumbing and, of course, a toilet that doesn’t leak or tip over are not unreasonable requests.
We contacted our credit card company, Capital One Visa, to begin the dispute process. We did not expect to have to pay for this mess of a rental. In their advertising, Visa claims they support customers when they are faced with situations like this -- we found this to be untrue. While we provided photos, videos, and text messages with the owner of the unit as documentation, Visa instead sided with the merchant based on one letter which contained multiple falsehoods (each of which we could prove as false). Visa kept requesting more and more "proof" from us, including a second opinion letter from another HomeAway/Air B and B type merchant (which we obtained) and in the end denied our dispute. We had to pay the $435 for this rental. We are NOT happy.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,989
12,233
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Did you contact Home Away when you arrived? You must contact them while you are there is the owner doesn’t fix it and give them a chance to get involved:


https://help.homeaway.com/articles/What-can-I-do-if-the-property-is-not-as-described

HomeAways terms for resolution are ridiculous anyway. They tell you to contact the owner, then write a review and THEN contact them. That’s certainly not the order it should be done.
 
Jun 7, 2018
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#4
Did you contact Home Away when you arrived? You must contact them while you are there is the owner doesn’t fix it and give them a chance to get involved:


https://help.homeaway.com/articles/What-can-I-do-if-the-property-is-not-as-described

HomeAways terms for resolution are ridiculous anyway. They tell you to contact the owner, then write a review and THEN contact them. That’s certainly not the order it should be done.

We did contact HomeAway immediately. They suggested we try to work it out with the owner. I opened a Case with HomeAway and in spite of checking on it frequently and calling, the status has not changed and they have done nothing.
 
Jun 7, 2018
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#5
Is there a reason you did not take this up with Homeaway before going to your credit card?
We did contact HomeAway immediately. They suggested we try to work it out with the owner. I opened a Case with HomeAway and in spite of checking on it frequently and calling, the status has not changed and they have done nothing.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,393
6,453
113
San Francisco
#6
We did contact HomeAway immediately. They suggested we try to work it out with the owner. I opened a Case with HomeAway and in spite of checking on it frequently and calling, the status has not changed and they have done nothing.
Reggie, first let me tell you how much I admire your attitude towards "life's inconveniences" when travelling. I'm the same way, but would throw in the towel (pun intended) when the toilet tried to tip me over. Have you made it very clear to your CC that you followed HomeAway's rules? Based on what you've reported to us, there's a communication glitch somewhere, your case should have been handled by your CC in your favor.
 
Likes: SierraRose49

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,989
12,233
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
I would appeal to the credit card company and
perhaps do a point by point document of how you followed the instructions and that you want to appeal the decision. We can help you if you post it here.

What bank your cc with? If we have the executive contacts you can appeal to.
 
Jun 7, 2018
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#8
Reggie, first let me tell you how much I admire your attitude towards "life's inconveniences" when travelling. I'm the same way, but would throw in the towel (pun intended) when the toilet tried to tip me over. Have you made it very clear to your CC that you followed HomeAway's rules? Based on what you've reported to us, there's a communication glitch somewhere, your case should have been handled by your CC in your favor.
Thanks for that tip -- I absolutely cannot recall if I told them we contacted HomeAway and followed their instructions regarding problems. I will make sure I mention that to Visa.
 
Jun 7, 2018
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#9
Thanks for that tip -- I absolutely cannot recall if I told them we contacted HomeAway and followed their instructions regarding problems. I will make sure I mention that to Visa.
And yes, I found a list of executive contacts, but would like to see your list as well. I am not giving up on this. It is absolutely something they should have ruled in our favor. I also believe the owner of this unit violated city codes for conditions of rentals.
 
Jun 7, 2018
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#10
I would appeal to the credit card company and
perhaps do a point by point document of how you followed the instructions and that you want to appeal the decision. We can help you if you post it here.

What bank your cc with? If we have the executive contacts you can appeal to.
Neil -- I can do the point by point here if that would help -- I am willing to do anything that would help. When I initially posted my problem here I tried to attach photos and for some reason it did not work. With the photos and copies of text messages our case is crystal clear. I will try again.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#11
I think this dispute may be simpler than you're presenting it. Both Visa and HomeAway require you to make a good faith effort to resolve an issue with the merchant before filing a dispute. For example, you resolved the cleanliness issue by contacting the merchant who then sent over a cleaning crew.

It's not clear to me what happened on the second day. I see two possibilities:

1) You contacted the merchant about the plumbing issues and the resolution you agreed on was that you move out. In this case, you don't need to fight over whether the unit was habitable, as you both agreed to terminate the service after the first day. His text message seems to support this scenario. In this case, I think your credit card dispute is "services not received" as opposed to "defective services". Hopefully, it's not too late to make this claim to Visa as they've already denied your dispute several times.

2) You unilaterally told the merchant you were moving out without allowing him to address the plumbing issues. This weakens your case a lot, as you largely lose your legal and contractual protections. I think your best bet in this case is to escalate with HomeAway as a customer satisfaction issue. However, as Neil pointed out, their guarantees are pretty weak and in fact explicitly exclude cleanliness and repairable defects as reasons to leave a rental.
 
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