VRBO reservation refund

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Mar 26, 2017
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#1
Anyone else have trouble getting responses from owners listed on VRBO? I'm trying to cancel a reservation according to the guidelines established by the homeowner of the property I had reserved. I have called and texted the phone number listed for the property and have gotten no response. In fact, the number goes to a voicemail box that is full and cannot accept more voicemails. Emails through VRBO to the owner go unanswered as well. VRBO customer service is zero help. They will only commit to contacting the owner on my behalf, but if they have the same contact information I have I fail to see how they will have any more success than I in making this contact. This smells like a scam to me and at best VRBO is facilitating a fraud. I would love to know if anyone else has had this same experience with VRBO and how you were able to successfully resolve the situation
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#5
Another pertinent question: did you pay through the VRBO portal or directly to the owner? If you paid the owner directly you have very little recourse with the help of VRBO. If that is the case, @Neil's suggestion about involving your credit card company would be your best bet.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#6
I'm so sorry for all the bad news, Chris, but we hear these kinds of stories all the time. Personally, I've not ever had a problem with VRBO, but when an owner is unresponsive, you have a big issue. I agree with my colleagues, see if your CC will help, it may be your only resource. I would advise that you pore over every single bit of information you can find to see if there's some assistance available somewhere. I wish you good luck.

For our other readers: always make direct contact by telephone with the owner of a property you're interested in ... not to bypass VRBO, but to be sure the owner is alive and well and answers his phone.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#7
I'm so sorry for all the bad news, Chris, but we hear these kinds of stories all the time. Personally, I've not ever had a problem with VRBO, but when an owner is unresponsive, you have a big issue. I agree with my colleagues, see if your CC will help, it may be your only resource. I would advise that you pore over every single bit of information you can find to see if there's some assistance available somewhere. I wish you good luck.

For our other readers: always make direct contact by telephone with the owner of a property you're interested in ... not to bypass VRBO, but to be sure the owner is alive and well and answers his phone.
I'm a vacation rental owner and I'm listed on VRBO. Your recommendation to always contact the owner by telephone is very good, but the problem is that ever since VRBO has gone to charging a fee to the renter, it has become more and more difficult to find contact information for either the owner or the renter before the rental is confirmed. I can tell you that most VRBO owners are not happy about this. We liked being in direct contact with our renters.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#8
I'm a vacation rental owner and I'm listed on VRBO. Your recommendation to always contact the owner by telephone is very good, but the problem is that ever since VRBO has gone to charging a fee to the renter, it has become more and more difficult to find contact information for either the owner or the renter before the rental is confirmed. I can tell you that most VRBO owners are not happy about this. We liked being in direct contact with our renters.
This is amazing, Marilyn ... pretty clear that VRBO is not in the game for its owners and renters. Hopefully somebody will come along and give them some competition so everyone can all be more comfortable. But they are so entrenched as 'the source' it will be a daunting process. Thank you for letting us know.

Vacation rentals are just such a wonderful thing ... my sister-in-law did everything wrong three years ago on a house for the family attending a wedding on Cape Cod. We were nervous wrecks driving out there from Logan, worrying about ending up 4 to a room at the local Motel 6. . But the place was just fabulous; the owner took such good care of us, even tho she had sold the house 45 days before!
 
Apr 6, 2017
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#9
Avoid VRBO and its affiliates. Sure they have thousands of listings and in most cases you'll not have any issues. BUT there's that risk - when you encounter problems with the rental, you're pretty much on your own. A far better alternative is using a local rental agent. Smaller can be better because a local agency has a personal stake in pleasing both the property owner AND the renter.
 
Jun 5, 2018
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#10
I have a new light on this situation. I am a homeowner for a VRBO property and I have recently just been TAKEN TO THE BANK by a dishonest traveler. My guests make two payments, one at reservation and one at check in. 9 days before her check in she wanted to cancel. My cancellation policy is 50% refund for a 14 day prior to check in cancellation. So, she was out of luck. Then she said she had cancellation insurance. The told them that her reason was that she wanted different features and amenities.
(although the real reason was that a fellow traveler booked a different place ... even though she knew about the reservation with me,) Well, of course, that reason is not covered in cancellation insurance, so she was denied. Then she begged VRBO. Then she begged me again. What has she done now? She has gone to her charge card bank and filed a "chargeback" claim against me. I've learned a lot about chargebacks in the last couple of days, and believe me it is no fun, and especially disappointing/frustrating that VRBO is doing nothing to support me. The reason code this traveler had for the chargeback is VISA 10.4. Which basically says that the customer "is in possession of her card" but "does not recall" "participating and authorizing this transaction." She is so lying!!! Think about this, people. If that's all it takes to get your money returned to you, lets just all do that for everything!!! Nobody would ever have to pay a cent. Literally, the money was TAKEN directly out of my account without her having to prove anything. And now I am all embroiled in this stinking process ... prearbitration... OMG. I lost money because of her and I warned her of the cancellation policy before she actually followed through on it. This is a nightmare. So ... do not trust VRBO anymore as my partner. Do not trust the bank system that allows such flimsy reasons for filing a chargeback. I wonder if AirBnB is any better. Support appreciated regarding my dispute with the chargeback and AirBnB policies.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
I have a new light on this situation. I am a homeowner for a VRBO property and I have recently just been TAKEN TO THE BANK by a dishonest traveler. My guests make two payments, one at reservation and one at check in. 9 days before her check in she wanted to cancel. My cancellation policy is 50% refund for a 14 day prior to check in cancellation. So, she was out of luck. Then she said she had cancellation insurance. The told them that her reason was that she wanted different features and amenities.
(although the real reason was that a fellow traveler booked a different place ... even though she knew about the reservation with me,) Well, of course, that reason is not covered in cancellation insurance, so she was denied. Then she begged VRBO. Then she begged me again. What has she done now? She has gone to her charge card bank and filed a "chargeback" claim against me. I've learned a lot about chargebacks in the last couple of days, and believe me it is no fun, and especially disappointing/frustrating that VRBO is doing nothing to support me. The reason code this traveler had for the chargeback is VISA 10.4. Which basically says that the customer "is in possession of her card" but "does not recall" "participating and authorizing this transaction." She is so lying!!! Think about this, people. If that's all it takes to get your money returned to you, lets just all do that for everything!!! Nobody would ever have to pay a cent. Literally, the money was TAKEN directly out of my account without her having to prove anything. And now I am all embroiled in this stinking process ... prearbitration... OMG. I lost money because of her and I warned her of the cancellation policy before she actually followed through on it. This is a nightmare. So ... do not trust VRBO anymore as my partner. Do not trust the bank system that allows such flimsy reasons for filing a chargeback. I wonder if AirBnB is any better. Support appreciated regarding my dispute with the chargeback and AirBnB policies.
Can you prove to visa that she did the charge by showing some communication from her, to show she is not telling the truth.
 
Jun 5, 2018
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#12
Can you prove to visa that she did the charge by showing some communication from her, to show she is not telling the truth.
I HAVE A LONG LETTER THAT A FRIEND OF MINE HELPED ME TO WRITE. SHE DOES LITIGATION FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE HEARINGS AND REALLY HAS A HANDLE ON HOW TO PRESENT THINGS. THE BIGGEST THING I HAVE IN MY FAVOR IS THAT ON THE RESERVATION PAGE FOR THIS POTENTIAL "GUEST" (I'D HAVE OTHER NAMES FOR HER ....) THERE WAS INCLUDED AN IP ADDRESS. I HAVE 3 SOURCES THAT SHOW THAT SHE IS EMPLOYED AT THAT IP ADDRESS. SHE SAYS SHE DOESN'T RECALL AUTHORIZING THIS TRANSACTION, BUT I HAVE PLENTY OF EVIDENCE OF HER FIGHTING FOR A REFUND OF THE TRANSACTION, BEFORE SUDDENLY SHE DIDN'T RECALL IT ANY LONGER.
 
Jun 5, 2018
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#13
Avoid VRBO and its affiliates. Sure they have thousands of listings and in most cases you'll not have any issues. BUT there's that risk - when you encounter problems with the rental, you're pretty much on your own. A far better alternative is using a local rental agent. Smaller can be better because a local agency has a personal stake in pleasing both the property owner AND the renter.
I RESPONDED BELOW WITH MY OWN ISSUES, BUT FROM AN OWNERS POINT OF VIEW. VRBO AND IT'S AFFILIATES DO NOTHING TO SUPPORT HOME OWNERS EITHER.
 
Jun 5, 2018
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Sorry, but thanks for saying so. It does have that impression, doesn't it. I am not shouting.

So far I am stuck communicating with Yapstone (?). A financial partner of VRBO. I'm dealing with their "chargeback specialists." Although I am assured that chargebacks rarely happen. In that case I do not know why they have a whole chargeback team, when there's rarely a call for it??? I think Yapstone is like a go-between for banks and VRBO clients. But honestly ... VRBO has done literally NOTHING (OK, maybe I did raise my voice, there) to help me. Although Yapstone has my response letter to the chargeback/my defense and they say they are proceeding with it to arbitration, I may check with VISA myself tomorrow.

So, no. I have not yet talked to VISA. I've been guided to just go through Yapstone by VRBO. VRBO is not siding with the client. But they are not helping me either. For example, in documents that they said I needed to provide for my defense, I should provide a copy of the guest's identification and charge card that I got upon check in. They told me that twice. She never checked in! She never came to my place! If they had read my case ... they would have known that. Again, the IP address is going to be my closest piece of "compelling" evidence. But ... VRBO never advised that I use that. I took that upon myself. (I watch NCIS and Law and Order! I know things!)
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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#17
I think the problem is that VRBO was not part of the conversations with the traveler and has no idea of the contact she had with you. I think if you have the evidence of the conversations with you, mentioning the insurance and all, you should prevail.

It is an absolute hassle. I know that I, and most others here, do not recommend and actually discourage people from filing chargebacks when they have changed their mind, or bought non refundable fares and cannot get a refund. It is pointed out that this is called friendly fraud. And it is not a good thing to do.

There are bad customers just like there are bad businesses.

I do hope you prevail.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jun 5, 2018
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#19
I think the problem is that VRBO was not part of the conversations with the traveler and has no idea of the contact she had with you. I think if you have the evidence of the conversations with you, mentioning the insurance and all, you should prevail.

It is an absolute hassle. I know that I, and most others here, do not recommend and actually discourage people from filing chargebacks when they have changed their mind, or bought non refundable fares and cannot get a refund. It is pointed out that this is called friendly fraud. And it is not a good thing to do.

There are bad customers just like there are bad businesses.

I do hope you prevail.
Thank you. It's felt like such a nightmare. Words beyond "hassle." VRBO/Yapstone do know the conversations between myself and the client because I provided them with screen shots. So they're not off the hook from that perspective. Those conversations are definitely part of my defense. I'm in a place to wait and see. I'll keep you informed. Friendly fraud is not very friendly at all. Fraud is an awful thing. Business people and customers all ... are victims. I do not know the answer. But, please, do keep advising people not to file chargebacks unless it's legitimate.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#20
Have they asked you for copies of your correspondence?

Just because the client initiated a chargeback doesn’t mean they will win. I hope you win in this situation but I’d like to to file a help claim with us and to do that you need to create your own thread as well. This is something the writers might be able to look at.

If you took the money by following the VRBO process this person shouldn’t have done what she did. Frankly I’m tired of stories about people who enter into contracts and then use a ton of excuses when they think they can just break the contract and lie. We see it constantly here with the “I got sick and can’t travel but I didn’t want to spend money on insurance so get me a refund” story. I hope you will prevail in this case.

http://www.elliott.org/help/