Left Property on Day 1 Due to no water/electricity

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Jun 24, 2019
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#1
Hi all, I’m so glad to have found this forum as I’m at my wit’s end. I rented a property via VRBO/HomeAway for 16 days on a popular vacation island. I was in contact with the owners leading up to the rental and was very clear that I was a single traveler and I was also clear about what I was looking to do (relax in a safe, comfortable location following some stressful personal and medical issues).

The owners were responsive but a bit disorganized but I didn’t fault that as it was clear they both had full time jobs.

Upon arrival, everything seemed fine at first although there were a few aspects of the property that weren’t described accurately (kitchen was open air and full of local bugs, outdoor pool was warm and stagnant). Those didn’t upset me too much as there was a daily housekeeper and ground crew who I thought could maybe help.

The first night, the electric went off multiple times. I then woke to no running water. It was at least an hour before any water at all returned and it was sporadic. We (myself and housekeeper) could not reach the local manager and I was told that this happens a lot with the water and electric due to the “government”. None of this was mentioned in the rental listing.

I called VRBO who were no help at all. They told me to contact the owner. I did, but there is a many hour time difference between the place I am and their location and by the time they were awake, it would be late afternoon. There was no way to shower, have breakfast, heat food, keep food cold, and it was boiling hot as well.

As I had such a long stay and was alone, I didn’t feel comfortable so I booked the best deal hotel I could find and got out of there. Before I left, I tipped the staff (common in this country) and tidied everything including the few dishes I had used. I was very kind to the staff who were worried they had done something wrong. As I was on my way out the door, the local manager finally showed up. His English was not good and he didn’t seem to understand I was leaving due to no water.

I got ahold of the owner hours later and she was super apologetic and shared the issue with the electric is the government and nothing she can change but the water issue was due to a broken water pump on their end. She told me she would calculate my refund and get back to me. I thanked her and told her that I simply did not feel safe or comfortable long-term in a place without consistent basic amenities. The policy on this property was 50% with 14 days cancellation but she said she would offer me money back as I was only there 1 night.

Fast forward 2 weeks. I received an email that I had been “checked out “ of the property after a week. I emailed the owner to ask if this meant I would get the rest back in refund. No reply.

I then got the request to rate the property, which had a note that I had been rated as well and I could see it after I did my rating. I did so, and was fair and didn’t go into my specifics (as they told me they were fixing the water pump before next guest) but I was honest in saying the good of the property and that it offered a more “authentic” local experience.

I submitted and got my rating. They had rated me 1/5 stars on everything - including weird things like cleanliness, communication and house rules. I was astonished. I sent an email sharing my confusion, asking for clarity and also asking about the refund. No reply.

I finally escalated to VRBO who had me file a formal complaint and they said they would contact the owner. No reply.

At this point, I am out several thousand dollars. The property was wrongly listed and defective. VRBO is no help and owner is non responsive to phone or email.

I’m at a loss of what to do here. I have been professional and pleasant the whole time. Any help would be hugely appreciated!

Thanks! Erin
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
16,298
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
VRBO tells you to contact the owner and if you can’t work it out, contact them again.You left and it’s doubtful the owner was able to re-rent it to provide you with a refund. The way I understand the cancellation is you needed to cancel two weeks before you arrived.

What island were you on that had electrical problems like that?

We have company contacts in our company contacts page for VRBO. You should escalate it to the Executives at VRBO one at a time.

Here is how to escalate this
https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#3
1) did you pay for the property using the VRBO portal or did you pay outside the portal?
If you paid outside the VRBO portal, then it is unlikely that VRBO will provide additional assistance

2) did you pay by credit card?
3) do you have anything in writing (ie e-mail) from the owner acknowledging the water problem and what you would be refunded?
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#4
VRBO tells you to contact the owner and if you can’t work it out, contact them again.You left and it’s doubtful the owner was able to re-rent it to provide you with a refund. The way I understand the cancellation is you needed to cancel two weeks before you arrived.

What island were you on that had electrical problems like that?

We have company contacts in our company contacts page for VRBO. You should escalate it to the Executives at VRBO one at a time.

Here is how to escalate this
https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/
Thank you for the reply! I will continue to escalate. I am in Indonesia and this is my 4th time here and I have never had any issues.

The owners did not make mention of sporadic electricity in the listing. I have been to many other tropical locations where this happens due to inclement weather but it’s been gorgeous here the whole time. The water was the main issue - I don’t think it unreasonable to expect running water in a “luxury” villa. And the owner admitted their water pump was faulty and needed replacing/repair.

I was not expecting a full refund, but given that it’s high season, I was thinking 50% would be fair.

Again, I rented a so-called luxury villa - not something billed as rustic or authentic. Thanks!
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#5
1) did you pay for the property using the VRBO portal or did you pay outside the portal?
If you paid outside the VRBO portal, then it is unlikely that VRBO will provide additional assistance

2) did you pay by credit card?
3) do you have anything in writing (ie e-mail) from the owner acknowledging the water problem and what you would be refunded?
Hi, thanks for the help.

1) yes paid via VRBO
2) yes, with my Amex
3) unfortunately no. Following our phone call, I sent an email summarizing our discussion and asking for more details on the refund as soon as she had them (she told me they had to calculate and liaise with VRBO. This was about 14 days ago). She did not reply. She has not replied to any emails, calls or texts since. The weird thing is that she was super apologetic on the phone, very kind - and they had been very kind all the way through the rental process.

I know they had the cancellation policy and so I didn not call demanding anything. I said I left it to her discretion. While I personally think that no rental should be without running water, it seems VRBO had other ideas on the topic and told me that I had to “work it out with the owner”.

Thanks.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#7
If it’s been less then 30 days, file a complaint on the Book With Confidence Guarantee. You should have contact VRBO again but give it a try with their guarantees file ASAP

https://help.vrbo.com/articles/What-is-the-Book-with-Confidence-Guarantee
Thanks! I have filed a formal complaint but just contacted customer care to ask about this guarantee.

My major concern is that the owner just refuses to respond. That is an issue for me, but also if they behave this way, what about other guests? I am also rather shocked that VRBO allows this kind of behavior. I sure won’t be renting from them ever again!
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#8
Thanks! I have filed a formal complaint but just contacted customer care to ask about this guarantee.

My major concern is that the owner just refuses to respond. That is an issue for me, but also if they behave this way, what about other guests? I am also rather shocked that VRBO allows this kind of behavior. I sure won’t be renting from them ever again!
At this time, your communication should be with VRBO, with written documentation that you have attempted to contact the owner (document the dates/times and mode of contact). Allow VRBO to proceed with the complaint resolution.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
Thank you for the reply! I will continue to escalate. I am in Indonesia and this is my 4th time here and I have never had any issues.

The owners did not make mention of sporadic electricity in the listing. I have been to many other tropical locations where this happens due to inclement weather but it’s been gorgeous here the whole time. The water was the main issue - I don’t think it unreasonable to expect running water in a “luxury” villa. And the owner admitted their water pump was faulty and needed replacing/repair.

I was not expecting a full refund, but given that it’s high season, I was thinking 50% would be fair.

Again, I rented a so-called luxury villa - not something billed as rustic or authentic. Thanks!
It may be a luxury villa but it is still in Indonesia— Friend’s daughter went to Bali for a few months and had electricity problems— that is a known issue, as is the general overburdened nature of the power grid there— add in a few past earthquakes and things can go wrong.

I do agree that a water pump issue sounds like a problem with the owner.

One needs to be patient and persistent with the booking agent.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#12
At this time, your communication should be with VRBO, with written documentation that you have attempted to contact the owner (document the dates/times and mode of contact). Allow VRBO to proceed with the complaint resolution.
Thank you. Great advice. I will make a list of all the contact points.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#13
Hi all, Looking for any help. I have filed a complaint with VRBO, and I spoke to them again today. They also have had no luck contacting the owner either. What are my options at this point?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
16,298
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
Hi all, Looking for any help. I have filed a complaint with VRBO, and I spoke to them again today. They also have had no luck contacting the owner either. What are my options at this point?
You have to work with VRBO. We have company contacts for them- go up the Executive chain one by one. They are owned by Expedia, use these contacts and move passed customer service:

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/homeaway-com/