VRBO’s Faulty COVID-19 Cancellation Policy

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erc

May 2, 2021
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VRBO’s website currently states that customers/travelers (such as myself) can reach out to the property owner for cancellations due to COVID-19. I attempted to cancel my last night’s stay with a property owner on 30APR2021 and the property owner declined without any attempt to assist. VRBO representatives also did nothing to help and even told me they do not have a supervisor I could reach out to. I am an Active Duty Army Captain who was spending leave with my family before I leave for training. I would have appreciated a little bit more care from either the property owner or VRBO. Additionally, I am disappointed by my inability to leave a review for the host unless she reviews me first. Why does the VRBO website allow this? I would like my money back, or at least half, or the ability to leave a review for the money hungry host.
 
Jan 6, 2021
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Houston, TX
VRBO’s website currently states that customers/travelers (such as myself) can reach out to the property owner for cancellations due to COVID-19.
And that's it. You can reach out and ask for a cancellation, but the property owner does not have to respond, reply, acknowledge, or act. VRBO and others like it simply act as the middle man for your transaction...they handle putting you together with a property owner and little else. Customer service and guarantees are practically non-existent.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
First - thank you for your service.

Now the tough questions. You stayed at the property but wanted to cancel the last night? Was there a problem? I am also not aware of any VRBO policy guaranteeing a refund. They can’t force an owner to refund anything because the owner is paid as soon as you pay VRBO. What does Covid 19 have to do with cancelling one night if you were there already?

And why would you want half of your money back if you canceled left one day early? How is the owner supposed to re-rent that on short notice?
 
Feb 18, 2020
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It sounds like you booked a stay. Then stayed for part of the time but wanted to leave one day early. I don’t see where COVID has anything to do with this? The owner isn’t required to refund you your last day, that was your choice to leave early, don’t blame COVID or you wouldn’t have showed up at all.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
10,924
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San Francisco
Thank you for your service, Captain. Perhaps I can create some clear understanding of your situation. Think of VRBO as a modern form of newspaper want ads. Your arrangement is with the property owner. You contract with the owner for a specified time segment at an agreed-on price. His property is not a hotel, he would naturally be reluctant to refund you that last night. He could not find another renter and the money would come right out of his pocket. What would you think if he told you after you spent the first night that something had changed and you needed to pay another day's rental? I don't think he's being unreasonable.
 

erc

May 2, 2021
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Thank you for your service, Captain. Perhaps I can create some clear understanding of your situation. Think of VRBO as a modern form of newspaper want ads. Your arrangement is with the property owner. You contract with the owner for a specified time segment at an agreed-on price. His property is not a hotel, he would naturally be reluctant to refund you that last night. He could not find another renter and the money would come right out of his pocket. What would you think if he told you after you spent the first night that something had changed and you needed to pay another day's rental? I don't think he's being unreasonable.
This response makes sense. Thank you for clearing this up and I understand now that this issue for me was more of a moral one. I have in the past put my personal property up on Airbnb and have issued refunds due to last minute cancellations. I expected other Airbnb hosts to do the same, but as aforementioned, I realize property owners have a right to their own cancellation policies. This is more of a moral opinion as opposed to factual. Thank you.
 
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erc

May 2, 2021
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2
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It sounds like you booked a stay. Then stayed for part of the time but wanted to leave one day early. I don’t see where COVID has anything to do with this? The owner isn’t required to refund you your last day, that was your choice to leave early, don’t blame COVID or you wouldn’t have showed up at all.
My reason for cancelling was directly due to a new circumstance regarding COVID-19 contraction. I did not cancel due to COVID-19 in general. I would like to make a note that I will not be arguing on this thread. I only posted this for advice, not criticism from anyone who does not know the facts or refuses to ask for facts. Thank you.
 
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erc

May 2, 2021
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Can you cite or link to the specific VRBO policy?
I don't believe VRBO ever had a policy where a refund was guaranteed, especially for 2021.
You are correct. There is no specific policy centering COVID-19 and refunds. I assumed there was based on information provided on the website. As I mentioned somewhere on this thread, my issue with my inability to receive a refund is more of a moral one because I too have property on Airbnb and I always allow for last minute cancellations.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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The big take away here is that when you book a NON refundable rate sometimes you can not and will not get a refund for any reason.

I too have property on Airbnb and I always allow for last minute cancellations.
Your rules are your rules and my rules are my rules. We are all different people , renting different kinds of properties , with different overheads and different ethics.
If you rent with a refundable rate you have to refund. If the place you rented was a non refundable rate then you do not get a refund.