VRBO Host cancelled on us and gave 50% refund - no refund of fees or taxes

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Jan 1, 2021
5
0
48
We cancelled our VRBO rental in Florida that was scheduled for April 2020 during the height of Covid lockdowns. We settled on a reschedule to March of 2021 since the host would not provide a full refund. We confirmed a reschedule date with the host directly back in April of 2020, however now 6 months later we have been advised that the host has rented that confirmed week to another renter that was willing to do a longer term. They sent us 50% of our rental fee back which includes only 50% of the cleaning fee. However we did not receive the VRBO fees or taxes back. We have called VRBO 4 times to discuss this and have been told that they have escalated the case and that I will get an email response. In roughly 4 weeks of calling, I have received no responses from VRBO. It is unfair that the host can cancel our reservation and only offer 50% refund, let alone cause us to forfeit the VRBO fees and taxes.

We have a chat log documenting the entire negotiation and reschedule with the host.

We are looking for help to get at least the VRBO fees, taxes and the remainder of the cleaning fee refunded and have hopes to get the rest of the rent refunded as well.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,039
13,212
San Francisco
For what it's worth, it's good that the owner gave you decent notice ... sometimes this kind of thing happens a couple of days before you're scheduled to check in. I know this is disappointing and seems to require a lot of effort ... but four weeks is not a long time to unscramble a situation like yours, I'm sorry to say. Travel providers have been swamped with issues since March. People can't come in to work. People have to create an office at home, with the resultant distractions ... and lost productivity. Everyone is weary and worried. And now, with a full cancellation by the owner, you're really starting over to get your money back ... all of it. I agree with my colleagues, start the standard procedure with the new facts. Best of luck.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Forum Director
Apr 13, 2016
1,065
2,304
St. Louis
We cancelled our VRBO rental in Florida that was scheduled for April 2020 during the height of Covid lockdowns. We settled on a reschedule to March of 2021 since the host would not provide a full refund. We confirmed a reschedule date with the host directly back in April of 2020, however now 6 months later we have been advised that the host has rented that confirmed week to another renter that was willing to do a longer term. They sent us 50% of our rental fee back which includes only 50% of the cleaning fee. However we did not receive the VRBO fees or taxes back. We have called VRBO 4 times to discuss this and have been told that they have escalated the case and that I will get an email response. In roughly 4 weeks of calling, I have received no responses from VRBO. It is unfair that the host can cancel our reservation and only offer 50% refund, let alone cause us to forfeit the VRBO fees and taxes.

We have a chat log documenting the entire negotiation and reschedule with the host.

We are looking for help to get at least the VRBO fees, taxes and the remainder of the cleaning fee refunded and have hopes to get the rest of the rent refunded as well.
Did the host make the adjustments for the dates in the VRBO system and did you confirm the new booking? Unfortunately, VRBO has already indicated they can only enforce confirmed bookings or changes made through their system. If you made an agreement with the host, but it wasn't confirmed through VRBO, you will probably have to take up the issue directly with the host. Any refund from VRBO will depend on the cancellation terms of the agreed-upon booking confirmation or their extenuating circumstances policy in place at the time you canceled the booking through their system.

If the host canceled the booking and you received a cancellation confirmation from VRBO, you may be eligible for a refund as long as you didn't tell the host you were cancelling.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
857
1,796
They should get all their cleaning fee and booking fees as they did not go , so the cleaning was not done. I do not see this as the same as a partial refund for the rental as the owner may not have been able to rent for the same dates and may have lost potential income. But the cleaning fee is a complete different thing as you are paying for a service only needed after a rental. So the owner id basically just profiting money that is not deserved.
 
Feb 24, 2018
83
329
32
They should get all their cleaning fee and booking fees as they did not go , so the cleaning was not done. I do not see this as the same as a partial refund for the rental as the owner may not have been able to rent for the same dates and may have lost potential income. But the cleaning fee is a complete different thing as you are paying for a service only needed after a rental. So the owner id basically just profiting money that is not deserved.

This is not quite right, I don't think. It is not as simple as if the stay does not happen, the cleaning does not occur, so the cleaning fee does not need to be paid. If the owner contracts with a service for cleaning, the fee almost certainly has to be paid whether or not the stay occurs. People's livelihood depends on the promise of a payment coming on X date and is likely contractually guaranteed. So, if a fee is owed, we cannot discount that the cleaning fee is owed also.

However, I don't see that a fee can be owed in this situation. I hope OP follows the advice here regarding this.
 
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Jan 1, 2021
5
0
48
I appreciate all the advice. To clarify a few things, we did not literally cancel through the VRBO system back in March of 2020. It was too late for a refund according to the host's policy. In negotiations with the host, we settled on an alternate date in 2021. The host told us not to cancel through VRBO. I have that in chat log. I didn't like it but what was I to do otherwise? We confirmed a date and the host told me she would send an agreement. She didn't but explained that she had the week blocked out for us. Then 6 months later, I chat back to check in which is when I find out she essentially cancelled on us because she had rented it out long term. I asked for a full refund. She sent 50% and told me to work with VRBO on the fees. VRBO isn't helping at all since they don't see the cancellation in their system.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
892
1,942
However, I don't see that a fee can be owed in this situation. I hope OP follows the advice here regarding this.
Moot point. The OP received a refund for half the money they paid. They have characterized this as half the rental fee and half the cleaning fee, but it could just as easily be characterized as all of the cleaning fee and somewhat less than half of the rental fee. I don't think this aspect will be productive to pursue.

The key questions are the ones raised in Dwayne's post #5. The OP hasn't given us the details of their renegotiation in March 2020. However, it sounds like they had a non-refundable reservation for April 2020 and the host separately made an accommodation to allow the OP to change their reservation to March 2021 . VRBO's obligations ended with the 2020 reservation, which is why taxes/fees haven't been returned.

We don't know the nature of the commitment the host made when transferring the stay to 3/2021. It's very possible that they breached their contract when they cancelled this stay and therefore owe a full refund. It's also possible that they owe nothing at all. I can't think of any circumstance where the host would owe a 50% refund, though. If the host were smart, they would have obtained a release from the OP before refunding this amount.
 
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Jan 1, 2021
5
0
48
smd,

you are essentially correct in your assessment of our situation. As "suggested" by VRBO, the host very reluctantly offered the 50% refund or alternate date. This trip was supposed to be special for us and we spent a lot and really take a big hit in a 50% refund so we preferred to make an alternate date work. However, I have a hunch that the host never truly intended to do anything but the 50% refund. I'm not a lawyer but my point is that the 2021 alternate was cancelled by the host and she benefited in doing that. Therefore, she needs to provide the full 100% refund to fulfil the contract.
 

smd

Mar 14, 2018
892
1,942
The host wasn't required to give you either a partial refund or a reschedule in 3/2020, so I'm not sure why they would have pretended to do a reschedule.

In any event, your dispute is whether the host was legally bound to honor the 3/2021 registration. I'm not a lawyer either, but I think they are since they accepted your cancellation in 3/2020 (ie you provided something of value). They're claiming your damages are the 50% refund that you declined, but I don't think that's right either (since you also had the option of staying at the property on the original dates).

Unfortunately, this is very messy and you may need to pursue this via small claims court or mediation with the host.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
4,063
6,490
the United States
This information, for me at least, sheds new light on the possibilities for this scenario. When you say that VRBO "suggested" to the host a 50% refund or alternate date (to which she reluctantly agreed), you must have been "inside" the date range for any refund when you canceled.

To really know that see their Cancellation Policy" options for a host. Depending on what the host chooses, guests will be eligible for a full, partial, or no refund.

I gather from all of this that the host agreed to the 50% when she was not required to do so. And now that she canceled your modified booking she has again "agreed" to a partial refund.

I recommend that you examine the above link and compare it to your original reservation details. If you canceled when the refund policy stated a 50% (or less) refund, I respectfully suggest that you accept her offer.
 
Jan 1, 2021
5
0
48
Did you do the second rental privately with the host outside VRBO or through VRBO?
We have a long chat log in the VRBO chat system. The host told me she would apply what we had paid to a future date. We chatted and confirmed a future date. I asked her how to get that into the VRBO calendar so it was official. She told me she couldn't do that and that I couldn't cancel there either and that she would send an agreement. She never did send the agreement though.
 
Jan 1, 2021
5
0
48
This information, for me at least, sheds new light on the possibilities for this scenario. When you say that VRBO "suggested" to the host a 50% refund or alternate date (to which she reluctantly agreed), you must have been "inside" the date range for any refund when you canceled.

To really know that see their Cancellation Policy" options for a host. Depending on what the host chooses, guests will be eligible for a full, partial, or no refund.

I gather from all of this that the host agreed to the 50% when she was not required to do so. And now that she canceled your modified booking she has again "agreed" to a partial refund.

I recommend that you examine the above link and compare it to your original reservation details. If you canceled when the refund policy stated a 50% (or less) refund, I respectfully suggest that you accept her offer.
I am looking at the following which applies to my original booking:

https://www.vrbo.com/discoveryhub/tips-and-resources/improve-performance/covid-19-emergency-policy

Option 1 (Default): If the booking is for stay dates up to and including June 30, offer a credit for full value and flexible stay dates within the next year to travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19.

Here is my logic so please tell me if I am mistaken:
Option 1 (default) was effectively completed within our chat log. It says full value. The alternate stay was within a year. All conditions were met. Host subsequently cancelled. Full value is full value and that is therefore what should be refunded.
 
May 21, 2020
129
363
near Charlotte, NC
Your service fees are refunded only if you were given a 100% refund. VRBO doesn’t return the booking or service fees on partial refunds. Hosts have no control over the service fees as it goes directly to VRBO. If you want this returned you need to contact VRBO directly and ask for one.

Were you even due a refund, even a partial one, when you asked to cancel the original reservation? The host gave you a partial refund outside of the platform. Did you agree to this because if you had cancelled thru VRBO, you would have been due nothing according to the terms of the cancellation policy?
 
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Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
25,861
28,983
New York
www.promalvacations.com
We have a long chat log in the VRBO chat system. The host told me she would apply what we had paid to a future date. We chatted and confirmed a future date. I asked her how to get that into the VRBO calendar so it was official. She told me she couldn't do that and that I couldn't cancel there either and that she would send an agreement. She never did send the agreement though.
I think she bamboozled you. And I’m not sure VRBO will side with you because you didn’t cancel through their system.

Use our company contacts and see what happens.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Forum Director
Apr 13, 2016
1,065
2,304
St. Louis
I am looking at the following which applies to my original booking:

https://www.vrbo.com/discoveryhub/tips-and-resources/improve-performance/covid-19-emergency-policy

Option 1 (Default): If the booking is for stay dates up to and including June 30, offer a credit for full value and flexible stay dates within the next year to travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19.

Here is my logic so please tell me if I am mistaken:
Option 1 (default) was effectively completed within our chat log. It says full value. The alternate stay was within a year. All conditions were met. Host subsequently cancelled. Full value is full value and that is therefore what should be refunded.
Unfortunately, this is prefaced with "We ask that Vrbo partners (homeowners and property managers) handle cancellations for trips booked within this period in one of two ways (even if those trips are outside of the set cancellation policy)", which makes it a suggestion.

A host who doesn't do this will face some consequences from VRBO which are spelled out, but they relate to business arrangements between the host and VRBO.

Based on this information, it would appear VRBO doesn't have the authority (based on their contract) to dictate this, only recommend and provide some incentive for them to do so. In the end, since the booking wasn't canceled or rebooked in the VRBO system so they could enforce it, you will probably have to seek resolution directly against the owner/property manager.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
857
1,796
I am with Neil. I think since you did not cancel through VBRO as per the terms and conditions. I think you lost your protection from VBRO.
Beyond that it specifically states in their terms that partial refunds do not qualify for any return of VBRO's fees.

"The service fee will only be refunded in the event a traveler is entitled to a the entire rental amount under the terms of the cancellation policy"