VRBO Owner refusing to give refund

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Nov 14, 2019
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#1
Another couple, my husband and I paid 50% down, $924.50 per couple, on a vacation condo rental in Texas by 04-01-2019 directly to the owner instead of going through VRBO. It was the owner's suggestion to pay him directly. He had emailed us on 2/12/2019 and informed us that if we canceled at least 60 days prior to arrival, we would receive a 100% refund. The vacation rental was to be for 1/1 to 1/31/2020. We canceled by email on 8/29/2019. We received an email from the owner on 10/9/2019 that we were not due a refund because we were renting during the winter months. He also attached a rental agreement policy which we had not previously seen, agreed to nor signed. He also wrote that the only way we could get a refund would be if the condo ended up being rented by someone else for January, and then we would also have to pay a 15% administrative fee. We have sent the owner several emails requesting a refund per his email details of 2/12/2019, but he has stopped responding our requests. We are requesting a total amount of $1849.00 for both couples. The owner's name is Larry Mannon and he owns condo Unit 401 at the Embassy Condominiums in South Padre Island, Texas.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#3
I think that @Neil Maley is right, you may need to take him to small claims court BUT you have an email from him stating a full refund would be given if you cancel more than 60 days out so that works in your favor. An unsigned rental contract does not work in his favor. The problem with small claims court is you have to file in their jurisdiction, correct? That means you would need to travel to recoup your money.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#5
You might want to alert VRBO about this owner - even though you did skip over their rules - to let them know about his suggesting paying outside their platform, the agreement he broke, etc - They may choose to remove his listing. It is very possible this is not the first time he has gone outside of their platform for renters
 
Sep 27, 2018
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#6
I think that @Neil Maley is right, you may need to take him to small claims court BUT you have an email from him stating a full refund would be given if you cancel more than 60 days out so that works in your favor. An unsigned rental contract does not work in his favor. The problem with small claims court is you have to file in their jurisdiction, correct? That means you would need to travel to recoup your money.
Note winning in small claims court is the easy part, collecting the money is tougher. Usually unless you have his bank account info, the costs of getting your money back are usually more than the claim.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,570
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#7
I did it once; it was a royal pain but at least we got our money. The business ended paying us the morning we were to appear in court.
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 23, 2015
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#9
It was the owner's suggestion to pay him directly. He had emailed us on 2/12/2019 and informed us that if we canceled at least 60 days prior to arrival, we would receive a 100% refund.

Judge Judy! But seriously, doesn't VRBO warn its users over and over that if you conduct business "outside of its parameters" that you are no longer protected?Why would you do that just because the owner "suggested paying him directly"? You could have easily said, "No thank you, let's stick with VRBO to keep things simple." This is, sadly self-inflicted pain. However, since you DO have his email saying "100% refund if you cancel within 60 days..." (right?) and the email had no strings attached (right?) sounds like you have a winning credit card and/or small claims dispute. I'd send one more certified letter letting him know that you're filing a formal dispute based on his assurance of a refund blah blah and maybe that'll be enough to shake him loose. If not, follow through. Good Luck! Next time, use the VRBO platform AS INTENDED AND DIRECTED!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
20,324
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
It was the owner's suggestion to pay him directly. He had emailed us on 2/12/2019 and informed us that if we canceled at least 60 days prior to arrival, we would receive a 100% refund.

Judge Judy! But seriously, doesn't VRBO warn its users over and over that if you conduct business "outside of its parameters" that you are no longer protected?Why would you do that just because the owner "suggested paying him directly"? You could have easily said, "No thank you, let's stick with VRBO to keep things simple." This is, sadly self-inflicted pain. However, since you DO have his email saying "100% refund if you cancel within 60 days..." (right?) and the email had no strings attached (right?) sounds like you have a winning credit card and/or small claims dispute. I'd send one more certified letter letting him know that you're filing a formal dispute based on his assurance of a refund blah blah and maybe that'll be enough to shake him loose. If not, follow through. Good Luck! Next time, use the VRBO platform AS INTENDED AND DIRECTED!
Yes VRBO does warn everyone not to pay directly. OP should still let VRBO know so hopefully they can get rid of the owner.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,745
20,324
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
Here is a story about how VRBO will not help if you didn’t pay through their system. Not the same circumstances except that the renter paid outside of VRBO and we couldn’t help her.

Hopefully Barbara used a credit card and has called her credit card company to see if they could help. I hope she comes back and updates us.

https://www.elliott.org/blog/vrbo-problem-fake-rental-wire-transfer/
 
Likes: VoR61
Oct 1, 2019
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#12
Everyone is warned about paying off site. We all just need to presume we are communicating with a scammer. But as far as small claims, yes that is an iffy proposition. Getting your award is tough. Maybe always ask for bank account number and verify it early on when things are still pleasant. If the person whom you are in a dispute with has paid you with a check some other time, it might be possible to get the bank to satisfy your claim. I have seen small claims go several ways.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#13
Everyone is warned about paying off site. We all just need to presume we are communicating with a scammer. But as far as small claims, yes that is an iffy proposition. Getting your award is tough. Maybe always ask for bank account number and verify it early on when things are still pleasant. If the person whom you are in a dispute with has paid you with a check some other time, it might be possible to get the bank to satisfy your claim. I have seen small claims go several ways.
So - you first have to win the claim and THEN you get to find the funds.
It’s so easy to close a bank account, that would be the first thing someone on the wrong end of a lawsuit would do so that you can’t find the assets.
You can then search for any real property owned but then you have to file a lien and if the property is not sold within seven years the lie. Just falls off as well as any bad credit marks it causes.