58

Welcome to Wealth Informatics! If this is your first time visiting the site, please start here.

How to spot & avoid a vacation rental scam?

I like renting vacation homes instead of a hotel room. Vacation rental homes provide much more value for money than hotel rooms. But it also comes with risk. Google VRBO scam or Homeaway scam, you can find plenty of results. You are after all renting a place, from a stranger, online, without actually seeing it. There are some horror stories of vacation rentals that don’t look like the photos at all or even worse, don’t exist at all. Last week, Sandy @ First Gen American forked over $1000 for a rental that she couldn’t use due to the recent blizzard. Sandy has taken down her posts, but I thought it would be a good time to review some tips on how to save yourself from becoming a victim of vacation rental scams.

How to save yourself from Homeaway, VRBO or any vacation rental scam?

  1. Check the reviews : Book from a reputable website. VRBO or Homeaway are good ones. VRBO has a weird comment/review policy. The owners can either choose to display all the feedback, positive or negative; or they can choose to disable feedback altogether. This means, if there is no feedback, the listing is new, there were no complaints or there were a lot of negative complaints, so the owner chose not to show them. So if a listing has n0 feedback, skip this listing or find ways to research this listing via other ways.
  2. Do some basic research : Google the address and see the satellite map to make sure that the place actually exists. Also Google the name of the listing + owner name or owner name + address or vrbo id. If people are dissatisfied, they would have complained somewhere, even if the owner has turned off the reviews. Check the BBB if it is managed by a property management company. Check the county records to verify the ownership.Homeaway scam
  3. Talk to the owner and/or ask a lot of questions : If it is a scam, the scammer will be looking for low hanging fruit, so he/she won’t answer all your questions. Ask specific questions, if it says ocean view, check how far the beach is if you had to walk. I looked at an ocean view rental with a beautiful sunset picture posted. When I pressed more, it turned out that you could see the ocean in the distance from the bedroom window! It is a distant view, almost 10 blocks from the beach! Asking a lot of questions is not a fool proof method, but you atleast have some time to verify and clear out all your doubts. And you will have an email trail to submit as proof if the rental didn’t live up to your expectations.
  4. Use a credit card : This might eliminate some listings that you like. When I was planning for my week long Hawaii vacation, there were several places that I liked, but all of them required me to wire the entire amount or mail a check 60-90 days before the vacation. I called and asked them if they would take a credit card. Some of them did take credit cards but as it is costly they didn’t advertise it as the preferred payment mode. Even if they say they won’t accept credit cards, ask them if they will take it if you pay the credit card fee. I did this for my Hawaii vacation. Yes, I paid 2.5% more than cash, but the peace of mind was worth every penny. If they flaked or something happened, the credit card company would have helped me. Plus, some credit cards have nice perks, for example mine came with travel insurance that would have refunded the money if something happened that prevented me from traveling. I cannot stress this point enough.
  5. Never send the money without seeing the entire agreement : Ask them if whatever you are signing is the agreement in its entirety. Ask this question via email, so you have more proof than a he said/she said conversation. Get the complete instructions along with pre-arrival agreement well in advance.
  6. Ask for references : If he is a nice owner and not misrepresenting the rental, he would be happy to give references. But use this with a grain of salt, for all we know he might be giving his wife’s name.
  7. Read the contract : Know what you are signing, it is not uncommon to have a very long complicated contract. I have seen some very simple contracts to very elaborate nickel & diming contracts. Make sure the contract specifies how you will get access to the property, cancellation policies, deposit and cleaning policies. If the contract seems one sided, by favoring only the owner, just move on to another rental. I am not saying all restrictive contracts are bad, they are renting their house to you without knowing you, so it is natural that they hold a deposit amount and ask you to leave the place as you found it. But if it says the shades should be closed precisely half way through and if it is closed an inch longer you will lose your security deposit, then the person is not planning to return your money anyway. Move on.
  8. Check the photos : If there are no photos, skip that listing, it is not worth your time. Also look for pics of both the inside and outside (remember though, photographs can be misleading – ever wonder how every hotel has the same identical blue pool with the palm trees and the beautiful women, even in Alaska??). There might be something wrong with the place the owners don’t want to show. Or the owner doesn’t care enough to take some photos and put them online. If that is the case imagine how responsive he will be if something goes wrong. Definitely not worth your time.
  9. Know where to complain: If you do get taken for a ride, make sure you:
    • Collect as much information about your communications
    • If you think the owner misrepresented the details – file a complaint with Internet Crime Complaint Center. You will have to provide your name, address, details of the scam and proof of your accusation.
    • I hope you paid with your credit card. File a complaint right away.
    • Write about your experience truthfully in the review of the booking site or Trip Advisor along with the rental id.
    • Contact BBB, if they are registered and file a scam complaint.
  10. Respect the owners rights and property : If you are happy with the owner and do rent the property, respect their requests and do as much as you can to think from their point of view. They are small business owners or regular folks who are as apprehensive to rent their homes to strangers as you are renting from someone online.

If it is too good to be true, it probably is. That extra jacuzzi you fell in love with seeing the photos is not worth spoiling your vacation for. There are plenty of options now for vacation rentals. Always trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, move on.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Plemon

I too love vacation homes. I follow most of your tips, but have been lucky a few times in the past when I haven’t read the fine print of the contract of have sent money without reading the entire agreement. But I would NEVER rent a home without looking at the pictures! We have gone back to the same vacation areas several times, so using the same agency who has treated us right in the past helps us avoid being scammed.

Reply

krantcents

Your advice is so true! The advice is normally followed in real life, Why don’t we do the same on the Internet? I want to be more careful on the Internet than I would be with a local business.

Reply

101 Centavos

I must be living a charmed life. We haven’t had experiences like those described by FGA, or some of the points in your post. Maybe it’s because we haven’t rented many vacation homes (3 times that I can remember). The last few times we’ve been on holiday we’ve tended towards mini-vacations at B&B’s. Thanks for posting this, I’ll pay more attention to the fine details next time.

Reply

Moneysanity

Love the post,

The point about checking the photo’s resonates with me.

A few years ago, I rented a house for a weekend, for 6 people. Online the place looked great, the photo’s looked great. It was only when we arrived and the house was much smaller than expected that I realized that the photo’s were all closeups but none really panned the room or rooms. The outside of the house was from a distance and it was not evident how small it was. In retrospect, I never asked for the square footage of the house, which was probably under a thousand. My bad :)

Thanks!

Reply

CF

So true! We always rent out apartments and such when we travel. It’s great for the home comforts and the “local” feel but you definitely do need to be careful. We’ve just been local for rentals in Germany actually – so a very timely post!

Reply

CF

*looking, not “local” for rentals… lol.

Reply

brokeprofessionals

I think your right that it’s a great idea, yet so scary to do. I would find it particularly never racking in a foreign country, but then again plenty of people do it and really enjoy the experience and the savings.

Reply

Aloysa

Interesting, we never rented any vacation rentals. Ever. We usually do hotels or my parents timeshare. I do know a lot of people who would be very interested in this article. I better tell them to check it out. Great info!

Reply

Barb Friedberg

Very interesting. Have never tried the vacation homes route. Usually go with a standard hotel room. Although my dream is to spend a month in Barcelona and I would definitely look to rent an apartment. Good tips. Thanks.

Reply

First Gen American

This is a great checklist. I totally botched #5 last time around. I’m sure if someone follows your advice, they will have a great vacation without any surprises.

I have to say, I didn’t notice the disable review option on VRBO until after the fact. You’re right, that’s definitely a red flag that I will look out for on future bookings.

I agree on the credit card thing too. It’s much easier to dispute charges that way. I didn’t know about the travel insurance perk. That’s good info.

Fantastic article.

Reply

Wendy

I have rented many times through vrbo and homeaway and have never had a bad experience. However, I have checked names of owners, if the property actually belongs to them, etc. especially if it sounds too good to be true. I have had fabulous rentals (Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii) for fantastic prices. However, if you are renting in Colorado for example, it is important to remember that if they say you need 4 wheel drive to get up the driveway, you better have it, and ask more questions about the difficulty of the ascent.
My one horrible rental was from a private website of the owner. Unbelievable, ended up being a dilapidated trailer home in a scary setting so we left. We were out the deposit.

Reply

Cynthia

Hi, Thanks for your comments I am trying to book a House rental from the Homeaway web site. I almost rented the house but the Home owners would not give out the address of the rental to my realestate agent in Arizona or myself until I paid the hole rental price $4,000. Have you ever run into this?

Tks,
Cynthia

Reply

Kim

Hi Cynthia,

We’re having that issue right now…please post if you find out anything.

Reply

karyn

These are some great tips. Thanks. I actually think I just flushed out a scammer using them!

Reply

alicia

I am a vacation rental owner. Most people who rent a vacation rental home don’t understand the amount of work put into it. They just think they are on vacation and can do what ever they want. One of the main reasons vacation rental owners have such a strict contract is because of previous experience. The contract can get pretty air tight and lengthy over a period of time. You have no idea how many times I have had some one come in after many a phone conversation, photo review, refrences etc. TRASH my home, not get their deposit back and then leave a nasty review. I am very different from most owners where I live down the street from my rental. So all I ask is if you break my grill let me know about it or what ever happens tell me. Vacation Renting is not as stressful for the renter as it is for the owner I can gaurantee you that 100 times over. Guests lying about how many people staying. They book for 5 people the next thing you know as soon as your gone the neighbor calls and says there are three more cars parked in your private driveway. Welcoming complete stranger into your home. Trying to get damage paid for that exceeds the damage deposit. The complaints, the late night phone calls at 2 am about spilling coffee all over the place and they want me to drop everything and get more, complaints from neighbors, damage, moving furniture around the house etc. So all of you renters out there should know most of us out there BEND OVER BACKWARDS FOR OUR GUESTS to make sure your stay is as comfortable as it can be. I hate seeing blogs like this because it makes us good rental property owners look like the bad guys.

Reply

Suba

Alicia,

I don’t know why you hate this blog. Didn’t I mention it specifically (#10) to respect the owners right and property? Like everything, there are bad renters and there are bad owners. You take care of your property and care about the guests. So you should have no problem with all the suggestions I gave. The suggestions I gave are in fact to get people like you more business and weed the careless/bad owners out. I don’t see why you are offended by this. I also said I like renting vacation rentals as opposed to a hotel. Let me know which point in my post is unfair according to you and I will gladly add your counter argument to that as a home owner.

Suba

Reply

Kevin

Suba,
She is obviously not happy because of your gender reference in #6!! :)

Reply

LovesToTravel

I’ve been so very lucky or wise on the few home rentals I’ve taken before! It is imperative to ask all possible questions and buy the ins just in case – you might need it. I have found sone that seemed too good to be true and have not tried them.

Reply

Jacqueline Ayers

Hi! I’m a vacation rental owner and I think your article is a good one….people should be careful when deciding on a stay anywhere. I’ve seen scams on craigslist using my information and one of my photos. They asked that the money be sent to somewhere in Africa by money order or bank check only. I’ve also stayed at hotels that were misrepresented.

VRBO and HomeAway now have a new review policy (since last year) and there are no opt-out options for reviews.

The most important thing is to READ all of the information about the vacation rental carefully and the contract before you sign it. It is binding.

Reply

keith

I would like to further comment on the scams being run on most for rent by owner sites. Most listings are legitimate but you must be cautious. If it sounds too good to be true, it is likely is a scam. You are always better to use individuals or management companies that you have used before. If that is not the case your should research to make sure of the legitimacy of the individual or rental company under which a property is advertised and make sure they are the owner or the authorized agent of the owner…. If an owner you can search the tax data basis to make sure of the ownership…. if a management company then likely there is a website along with phone numbers and a business address…. call them, and talk to them and see how long they have been in business.

A common ploy is to advertise pet friendly accommodations or oceanfront homes at too low to believe pricing. It is advisable to use a rental company that has been established that has websites and a history in the rental market. We rent a home and are the authorized agent to do so, but photos were lifted off of the local multiple listing service of homes for sale and then used to create a bogus homeowner of a rental unit and then hope to allure someone to send them a deposit…. The deposit requests are usually requested to be a wire transfer, but can be Pay Pal etc…. Most travelers in this day and age are trusting however I must add that you must be carefully when sending money…. take the time to verify who you are dealing with and enjoy a great vacation from a property advertised by a for owner or property management company….

There has not been much reporting on this problem, however it is very real. I know of personally 7 families in the last year alone that have been scammed out of monies paid in the most part thru a US bank and then taken off-shore.

My comments as a property management company are to advise folks renting on the internet thru whatever owner/property management based site is to take the time to make sure who you are dealing with is legitimate as there are many scams out there in todays world.

There are many great properties on most rental sites that are legit… but like spamming the internet with offers of millions of dollars that someone will share with you if you would do one thing or another… fraud with vacation rentals is just another deal someone in the 3rd world is trying to dupe unsuspecting victims out of their money.

Keith
N Myrtle Beach SC

Reply

Vickie

We have rented quite a few times ( Costa Rica,Hawaii,California,New York ,Croatia, Florida) and had nothing but wonderful experience; maybe we were lucky and should not press our luck, again, ha, ha. Anyway, we do follow some of the tips mentioned ( reviews, pictures,contacting the owner, looking at the contract carefully, paying with card if possible, etc. I just think it is so much more enjoyable having a “home” feeling rather than a hotel; all the owners were so helpful and nice to work with and many of them had nice little surprises for us. Needless to say, we made sure we took care of the property as if it were our own, so maybe that’s it, who knows. I just know we will continue…

Reply

David

I’m an owner who has had a dispute with a client over false statements in a review. This the letter I received from VRBO that seems to say it all… Positive nor Negative reviews are to be trusted

Dear David,

VRBO does not investigate the truthfulness of reviews since they are the subjective opinion of the guest who stayed at your property. You can respond to the review before it goes live on the listing. There was a glitch in our system that caused a delay to owner responses. Your response is being moderated for compliance with our guidelines and will post if approved.

Best Regards,
Nadia
Customer Support Agent
VRBO.com Customer Support

I have a complete web site at http://www.AVRBOReview.com explaining the whole situation…

Reply

Adams Properties

I am a new owner of a condo on the beach! I don’t like the comment “if there is no feedback, pass it up”. I paid a lot of money for the condo, the upgrades, and the listing and people may be passing me over because I’ve only owned it a month? I am sure not everyone is doing the right thing but the majority of us insist on doing the right thing!

Reply

Don B

I will soon be traveling to Paris, I’ll let you know how your advice worked.

Reply

Caroline

Hi
I am a VRBO owner with several apartments listed in London. I have to say a lot of this is very good advice but there are some small corrections to make . We are not able to disable reviews on VRBO so this is not correct information. I have just listed a new apartment on VRBO and it currently has no reviews as it’s freshly listed . I have other apartments with over 50 reviews and we have to take the good with the bad, if someone leaves a review we are absolutely NOT able to disable it , or to interfere with it in any way.

Fortunately we have had fantastic guests over the years but I do agree with Alicia as well. I have had my apartment trashed and had guests keeping my neighbours awake until 5am- which I was unaware of at the time or they would have been removed. Some people do not respect your apartment or your private time as I have had a guest ring me and wake me up at 11.45 pm to ask me if I have a pasta pan! I have also had guests arriving home drunk , start cooking a fry up at 3am and having three fire engines in the street when they forgot and set all the alarms off. I also had a guest who rented out half of my apartment to another person while they were staying there and so had guests in my house that were not contracted to us, the pitfalls are there for both owner and renter.

Give the owner a call if he or she is genuine they will answer any questions you may have . I have been with several internet site HomeAway and Vrbo to name two ,and these are very reputable companies . The clients I have had from VRBO have been absolute stars with few exceptions and I have been in the business for twelve years . We all live and learn, people need to be careful when they book and we need to be careful when we take bookings.

Reply

marilys scheindel

As the owner of vacation rental properties in the Portland, Maine area, I would agree that this is all very sound advice. I believe the most of the property owners in the Portland area are very reputable, but I do know of some who are not. I think your idea of paying with Visa and offering to pay the fees is an interesting one. The visa fees for small “vendors”, like myself, are very high and unaffordable unless they are built into the weekly prices, which I have not done with my properties. Using Visa does offer a measure of protection. I couldn’t agree more about reading the reviews. When you consider that the vast majority of the guests don’t take the time to write reviews, it’s important to realize that the ones that do take the time often have something meaningful to say and they obviously felt strongly enough about their experience to take the time to write a review. And look closely–very closely–at the photographs, especially photos that involve the views. Make sure that you see something from the house in the photos of views–something that you can identify from other photos–such as deck railings, windows, interior furniture, etc. Some property owners use photos of views that were taken from outside their unit, but not necessarily directly outside, such as from the yard, the deck, etc. Another comment about the photos is to be sure that every aspect of the house is photographed. The websites offer plenty of photos with each listing, so if a room isn’t photographed and displayed in the listing, ask to have photos emailed to you. A reputable property owner will be more than happy to “show off” their property with additional photos. I had the opportunity to see a local rental home in person and was quite surprised to see that the beautiful bedroom photographed was not part of the house. The bedrooms not photographed were interconnected (meaning that you had to walk into one bedroom to access the other) and had mattresses on the floors. Finally, if you don’t see the photos that you need in the actual ad, then, by ALL MEANS, ask the owner to send you additional photos.

Reply

Lydia yaffe

As a vacation owner who posts their rental on vrbo and home away, I am really surprised to see this article. I have personally used vrbo for years all over the world as a referral from a friend and I have only had great experiences. I have also done trade on home away and I wouldn’t travel any other way. The problems I have encountered as a vacation rental owner is scams from potential renters or people looking to case a place they know will be vacant at a certain time. I’m not sure this advice is the best or representative of properties or websites as a whole.

Reply

Suba

Lydia, I am not saying there are no scams from the renter’s side. As with everything, there are shady renters and shady owners. This article specifically talks about how to be careful when it comes to the shady owners. I don’t have a VRBO rental, but I have rented many many times. So I spoke from my perspective. I never said the entire VRBO is a scam, far from it. I want to give my business to honest rental owner and these are my ways to do that. As a VRBO owner, can you say there are absolutely no scams that provide fake photos and asks for money to be wired? I don’t think you can confidently say that. There are certainly scams like that and as a renter it is my duty to do due diligence. There are plenty of nice VRBO owners who have commented above. Owners should do their due diligence to weed out scammy renters and renters should do the same when it comes to owners. It is a two way street.

Reply

PV

I had a terrible experience with HOMEAWAY.COM and would advise against using their service. They are quick to collect their payment but took 3 months to actively post my photos on the listing. $400+ later, I received only 7 inquires in the entire 12 months and numerous times tried to speak w a supervisor . Each time I was told that I would be called back that day. On only two of those times a supervisor called me back but it was several days later and I was never given a direct phone number having to initialize the original call spending multiple hours of my time hanging on the phone. I absolutely hate this company. I don’t even hate a fly, but I do Hate Hate Hate homeaway.com . I would recommend saving your money and listing it yourself as we did way better. Or call a local property management firm and let them deal w the hassles. Avoid at all costs homeaway.com .

Reply

Ab Mil

Well, summer season is ab to start and scams are high out there. Someone is trying to scam me right now with a property from Homeaway. Of course I picked it up and just giving him the run around pretending I’m very excited with the property and all that crap. All in all I’ll be safer staying in Motel 6, I think that’s what I’ll do. Online vacation rental scams are a reality. Best protection, get informed, talk to someone on the phone, ask questions, and never wire or send real money. if in doubt at all, don’t do it.

Good luck

Reply

DaveS

This is the third time I rented a home/cottage and the owners are asking for 50% 7 days from signing the agreement and the other 7 days 30 Days before the actual date we will be taking the cottage. Is this normal as I have always paid 25% deposit and the balance on the date we take the cottage. Can someone answer this question for me please. Much appreciated. This is a VRBO/HomeAway owner.

Reply

DaveS

Sorry in my comment I meant to say “50% 7 days from signing the agreement and the other 50% 30 Days before the actual date we will be taking the cottage.

Reply

Barbara Colarossi

An answer to Dave S. Regarding payment of rent–a 50% deposit to put your reserved dates on the onsite calendar, thereby discouraging anyone else from inquiring, and the remaining 50% of the rent with time to clear the check before allowing you to check-in does not seem unreasonable. Also, if that last 50% is not paid, indicating you will not be showing up to your reserved stay, the owner just might have another chance to book it. If successfully rented to someone else you should be eligible to get your deposit refunded. If the owner has a loss (vacancy) because of your default, no refund of deposit. This works for me.

Reply

Dave S

Thank-you Barbara for your comments. I looked into this some more and found the same answer as yours so I do feel a bit more comfortable about this. We will be there this weekend. Thanks again.

Reply

Kevin

Great advice!

There has been a lot of scaremongering about scams, but if you are careful, you should be able to avoid bad experiences.

(And even if you rent a hotel, there is a risk that you will be seriously dissappointed, particularly if you don’t do any due diligence up front!)

Is it okay to quote your adivce in my vacation rentals by owner blog?

Reply

LIn

Should we give a vacation rental owner the full rental amount 6 months ahead of time in lieu of the usual deposit to make a reservation? Help, I am a little nervous, though they seem totally legit. Thanks.

Reply

steve

Lin— don’t do that at all.. as a vacation place homeowner I wouldn’t think of doing that at all to my guests
I have had beach rental properties for 14 years now and only have taken full payment ahead of time once but only after the 5 time returning guest insisted.

Reply

steve

The scam artists are out there folks.. As A homeaway homeowner I suggest a couple of things to ensure your vacation will be a good one.. check the GPS location and compare to the address used in the listing, call the owner, be alert to any alleged owner who wants Western UNion moneygrams or wire transfers. Be mindful of the email address/phone number in the house listing- make sure things match up. Be alert to the grammar used in any correspondence- the latest scams are from the UK. If you have any knowledge of the area which you would like to rent , don’t be afraid to ask a question of the owner that you already know the answer to e.g. how far away is Walmart or the grocery store.

Reply

Nancy

I think it’s naive to trust reviews on a site paid for by the advertisers. In this case, the advertisers are the homeowners. I mean, when you think about it, it only makes sense. You don’t see a TV station trashing its advertisers. I rented a very nice condo from VRBO and I also rented a dump that had a misleading ad. Sometimes a complaint is just an opinion, and sometimes it is indisputable. For example, a condo advertised as a one bedroom plus family area that’s an efficiency is a misleading ad. I rented at the last minute (called from my car!) so I didn’t do my homework. I realize some problems are out of the owner’s hands. I can hear snoring through the walls and the people upstairs keep me up all night. I don’t expect someone to say “the walls are paper thin” if you say you are a light sleeper. (although I have met people who are that honest) However, I read 12 positive reviews and I now find them difficult to swallow. One review says “a quick 10 minute drive to town” and that’s impossible. TripAdvisor has dozens of reviews about the same building, and even the positive ones say it’s a long drive into town. (again, I didn’t do my due diligence) Asking the owner isn’t always the best way to get accurate information. Use MapQuest, Bing or Google to check mileage. I’m 60 miles from a city I need to visit a few times and the owner told me was at most a 30 minute drive. MapQuest estimates an hour and 15 minutes. The owner sounded very nice on the phone, so I just believed her. Silly me.

Reply

marilys scheindel

Nancy,

I have rental homes in Portland, Maine on VRBO and on Homeaway and I can assure you that Homeaway controls the reviews. I had a horrific experience with a client that was a complete nightmare and even engaged in illegal activity while at the house. He left a false and scathing review and I was on the phone with Homeaway managers for over one week to try to prove to them that he had made false statements. The same thing had happened to me in 2009 and they refused to budge. Despite having 36 GLOWING reviews from renters which completely contradict what the two false reviewers wrote, Homeaway and VRBO refused to budge.

The only thing that I have noticed is that there was a property in my neighborhood that had a really bad review that appeared to be true, based on the owner’s response. The owner removed her listing and when she came back after a while, all of her reviews were gone–she really didn’t have any reviews worth salvaging. So I guess if you are a homeowner with terrible reviews, you can find a way to have them all removed, which is so unfair to the renters.

Thanks,
Marilys Scheindel

Reply

Ann

On March 4, 2013, I inquired about a rental property in Sedona, AZ through the VRBO.com website. I inquired about 2 listings owned by the same person. Listing #216845 & #161756. On the same date, I received a response from someone I thought to be the owner stating the rental was available. After a number of emails back and forth, I agreed to the rental. I received a contract; everything looked to be correct on the contract, even had the correct rental property address, logo, etc. I signed the agreement, and wired $645 through Western Union to the UK (I’ve learned my lesson now).

A few days followed and I received another email asking for an update on my interest in the rental property, since everything had been signed, sealed and delivered; that alerted me, so I called the number in the listing on VRBO and spoke to the actual owner of the property, Fran. She stated she did not have my money or my reservation. I called VRBO and they explained that the owner of the property had her email hijacked because she didn’t have the proper filters in place. There is nothing anyone can do.

My complaint is two-fold: if the actual owner of the property had replied to my email in the first place and then I received the criminal email, I would have been alerted and knew there was something illegitimate about the reservation. She choose not to respond so I never knew. In addition, if she had the proper filters on her email, this never would have happened. I feel the owner has some responsibility to me for the loss of money.

I spoke to the owner today and she said she had another potential renter call her to report the same thing happening to them, but because she responded to their inquiry, they knew something was up. I told her she should respond to every inquiry and she said it would take hours if she did that. This is her business, she should run it as such.

Reply

Satish Joglekar

I must have sent over 17 enquiries thru homeaway. No owner has bothered to respond to my emails even after 2 or 3 emails. None of them use any payment gateway, even though homeaway is tied up with pay pal.

Reply

Neel

Just got scammed on homeaway don’t use that website. The first thing you should know is slap you self and the go to the bank and have the teller slap you after you tell them you want to send money to anyone from homeaway.com.

Most trusted website what ever…..I thought timeshare is a scam at least you have a room to stay with time share with homeaway you get scammed.

All I ask is the website knows there’s people trying to commit fraud to tell you that first, before you enter in a date to stay, there should be a message that the houses may not be real, seriously if you know people are getting ripped off on your website give us some warning we can go to another website, how greedy can you be? What’s worse a greedy website playing roulette with your money or the scammers? The warning is hidden its always buy buy buy then in small print you just hit snake eyes money gone. I wish I can add the attachment that’s says most secure website, but if I post it on Facebook hopefully it gets to more people

Reply

marie lovely

be very careful of homeaway there is a scam on ocean front rentals that are not for rent 30 families showed up at one house last week

Reply

Arnold Gubins

VRBO may be reputable, but not all of its listings are. I rented a condo in Reno, and after returning home the owner took her listing off VRBO and refused to refund my $200 security deposit, citing “cash-flow problems” in her e-mail to me. Other than filing a small claims action in court, I have no recourse for the $200 refund.

Reply

marilys scheindel

To Cynthia who almost sent in her $4000 and then realized that the address of the home wasn’t going to be disclosed, I would run in a different direction. As an owner of two vacation rental homes, I am very proud of my homes and want to show people as many photos as possible, love to show the properties in person every chance I get, etc. They must feel that there is something that they need to hide, such as the condition of the exterior, the neighborhood, etc. I have noticed that the rental homes in my area that are very unnattractive from the outside do not post exterior shots. I would question anything that is not shown in a photograph and always ask for more photos

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 12 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: