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posts: 1

VRBO is simply a rental property owners site.

We were victims of a classic bait and switch. The listing owner showed pictures of a nice penthouse unit, but only to give us a ground floor place "under repair". I have a copy of our lease and to another family for the same place on the same date. What a scam.

When we told VRBO nothing was even considered to help us. They just blocked us from giving the listing owner a bad review.

I would never use VRBO again.

44 replies to this topic
Ridgewood, New...
Destination Expert
for Kiawah Island, Charleston
posts: 7,880
reviews: 75
21. Re: vrbo

FlipKey and VRBO are not related. The two sites have completely different ownership. VRBO is owned by HomeAway. FlipKey is owned by TripAdvisor.

London ON
posts: 255
reviews: 12
22. Re: vrbo

Thank you kiawahvilla,

That explains why Flipkey works more for the benefit of its paying customers.

Lincoln, NH
posts: 1,549
reviews: 7
23. Re: vrbo

Net-N-JST -- Who are the "paying customers"? (Yes, this is a trick question.) ;)

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,660
reviews: 69
24. Re: vrbo

@LoonMountainMan: VERY good point! :)

I can't see a lot of difference between FlipKey and VRBO/HomeAway, to be honest. I think that folks need to be careful when using either.

North Platte...
posts: 1
25. Re: vrbo

I lost $1900 through a VBRO property in Gleenwood Springs, CO. VBRO told me the vendor that listed the rental had been hacked. I made a reservation for10, received confirmation and contract via email. I called the Colorado phone number to verify the property rental and terms of payment. I wired $1900 to a Barclays Bank in London after I checked with the person that answered the phone. I was told that Cheryl Peters was the property manager and the owners live in London. VBRO told me the owner, Ms Peters, was responsible for working out a deal. The owner told me she had another weekend available. After everyone in our group changed their vacation days, the owner decided she didn't want us to stay at her property. I assume she had another party that was going to pay for the rental. When I pointed out that she did not properly protect her website her responses as "buyer beware". I offered to pay a $1000, so we would both share the loss. The owner completely denied any responsibility in the hack of her site and her phone number. I checked with FBI, and was told there are hundreds of thousands of claims like mine. I didn't file a report,because I will never get my money back. BUYER BEWARE of property in Gleenwood Springs, CO that sleeps 10 and Hassan out door pool.

Aspen, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Aspen
posts: 1,375
26. Re: vrbo

Sorry for your loss. I've heard stories of website and email hacks but never a phone hack. However, the red flag here was the requirement to wire funds. Never ever wire funds because when it's gone, it's gone. No protection and minimal recourse to recover funds in the event of fraud. An expensive lesson to learn.

Lincoln, NH
posts: 1,549
reviews: 7
27. Re: vrbo

Jan, while it is really sad that you were duped, I would like to point out a few things:

The actual homeowner is not necessarily at fault for the breach of security. So, saying folks should avoid her property does not really address the problem. There are several ways that prospective renters can be tricked, and frankly, some are so complicated, many homeowners who rent their places out don't understand then.

As texranger said, wiring funds is the enormous red flag in this scenario, particularly sending money out of the country. If you were to pay by credit card or personal check to a person you can verify by Googling them and their address, you are far more likely to have a great experience.

I would also doubt the FBI's assessment of "hundreds of thousands" of claims. There are quite a few scammers on places like Craigslist, but the number of successful scams on places like VRBO, is rare.

Fruita, Colorado
posts: 13
reviews: 92
28. Re: vrbo

I found a property on VRBO, that looked interesting and competitive. I did the 'instant quote' and got a price of $750 for 5 nights. I clicked 'email owner' to book and sent a message. I got an auto-responder email link from RedAwning.com, suggesting I book through them. The price, for the same place and time, had now increased to $1250. This may not be a scam but it is a bait and switch, with the price.

Jacksonville, NC
posts: 1
reviews: 65
29. Re: vrbo

We are renting through vrbo in the next few weeks.. so far so good - I will write another reply after our vacation.

Some things I did:

Find the County website that the property is located in, then use their "Public Records" search and/or GIS mapping search for the property address and Owners name... make sure all checks out as stated. Gather this information prior to making any commitment.

Use Google Maps to search the address and make sure the pictures can match the property on satellite imaging.

Hope this helps someone out.

San Francisco...
posts: 4
30. Re: vrbo

Lost $200 security deposit on a VRBO rental. Condo owner will not repay, citing "cash-flow problems" in her e-mail to me.

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