A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about a maddening experience with Vrbo that, unfortunately, is not uncommon.
You can access Vrbo here.
Email From The Reader:
Several months ago I booked a month-long stay during high season in Palm Springs on Vrbo.com. I prepaid the entire month as required, around 3500€. I chose this property on Vrbo because of its comparatively reasonable price, its location near where other friends were staying, and because I had heard about good experiences with Vrbo; specifically that it was less likely to have scams and other problems that occur on AirBnB. The property we booked had a 30-day cancelation policy, less than 30 days notice, we would forfeit the entire amount paid.
All was well, my family were excited about the upcoming trip, and preparing for our month in the sun.
Exactly 30 days before we were due to arrive, I woke up to an email from Vrbo with the subject line, “The reservation has been canceled.” Of course I hadn’t canceled anything. But it appears the owner had. I didn’t realize that was an option, should have read the T&Cs more closely. There was a note from the owner informing me that they had sold the property and best wishes.” Best wishes. 30 days out from a month-long rental in peak tourist season.
Of course we wound up having to book a much less desirable property in an inconvenient location for a much higher price due to the late date.
When I mentioned this to some friends with rental property in another city, they told me this was a common scam on Vrbo and other similar sites. Owners will list properties at a reasonable price to make sure they are booked, and then monitor availability of similar properties on the site. If they see that demand is high, they cancel the lower-priced reservation at the last minute and list the property at a higher price on a different site. The “selling the property” excuse is the only one Vrbo permits, which is why it’s always the reason given when this happens.
Sure enough, this property is back up on Vrbo, with a new property ID but same owner.
I just wanted to send you a note so you could make others aware of this sketchy practice. I don’t really know how you can prevent it happening. Book a hotel I guess.
Vrbo Cancellation Email:
Vrbo is owned by Expedia, which has several other brands such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Trivago.
Believe it or not, I have never booked anything on Airbnb, Vrbo, or any other “home” sharing platform. I must have, however, got something similar once for Tallinn when I used Orbitz.
I have searched several times for apartments for stays of three to seven nights but have never quite found anything acceptable (quality, size & price). I have visited friends who have booked on Airbnb, and the quality has not always been great (I would have sometimes walked away).
Hosts can list their apartments or units on various sites. There is software available to do this. Unfortunately, these companies cannot keep their hosts honest and honor existing bookings. To be honest, this sometimes happens with hotels too.
What experiences do you have booking on these sites?