Jesse’s Story of the Day

Jesse explains how to avoid a nightmare vacation rental


David Naimi was given just one job by his fiancée Lilly, for their wedding. Secure a house for seven family members for the celebration.

But David admits he may have dropped the ball,” I think I blew it,” David said.

That’s not a good start David. Anyways, here’s what happened.

He reserved a home near San Diego using the vacation home rental website VRBO.

Lilly says when the family arrived-the placed was trashed, “They had opened the door and gone in and this place was just in shambles. Imagine you open the door and the beds are unmade, there are dishes in the sink, the toilet is not flushed.”

Lilly’s parents took pictures of the dirty home and called the newlyweds. David called the owner. “So she gave us 3 options at that time. One of the options was to clean it ourselves.”

The other two options were find another place to stay for a day and come back once it was clean. Or get a full refund.

David decided the full refund was the best option, “Because the place was dirty, and we couldn’t stay there, we ended up going back to the hotel that we got married at and ended up just staying there.”

After returning from the honeymoon, David and Lilly found it difficult to leave a one star review for the home.

“I expected it to just post immediately.  And that apparently is not the way that it works over at VRBO,” Lilly said.

What the couple didn’t know was that VRBO has more than a dozen guidelines for posting reviews.

“The first pushback was that our review was too long.  The second pushback I think is that we had used some language where we actually included the price or the cost”, David said.

The last bit of pushback was that David and Lilly didn’t actually step into the property. Their parents sent them pictures of the dirty house and unflushed toilet before they arrived. See Lilly’s no dummy. She’s a lawyer. ”I think you really have to be on a mission to post a negative review with this company.  And we were on a mission. And if we weren’t so diligent I don’t think our review would have ever been posted.”

The homeowner changed their mind and only gave the family a refund for one night.

And since David and Lilly didn’t purchase through VRBO’s online check out, they are out the cash.

So they are taking the homeowner to small claims court to get the rest.

And Lilly is ready to do battle, “We’re pleading with you, we’re pleading with small claims court, we’re doing everything that we can do.  We’re trying to get VRBO to change the way that they’re handling these reviews, because I can’t even imagine what complaints have been thrown out.”

In a statement VRBO says in part, “Only travelers who arrive at the property or those who have their stay canceled by the owner are allowed to submit a review…Those issues were resolved and the traveler’s review has been posted on the listing.” The owner of the property did not return my messages. In the rebuttal the owner says the family came three hours early. Phone records show that’s not the case. My tip, always use the VRBO checkout system. That way you will be eligible for the company’s guarantee. And don’t be afraid to buy the insurance just in case.


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter