Winnie Murugi
Winnie Murugi
Health and Beauty Expert

If you are looking to book a vacation rental, you may be considering Vrbo, one of the most popular vacation rentals besides other companies such as Airbnb, Expedia,, and HomeAway. However, before you go ahead to make your booking, it’s important to research the company against its competitors and determine its credibility.


Number of Vrbo Reviews – 1.3K

Vrbo Rating* – 1.6⭐⭐

Claimed Losses –  $1.8M

Successful Calls – 13%/10.7K

Resolved Issues - 11

Key Insights:

  • Vrbo provides various vacation rental options comprising cozy cabins in the mountains, bungalows by the beach, and stylish city apartments. 
  • Vrbo cancellation policy and fees vary depending on the property and timing of the cancellation.
  •  Vrbo reviews highlight challenges related to obtaining refunds and the difficulties of contacting Vrbo customer service to solve issues.

This article will delve into Vrbo reviews to examine the company’s reliability and provide readers with the answers to the top questions. 

  1. What is Vrbo?
  2. How does Vrbo work?
  3. Is it safe?
  4. What is Vrbo cancellation policy?
  5. How to contact Vrbo customer service? 
  6. What are its fees? 
  7. How do I get my refund?
  8. Which is better Vrbo or Airbnb?

1. What Is Vrbo?

The Vrbo is a vacation rental website where property owners can list homes for travelers to book. The company oversees the transactions and charges a commission on the rent amount and other applicable charges. Since its creation in 1995, the online marketplace quickly became popular and has since grown to list over 2 million properties in over 190 countries.

2. How Does Vrbo Work?

Vbro specializes solely in stand-alone vacation homes, offering a diverse range of rentals from mountain-top cabins and beachside bungalows to city apartments. It makes the platform stand out from other vacation rental companies like Airbnb.

If you ask: how does Vrbo work and help clients? The company’s Help Center provides steps for the Vrbo booking process for travelers and the listing process for property owners.

3. Is Vrbo Safe?

One of the top concerns for both property owners and travelers is - Is Vrbo safe? According to its website, Vrbo indicates that they have taken specific measures to ensure safety on the properties and for travelers.

For example, property owners are required to put essential home safety preparedness measures in place. Each property should be equipped with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, carbon monoxide detectors, deadbolt locks, etc. They are also required to disclose if there are any monitoring devices installed on the property.

Similarly, Vrbo has several safety measures for guests, including payment protection, a book with confidence guarantee, hosts' readiness for home safety, property accessibility, and cleanliness. 

However, there are numerous Vrbo complaints regarding safety, cleanliness, and misrepresentation of the property. For example, in one of Vrbo reviews, the customer complained that the apartment they booked was not as advertised. The air conditioning was broken and the property was extremely dirty: 

To make matters worse the apartment was completely filthy and very dusty which are also health concerns for my asthma and auto-immune disease.

Now, customers want to help other people “do not suffer the same injustice from VRBO or that property owner/manager as we did.”

4. What Is Vrbo Cancellation Policy?

There is no one standard Vrbo cancellation policy. Rather, they vary from one property to another as set by the property owner or manager. Therefore, refer to the property’s cancellation policy when booking.

In general, customers may have the following options to cancel Vrbo:

  • No refund: There is no refund offered regardless of the reason for cancellation or the timeframe.
  • Strict: Full refund for bookings canceled at least 60 days before the start of your stay.
  • Firm: Full refund for bookings canceled at least 60 days before the start of your stay and 50% refund for bookings canceled at least 30 days before the start of your stay.
  • Moderate: Full refund for bookings canceled at least 30 days before the start of your stay and 50% refund for bookings canceled at least 15 days before the start of your stay.
  • Relaxed: Full refund for bookings canceled at least 14 days before the start of your stay and 50% refund for bookings canceled at least 7 days before the start of your stay.

Despite the clearly stipulated cancellation terms, there are numerous Vrbo complaints regarding how to cancel the service. For example, in one review, the customer complained that they could not get a refund on their booking even though they had purchased cancellation insurance:

My Cancellation Insurance through VRBO protects against quarantine; however, they denied my claim. VRBO has done nothing.

What’s more, according to a Homeaway/VRBO video review on PissedConsumer, it is frustrating that travelers who have had their reservations canceled unexpectedly and without any reason from the property owner cannot post a review on their experience to HomeAway.

In such a case, there are other platforms available where you can post your review including reviews page on PissedConsumers and VRBO social media pages.

5. How to Contact Vrbo Customer Service?

PissedConsumer lists a toll-free number, sales department phone number, email address, and a link to the website that you can use to reach out to Vrbo customer care.

Toll-Free Number: 1-877- 202-4291.

Sales Department: 1-877- 226-3657.


PissedConsumer also provides the Vrbo headquarters address and links to the company’s social media pages on Vrbo customer service page.

You can also get in touch with Vrbo customer support through the HomeAway help page under the contact us button at the bottom of the page. There you will be required to provide information on whether you are a traveler, a property owner, or a manager.

You will also be asked to choose from the provided categories the best one that describes your issue. Depending on the issue, you will be provided with a Vrbo phone number to call or an FAQ that responds to the issue.  

Vrbo Help Centre notes that their customer support is available 24/7 in different languages to offer travelers, owners and property managers assistance, any time they need it.

6. What Are Vrbo Fees?

According to Vrbo reviews on PissedConsumer, some customers would like clarification on “how much does VRBO charge owners”.

As stated on the VRBO help center, the company applies a pay-per-booking fee that comprises of:

  • A 5% commission on the VRBO vacation rental amount including additional payments such as pet fees and cleaning fees (this percentage may be higher for bookings that come from the company’s expanded distribution partners).
  • A 3% payment processing fee on the total amount paid by the traveler including taxes and refundable deposits.
  • Property managers managing listings through the software are charged a 5% booking fee on booking made on the VRBO family sites (this percentage is only excluded from the rental and mandatory fees less taxes and refundable damage deposits).

Additional Vrbo fees include a service fee that is charged on the total reservation amount less taxes and refundable fee. notes that this amount goes towards marketing and administration. The service fees and other fees do not restrict the property owner on how much to charge for their listing.

For further clarification on vacation rentals, get in touch with the VRBO customer service.

7. How Do I Get My Vrbo Refund?

One of the most common complaints is in regard to the Vrbo refunds policy. VRBO reviews reveal that most customers are canceling and seeking refunds from the company.

For example, one of the company customers claims to be out of $700 because of the urgent cancellation. And now she's got problems with returning money from Vrbo.

To cancel Vrbo and get a refund, sign into your account and select the reservation you want to cancel under “My Trips.” Go to the “Trip details” section and review the property’s cancelation policy. Under “Change” or “Cancel”, select “Cancel booking”. You will be asked to provide a reason for your cancellation and the cancellation request will be submitted to the property owner.

The property owner will then accept the cancellation and initiate any potential refund depending on the terms of the cancellation policy of the specific property. Refunds can take up to 5 days to reach your bank. 

In the case that you are canceling a trip for which you had purchased property damage protection, get in touch with Generali Travel Protection to seek a refund and you could get a full one.

As for the refundable property damage deposit, automatically returns the deposit amount immediately after you have completed your stay as long as the property manager has not reported any damages. The Vrbo Customer Help Centre states that refunds can take up to 14 days to reach your account. If you haven’t received your refunds or if you have any questions about the damages deposit, get in touch with the property owner.

8. Which Is Better Vrbo or Airbnb?

Airbnb and Vrbo are among the most popular vacation rental platforms for travelers and property owners. Let’s compare Vrbo vs. Airbnb to help you determine which one is right for you.

Vrbo vs Airbnb: accommodation types 

One of the major differences between Vrbo and Airbnb is the type of accommodation they offer. While Vbro only offers stand-alone accommodation types, Airbnb offers shared spaces too, meaning that Airbnb has a wider selection of rental units than Vrbo. 

Vrbo vs Airbnb: prices and fees

Both companies’ prices for renting property vary depending on the size of the property, its location, and amenities. Aside from the listed price of the property, customers need to be aware of the additional prices such as service charge and cleaning fees which might not be stated explicitly. 

Airbnb has in place two types of fees: split and hosts-only fees. With the split fees structure, the service fee is divided between the host and the guest, whereby the host pays a 3% booking fee and the guest is responsible for around 14% of the nightly rate and any optional fees. With the host-only fee, Airbnb deducts the entire sum from the host. It is typically 14-16%.

On the other hand, Vrbo has two fee models for hosts. Property owners can opt between pay-per-booking or an annual subscription. The pay-per-listing model consists of a 3% payment processing and 5% commission fee as mentioned earlier. 

Alternatively, property owners can opt for the annual subscription that should be paid upfront and covers unlimited bookings throughout the year.

Guests are charged a service Vrbo fee. The service fee is a percentage of the total amount of the reservation less the taxes and refundable fees. The exact percentage depends on your reservation amount. 

Vrbo vs Airbnb: booking process

Both companies have a straightforward booking process. You can book directly on their websites or their respective apps. Generally, the booking process involves providing your travel dates, preferred location, and number of guests. A list of properties will be available for you to browse and choose from. Once you find the right one, review the property details and rating to ensure it is a good choice.

Both Airbnb and Vrbo offer options for instant booking or contacting the property owner to request booking. If the property owner allows for instant booking, proceed to confirm your decision and pay. If not, send them a message. They will review your profile and rating and either approve or disapprove your booking.

Although Vrbo offers a wide range of properties to choose from, customer reviews indicate issues with property quality, cancellation policy, and refunds. What has been your experience with Vrbo? You may leave a review to share your views and concerns with other customers. 

*Disclaimer: Ranking and statistics are based on our users’ review texts and PissedConsumer posters’ reviews. Also, a company’s rating is calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the profile, including users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company’s responses, etc. The algorithm is subject to change in the future.

Legal disclaimers:

  1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
  2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

Leave a Reply

Russell Ernest Kautzman #12681
I was just scammed by Vrbo. I booked a room for $739.00. but they took $1038.15 from my account. The host contacted me within minutes to tell me that the unit was already booked those dates and it should not have been avail. I canceled 5min later. Now although I have sent pics of my bank statement showing they took $1038.15, for a unit i was told was $739.00 for those dates, the owner is only refunding $739.00. Even though I have sent proof of what was taken and canceled within minutes, to the 4 agents I have talked to over the last 3 hours all say they are helpless to do anything to help.I am told I have to wait 15 days for a refund. I learned a $300 lesson today. NEVER book a room on line with Vrbo.