VRBO is one of the most popular vacation rentals besides other companies such as Airbnb, Expedia, Booking.com, and HomeAway. If you are looking to book a rental vacation, it’s important to research the company against its competitors and determine its credibility.
In this article, we compile the answers to the top consumer questions to VRBO and evaluate the company’s reviews and ratings to help you decide whether this company is a reliable business to book with.
Number of VRBO Reviews – 315
VRBO Rating* – 1.6⭐⭐
Claimed Losses – $790k
Successful Calls – 25%/1k
- How can I contact VRBO customer service?
- What is the difference between VRBO and Airbnb?
- How much do they charge?
- How do I get my refund?
- How to leave a review?
- Is it safe?
- How to remove my listing?
1. How Can I 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.
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.com 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.
2. What Is the Difference Between VRBO and Airbnb?
VRBO vs. Airbnb ownership
VRBO and Airbnb are independently owned and operated vacation rental brands. VRBO.com is one of the brands under the HomeAway family of brands. According to the HomeAway About Us page, HomeAway is part of the Expedia Group Family of brands. HomeAway was founded by Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd in February 2005.
On the other hand, Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczky as noted on the Airbnb About Us page.
VRBO vs Airbnb prices
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.
As for property owners, the host sets the listing price of their property, and Airbnb charges them a 3% commission on every reservation. On the other hand, VRBO does not specify a flat rate for hosting on their website. However, homeowners can estimate how much they will earn from their property.
VRBO vs. Airbnb cancellation policy
Both VRBO and Airbnb offer their hosts different cancellation options. Airbnb.com hosts can choose from flexible, moderate, strict, long term, super strict 30 days and super strict 60 days cancellation policies to offer their customers. Each policy option stipulates the time frame within which a customer can cancel and how much, if applicable, is refundable.
Similarly, VRBO.com has various cancellation options for hosts to choose from including no refund, strict, firm, moderate, and relaxed.
However, recently there have been numerous VRBO cancellation policy complaints with customers expressing their frustration about not being about to get a refund on their cancellation due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemics.
In the VRBO review #1952771, the poster complained that the property owner refused to give any refund despite the WHO explicitly declaring a pandemic and most flights being canceled. According to the review, the company only “strongly encouraged” property owners to refund their customers. The customer also complained that the VRBO customer support was unhelpful.
On the other hand, according to an article on USA Today, Airbnb instructed property owners to issue refunds to customers who had canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They also put aside a $250 million fund to cover property owners’ losses incurred due to the cancellations.
3. How Much Does VRBO Charge?
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 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. VRBO.com 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.
4. How Do I Get My VRBO.com Refund?
One of the most common complaints is in regard to the VRBO refunds policy. Especially now, during The Coronavirus travel restrictions worldwide, 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 your reservation and request a refund, HomeAway provides a detailed procedure in a video on their help page. Log in to your account and go to “My trips”. Select the specific reservation you would like to cancel.
You will be presented with a VRBO cancelation policy. Usually, the VRBO refund policy is at the property owner’s discretion, therefore, cancellation policies may differ from one property to another.
According to VRBO FAQs, once you have reviewed the cancelation policy, click on the select cancellation button. 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 14 days to reach your bank. If you have not received your refunds after 14 working days, get in touch with VRBO customer help for further assistance.
In the case that you are canceling a trip for which you had purchased property damage protection, get in touch with CSA Travel Protection to seek a refund and you could get a full one.
As for the refundable property damage deposit, VRBO.com 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.
5. How to Leave a Review on www.VRBO.com?
VRBO and HomeAway offer a two-way review system where travelers and owners can rate their experiences after the traveler’s stay is completed. HomeAway provides specific guidelines for leaving reviews including content guidelines and eligibility to leave a review.
For instance, a traveler must have stayed at a VRBO property and must provide evidence thereof to leave a review; property owners cannot review their own properties; reviews should not disclose the specific location of the property and the amount charged; and the review must be submitted within a year of your stay among others.
Below is the procedure provided on the HomeAway help center on how to leave a review:"
- Log in to your traveler account using the email address used to book the property.
- Select My Trips.
- Select your specific reservation from past trips.
- Click Leave a Review which can be found in the top portion of your trip.
- Rate your experience from one to five stars (one is the lowest rating; five is the highest) and fill in the required fields.
- Click Submit.”
Alternatively, once you check out of the VRBO/HomeAway website after your stay, you will receive an email containing a link to a page where you can submit your review on whether or not you enjoyed your stay, and to give a star rating of your overall experience.
Once you have submitted your review you will receive a confirmation email with a copy of your review and your review ID. Your review will then go through the HomeAway reviews moderation process to ensure it complies to the guidelines. Your property owner will also be required to submit a review for both of your reviews to be published. Once you have submitted your review you won't be able to edit it.
With that said, 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 Pissed Consumers and VRBO social media pages.
6. Is VRBO safe?
This is one of the most common VRBO FAQs. Both travelers and property owners would like to know “is VRBO safe?”
According to their website, VRBO offers a “Book with Confidence Guarantee” that encompasses the following:
"Security deposit protection
100% of your security deposit is covered if it is wrongfully withheld.
Comprehensive Payment protection
Protects 100% of your payment against things like listing fraud, phishing, significant property misinterpretation, wrongful denial of entry or uninhabitable property upon arrival.
Find another vacation rental should your booking be canceled by an owner or manager the last minute.”
However, many VRBO complaints on PissedConsumer reveal that VRBO/HomeAway have not always kept their word on the “Book with Confidence Guarantee”.
According to VRBO reviews on PissedConsumer, some customers have encountered instances where their reservations were canceled for no good reason, the property was misrepresented, or a property was inhabitable upon arrival.
Here are some VRBO reviews (review #1382429) from PissedConsumer, the reservation was canceled by the owner without reason and a refund has not been made yet.
I had booked a reservation in May which got canceled by the owner. VRBO was supposed to process a reimbursement which they state they did.
However I did not receive the payment and it has been 4 months and their accounting department is still looking into it…
Homeowners have also made complaints about VRBO.com. In this review (#1382429), a property owner complained about being overcharged to list and rent out property on VRBO:
VRBO is a monopoly that gets the homeowner charged in every possible way. Aside from the $500 fee I pay for the luxury of posting my property on the site, they collect up to 10% of my rental income through fees -- hidden fees: credit card charges (to me), transaction fees, etc…
VRBO ratings vary on various review platforms. On PissedConsumer.com, the rating is 1.5, on BBB.org, there’s one star, while on TrustPilot, it’s rated 4.3 stars.
7. How to Remove the Listing from VRBO.com?
According to the VRBO customer help center, you can have your property listing removed by contacting the VRBO customer care.
However, if you want your listing to be unavailable temporarily, you can opt to hide it and unhide it at a later date. Here is the procedure provided on the VRBO Help Centre for hiding and unhiding your listing.
Please note that for subscription customers, hiding your listing does not pause your subscription. On the other hand, property owners that choose to have their listing permanently removed before the end of a subscription will not be refunded.
VRBO is a vacation rentals brand under the Expedia Group that has significantly grown over the years to over 190 countries. It has varying ratings across various review platforms ranging from 1.5 stars to 4.5 stars. Evidently, while some customers were satisfied with the company’s services, others were not. The top VRBO complaints are in regard to their cancellation and refund policies, customer service, and condition of the properties. If you have recently booked with VRBO.com, you may leave a review on PissedConsumer to help other customers make an informed purchasing decision.
Health and Beauty Expert
Winnie is a freelance writer and B2C content expert who specializes in health and beauty, cafes and restaurants, fitness products buyer guides and researches. She has been working with international clients since 2012.
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