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VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Phoenix, AZ
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21 posts
9 reviews
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VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Another couple and us take major trips around the world every 2 years. It's our way of 'getting away' from everything. We have always rented through VRBO. This time we got comfortable and even though we should have insisted on a contract we didn't. We rented a home in Ireland (#185571) for next month. Due to the many issues of flying with the volcano activity and no way to know right now if it is going to occur again we wanted to cancel our trip and return if and when the situation improves and we are able to take off from work. We were told 'no money back' but you can come to the house within the next year. Now this house cost over $2000! We have given over 30 days notice we are uncomfortable to fly and also worried about arriving in Ireland and not getting back home if the volcano blows again! Once prior we had to cancel due to other issues and the owner kept 1 nights cost and returned the rest. We re-booked and went at a later date due to how understanding they were. Be aware that owners can and will make up rules as they go. Our issue is that we trusted them and didn't do our homework. Now we are out $2000 and being 'forced' to go to the home within the year.

Grayslake, Illinois
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2,055 posts
36 reviews
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1. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Did you know about their "no refund" policy before you pre-paid them $2000?

The true subject of your thread seems to be the "uncomfortable to fly" issue. You may want to visit the Air Travel forum here, for discussions of that.

Phoenix, AZ
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21 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Not aware of their 'no refund' policy. We are the type to also pay ahead of time as our final payment isn't even due until the end of this month. So they recieved our final payment early and still won't return money.

Phoenix, AZ
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21 posts
9 reviews
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3. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

I am the other party involved in the situation above. We are absolutely stunned that we cannot get a refund. First, we are suddenly faced with a "this is not our policy" statement that we were never informed of in the beginning. We now feel forced to reschedule but we feel uncomfortable doing so. This policy is abusive and unheard of. I have never heard of a reservation that could not be cancelled with 5 weeks notice and we are majorly disappointed with the owners and of course, the fact that we may not take this trip. We have always had the best experiences using VRBO, but I have to say that this experience has taught us to get everything in writing and don’t pay in full too far in advance.

California, US
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200 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

I have to say, I can't imagine making any sort of a reservation without getting the cancellation policy and terms of the rental agreement in writing before I made any deposits or payments. Cancellation policies can vary widely with vacation properties, from losing the full rental payment for cancelling the reservation anywhere from 30-60 days out, or just losing a night's rental fee for cancellations close to the last minute. I understand that this might not be an ideal time to travel, but people also have to keep in mind that hotels/restaurants/rentals have their business to think of too, and cancellations, for whatever reason, cost them money, since they may not be able to re-book the space they saved for you.

Phoenix, AZ
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21 posts
9 reviews
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5. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

We will be very careful in the future. If we had booked with a hotel 5 wks cx. notice would allow for complete return of our money. We are willing to pay a cx fee but not $2000!

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
12,741 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

where is this rental company?...can you turn them over to the better business bureau?....

i don't care what their policy is, with enough notice, and a fee of course, you should be able to get the majority of your money back....it is not your fault the volcano erupted...good grief!!!...i think they are asking you to take the hit and i know good and well they will rent the place again if it is safe to fly....that is awful!!!...............

i say get an attorney if they are state side......

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
Level Contributor
3,452 posts
63 reviews
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7. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Yes, it does seem strange that their policy is no refunds? But if that is their policy, that is their policy.

Also, Whales, these people did not rent from a rental company but rather were put in touch with people in NY who own a house in Ireland and all agreements were entered into directly between the people in NY and these two couples. VRBO is pretty much just an online version of newspaper rental classifieds. But they do offer good advice on their website, "At a minimum, be sure to receive in advance written confirmation of the member's policies on matters including advance deposits, security deposits and cancellations, preferably in the form of a rental agreement or lease."

Also, AZtravin, I am sorry for the stress this is causing you but you misrepresent the situation by saying you are out your money AND are being forced to stay with them within a year. It seems to me that if you are out your money you have no reason to stay with them again? But if you would like not to loose your $2000 you have the option of staying with them later on when you feel more comfortable flying again.

Dublin
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2,228 posts
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8. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Unfortunately they are well within their rights to refuse refund of your deposit just because you have changed your mind. Property owners have been let down many times before by people making reservations and not turning up, hence the need to get tough with deposit money.

Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
21 posts
9 reviews
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9. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Thank you everyone for providing great input into our situation. VRBO is a good site and wonderful people have great homes for rent that normally allows for couples/families to visit cities around the world and enjoy living in a home setting during their vacation. What we learned:

1) NEVER, NEVER allow an owner to tell you they don't have a contract (run from them) as they 'are easy to work with'.

2) Never pay amt due in advance! Wait until it's due

3) Find your sense of humor and move on!

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
Level Contributor
3,452 posts
63 reviews
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10. Re: VRBO renter beware...no return even with active volcano!

Hi Aztravlin,

Thanks for turing this bad experience into useful advice for others and sorry again for the stress it has caused you.

Hoping you guys do get to make it to Ireland at some stage.