Is there a fix for this Vrbo cancellation problem?

  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Q: Earlier this year, I rented a home in West Tisbury, Massachusetts, through Vrbo. The owner was happy to accept our payment in full and has taken full advantage of his position. He did not return our calls and then, four months before we were supposed to arrive, he asked us to cut our stay short by one day. This is a special vacation for three generations. We can’t leave our vacation rental a day early. Vrbo hasn’t helped us resolve this. I feel as if Vrbo is just a billboard for vacation rentals and doesn’t stand behind its product. Can you help us straighten out this Vrbo cancellation problem?

— Michael Colleran, Iowa City, Iowa

A: Your vacation rental owner shouldn’t have cut your stay short. But since he did, Vrbo should have tried to help you fix it.

Once you click the “book” button on Vrbo, you have a contract with the owner for the entire stay. If an owner cuts your stay short, or changes the terms of your stay in any way, you’re entitled to a full refund. That would have been your first option. Another possible fix for this Vrbo cancellation problem: working directly with the owner to come up with alternate accommodations for the last night. That would have been difficult since you had a large party. Vrbo also has a special rebooking team that can fix a problem like this. I know because late last year, I had a similar problem. An owner canceled my Vrbo rental only a week before I was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu. The Vrbo rebooking team quickly found a new rental and paid the difference between the less expensive canceled home and the pricier new one.

Of course, your owner should have responded to your phone calls promptly and shouldn’t have tried to abbreviate your stay. (And, for that matter, my Hawaii owner shouldn’t have canceled my stay.) But it happens; these are homes owned by people like you and me. Sometimes, their circumstances change. In my case, the owner needed to sell the home.

Vrbo should have taken care of you. But if it didn’t, you can always find executive contacts for Vrbo on my consumer advocacy site.

I reviewed the paper trail among you, the owner and Vrbo. It turns out that even though Vrbo took your money earlier this year, you still could have asked for, and received, a full refund. That would have been the quickest way to solve this Vrbo cancellation problem. But I agree with your assessment — this rental could have gone better.

I contacted Vrbo on your behalf. It contacted the owner and he rescinded his request to shorten; however, after communicating with the owner directly, you decided to accept a full refund for the rental.

Talk to us

More in Life

Dave Dodge stands on a speaker while playing his guitar during Nite Wave's show at Tony V's Garage on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
1980s new wave streams when Bothell cover band performs

Hear Bothell’s own Nite Wave rock out at the “Best ’80s Party Ever!” on Feb. 27 via Facebook.

"Prophets, Teachers and Kings" is a 2020 documentary by Snohomish's John Carswell.
Urban art gets the spotlight at a new Snohomish gallery

The Rosella Gallery features artwork featured in the “Prophets, Teachers and Kings” documentary through March 30.

Barre3 owner Gina Drake leads an exercise class in the Red Barn at 5th Ave S and Maple Street on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020 in Edmonds, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Barre3 teaches a fitness trifecta for balance during COVID-19

The full-body workouts combine strength conditioning, cardio and mindfulness to help you feel balanced.

Bourbon mash sits at a distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, on July 26, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Luke Sharrett.
Start your whiskey collection with these 10 bottles

Whether you’re new whiskey game or are a veteran collector, it’s hard to know when to store it or pour it.

A grain bowl with roasted veggies and lemon-garlic salmon is a great way to kick off fish Fridays for Lent. (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette/TNS)
Make this zesty lemon-garlic salmon farro bowl for Lent

A grain bowl with roasted veggies and lemon-garlic salmon is a great way to observe fish Fridays for Lent.

Riley Wong, 7, shows his pen pal, Smudge, the picture he drew for her in addition to his letter at Pasado's Safe Haven on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Kids make connections with critters through pen pals program

Pasado’s Safe Haven near Sultan invites children to write to a turkey, a goat, a cow and a rooster.

The 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan has a restyled front end, including the grille, front bumper and LED headlights. (Manufacturer photo)
Functional, practical Honda Odyssey is a favorite among buyers

There’s plenty of room inside this minivan for people, pets and whatnot, and it’s even good in snow.

Can houseplants make you happy? We think so. (Jennifer Bardsley)
A love letter to houseplants during a long and lonely pandemic

A year of social-distancing is like living in a hothouse, but at least her plants provide good company.

Your teenage girl and the negative messages she gives herself

She might benefit from reading “Be True to Yourself: Daily Affirmations and Awesome Advice for Teen Girls.”

Most Read