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3194 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Apr 4, 2012 4:02 PM by laura RSS
victor.nawrocki Contributor 87 posts since
May 21, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 8, 2011 6:59 AM

Bizarre FAQ's on HA website - Can HA Address

Legitimate.JPG

http://community.homeaway.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/1854/Legitimate.JPG

First off, the answer to the customer concern is not BUY INSURANCE

The answer IS that HA has done their due diligence to prove that the owner is REAL.

How about starting with the FACT that HA review’s Ads.  That many owners have been listed several years.

This statement starts off with fear in order to sell inferior insurance!*

Who wrote this?  Not an owner!  You are scaring potential guests rather than giving them confidence! Tell them what HomeAway does to protect against fraud – you know, the things that Craigslist and AirBNB don’t do!

  • References:  Oh, yeah, I am going to have guests call old guests (that was sarcasm). Why don’t I send a note via pony express (again, sarcasm)  How about guests  asking owners if they have a FACEBOOK page or look at the years listed!? I’ve been with HA 3 years, I’m legit.
  • If an owner is paying sales taxes that would indicate they are legit. Right? There are “owners” not paying sales tax.  I should get some credit for the fact that I pay monthly and am in good standing for 3 years.  How about a step process to acquire verified owner status.  
    • Listed over one year
    • Pays taxes
    • Has verified reviews
    • Has a license
    • HA can call guests randomly to verify the home or review.

  Only a verified owner should obtain the carefree guarantee. 

  • Additional photos?  I wondered where this was coming from.  Photos of what else?  (I got 24 up already what else can I photograph?)  And Location?  Hmmm, maybe you should watch my video on “how to rent.”  Only a uniformed owner will give  the exact street address (implied in “location”) of the LCD TV’s!  I have never booked to anyone who had asked for more photos; they either have  built-in fear (paranoid), have been scared off by this ridiculous FAQ or are thieves (I send watermarked photos so I don’t see my house on Craigslist).  Inform prospective renters that they can get the location (subdivision or cross streets)  but not the exact street address to protect the current guests and the property.  The current advice demonstrates a lack of comprehension to what owners go through. Owner: “Oh, yeah, the place is empty next week and there’s a layout of the home and the exact street address.”  Why don’t I give them the security codes too!? I have “guests” ask me if they can send a relative over to check the place out.  Hmmmm, hmmmm… I am not that naive.
  • Request a signed rental agreement?  If I can fake an ad I can fake an agreement even more. HA doesn’t  help enough with agreements  during the payment process (see interactive agreement) . If the guest filled out the necessary info and mailed or email it to me with a SASE I would sign and return.  RMS went backwards 3 steps on agreements from Legacy.
  • You can take extra steps like seeing if their license is up to date with the State, like HotSpottax.
  • Watermark uploaded photos and explain WHY! "HomeAway watermarks our photos so that they will not be pirated on free sites and used for misrepresentation."

HA has been vigilant about the legitimacy of the owners.  But,  you are telling travelers to remain fearful in order to sell insurance, reduce security and waste owners time.

 

*When insurance covers malicious damage, misrepresentation and theft I will buy in

  • thaxterlane Active Contributor 779 posts since
    Jul 27, 2011

    I agree with you about requesting references from previous guests and giving out the exact address of my home. 

     

    I thought guest reviews serve as references on owners and their properties, n'est ce pas?  Asking previous guests to accept emails and/or tel calls from potential guests is not appropriate.  After all, an already prepared reference would be of little value.  Are previous guests to become part of the ongoing rental process?  This isn't very well thought out.

     

    I do not give out the exact address of my home until a lease is being signed.  If a potential guest is sufficiently curious they will likely use the few details provided during communication, including my name and partial address information, to access on line property records and other such information.  After all, I research potential guests - there is a treasure trove of information about employment, property owned, schools attended, family, etc.  While I don't give out my information I expect many of my guests are well acquainted with the internet and research me.  (Luckily I don't have anything to hide - not an embarrassing photo or rant to be found!)

     

    I agree that the tone used in describing the product is designed to induce uncertainty, if not fear, in guests. 

     

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention; if I get requests for references I'll know why.  (And I'll say no.)

  • Active Contributor 343 posts since
    Nov 18, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 9, 2011 12:23 PM (in response to victor.nawrocki)
    Re: Bizarre FAQ's on HA website - Can HA Address

    Hi Victor,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I wanted to let you know I've passed your post to the appropriate HomeAway teams, and they are chewing on this now.

    I should have a more detailed update for you next week.

    Thank you (again) for the feedback!

    All the best,

    Laura

  • jaclyn Contributor 44 posts since
    Jan 26, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2012 11:14 AM (in response to victor.nawrocki)
    Re: Bizarre FAQ's on HA website - Can HA Address

    I'm a vacation rental owner, so I appreciate very much what Victor is saying and don't see any clarification here as promised by HomeAway, but maybe it came in a separate area, so I'll look for it. At this moment, I actually got here because I'm on the guest side, looking for a property for a family vacation, and the property that looks best to us shows it has been listed for six years but has only one review posted. I came here to see if there were some ideas about what to ask the owner to provide as further verification that they are reputable before we send money. It may be unfair to stereotype, but we looking in a country that has plenty of scam artists in other types of dealings, so I'm a little nervous.

     

    I have to agree with Victor that asking for more photos wouldn't reassure me, as there are lots posted, but he gives some better ideas of ways to confirm a listing is real. For this property I'm considering, I just sent the owner an e-mail asking him to help me verify that he is legit (used nicer words than that), so I think if he sends a business license number or a Chamber of Commerce type membership, if there is such a thing, then I'll feel okay about it. Being on the other side now, I see how scary it can be to think of sending someone several thousand dollars, paying thousands for airfare and then wondering if you'll find you don't have a place when you get there. For myself on my listings, I send people the websites of the local businesses we own (which are also on Facebook) and it seems to help them accept us as real owners and legitimate people. I'll see what comes back on my inquiry to this owner and how it makes me feel. Is very interesting to be on the other side of this transaction!

  • Active Contributor 343 posts since
    Nov 18, 2010

    Hi everyone,

     

    I wanted to let you know that the question Victor highlights in his post above has been removed and replaced with information about phishing.

     

    You can see that traveler information here.

     

    Thanks for your valuable feedback. Please keep it coming!

     

    All the best,
    Laura

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