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Hi - we have a recent renter threatening to post very negative reviews if we dont give them their deposit back. (we kept their deposit because they brought a dog into the house, which was clearly against the contract).
SO, my question is, if they post a very negative review as revenge, can we get VRBO to remove the post?
CW in SC
This was one of the topics we discussed over breakfast at RezFest, and many of us have found that when we give our review-readers the credit for knowing when they see one posted as "revenge", it takes the weapon out of the threatening renters' hands. Even admitting that you had "challenges" with their visit in your response isn't a bad thing, as it can reveal the nature of the review without accusing anyone.
VRBO will do nothing to help you on this I'm afraid. My only recourse to a false review was to post a short & sarcastic reply to their post that has generated new bookings thanks to my humor in part so they say. You can always spell out exactly what happened, that they left this review in retaliation for your withholding the deposit due to having a pet. Perhaps the new VRBO requirement for them to create an account before posting a review will deter them? I'm sorry you too have to go thru this stressful situation. Don't waste your energy on asking VRBO for assistance. You'll just get the standard email reply from Nadia.
Thanks -- but I gotta admit, I was able to get through to VRBO support on the phone after a few minutes. The guy told me that IF the renter was actually threatening a bad review to get his deposit back, then VRBO would remove the negative review for us. You probably have to have proof that the renter was doing this (in our case, we do).
CW in SC
That's great, I hope it works out for you. I'd be on the lookout for another review coming from someone else in their party that posts a negative review for reasons other than the deposit. It might be difficult to get that one removed. Sorry I sound pessimistic, just based on my experience with them.
Can you update us since this issue has arisen again. Did VRBO in fact remove the negative review due to threats on the part of the renter/reviewer? If this is the case, we should all be able to get these reviews removed when we have "proof" of their threats, and further it would be a positive solution if we were able to remove negative reviews that were submitted after the renter was notified that their deposit (or part of) was not returned due to contract violation.
At present I have complained to HA and they have removed the review while they are seeking confirmation of the id of the reviewer. Using online searches I have discovered that this reviewer has used a pen name and is certainly the man who rented the apartment but has chosen to hide his id as his last three reviews were taken down by HA. It would appear that I have a vexatious renter bent on causing trouble.
My problem is that I have a reviewer that has posted 4 negative reviews for the same stay. HomeAway has taken down the first 3 after a lot of pressure, but now the reveiwer has registered in a false name and submitted a rehash of his old reviews.
Michael, if HA's policy is the same as VRBO's then you should have no problem getting a review written by a false name removed. I think the reviewer has to show proof that they rented, if the owner disputes the review.
This seems to be a recurring theme -- negative reviews. We owners dread a negative review so much we put up with abuse from renters because we can't control what is written. Yet as a consumer, I love reading reviews and really value the information they have.
I wonder if we could propose some kind of compromise with HA -- that each owner be granted the ability to delete ONE review every two years for any reason whatsoever. It's like a "get out of jail free" card. The deletion would apply to all guests who were in the house for the same stay as the original bad reviewer, so guests couldn't do an end run by having someone else in the party post another bad review.
This would mean we would not be held hostage to the rare person who tries to blackmail us; indeed, it would reduce the blackmail incentive for the nasty guests since they would know we can take down their review. But if a property is truly bad, the second negative review would be posted and could not be taken down, so guests will still have some protection.
Thoughts? I'd love to hear a reaction from the Homeaway monitors.
My guess that the HA reply will be that it would be a burden to administer. I might suggest an interrim step, which would be to do like FlipKey does and that is to indicate an "average" rating/1-5 stars so that at least we could still have a 5 star rating/badge even though there are a few negative reviews. Wish there was an obvious solution. I'll give it more thought.
I like the idea of being able to delete a single review. Maybe one a year even. Or one out of ten.
Not everyone is going to have a great vacation, and those who do not can do a lot of damage. It is sad how one slightly negative review can cause a lull in business... and be very very costly.
We have guests who have left a rant in block capitals in our guest book threatening that if we do not give them a greater refund than we already have (I should not have let them blackmail me but having three adults shouting at you that you should go out and dig graves in the garden is a very difficult situation to face at 10.30 at night) they will post negative reviews on all our properties. I agreed with them that the cleaning was not of our cleaners usual standard in one room and offered to immediately clean it myself. I had already driven out to collect them because they had lost their directions. On arrival they had said everything was fine. This is the first time we have had a complaint about cleaning in 10 years.
This was a short term booking so I did not ask them for a damage deposit but wet towels have been left on polished furniture and when we walked into the house - they stayed one night out of 3 - they had left two huge bags of food trash and diapers on a heated floor. The diaper bag had leaked and the smell was indescribable. This is rubbish they must have been traveling with in a hot car for 10 hours. They had also burnt candles in the bedrooms and the house smells of smoke. Because they had a small child and it is the wettest summer Ireland has seen for a long time we left them the key to the shed that contains our drier they have even criticised the state of the shed!
Do I give in to them and if I do how can I be sure that they won't still carry out their blackmail? Do I remove the page from the guest book or do I leave it there for others? My cleaner is understandably very upset about the situation but I don't feel I can sack her over one poor clean out of nearly 300. And how do I respond to people wanting the heating turned up from 73 degrees to 80 degrees because they are inappropriately dressed for the Irish climate?
Quick response to one of your points - yes, by all means remove the offending page from your guest book! It was not a well-considered comment. It was a vicious rant by people who mistreated your home and will only make future guests uneasy for no reason. Remove!
BTW, your cottage looks ideal. We want to stay there!