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17935 Views 40 Replies Latest reply: Feb 3, 2014 12:58 PM by gymbeau RSS
New Member 7 posts since
Jul 4, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 4, 2011 9:11 AM

Unhappy Renter

Just not sure what to do!  I have three guests that arrived last night and one called and said she was disappointed with my rental.  There is not enough closet space.  She also complained that there is no closet.  I have described the space on my website with pictures.  She is also saying that I have misled them.

 

I have a small Cottage that can sleep up to four (4) people.  Two upstairs on the first level.  One or two downstairs in the kitchen area, using an Air Mattress (supplied).  She said that she was misled because she thought there was a second bedroom.  My ad clearly states that this is a one bedroom Cottage, with space for one or two additional people downstairs, sleeping on an air mattress.  Her other complaint is that there is only one bathroom and if someone is sleeping downstairs, that person has to climb one flight of stairs and disturb the other people sleeping, in order to get to the bathroom.  Again, it is clearly stated that there is only one bathroom.  She is demanding a full refund.

 

I am on vacation and will not return for another four days.  I offered to have her or someone from her party to stay in my house in the Guest bedroom.  She said, she just didn't know and ended the conversation.  Unfortnately...these people signed up to stay for fourteen (14) nights.  I have never dealt with anyhing like this before, in the three years I have been renting.

 

If I refund their money, it would be difficult to re-book the vacancy at this stage in the game.  Yet, I don't want to be stuck with an unhappy tenant for fourteen (14) days.  Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

 

Thanks.

 

J.

  • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
    Feb 10, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 4, 2011 9:22 AM (in response to jackcottage)
    Unhappy Renter

    You can probably do three things:  1.  Nothing - it sounds as though the property was advertised properly and they just didn't read carefully enough. 2.  Ask them to leave and give them a pro-rated refund.  (I wouldn't give them the full refund - they do have some involvement in this misunderstanding, after all!), or 3. negotiate for a discounted rate in some fashion.  In any case, you have unhappy guests.  It's just not worth the worry on your part, or the potential negative PR they could unleash upon you.... I'd let them have their choice and see what they want to do.  I guess in the future you emphasize and re-emphasize the limitations (that's not a criticism...) of your property and make sure your guests are well aware prior to taking possession.  Good luck to you!

  • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,359 posts since
    May 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 4, 2011 12:54 PM (in response to jackcottage)
    Unhappy Renter

    I'm with Marym on all options, at this point in time.

     

    Here's what I do, for future reference.  When I get an inquiry that appears to be serious I talk with them, and also send an email (so I have a record) stating EXACTLY the sleeping arraignments, where my 2 baths are located, etc. ( I have a Word doucment I can cut and paste to the email-- make sure to cc yourself _).I also ask if they have rented a vaction home through VRBO before.

     

    Recently, it seems I've had some pretty ditzy renters ( they don't read the contract they sign, forget check in procedures, etc.). I don'y know if this is because they are new to renting vacation homes, or there's an outbreak of "dumb" .

     

    If your contract references your VRBO or Homeaway listing number, then they are taking responsibility for having read the contract before they signed it.  If they don't , well, then it's their fault. Mine has a clause that says they have read the contract and understand that, by signing it they agree to all aspects of the agreement, or they forfeit all monies paid- even if they choose to leave- or are evicted.

     

    Good luck- hope it works out! I'd love to hear how this story ends!

  • carol.warkoczewski New Member 1 posts since
    Jul 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2011 6:17 PM (in response to jackcottage)
    Unhappy Renter

    Hi J.:

     

    I cannot speak from the perspective of a home owner, but can from the renter-side.  The person you are dealing with is an "energy sucker"!  Just remember that you cannot please 100% of the people 100%of the time!

     

    It is to bad that this person runined your own vacation.

     

    One other thing I would suggest is that you request her advise as to how you could have made it more clear about the sleeping arrangements (have a print out of your listing to look at).  This will provide you with a positive way to re-gain some relationship with her, without making her "wrong," and she will feel (hopefully) a part of the "solution."

    • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
      Feb 10, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jul 13, 2011 9:46 PM (in response to jackcottage)
      Unhappy Renter

      I'm so glad it all worked out so well.  I know when I get a call from a guest, I just get all in a tizz and panic sets in.  Over the past 7 years, I've learned that it'll all work out - it always does, and what originally seems like a catastrophy is usually just a little bump in the road.  I think as owners we want things to go well and for our guests to enjoy themselves and our homes.  I, too, appreciate all the good ideas I've picked up here, not to mention the moral support.  It's nice to know we're not out there alone!

      • stjvilla Active Contributor 626 posts since
        May 27, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Jul 18, 2011 8:28 AM (in response to jackcottage)
        Unhappy Renter

        Imagine what it would be like to be on vacation with such a friend!  Bet those other two pleasant women were glad to get away from her.  Think you went the extra mile.

        • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,359 posts since
          May 25, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Jul 18, 2011 12:51 PM (in response to stjvilla)
          Unhappy Renter

          Good grief! Do you have the contact info for the other two? If this "MP" gives you a bad review maybe you could have them counter it with their own.

          I have a relative that sounds similar-- I refuse to even go out to eat with her becasue of her bad behavior!

  • Contributor 32 posts since
    Jul 12, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2011 4:00 PM (in response to jackcottage)
    Unhappy Renter

    I just ready all the treds, i am happy it turned out semi-ok. As for me, when i get an inquiry for our property i give them a call and ask questions just to get and idea of the type of renters and what exactly they are looking for, our vacation rental has 5 queens,2 sets of bunk beds,a nursery, a gameroom, a 550sq feet theater room and lots more, i make sure to advise them on my security deposit, but as of lately i have been using VRBO damage protection,I dont have to refund the deposit and it has been working out for me..

     

    With regards to the Rental agreement, i make sure that they initial each page, so that they will be forced to read the contract before signing. However using VRBO reservation manager that option of initials on each page is not possible.I hope i never have to deal with anyone like this.

  • Contributor 36 posts since
    Jul 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 27, 2011 7:54 PM (in response to jackcottage)
    Unhappy Renter

    oh boy.

     

    And I thought I had a problem.

     

    I would not refund a cent.  Politely stick to the contract. Don't be afraid of bad reviews. Just say - sorry, my lawyer and I feel we had not misrepresented teh property to you (yeah, try us in court!)

  • New Member 17 posts since
    Sep 3, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 17, 2012 11:59 AM (in response to jackcottage)
    Re: Unhappy Renter

    Last guests advised me they had to spend last 3 nights of their 10 night stay elsewhere after leaving because of being unhappy (had spent one night at other hotel already). There was maintenance construction noise all day, elevator was down (we're on 1st floor, they're in their 20's), ants all over (they arrived on day 2 or 3 after they purcharsed too much food).Neither of my support staff nor myself were notified before departure of my condo. I was not aware of maintenance or elevator being down. I checked with cleaning lady and she had "fumigated" unit prior to arrival (had found one cockroach, no ants). Guests accused me of subjecting them to fumigating substance and insisted on knowing ingredients, etc (Borax was used; non toxic). Guest requested refund for last three nights even though on receipt it indicated all rental amounts were non refundable and went on to insult my pricing (which is way less than the hotel charges for an unrenovated smaller room), laying on the guilt trip by telling me I ruined their vacation by not notifying of problems re maintenance, construction, bugs (seriously it's the tropics; any food left out,not cleaned up, not stored will attract them). My rental info sheet clearly explained that cleaning and putting food away was extremely important, or you'd get bugs. Guest had received a significant discount (25%) for this rental, being referred by a friend (who had loved the place).I am so selective to who I rent to, most potential guests are turned away.These people never communicated with me by phone prior to booking, before or during their stay (I have a phone in my condo), I gave them tips for an enjoyable stay, asked them to call me if they had any questions.  I do not want to pay anything back, when guests rent, they block out that period and make this condo unit unavailable to anyone else. If they decide to leave earlier, that is their problem. I am considering joining the hotel rental pool, I guess the guests would be happy guests, having checked out the place first (I have a video of the entire building and premises/my condo). Any suggestions? I feel like these individuals will leave negative feedback right after I refund the deposit.

    • kiwi New Member 7 posts since
      Aug 7, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 7, 2012 9:31 AM (in response to sunbound)
      Re: Unhappy Renter

      Yes! Never give a refund without a refund agreement! I clearly state in my rental agreements that there are no refunds for any reason and highly suggest they get Homeaway's rental insurance. But still you have people who don't read the contract or who don't care what the contract says, they are unhappy about something and are demanding a refund. Under those circumstances, which are rare thank God!, I have them sign a refund agreement before I give them any money. Basically the refund agreement states that they are releasing you from all further liability and that they will not retaliate in any form including negative reviews or legal actions. I can email one I recently used when there was a plumbing issue, which the guest caused, and they claimed it ruined their vacation even though I had it solved within hours. There will always be a guest that complains and wants a refund about something, so it is best to give them something back and have them sign an agreement so it doesn't ruin your stellar reviews. Just reply back to me if you would like a copy of my refund agreement.

      • New Member 2 posts since
        Aug 23, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 23, 2012 10:07 AM (in response to kiwi)
        Re: Unhappy Renter

        I would really appreciate it if you would email me a copy of the refund agreement. We have been renting just 3 years so i'm fairly new at this. When this rental arrived home he emailed me and listed 18 complaints which some were legit but most were very very petty, like a leaky faucet...i've had no other complaints from renters most of our rentals have commented on how much they enjoyed our cottage.

        • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,359 posts since
          May 25, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Aug 23, 2012 2:25 PM (in response to flakeypep)
          Re: Unhappy Renter

          I'm with kiwi.  But we handle things a bit differently now after participating in these Forums. I've tried to be proactive by tweaking our contract. I've never had anyone refuse to sign it. Once signed, it's pretty clear the guest acknowledges they'll have no claim, if they go home and want $$ refunded.

           

          Our Contract has a very clear Cancellation Refund Policy clause that the renter must sign.

          Our Hold Harmless Clause also clearly states that no refunds will be given for A,B,C, .... (things that we can't control like construction, area power outages,etc) AND states that the Responsible Party  must contact us immediately upon discovery of an issue and give us a reasonable amount of time to remedy the situation ( business hours, etc.)  If they do not do so there will be no refund given. They must sign each clause ( pages are numbered).

           

          I know it's a bit loose (reasonable amount of time), but it puts them on notice that they MUST notify us of any problems UPON DISCOVERY and give us time to remedy such. If a toilet plugs up at 2am It's going to be hard to find a plumber at that hour.

           

          Debj

          • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
            Aug 9, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Aug 24, 2012 3:27 PM (in response to msdebj)
            Re: Unhappy Renter

            I'm practicing along the same lines about "early departures" vs refunds....especially with reference to anything that we can not control, e.g. weather that can go wrong in Hawai...or local construction.  And...I make it very clear that we must be contacted about any problem with the house UPON DISCOVERY  (I use same expression you use, coincidentally) to give us a chance to help.

             

            Putting it plain and visible in the agreement as a rental term / rental condition really works for us. The overwhelming majority of our guests have been good about telling us when-if  anything needs attention....the people with common sense...and the where-with-all to seek help when they need it.

             

            Sometimes, someone still comes along who is too "reserved...actually aloof"...and they do not want to speak to anyone --- so they are not good about contacting us for whatever reason...usually something minor....but even so it was because they didn't follow an instruction ----- they touched switches that we clearly labeled not to touch, or something like that.

        • kiwi New Member 7 posts since
          Aug 7, 2012
          Currently Being Moderated
          Aug 23, 2012 7:42 PM (in response to flakeypep)
          Re: Unhappy Renter

          I have attached it here. Feel free to adapt to your own needs. This was for

          a specific issue with a specific customer, it may not fit your needs.

          • New Member 2 posts since
            Aug 23, 2012
            Currently Being Moderated
            Aug 24, 2012 6:29 AM (in response to kiwi)
            Re: Unhappy Renter

            Sorry but i'm new at this, i don't see the attachment.

            • kiwi New Member 7 posts since
              Aug 7, 2012
              Currently Being Moderated
              Aug 24, 2012 3:04 PM (in response to flakeypep)
              Re: Unhappy Renter

              Send me your email address and I will email it to you.

              • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
                Aug 9, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Aug 24, 2012 3:29 PM (in response to kiwi)
                Re: Unhappy Renter

                kiwi, you  have a "private message" from me  in your Community folder.  Please take a look.  Thank you.

                • placebythesea New Member 3 posts since
                  Aug 5, 2013
                  Currently Being Moderated
                  Aug 5, 2013 5:46 AM (in response to anja)
                  Re: Unhappy Renter

                  I am experiencing a similar situation. Could someone be so kind as to send me a copy of the sample refund agreement?

                   

                  Thank you so much!

                  • placebythesea New Member 3 posts since
                    Aug 5, 2013
                    Currently Being Moderated
                    Aug 5, 2013 7:39 AM (in response to placebythesea)
                    Re: Unhappy Renter

                    The address is thejasonprice (at) gmail.com

                     

                    Also, any tips on a percentage to refund. The situation is this: The renter was complaining of poor cleaning conditions (which was unfounded) and implying other action should they not be appeased. They want to be reimbursed for "providing their own maid service." They claim the received athlete's foot and took the entire party (4 guests) to an urgent care facility for treatment and want to be reimbursed for that as well. We weren't made aware of any of this until a day after checkout. I was thinking that refunding 25% of the total cost plus a waiving of the cleaning fee was more than fair.

                     

                    Thank you so much!

                    • pest1950 Contributor 60 posts since
                      Apr 6, 2013
                      Currently Being Moderated
                      Aug 5, 2013 1:12 PM (in response to placebythesea)
                      Re: Unhappy Renter

                      The incubation time for athletes foot is thought to be two to three weeks. How long did they stay in your VR and how long after that was it they went to an urgent care facility?

                      • placebythesea New Member 3 posts since
                        Aug 5, 2013
                        Currently Being Moderated
                        Aug 5, 2013 5:11 PM (in response to pest1950)
                        Re: Unhappy Renter

                        They were there for a week and claim to have gone sometime during the week. Obviously, the contract is worded in a way where we aren't responsible for injury, illness or medial expenses. But like I have read on the forum over and over, there is one in every crowd! I believe we are going to refund only the cleaning deposit to appease them.

                        • pest1950 Contributor 60 posts since
                          Apr 6, 2013
                          Currently Being Moderated
                          Aug 5, 2013 6:10 PM (in response to placebythesea)
                          Re: Unhappy Renter

                          If they were there for a week and had to get treated for athletes foot during that week they were exposed to athletes foot two or three weeks before they arrived at your place. Google "athletes foot incubation" for more information. One possable problem is that they may have contaminated your VR. If your VR is not cleaned well future guests may be exposed to athletes foot.

                    • kiwi New Member 7 posts since
                      Aug 7, 2012
                      Currently Being Moderated
                      Aug 5, 2013 5:30 PM (in response to placebythesea)
                      Re: Unhappy Renter

                      I would ask for them to send you a copy of the urgent care bill. Who goes to urgent care for athlete's foot? That's ridiculous! You can go to the drug store and get some Dr. Scholls. To tell you the truth, I would not be inclined to give them anything back. They sound like the types that do this regularly to get money back. Everytime someone gives them money back, they are rewarded for this behavior. How much is your cleaning fee? I have a clause in my check-in instructions that if they have issues with the cleaning, they have until 8pm on check-in day to report it. After that cleaning issues will not be addressed. That's because after that, how would you know if it is a mess that they made themselves. Ask your cleaning people if they sanitized the bathrooms. If so, I would respond that the bathrooms were sanitized and they must have picked up the athlete's foot elsewhere. Also, since they did not make you aware so that you could remedy the situation while they were there, you are sorry but there is nothing you can do at this point.

                       

                      If you do decide to refund the cleaning, I will email you the refund agreement, that I would make them sign and send to you prior to you sending them any money.

                      Karen

      • loneast New Member 22 posts since
        Aug 24, 2013
        Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 24, 2013 9:40 PM (in response to kiwi)
        Re: Unhappy Renter

        Hello, Kiwi, Just read your posting. Would you please send me a copy of your sample refund agreement. Thanks!

      • splashybeth New Member 2 posts since
        Nov 15, 2013
        Currently Being Moderated
        Dec 30, 2013 7:27 AM (in response to kiwi)
        Re: Unhappy Renter

        Hi Kiwi, just wondering if you could send me your refund agreement too.  arizonabeth@yahoo.com

         

        Beth

  • loneast New Member 22 posts since
    Aug 24, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 25, 2013 12:23 PM (in response to jackcottage)
    Re: Unhappy Renter

    Hello. kiwi. No sure if you will get this  - our email is abjepson@myfairpoint.net Thanks!  Brenda

  • jan.stevens Community All-Star 252 posts since
    Aug 30, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 26, 2014 4:15 PM (in response to jackcottage)
    Re: Unhappy Renter

    I am dealing with a similar guest right now: They had an early check in at no charge, then the stove didn't work, we responded with a service man, brought in a microwave and 2 burner portable stove, and jumped through hoops while doing so. The guests chose the property because it was the right price.  We offered the neighboring property ( rents for $550 per night versus $155) which they declined and yet.........it was not enough. I am bracing for their negative review. Some guests are wired to focus on what is not "right" versus enjoying their imperfect getaway. I am surprised that your complainer had 2 friends that were willing to travel with her.

     

    There are always guests that just don't read the details of the property description, inquiry reply e-mail, or rental agreement........bottom line they don't read the details of anything. Because of these "non readers" I have nice laminated signs on the property to remind them of some of the more important house guidelines. Well wouldn't you know it......a guest complained that there were too many signs and "the rental agreement is enough."

     

    Bottom line, it is so difficult to make everyone happy. As much as you and I try our score will never be 100% .......I think it is just a fact .....IT IS IMPOSSIBLE.  

     

    If these unhappy guests leave a negative review we then have the opportunity to show our professionalism and ability to respond and react in a professional caring manner. It is the best we can do.

    • amirek Contributor 45 posts since
      Feb 13, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jan 31, 2014 11:09 PM (in response to jan.stevens)
      Re: Unhappy Renter

      You are absolutely right. There is no way you can make everyone happy. It sounds like you did your best to remedy the issues you had, even going out of your way and offering the renters an upgrade to a better rental. If they refused your offer, then the problem is theirs, not yours. If they leave a negative review, you can counter with your own explanation of what happened.

       

      I guess we've been lucky so far, in that we've only had a couple of unhappy renters. But, in both cases, the reason they were unhappy was due to their having damaged our property and our having to take the funds to pay for the damage from their deposit. In one case, the renter broke a window, and they tried to say they didn't!

       

      We also had a guest who broke a chair, and we just let it go, but I was very unhappy about the matter. I only let it go because I knew this particular guest/renter would have left a horrendous review. (We later discovered that they also broke a stool. I've flagged this particular renter because she said she wanted to return. I'm afraid we will be "booked" when she tries to.)

       

      I think you handled your situation professionally and graciously. If the renters don't agree, then they have a bad attitude, and there's no cure for that.

    • joan.l Active Contributor 426 posts since
      Sep 30, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 2, 2014 10:34 PM (in response to jan.stevens)
      Re: Unhappy Renter

      In my template Available response that I send, I mention in the opening paragraph the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and how many it sleeps in beds. 

       

      I realize that people are sending out numerous inquiries and then they focus on price, so they may not realize that the price they want is with a venue that isn't adequate for their needs (one bedroom vs two bedrooms).

       

      Since I mention the bed and bath numbers BEFORE getting to price, they really would have to try not to see that.

       

      I also have a picture of the floorplan on my VRBO page....so they can see what is what. 

      • amirek Contributor 45 posts since
        Feb 13, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 2, 2014 11:51 PM (in response to joan.l)
        Re: Unhappy Renter

        That's a good suggestion, Joan J. But, I've found that some people really don't care how many bedrooms one has in their VR. They will try to cram in as many as possible. I'm fortunate in that our VR is right next door to our own home, so I can monitor what is going on. You wouldn't believe the things we've seen. Thankfully, we've only had to go next door to chastise guests a couple of times. I shudder to think what it must be like to manage one's VR from a distance, even if it was just a block or two away.

    • gymbeau Contributor 199 posts since
      Jun 24, 2013
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 3, 2014 7:54 AM (in response to jan.stevens)
      Re: Unhappy Renter

      Maybe I am missing something, but I'm not sure what an appropriate response to a non working stove should be, cartwheels????

       

      Were the guest 'surly', or rude about it?   You had a service call, and provided a hot plate and microwave, sounds like you did what you could, but again, this is not what they contracted for. 

       

      What was the resolve to this, partial refund?

      • kiwi New Member 7 posts since
        Aug 7, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 3, 2014 11:57 AM (in response to gymbeau)
        Re: Unhappy Renter

        They also offered them another place to stay as well and the people turned them down. When you say, "that is not what they contracted for", did it say in their agreement that they were getting a working stove? That is a silly statement. Mechanical breakdowns happen on vacation as in real life. Anyone who goes on vacation and expects everything to be perfect lives in "la la land". If the owner is doing everything possible to make up for the inconvenience, that should suffice without giving a refund. Being flexible is the key to happiness in life. Inflexible people are never happy as nothing is perfect. Chances are if they gave them a refund, it wouldn't be enough for these type of people.

        I would like to hear what you would do in such a case if you were the owner?

        • jan.stevens Community All-Star 252 posts since
          Aug 30, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Feb 3, 2014 12:34 PM (in response to kiwi)
          Re: Unhappy Renter

          I posted separately here about my challenges with the cottage old stove that stopped working and making sure the guest was happy in the end. I refunded them 1 night's stay for their inconvenience plus a free night when they book another 2 night's stay. So, in the end she got her 50% back that she requested but not in a cash payout.

           

          She appreciated our very quick response to the non working stove: supplying a 2 burner cook top, a microwave and a service call. But she also piled on with: she could not find the BBQ tools, there was dust under the bed, the wash bin was not clean and the service man woke up their baby and it ruined their day. It was a mix of truth and exaggeration.

           

          Considering they were offered to stay in the luxury home next door but chose to stay in her words, a "neglected property,"  it appeared to me they were milking the situation for the money..... as another community member put it, acting greedy.

        • gymbeau Contributor 199 posts since
          Jun 24, 2013
          Currently Being Moderated
          Feb 3, 2014 12:58 PM (in response to kiwi)
          Re: Unhappy Renter

          Please read the title to this thread "unhappy renter".  As an owner, I have had stuff break, malfunction, etc...

           

          I would do as the owner did, everything in my power to make it right.  Then OP has further explained the situation as to why there was a degree of 'anomosity' towards this guest, and I see why!

           

          I recently had a guest call and inform me that the spa tub jets were not working.  They were to check out the next morning, so no time for a repair.  I was deeply appologetic, assured them they would get some extra in the deposit refund.    

           

          You see, they 'contracted' for a condo with a working spa tub, I did not supply one, so they were due something.

          They were very pleased with my response, say they will be back, and left a stellar review.

           

          So KIWI in your mind it might be silly for a renter to get what they contracted for, but for most of us, that is not the case.  We want happy guest, and will do what we have to, to make it so.  For you, a hot plate might be 'good enough', but again, not what they contracted for.

           

          You mileage may vary!!!

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