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4561 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 8, 2012 2:22 PM by lce0606 RSS
msdebj Senior Contributor 1,350 posts since
May 25, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 2, 2011 10:37 AM

VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

I know a lot of us are getting calls from various "groups" and I've had a few from management companies wanting me to list my property with them. When I ask where they've gotten my name and phone number they are happy to tell me "from your VRBO listing" .  REALLY??

 

VRBO needs to make it very clear that the information in their lisitngs ARE NOT TO BE USED for marketing and soliciting. Period.

 

If a managment company is in dire need of business they can go to public records, like most Realtors do when looking for cold leads. I didn't pay to list on VRBO to have my phone number used for someone's marketing division.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 3, 2011 12:38 PM (in response to msdebj)
    VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

    Dear Deb,

     

    We’re sorry to hear that third parties are contacting you using information from your VRBO.com listing. Unfortunately, the internet is often a convenient way for companies to gather information to conduct cold calls. However, please note that such use of your information is in violation of VRBO.com’s Terms and Conditions. The Ts&Cs specifically state, “You may not … use the Site other than to advertise and/or research vacation rentals and to make legitimate inquiries to our members.” The Terms and Conditions continue to explicitly forbid use of the Site or the content on the Site for “any commercial use.”  Such commercial use includes using telephone numbers to solicit services.

     

    HomeAway drafted these Terms and Conditions with your privacy in mind. If you receive a solicitation from a third party who informs you that they received your contact information from your VRBO listing, please report the third party to the HomeAway Legal Department at legal@homeaway.com.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Valerie

    Support Manager

    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 5, 2011 7:09 PM (in response to vrogers)
      VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

      Just by chance, while Googling my address for mapping purposes, I came across a slightly out-dated version (I frequently up-date the copy) of my entire VRBO site.   It had been apparently lifted without my permission and included as one of "our favorite properties"  in the listings of a vacation rental agency that I have never heard of.  I wrote to the company and requested that my listing be removed immediately, but have received no response.

       

      Can someone at VRBO please explain how this happened?  Is there any way to prevent this "pirating" from occurring in the future? Why is there no "watermark", for example, on our property photos?  Thanks.

  • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
    Jan 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2012 9:41 AM (in response to msdebj)
    Re: VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

    I am also receiving calls from other marketing companies who saw my listing on HomeAway or VRBO.

     

    Unfortunately, with listing contact information, there is no way to stop other people from using that information.

     

    The only thing you can really do is either tell them you aren't interested or hang up on them. I'm such a sucker - I end up listening to them longer than I should.

     

    So I just started a discussion thread about the companies who are doing this. It has been helpful for me to know of other people's experience with these companies.

    • thaxterlane Active Contributor 779 posts since
      Jul 27, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 8, 2012 11:37 AM (in response to lce0606)
      Re: VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

      You can tell a vendor they have the wrong number, or say you don't have a rental property, or, my personal favorite, tell them you sold the property and their information is outdated.  It's easier, and in my experience, much more effective than asking them to remove you from a call list or engaging them about the inappropriateness of the call.  But these calls come in cycles, so it's impossible to prevent all contact.  A few well-placed fibs will lessen the volume.  

       

      The vendors that make unsolicited telephone calls do not respect any rules nor do they follow good business practices.  If they did, they wouldn't start by harvesting information.    Treat them with a little of their own medicine. 

       

      I've found my listing on several "rental sites".  I'm not sure what the purpose of these sites might be - my property listing is accurate, including my telephone number, and these unauthorized listings have been on the internet for some years without, to my knowledge, any activity.   I've never contacted the sites - I've simply ignored them.   They don't seem to belong to anyone - they have a few odd house listings, bits and pieces (often incorrect) about the locales "featured", and as far as I can determine they appear to be abandoned. 

       

      Has anyone had any success in contacting these sites? 

       

      I think the best we can do in this situation is make certain to note on our property listings that the property is listed with _____,  ______, and ______, and include language that a listing appearing on any other site is not authorized by the property owner. 

      • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
        Jan 17, 2012

        Thanks for your post.

         

        Unfortunately, when the vendors have called me, they initially make it sound as if they are inquiring to rent the property - so then I can't use the "wrong number" or "sold the property", etc.

         

        Also, apparently what they are doing is looking at HA & VRBO for blocks of availability before calling. Then the offers include "don't you want to fill your rental property?"

         

        Our low season is summer so I'm getting all my calls now.

         

        Interesting that you've found your property on other sites that you have not agreed to. At this point, I haven't seen that with mine. I do know there are some sites - such as TripAdvisor - that let people post reviews of places they have stayed.

        • thaxterlane Active Contributor 779 posts since
          Jul 27, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Aug 8, 2012 1:43 PM (in response to lce0606)
          Re: VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

          You can use any of the fibs I cited IF you ask the individual to identify themselves first and follow up with a question about the purpose of their call.  Ignore whatever they said as an introduction and ask your own questions, "pardon me, to whom am I speaking and to what is this call in reference?  Don't answer any questions until they answer your questions.  Then listen, there's a formula that most of these calls follow.  If they refuse to identify themselves by name, I end the call. 

           

          It could be we are getting different types of calls - I get quite a few that start off asking if I have a rental property or citing my rental property listing number on homeaway/vrbo.  I respond with the line in quotes above and wait for them to explain themselves.  They usually give themselves away in their response.  Then, the fib.

           

          But, it may not work for you.

           

          Good luck. 

            • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
              Jan 17, 2012
              Currently Being Moderated
              Aug 8, 2012 1:58 PM (in response to msdebj)
              Re: VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

              Yes. I've noticed that the calls are seasonal but based on the time of year when my property is not booked.

               

              The callers do always start with the beginning that Thax mentioned: "I'm calling about your rental property in Cape Coral." My initial thought is that it is an inquiry and I always hesitate to sound rude to people in case they are legit.

               

              Thanks for all the comments! I appreciate the feedback.

              • thaxterlane Active Contributor 779 posts since
                Jul 27, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Aug 8, 2012 2:11 PM (in response to lce0606)
                Re: VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

                Well, you don't have to be rude - just professional.  And when you determine it's a legitimate call you can move on to friendly and perhaps even warm, if you wish.  All I'm recommending is that you can and should take control of any call you receive.  I'm not suggesting you be rude to anyone.  It's perfectly acceptable to ask who is calling and what they are calling about.  I've never been told I have been rude.  I'm simply screening my calls.  I'm busy and don't have time to entertain vendors on the telephone. 

  • New Member 4 posts since
    Jul 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2012 1:55 PM (in response to msdebj)
    Re: VRBO needs to make a statement re: NO SOLICITING

    {{grrr}} i too recieved a phone this past monday, and I am 99% sure the call hailed from the far East.

    not impressed.

    • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
      Jan 17, 2012

      Ohhh. Those are the worst. I've had some of those also. And from what I understand, there is some type of scam where they get information and then hack your dashboard. - I'm not sure how it works but hearing that didn't surprise me.

       

      I believe it has something to do with your email address and some are more hackable than others.

       

      I know that when I got those calls it was people asking for my email address. - Fishy since they could use the inquiry form directly on the HA or VRBO sites.

       

      Bottom line is that if something seems fishy, it probably is.

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