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50450 Views 167 Replies Latest reply: Apr 2, 2014 8:11 PM by stonemsp RSS Go to original post 1 2 3 4 ... 12 Previous Next
  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    Manouche...thanks for the laugh...it is such an apt description and Yes...I would be suspicious too.

     

    I agree with your comments ..."As an owner, I...

    This is how I feel also and how I approach the idea of reviews.

     

    One of my renters wrote a review about how great our home was for family reunions, etc. and then wrote that his only complaint was that the seagulls liked to roost on the pontoon bimini's and would leave poop. At first, my only thought was about the bird poop and how it might affect my pontoon rentals but then I thought..."it is what it is" and that this was all part of being on the lake.

    If a renter has written a constructive criticism, I reply with a solution or when I have addressed the issue so that future inquiers may see that I take what my renters have to say seriously.

     

    When I first started listing my proprties on HA, I went over the descriptions with a fine tooth comb...I was so concerned that what I said might mislead a renter.

  • tsvr - glad you could laugh!  The construction issue actually happened to me, when I rented last year.  No refund, no discount, no apology, just a manager and agency which denied having any advance notice of the situation - which had obviously been underway for some months.  Live and learn, I suppose.

     

    You were right not to obsess over the "poop deck" - funny how people want to be surrounded by nature, but don't necessarily want to deal with the reality of things - sort of the "Disneyland" approach to vacations, where it's all spotless, all the time...

     

    Here in Paris, I had guests complaining about cigarette butts in the street - nowhere near the apartment, just in the streets around town.  Different kind of wildlife, same "Disney" approach?  I really do think that some renters feel compelled to give a small complaint - maybe to spur us on to perfection?

  • Contributor 26 posts since
    Jul 27, 2011

    I'm surprised that VRBO would allow that review, since you may be responsible for your unit, but you're not responsible for nature. 

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    Part of dealing with the "public" is dealing with unreasonable people...and there will always be one or two. It helps  to realize that we can't make all the people happy all the time, no matter what we do.

    They certainly do strive to keep us on our toes and that is not always a bad thing. Those of us who have been owners for a while might succumb to being complacent about our properties and our renters.

     

    I have a renter that has come back 3 times but each time she trys to nickel and dime me to death with little suggestions as to what I could do or fix to make the property better...last time it was "buy a new patio table" for my lower level patio because the top is a little wobbly". Other than that she is a great renter and writes great reviews.

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    After my initial disconcernment, I realized the renter was stating an opinion and it was not untrue. I did not consider it a bad review...everything else he wrote was great and the part about the seagulls was not written in malace...just as a comment.

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    I really don't see what this has to do with my comments AND I do not agree with you on any of your points in the above reply.

    I do not believe that my renters are like sheep. I do not have that kind of attitude about the world in general and I'm sorry that you do.

    You stated in your opening post that:

    "Homeaway does not agree that one rogue review counteracts tens of positive ones, nor do they think it wrong to put homeowner’s on the defensive – i.e. once a rogue review comes in – we HAVE to try to get tens of positive reviews to counteract – so we spend a lot of time calling old renters"

     

    WE don’t want to be prepared beforehand. We don’t want to HAVE to have reviews to mitigate the possibility of a bad review or simply because Homeaway feels it’s the “hip” way.  Our business was excellent beforehand and we are happy with none or a few reviews.

     

    What is it that you are fighting HA/VRBO for?....is it the return of being able to choose to opt-out of reviews OR  HA/VRBO's policy (or lack of one) for malicious reviews, (those made because a renter is mad about something and wants to take it out on the owner or try to get a discount or complain because damage was done and they didn't receive their full refund on a security deposit). You titled this discussion "Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them - and why VRBO won't Protect us" but you seem to be upset about the fact that reviews have been forced on you. You haven't mentioned (unless I missed it)...WHY you think "VRBO won't protect you".

     

    I think that reviews are here to stay.

    Personally I like reviews (and that is just my opinion). They were here when when I signed up with HA.

    My concern (and what I would expect other owners to be very concerned about) is that (from the comments made on this discussion and others in the community), HA/VRBO is not doing anything to help a owner that has had a malicious or unethical bad review. I agree that they should have the "owners backs" and that "we, the owners pay for this". This is what we should all be concerned with. We are their customers just like our renters are our customers and as most of us bend over backwards for our renters and so should HA/VRBO be doing for us.

     

    What I do not agree with is all the comments about the problems and loosing business from a negative review. I used the word negative review and am not talking about the damaging reviews and the out-and-out lies that some owners have said have been posted on their review page. I am talking about the very minor comment of "bird poop" and other comments like it. Having that comment on my review page is not going to "break" my business nor is not having it there going to "make" my business.

     

    What I would like to know and find a solution to, is how to get HA/VRBO to remove an intentionally mean review.

    On some of the other discussions, I have heard some horror stories as to what some renters have gone through.

    If HA/VRBO are going to have renter reviews as part of the listing, then they need to come up with a way to PROTECT the owners. If you are going to post a wide open page for people to make comments on, it only stands to reason that some people (renters) are going to use this avenue and not use it for what it was intended for. As this is just common sense, HA/VRBO should have already anticipated this and have a solution in place and be ready to back up the owner and I do agree...(from the things that I have read on these discusion forums...) that it seems they tend to side with the renter. This is what concerns me! Not that a bad or malicious review will happen...but that the company that I pay to advertise my business is not looking out for my best interest!!!

  • Contributor 145 posts since
    May 12, 2011

    Today we had guests that left one of our homes in the worst condition we have ever seen it. I mean filthy dirty it was a week stay and the kitchen was so dirty that my housekeepers started at 10AM and at 7:30PM (EDT) they are still cleaning. We had guests due to check in at 5PM and my caretaker called to say it is going to take another 2-3 hours before the house is ready for occupancy.  My husband has titled the photos that were taken "Pigs Flee the Scene".  I charged the security deposit for the excess cleaning and almost feel off my chair when they asked what the additional chargea were for. My question is should I post an owners review about them first on HomeAway/VRBO and tell everyone to go to BadVacationRenters.com where they can see the names of these people and photos of what our cabin looks like before they try and blackmail us with a bad review ? Really need advice on what everyone thinks I should do ?

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    Can an owner post on the review page for something like this? My understanding is that owners can only post a response to a review.

     

    I think the website you meant is www.badrenter.com

    I would definetly post a warning to other owners on that site.

    I can understand your concern about the renter listing a bad review and thinking that maybe being on the offensive might be better than being on the defensive but I am not so sure it would be a good idea to try and be pre-emptive on the HA/VRBO site. It might possibly backfire on you.

     

    I am sorry that you had to go through this.

    Good luck.

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Jul 31, 2011

    We had the renters from hell last week of July  We had exact experience as the "Pigs fleeing".  Except that they damaged a chair, left carpet stains, tons of sand inside the home.....holes in the wall AND to add insult to injury they had twice the number of people there each day and used the home as a Party house and hosted many parties. They broke a door and we sent our handyman out ton fix it...$85, complained about the spa $150 to fix it...when my cleaning lady arrived she went ballistic when she saw the deplorable condition the house was left in. She told me there was bedding in the walk in closet and on each couch. When I contacted the renter the husband yelled "we will sue your ass"...and that was in response to me saying that my neighbor called to tell me he was going to call the police on their noise.

    Anyway, in over four years not once have we deducted more than $25 for additional cleaning and that was only 3x.  So we took money out of their deposit and the low class husband posts a malicious review out of spite. I had even sent them photos of all the damages.....

     

    VRBO told me there's was nothing they could do. The malicious **** even used curse words in his review!  VRBO does not care about the owners at all.....I have never once had a negative complaint in four and half years but they refused tondelet the post....so the Bully wins....I have thought about taking them to small claims to recover monies for all the damages they cost me...only to fight back but the wife was nice and I don't know that I have the energy

    There has to be recourse for such an egregious unfair circumstance. I refuse to be bullied and send their money back when they breached the contract and had twice the people, hosted many unauthorized parties and damaged my home.

     

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    I do agree with Ken's statement that a letter to HA is a good idea.

    I would list everything that has been said to you by the renter and also list the review.

    I would follow it up with a phone call and ask to speak to someone other than the usual CS person that you get.

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011

    Ken, thanks for your reply.

    I do know what an outlier is.

    For those of you that do not know here is a good anaolgy from gladwell.com.

    . What is an outlier?

    "Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book I'm interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.

     

    I agree that this type of thing is what HA/VRBO should use to decide whether a review is legitimate or not.

    If an owner has nothing but glowing (or even mediocer) reviews and then a malicious review pops up, then that review is outside the norm and should most defintely be a red flag to HA/VRBO that something is not right.

     

    What I do not understand is how to research how  just one “rogue” review can destroy the small homeowners business.

    I would really appreciate it if you would explain to me how to do this research.

    thanks

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