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Hi there. I'm a first time poster and frequent traveler. I have used vrbo in the past and never had any issues. Have always traveled to the Central Florida area.
This time around, I am visiting the Ft. Walton area. About 6 weeks ago, I found a condo I liked. Checked the calendar to make sure our dates were available and emailed the owner. Five weeks went by and I never heard anything back. Last week I repeated the process, checking our dates and emailing the owner (and noticing the owner had updated the page within the prior 2 weeks). Never got a response. Two days ago, I email the owner a third time and explain I have been trying to contact them. Owner updated the page on the 16th which was a few days after I sent the 3rd email. As a last resort, I called the owner. Got a voice mail and left a message. Has been 24 hours and no response. Though I realize 24 hours isnt much time, with its coupled with 3 non returned emails I just don't get it.
Whats more concerning is that I have emailed no less than 7 other owners all over a week ago and not one single owner has responded to me. We are renting 2 condo's. I'm beginning to wonder if I stink or something. I have -never- had an issue like this on VRBO. I have always gotten timely responses, though we were renting in a different locale when that happened.
I don't know what else to do except to try to rent in a different area or something. Is there something Im doing wrong here? Something Im missing? I'd like to think my money spends as good as anyone else's but apparently owners don't want it. Would be nice if there was some kind of feedback one could leave regarding the timeliness of a response from an owner. Its so frustrating when they won't respond to at least say "Im sorry but your dates aren't available". You know?
I'm not trying to come off as sour. I have met many good owners and am so thankful they share their homes/condos with us. But in this particular locale I can't get a response to save me life lol.
EDIT: Thank you Carol and Sage for your responses. I tried to reply to your messages but no matter what I did, I couldn't 'click' on the reply links, so I'm adding in the info here. My apologies for not thinking to include this information earlier. I have copied from the auto-responder in my email so you can see what it says.
Arrival Date Mar 1, 2013
Departure Date Mar 4, 2013
of nights 3
in party 2 adults 0 children in party
Name Carolyn Huskey
Comments: Hi. Would like to find out about deposit and payment information for our dates along with your cancellation policy in case an emergency comes up. Also, can you give me an inclusive total? I think I came up with $712.62.
Maybe I went wrong with figuring the price myself? I do this so that the owners can see that I do read their ads and all the information in it. I figure if I can determine their set cost, they will see I am serious about renting because they know I have read over their ad. All inquiries I've sent out have been pretty much the same, with the exception of the cost, of course, because it varies. As far as my reasons for renting the particular home or going to a certain area (as Carol asked) I've honestly never thought thats something an owner needed to know? I guess I always just assumed it was known that the reasons were to vacation/get away somewhere.
As I said, we are renting 2 condos. There are only 2 of us but we each want to stay in our own condo. Just checked my email again and no responses from anyone. No phone call from the one I called either. And if it makes a diff, regarding the scammer/IP thing....I have sent inquiries from my desk top and my lap top.
Thanks again for reading!
Message was edited by: carolynhuskey
Can you share your exact communication with the owner? I'd like to see if something sounded odd in your inquiry. For example, diid you indicate your dates, the numbers of adults and kids, the reason you are going to that area, and why the house appealed to you? Did you check that the dates were free and the number of people you were bringing would fit in the house?
There were 2 questions I forgot to answer in my edited post above, but yes I did check to make sure the dates were free and that the number of people would fit. Its a 3 BR condo and there are only 2 of us. The other condos I chose were 1 to 2 BR. I never rent based on only needing one BR, I rent based on things like amenities, views, decor, etc. I wouldn't rent a 5 BR house for 2 people, but you never really run into that with condos.
If you like, let’s first find out if you are on VRBO’s Blocked List. Send me a test inquiry at http://www.vrbo.com/315913, then email me at, the falls victoria at live dot com. If I receive your inquiry, you are not. If I don’t receive it, you are; then I will be able to advise you what you can do so that your future inquiries can go through.
tfv, I was not aware that there is a Blocked list. I see the responses saying that the IP address is blocked because of a possible scam. Would that be just to VRBO or for other things as well, say applying on line for a job?
==> tfv, I was not aware that there is a Blocked list. I see the responses saying that the IP address is blocked because of a possible scam. Would that be just to VRBO or for other things as well, say applying on line for a job?<==
For this specific thread, we were only discussing the blocked list system of VRBO/HomeAway. More discussions specific to VRBO/HomeAway blocking can be read at http://community.homeaway.com/message/28937#28937.
To your specific question as with specific example of applying online for a job, “no” if the application was entered directly on an online website form, no blocking applies and the application goes directly to the recipient. If it was sent via email, a possibility though remote exists of it landing in the recipient’s SPAM folder, but that is not the same as "blocked list".
If your query said you were looking for accommodations for the grunge band Skunk Slime and there would be 28 adults, 16 children, and a herd of goats, one might expect no responses. If you post the information Carol asks, someone could take a look at it.
There is another possible explanation, though, since you have apparently sent 10 queries with no response. If your IP address has been associated with a scam, it may be that your queries are being blocked. HomeAway/VRBO would not tell you that was happening. It is kind of like being on TSA's no-fly list. With ability of scammers to falsify IP addresses, innocent people are reportedly having queries blocked. If this is a possibility, you probably should contact VRBO.
Hi Carolyn, I'll answer from my experience on both sides of the fence since I manage cabins and when I go out of town I find properties through VRBO.
As a property manager I like to respond as quickly as possible, though our office is closed on weekends, you would have gotten an answer on Monday if you emailed or called over the weekend. I didn't see anything on your request that would have made me not answer the email. Possibly, just possibly the properties you contacted are all weekly rentals or more likely Ft. Walton in March may be a popular place for "snowbirds" and therefore the VRBO owners are only going to rent for the month during that time frame. Still, they should have at least answered you to tell you their minimum nights. As a potential guest I was trying to find a home near Charlotte the weekend after the Democratic National convention (about 30 miles away). I emailed to about 8 VRBO owners. Only 2 responded at all. All that to say, maybe it's not you-maybe it's the owners. Good Luck!
You say you sent inquiries from your desk top and lap top computers. If both were using the same internet connection, such as both at home, they both would show the same IP address. If one was home and the other at work or on a different network, the queries would have shown as being from different IPs. Just something to consider on the possibility of your IP being blacklisted.
In your query, the question regarding cancellation policy could be a red flag for an owner. That is something you should ascertain prior to sending any money (and likely would be addressed in a rental agreement), but to raise the possibility of cancellation in the initial query might put the owner on guard. Especially if March 1-4 is likely to be a high demand period for the area, the owners may want to wait for a reservation that appears to be more solid. So I'd suggest re-sending queries that do not ask about cancellations, and not send a deposit until you are satisfied with the cancellation policy.
georgiamtns point about minimum stays is also good. It may be that no one in the area is willing to rent for one weekend during high season even if their listings do not say that.
One would think that owners would respond politely to every query, but . . .
I agree with Sage regarding owners likely to be put off by a question about the cancellation policy before any communication has taken place. (It's sort of like my husband asking when we will leave a party before we have even arrived.) The cancellation policy is not the first thing you should be asking about.
As an owner, I appreciate learning something about the inquirier and the purpose of the visit, although this certainly is not required in the inquiry. It might make owners more likely to respond to you.
For instance, when I traveled with my family to attend my son's college commencement, I noted it in my inquiry, i.e., family of four (parents and mature teens) from the boston area traveling to ___ university to celebrate commencement week with son..
Also, you might leave off calculating the rental rate for the owner. It's not necessary - in my opinion it's too assertive. I don't think I have ever received an inquiry, over nearly twenty years of renting, where someone quoted a rate. In fact, you might find the owner would offer you a better rate than you are proposing . . .
Im glad you posted this. This is things I need to know. I always figured (from a renters end) that an owner would want us to calculate the rate for the reasons I stated above plus maybe it could save them a tad bit of work. Im sure owners are inundated with inquiries and it can be overwhelming at times. I've never really had an opportunity to see the owners perspective before.
And Sage, note taken in regards to inquiring about the cancellation policy up front. I can absolutely see where you are coming from on that one too.
Just for info, figuring the rate is likely less a trial for the owner. In my case, it's all done by the computer. Given the tax structure here in Hawaii, figuring our taxes would be a challenge I surely wouldn't burden a guest.
Glad to see your post that things are working out.
Well, as an update, the owner of the condo I called gave me a call back this evening. She said she had checked and could find no inquiries from me what so ever, but I have auto-responder's from all my inquiries in my email. She was so nice (as are all vrbo owners I've worked with) and is going to let us rent the original condo we wanted. I'm so thankful it turned out this way. I guess if all else fails, pick up the phone, huh?
Also, I sent a test link through your link tvf. Hopefully we can figure out if my IP has been blacklisted for some reason. Thanks for all your help and suggestions on my trying to figure this little mystery out!
Well, I got Carol's inquiry. So at least we know it's not a matter of her being blocked at VRBO. It must be for reasons others speculated about. Another reason is that it may have gone to owner's filtered folder.
addendum: see next post.
Sorry Carol, my mistake. I was in a rush earlier and failed to notice subtleties. What I actually got from you was your email, and not the test inquiry. So this means you are in VRBO's blocked list.
(Sorry for the earlier post that just added to the confusion)
There are two ways to resolve this issue. The easiest is to report this to VRBO at their Contact US page. Before contacting them, first find out your IP address by going to http://www.ip-address.org/ so that you can tell VRBO your IP as well as your email.
Although there is another method doing it on your own, that involves releasing your IP and acquiring a new one, but if you are not savvy with computers, better not use that method. I am sure VRBO Support will be able to remove you from their Blocked List.
By the way, if you don't contact VRBO Support to have you removed from their blocked list, you might just be in that list indefitely and won't be able to make future inquiries. So contact them.
Thank you so much for helping me figure this out. I have no idea why I would be on this list. It makes me wonder how many others are on it as well and are not getting their inquiries to the owners. I've never had one single bad experience on vrbo and I hope this doesn't reflect negatively upon me.
I will be contacting vrbo pronto and thank you for telling me how to find my ip. Otherwise, I would have been at a loss on that one lol. Your help has been much appreciated.
You’re welcome. Glad to be of assistance. It wasn’t anything you did in the past that caused it, but your computer’s current dynamically acquired IP Address may have been associated with a previous user who was suspected of engaging in nefarious activities like hacking, spamming, scamming, etc., hence triggering VRBO's detection system in causing the associated IP to be entered in their Blocked List. Admittedly, their system is not perfect or has a lot of flaws and causing innocent travelers to be blocked as well.
In the days of dialup internet, reconnecting was enough to get a new IP-address. Nowadays with cable internet, the DHCP-server will bind your IP-address to the hardware address (= MAC-address) of your network device for a certain period of time. Even a release or refresh of the host configuration usually doesn’t help to get a new IP. Although there are other tricky ways of acquiring a new address by changing the MAC address (example, if you use a NAT-router, you change the MAC-address of the WAN-port (the port connected to the modem) on the router, or if you have your PC directly connected to the modem without a NAT- router, you change the MAC-address of your Network Interface Card (NIC) in the PC), thus allowing (tricking) the DHCP-server in “believing” that it’s an entirely different computer and cause it to re-issue a new dynamically acquired IP address. As you can see, it sounds complicated, and I haven’t even detailed the steps how you may go about doing it. So, the easiest solution is to contact VRBO to have your IP address taken out of their Blocked List.
Oh, one more thing, once you have been removed from the Blocked List, you can once again send me a test inquiry (and inform me via email that you did that), and I will be able to reply to you to tell you if I got your inquiry or not, thus a confirmation.
Glad to be of assistance.
To the Owners Community,
I noticed this scenario earlier when I started a thread called Blacklisting by VRBO????. I think if VRBO requires the proper filling up of the online inquiry form by forcing inquiring travelers to enter all relevant info, it can use it in screening suspected scammers much better, and help us owners too. A scammer will always try to hide his true identity and if the form requires all relevant questions be supplied, scammers can easily be flushed out. For example, when they send mass inquiry using the same email address but associated with different names for each inquiry, or use several email addresses they created but associated with one IP address, or using different names but associated with a specific email address, etc. etc. This is Easy. I just wish VRBO would take a second look at this.
I agree with the others that the cancellation question was a red flag.
Why do owners want to know the reason for coming to the area? We want to see if our homes and our towns are a good fit for your needs. For example, if someone wants to celebrate a 100th birthday for Aunt Mitzy, a home with no ground floor bedroom or bath might not be a good fit. Also, I've read many posts that indicate some owners will not rent to anyone who, for example, :
(Mind you, I'm not saying no one will rent to such people -- I host wedding groups all the time, and I did have a group in who were attending a nearby three-day rock concert -- but each owner knows what will work in his or her home.)
I'm glad it worked out and it looks like you'll find a nice place. Happy traveling!
Carolyn, Personally I would think it odd to have only two people wanting to each book their own condo, that are going together....unless they are one bedroom condos of course. Are the condo's your looking to book 2 bedrooms each? If they are, that would seem strange to most home / condo owners. I have been renting out my villa ( which consists of 4 separate houses that make up the one villa) now for quite a few years. If someone like myself were to wonder......why is she wanting this kind of arrangement, it can draw one to think that maybe your not being quite honest with what your intent might be. Just a thought that crossed my mind...... just for curiosity how many bedroom do each of these condo's have?
Hi there. I can understand how an owner would think it was odd. However, we aren't renting from the same owner so the owner doesn't know. If we ever were renting from the same owner and it was an issue, we'd just move on to another owner. As long as I pay my rental and security deposits, as requested by the owner, I don't see what the issue is. The condo I am renting is 3BR. The one he is renting is 2BR. We rent based on the amenities we want, not the number of bedrooms.
There are many reasons why people travel and I don't think we should have to divulge such information to an owner unless it perhaps requires special assistance or permission from the owner.
For the sake of settling curiosity, my partner and I have known each other 2 years online. Recently, we decided to move forward with a relationship. We have finally decided to meet in person. Realistically, we hope things go well and in the future we would only need 1 condo but in the event they do not go well (things happen and we try to be realistic) we want 2 condos the first time in case we both need our own space or, worst case scenario, just dont want to ever see each other again.
We are both smoke/drink/drug free. We both have rental houses as an income (so we understand the hardships and frustrations caused when a renter doesnt care for a place). All we want is a nice, peaceful place to get away when we can.
To me, there is no reason an owner would need to know this information. It would enable some owners to make judgements and decisions on us based on something that has nothing to do with our renting of a home. Please understand, I mean this with all due respect. I just never seen my personal reasons for renting a home as anything the owner needed to know, and honestly, in all my years of renting, I've never had an owner ask me for my reasoning. For me personally, I would move on to another owner if one did. (Thats not a personal stab at anyone who does that, its just a preference of mine. Afterall, its my money and your home. We both have our own views to spend/rent as we see fit
I don't think an owner would expect the detailed information you have posted; it's much too personal and goes way beyond the basic reason(s) for your travel.
I do think it's appropriate to write something (brief) about yourself and/or your party.
Details of relationships are not necessary.
It's really not all that complicated. Think about what you would want to know about someone you are meeting at a professional workshop or conference for the first time. It's good to have some idea of who you are talking too, but too much information would likely be unwelcome.
Just my opinion . . . .
I agree. I have never (and would never) divulge that info to an owner. I felt by the way the conversation was going here that I should give some kind of an idea, and chose to be thorough so that I could avoid further questions. Every owner and renter are different. Just as I would not rent from an owner who asked me why I was renting a place, there are owners who would not rent to me if I denied them the info. Just have to find an owner you can mesh with. So far, I've never had a problem
This has been a great learning experience for me
"Just as I would not rent from an owner who asked me why I was renting a place"
I ask everyone who inquires about my house why they are visiting the locale. Everyone has answered my question.
I ask if it's their first time in the area, where they have stayed previously, the number of guests in their party, the ages of the guests, their interests (golf, water sports, dining, antiquing, biking, hiking, etc.).
Why do you oppose telling an owner the purpose of your travel , yet you have written out intimate details of your personal life for strangers to read on this forum?
I think there are many owners that are renting out their vacation houses, not rental properties per se, but their own personal vacation retreats. In this case it seems very wise to ask however many questions, and have as much dialogue, as the owner needs to feel comfortable about the person(s) they are allowing into their house.
An interested owner is an owner that wants to assure their guests have a good experience in their house.
I am not interested in the details of my guests' lives; I simply want to understand their goals and expectations for their stay and do my best to provide a memorable experience.
I can't possibly provide the experience if I don't know the guests.
To each his and her own . . . . .
Why do you oppose telling an owner the purpose of your travel , yet you have written out intimate details of your personal life for strangers to read on this forum?"
I certainly didn't mean to ruffle any feathers (if I did). And I will be happy to answer ;-)
The difference is exactly what you stated....the forum is 'strangers'. I wont (likely or knowingly) be meeting any of you face to face or speaking to you on the phone. With an owner, it is a more personal level, and it should be.
I suppose, as a creature of habit, I would just find it odd at this point, after years of renting, if an owner asked me those things being that not once in several years of renting have I ever been asked anything regarding as to why I', renting the house or what my plans are while I'm there. I do understand that some owners would have an interest in that, I guess I have always ended up with owners who, for whatever reason, never asked. I have rented from one gentleman multiple times and spoken to him on many occasions about all sorts of things but he has never asked me why I rent his house or why we come to FL. If he, or another onwer suddenly started asking me about my plans and reasons, I guess I would feel like I was being 'watched' or scrutinized by the owner (I woudn't know if they were staying next door). And while I whole heartedly feel an owner has a right to secure their property, for me personally, I feel like the security deposit/damage
waiver/insurance and the fact that they have my contact info and credit card information should suffice enough if there is a problem (and to date, there never has been).
Please understand I can only offer a travelers side of view as I have never owned a vacation home to rent out. My view may not be whats standard, but I think its developed based on past experiences of my renting. Had most or every owner asked me my reasons/plans from when I first started renting, it would just seem normal to me at this point.
I find the different views between owner/renter to be interesting and I think it helps us all learn how to better communicate with potential owners/renters in the future. I hope you can see it the same way too
Well, I must admit your reasoning does not seem very logical to me.
The majority of travelers do not feel "scrutinized" and "watched" because an owner asks a few questions.
If you feel "scrutinized" and "watched" by questions then you should definitely avoid properties where owners wish to talk with you about your travel.
You'll also avoid the information that could make your stay great: little known "places and spaces" that the owner would recommend, but they won't know anything about you or your interests . . . .
I wish you the best of luck in your travels.
I'm off to an oceanside state park for the day. Hoping everyone has a good day!
As both a VR owner and a VR renter I have no problen sharing information on inquiries I send to a prospective owner of a home I'm willing to rent from.
I often ask a traveler if there is a special occasion or just a getaway trip they are planning for. As an owner this does help me get a feel for the type of experience a guest is loooking for.
We provide quite a bit of info on local opportunities and can customize info if we know more about our guests. Birthday or anniversary? I try to have flowers, with a note waiting when they arrive. Fishing trip? I have several local guides that offer my guests discounts.Artwalk or special festival? We provide info on venues that are off the beaten track.
I don't get into personal matters, but if a guest isn't willing to share any info with me yet asks a lot of detailed questions about my home it's turnoff.
just my 2 cents
I have read your inquiry and the responses that you have received. Here are a few of my observations:
First, I respond to all inquiries within 12 hours of receiving notificaiton. When possible, I respond within an hour.
Early March in Fort Walton is the start of Spring Break season. Since my condo can comfortably sleep 6 to 8 people, I would be suspious of somone that would want to rent it just for themself. Since we have a minimum age restriction of 25 to rent, I would be suspicious of this person renting from me and then trying to sub-rent it to a bunch of kids. There are plenty of 1 bedroom condos available in our complex at a lower rate. Why would they (you) want to pay more money for space they (you) don't need?
As an owner, we love to get as much information about our guests as possible. However, what you share is up to you.
My condo is in Panama City Beach. If you would have sent me an inquiry, I would have tried to find you a 1 bedroom condo in the same complex. If you still wanted to rent my condo, as long as you are willing to pay my rate, are at least 25, and can pay for your stay you would be welcome!
Enjoy your stay in Fort Walton but next time consider Panama City Beach for your next vacation!
Carolyn, as a home owner, I agree with thaxterlane, that I do not need to know the personal intimate details of why you are renting my home. But I do have the right to know if you are going to have a party, extra guests that are not registered, or possibly are a group hosting a bachelor or bachelorette party. I have had parents lie to me trying to rent a house for the kids on prom weekend. We need to protect our investments and the only way to do that is by getting as much information as we can.