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6632 Views 30 Replies Latest reply: Sep 7, 2012 12:09 PM by tfv RSS
New Member 8 posts since
Aug 16, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 17, 2012 3:28 PM

Owners, help me understand. (updated)

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

  1. of nights     3

  2. in party     2 adults 0 children in party

Name     Carolyn Huskey

Email     carolynxxx@xxxxxxxxxxx.com

Phone     xxx-xxx-xxxx

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

  • carol Senior Contributor 2,153 posts since
    Dec 10, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2012 12:30 AM (in response to carolynhuskey)
    Re: Owners, help me understand.

    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?

      • Active Contributor 295 posts since
        Jun 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 17, 2012 4:50 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
        Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

        Carol,

         

        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.

        • terirusso Contributor 101 posts since
          Mar 30, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Sep 7, 2012 8:53 AM (in response to tfv)
          Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

          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?

          • Active Contributor 295 posts since
            Jun 9, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Sep 7, 2012 12:09 PM (in response to terirusso)
            Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

            ==> 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".

  • sage Community All-Star 969 posts since
    Jul 4, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2012 1:00 AM (in response to carolynhuskey)
    Re: Owners, help me understand.

    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

    • New Member 5 posts since
      Aug 29, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 17, 2012 4:13 PM (in response to sage)
      Re: Owners, help me understand.

      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!

  • sage Community All-Star 969 posts since
    Jul 4, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2012 4:53 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
    Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

    Carolyn -

     

    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 . . .

    • thaxterlane Active Contributor 782 posts since
      Jul 27, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 17, 2012 7:33 PM (in response to sage)
      Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

      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 . . .

       

      Good luck! 

        • sodamo Contributor 260 posts since
          Nov 5, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Aug 17, 2012 8:20 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
          Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

          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.

           

          David

      • Active Contributor 295 posts since
        Jun 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 17, 2012 11:06 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
        Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

        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.

        • Active Contributor 295 posts since
          Jun 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Aug 17, 2012 11:42 PM (in response to tfv)
          Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

          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)

          • Active Contributor 295 posts since
            Jun 9, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Aug 17, 2012 11:05 PM (in response to tfv)
            Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

            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.

            • Active Contributor 295 posts since
              Jun 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Aug 17, 2012 11:44 PM (in response to tfv)
              Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

              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.

                • Active Contributor 295 posts since
                  Jun 9, 2011
                  Currently Being Moderated
                  Aug 18, 2012 10:39 AM (in response to carolynhuskey)
                  Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

                  Hi Carolyn,

                   

                  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.

                  • Active Contributor 295 posts since
                    Jun 9, 2011
                    Currently Being Moderated
                    Aug 18, 2012 10:17 AM (in response to tfv)
                    Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

                    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.

  • carol Senior Contributor 2,153 posts since
    Dec 10, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2012 11:06 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
    Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

    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, :

    • Is attending or hosting a wedding
    • Wants to have a big party in a nice place
    • Is hosting a post-prom party for high school kids
    • Is attending  a nearby **** rock concert

     

    (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!

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 18, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 18, 2012 2:23 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
    Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

    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?

      • thaxterlane Active Contributor 782 posts since
        Jul 27, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 18, 2012 5:29 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
        Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

        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 . . . .

          • thaxterlane Active Contributor 782 posts since
            Jul 27, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Aug 18, 2012 6:33 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
            Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

            "Just as I would not rent from an owner who asked me why I was renting a place"

             

            Why?

             

            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 . . . . .

              • thaxterlane Active Contributor 782 posts since
                Jul 27, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Aug 19, 2012 10:00 AM (in response to carolynhuskey)
                Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

                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!

                • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,359 posts since
                  May 25, 2011
                  Currently Being Moderated
                  Aug 19, 2012 2:29 PM (in response to thaxterlane)
                  Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

                  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

                  Debj  

              • Contributor 86 posts since
                Oct 31, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Aug 19, 2012 5:22 PM (in response to carolynhuskey)
                Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

                Carolyn,

                 

                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!

                 


                Randy

      • terirusso Contributor 101 posts since
        Mar 30, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 7, 2012 9:17 AM (in response to carolynhuskey)
        Re: Owners, help me understand. (updated)

        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.

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