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      • 30. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
        Contributor

        Complaining to corporations is like playing darts.  Rarely will you hit the bullseye.

         

        Every summer I do 24 rentals in two units and every summer there is one group of PIGS/SLOBS, whatever you want to call them.

         

        I charge the highest rates possible for my units and I have only kept part of a security deposit one time.  Even then, I only did it because the people violated common sense.  When they checked out it was immediately noticed by the cleaning staff that the tub had been damaged.  Upon further inspection it appeared they had taken showers with golf shoes on.  I had never observed anything like it.  Although the tub was damaged it was still usable.  Normally, I let most damages go and don't care.  However, their damage deposit was $250 and I kept $175.  They were incensed but I had them sign an agreement to get their balance of $75 back. 

         

        Is there a lesson in all of this?  Yes, be careful who you rent to but that's not a great answer.  

         

        The other part of the answer is to keep your rates high. I have only one week left to book at this point due to a late cancellation.  I refunded the entire deposit including the normal cancellation fee because the potential guest had referred a rental to me.

         

        I guess my point is that things are cheap now and even a couple of hundred of dollars in damages are not worth worrying about.   It happens once a year to me.  Sometimes it does not happen at all. 

         

        I've gotten to where I can detect the nitpickers up front and I quickly weed them out.  I charge about 10% more than other properties in the same area and when someone asks for a discount I inform them I'm not into giving discounts.  In fact, cheapskates and jerks and negative reviews go hand in glove. 

         

        When I advertise discounts I only rent to families.  However, people will still try to rent your unit and figure that they can double the advertised number of guests that are allowed to stay.  I warn them in the lease and the e-mail they must list all guests and that if security finds out they have extras the lease will be immediately terminated.  I'm lucky the resort has a great security staff with the powers of arrest. 

         

        One day a lady called up to complain about my unit.  You see, she had rented but let some relatives stay there.  I told her that was absolutely prohibited by the lease, no sublets.  They had broken the tiolet seat and I had someone repair it.  I still returned her security deposit and told her not to worry about it.   The handyman told me the people weighed about 300 pounds each.  I could have had her and them thown out but I found humor in the situation.  When they checked out the unit was spotless.

         

        In the meantime, I have yet to get a negative review under the new rule at VRBO but it's only a question of time.  Some idiot will come along and claim it's three stars and I will guarantee you most negative reviews are done out of spite and jealousy.  Yes, there is a flaw in the system.  As I've mentioned elsewhere it's only a question of time before a negaive review leads to a lawsuit against the reviewer and HA or VRBO.

         

        In my opinion if VRBO wants to let someone trash you they should verify it.  In different states there are different rules of corporate responsibility.

         

        If someone gripes about either of the units I may or may not respond.  If I do it will be with facts.  I won't even try to turn up a positive review.  You see, I don't believe negativity works.  Some people will look at the negative review and they won't even consider my unit.  Others will look and ask about it.  Some won't care.  That's life.

        • 31. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
          tsvr Contributor

          longtimelandlord...I agree with your statement from above......

          In my opinion if VRBO wants to let someone trash you they should verify it.  In different states there are different rules of corporate responsibility.

           

            You see, I don't believe negativity works.  Some people will look at the negative review and they won't even consider my unit.  Others will look and ask about it.  Some won't care.  That's life.

           

          I have yet to be convinced that one idiots malicious reveiw will ruin a business.

          I do not believe that people are like sheep and that because one malcontent has posted a malicious review that potential renters will look only at that and not take into account the positive ones.

          This is not to say that if this happened to me I wouldn't fight it!! I would and I will not be bullied by bad renters.

          If a renter has caused damage due to intent, negligence, lack of supervision to children, I withhold whatever the repairs/replacement costs are from their security deposit. I do not do this to make money or to nickel & dime my renters but I am not going to pay for repairs/replacements on things that should not have happened.

          For example, when my housekeepr went to clean after a renter, she found that a towel bar in the master bathroom and been ripped from the wall. I do not know how it happened (drunk renter or unsupervised children) but I withheld the cost of repair from the secuirty deposit. (no bad review)

          After one renter, I had to replace the shower head in the master and I withheld the repair costs (no bad review).

          Though this could easily have been from normal wear and tear and I would normally have chalked it up to maintenance costs, there had been nothing wrong with the showerhead when we had recently checked the property.

          We frequently stay at our property and keep a pretty close eye on maintenance and in the peak months when we have back-to-back renters and are unable to stay there, my housekeepr keeps a close eye on this.

           

          As I have previously said...my concern is HA/VRBO's (per the postings on this and other discussions) attitude regarding malicious reviews. It causes me concern because if their policy is such that so many owners are unhappy with it and they do nothing...is this a trend in regards to oher issues that owners have.

          If their reply is that "there is nothing they can do about it"...then this is a great concern. Why can't they do anything about it?

          It seems that there is a logical solution and it seems that their first priority should be to the owners, especially when owners have documented proof that renters caused a problem and are using the review page to get back at an owner.

           

          Solution...remove the review or change their policy regarding these types of reviews.

          • 32. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
            Contributor

            HOW  TO DO RESEARCH

             

             

             

            Finally!  Yes,  you now understand our mission (this is the crux of it).    To answer your question about research.  The best research is to use text cases.  Actyual examples.  Do a study:  Example,  3 homeowners a,b and c with like placements and houses have no reviews.  They receive x,y, and z inquiries for 1 whole year running.

             

             

             

            Then,  reviews are posted as:  a has 3 positivie reviews,  b still has no reviews and c has 3 positive

             

             

             

            Then after year 2 -  there are x1,y1, and z1 inquiries respectively.

             

             

             

             

             

            NOW post an outlier – a real nagetavie review on Homeowner C.    It is an outlier by viurtyue of the fact that a whole year went by flawlessly – but it is a real “rogue” review because it states “avoid this house!”   and let’s throw in -  “there were mice”.

             

             

             

            Nopw, after year 3 I GUARANTEE that c has all but lost his inquires.  Just to be sure let’s throw in some icing.  Let’s give c a positive review AFTER the negative outrageous one.  STILL you wil find that months later – well,  c’s business is in the rtoilet based on his qinquires through Homeaway.

             

             

             

            Very simple study – we have ALREADY done it!!!!  But – hey, do it again,,  shorten the times to one month each – if it makes you feel better.

             

             

             

            Ken

            • 33. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
              Contributor

              Ps You don’t have to believe it – but advertisers know it – the best advertised ALWAYS wins – even if it’s a sh$t product.  It’s been proven a million times over.  There are sooo mnay books on how people are sheep – sooo many - all peer reviewed and by academics that have studied the subject for a lifetime.

               

               

               

              A very large company like Hilton with TREMENDOUS good will – will not get hurt by a  small negative review – but even Hilton would be affected if a specific hotel had a scathing review next to its ONLY advertisement.  That’s us - ONE advertisement and a negative review slapped right there next to it – BOOM business dead.  WE have proven experience with homeowners whose inquiries shot down by 90% or more with the negative review next to from 1 to 5 positive ones.

              • 34. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                New Member

                What about hurrying a negative with many positives?  Who is going to read through all the reviews  I saw one property have 50 reviews...this must be the reason

                • 35. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                  Contributor

                  Not a bad idea,  but it is just a band aid – and yes they will read through if there is that many specifically for that reason.

                   

                   

                   

                  Also, you know how hard it is to get a review from most  guests even when most of them tell us they loved the place.  Sometimes one can write to them requesting a review for a few weeks – and then what if just a tiny negative mention is in there..  it is not worth it – are you going to get 50 spotless reviews?  No reviews is always better than that risk in our research.  We thought we were paying for CONTROLLED advertising when we signed up.  Now it is just a huge free for all and anything goes next to our very sensitive posts.  Even thus,  we are not requesting total CONTROL – we are requesting THE REMOVAL of OUTLIERS.

                  • 37. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                    tsvr Contributor

                    (again) I don't agree.

                     

                    I have a guest review book in each of my properties and 99% of the time our guests write in it.

                    When a guest has departed, I send them an email to let them know that their security deposit is in the mail.

                    At that time I send them the link to the HA guest review page and request that they write a review  (and a online survey that we have).

                    I wait a while and if a guest does not write on the HA reveiw page, I enter the information that they wrote in our in-home review book.

                    Voila...lots of reviews (and none of them bad)

                     

                    Do agree..."remove outliers".

                    • 38. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                      Contributor

                      I say WAKE UP  Mr. Sharples.  You are loosing customers as fast as you are buying up new one as you aquire new websites.  Your investors are going to get wise to this ponzi scheme.

                       

                      If Mr. Sharples had actully built a business, he would understand that it costs a lot more to gain one customer than it does to treat your existing ones fairly and try to retain them.

                       

                      I, for one, just had a group of 12 women arrive at one of our most Pristine "NON-SMOKING" homes.  From the moment they arrived, they all smelled like they had smoked 20 packs of cigarettes in a very small space.  I reminded them that this was a Non-smoking property and that the owners had sever allergies.  They  promised they would not smoke on the grounds.

                       

                      Well, of course, upon departure the entire home wreaked of smoke and there were hundred of cigarette buts all over the property.  (Even stuffed into the patio furniture). 

                       

                      DO I DARE KEEP THEIR DEPOSIT AND RISK A BAD REVIEW?  Heck no!  Even though it cost me a fortune to clean up their mess,  launder draperies and linens and steam clean furniture to eliminate the smell.

                       

                      IS THIS FAIR?  ~ I THINK NOT

                       

                      Wake up MR. SHARPLES ~ Listen to your paying customers!

                      • 39. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                        tsvr Contributor

                        If your policy is "no smoking" and if you state that in your contract and

                        state that there will be a penalty (keep a portion of security deposit or

                        eviction) then I would have stuck to that. If someone smokes in one of our

                        homes, a portion of their SD will be retained depending to what it costs to

                        get the smell out of the house).

                         

                         

                        Thanks, Lin

                        www.ThreeSistersVacationRentals.com

                        <http://www.threesistersvacationrentals.com/>

                        ThreeSistersVacationRentals@mi.rr.com

                        Lin (313) 387-0690

                        Sue (248) 755-1618

                        • 40. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                          Contributor

                            We have a previous guest that booked on our cabins and paid half of the total to reserve it.  29 days before their arrival they call to cancel because they couldn't make it.  If it is within 30 days of check-in we can't refund them anything but I was nice and decided to give them a 25% refund which I told them was about $100, no problem they said.  The guest wanted to take the 25% as credit for a future stay so I told them to call me or email when they decide on their dates and I would send them a quote with the 25% credit included. 

                           

                          When I sent their quote they were furious because they decided to take 25% of the total amount instead of what they already paid then use the cancellation policy guidelines on our faqs page to try and shake me down for more money.  They felt that their refund should have been closer to $300 because that was 25% of their total.   At this point I thought you know what I am going to refund your money and be done with it.  Then the calls began and the emails.  Unfortunately the emails have no threats what so ever but the phone calls..I don't even pick up anymore.  

                           

                          We've already been hit with one bad review because a guest broke our TV so we kept the $100 deposit, the guests then wrote a horrible review in retaliation, this guest even went so far as to say in an email: ...[return my deposit] or I will take matters into my own hands.  After providing VRBO/HA aka Nadia with all of our correspondence she concluded that the guest just wants their deposit back and since the words "I will right a bad review if your don't pay" weren't evident, there was nothing VRBO could do, the review stayed.

                           

                          I decided to take a preemptive strike, I emailed VRBO to let them know what was happening. I got a long canned response back telling me that I'm basically SOL unless this person in an email states “I will write a bad review if you don't pay me”. So I decided to share my knowledge with the community encase this happened to anyone else.

                          • 41. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                            Contributor

                            Maybe I will get in trouble for this maybe they will just remove the post but I will like to show you all how easy it is to alter an email without anyone knowing.   An email is basically just a document, if you drag it on to your desktop (or save it on to your desktop) then right click it and choose Open with..then choose a text editor (ie wordpad, ms word, wordperfect) any is fine.  When it opens scroll down, the giberish at the top are the headers, this is what VRBO/HA aka Nadia takes as an “authentic” email.  As long as that stuff is there, they will consider it “real”.  Anyway, scroll down past the headers (giberish) and eventually you will find the meat of the message, where you can change anything, add, delete, whatever you want.   When your done, all you have to do is hit file (or round button at the top for ms office) Save As...then make sure at the end of the email title, it says .eml.  Word may try to change it to .doc or .txt, but you can remove that make sure the end is .eml.   Once you saved it, open an email to VRBO/HA aka Nadia, attach the .eml you just saved and done.  You can do this to any email and I would be happy to help anyone with troubleshooting or better instructions.

                             

                            Also VRBO/HA doesn't seem to care if reviews are real so why not just start making some up.  VRBO/HA can't know it's you posting your reviews.  So make an email address, go to Mcdonalds wifi and post away.  Of course I would never do this, wink wink, nudge nudge, but if I did, I would know that the only thing VRBO/HA could see if my IP address, which is basically like your “street” address online. The only thing they know is which IP address a review is coming from so as long as your noting submitting a ton of reviews from the same Internet connect (ip address) VRBO can never know.  So head down to wifi hotspots   or wherever you can, you can also look into Proxy serviers which are so easy to use once you start.  They basically “hide” your real address by routing you through another.  So if you wanted to use a proxy server you can do this from the comfort of your own home and VRBO/HA aka Nadia will never know.   VRBO/HA definetly sides with the guest no matter what so we need to protect our businesses, I'm happy to answer any questions or help anyone out.

                            • 42. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                              Contributor

                              . or I will take matters into

                              my own hands.  After providing VRBO/HA aka Nadia

                              with all of our correspondence she concluded that

                              the guest just wants their deposit back and since

                              the words

                               

                              You have to spuercede Nadia here.  Speak to her

                              boss.  Clearly this is a threat and that is within

                              Homeaways policy to remove the review.

                               

                              further, in your current case,  if the customer has

                              not seen the house - ie stayed there - then they

                              cannot write a review.

                               

                              Ken

                               

                              -


                              Original message -


                               

                                Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 12:41:39 -0600

                                From: squirrelly <community@homeaway.com>

                                Subject: - Re: Negative Reviews as spite

                                for damages - your protection from them -  and why

                                VRBO won't Protect us.

                                To: kensilverman <kensilverman@rcn.com>

                               

                               

                               

                                                        Seek Advice. Get Answers.

                                Community from HomeAway Optimize your Vacation

                                                        Rental Business.

                               

                               

                                  Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your

                                  protection from them - and why VRBO won't

                                  Protect us.

                               

                                created by squirrelly in Reviews - View the full

                                discussion

                              • 43. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                                Contributor

                                Yeah I've tried to speak to someone higher up but Nadia doesn't take phone calls.  When I tell her via email that I would like to speak to a manager or someone else she just ignores it.  Since this guest has stayed here before and there is no time limit on when I review can be placed, this guest could write a bad review about their previous stay, which is what they are threatening to do.

                                • 44. Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your protection from them -  and why VRBO won't Protect us.
                                  Contributor

                                  You may need to just give in then and give them back

                                  some security.  Keep the public relations as high as

                                  possible since, at the end of the day, Homeaway has

                                  us by the .....

                                   

                                  Ken

                                  -


                                  Original message -


                                   

                                    Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 13:35:22 -0600

                                    From: squirrelly <community@homeaway.com>

                                    Subject: - Re: Negative Reviews as spite

                                    for damages - your protection from them -  and why

                                    VRBO won't Protect us.

                                    To: kensilverman <kensilverman@rcn.com>

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                                            Seek Advice. Get Answers.

                                    Community from HomeAway Optimize your Vacation

                                                            Rental Business.

                                   

                                   

                                      Re: Negative Reviews as spite for damages - your

                                      protection from them - and why VRBO won't

                                      Protect us.

                                   

                                    created by squirrelly in Reviews - View the full

                                    discussion

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