18 Replies Latest reply: Apr 19, 2012 10:07 AM by marilyn RSS

    Homeaway, wake up please!

    New Member

      A week ago I received a bad review. It was withdrawn due to this guy verbaly abusing my wife and making false accusations. You can read more about this here http://community.homeaway.com/message/19447#19447


      Now this man has made a serious complaint accusing us of charging him more than the rates listed on our site. He claims we did this because he and his wife are black. Also, in his complaint sent to HA he actually claimed we cancelled his reservation when in reality, he actually stayed the entire agreed period. We only called him asking him to please leave the apartment at 3pm when checkout is actually 12pm.


      Just look at what this man is writing to me in his latest email...



      I was very upset about my stay first let's address your refutation. I actually have print-offs of the rates ok. Your website reads:


      Name of Period Begins Ends Weekly Week Night Weekend Weekend NightExtra NightMonthly Event Rate Minimum Stay

      Low seasonMar 1 2012Jul 31 2012R$ 650R$ 110--R$ 110R$ 2,200-3 Nights3

      Notes:Rates do not include special holidays such as Xmas, carnival, easter etc. Please contact us for info

      High seasonAug 1 2012Mar 1 2013R$ 800R$ 135--R$ 135R$ 2,800-3 Nights


      This is me cutting and pasting now directly from your site ok. You can stop lying ok.  We  stayed in your apartment for eight days. During High Season your apartment is listed at $800 reais. Your page never says anything about holidays. I think you need to read your page again. In the U.S. this is illegal . You cannot advertise one price which it clearly states as $800 dollars per week and then give another. NOWHERE on your page does it state anything about Holidays.



      Can somebody please tell me that it doesn't clearly state that rates do not include holidays? He actually copied the rates directly from my site and does not see the Notes directly in front of his eyes! Why did he actually agree on the price of 1300 reais for one week in carnival here in Brazil, pay the deposit and then make these accusations?


      Yesterday I received a notice from HA that this man has made serious complaints about his stay and that I cancelled his reservation and that he wants a full refund or he will go to court. If I don't answer HA within 3 days my account will be suspended! Yes, suspended!


      So I wrote back to HA within the hour and explained very detailed the entire story about this guest, just as I did when I tried to remove his very rude review a week ago. HA actually asked me to answer the following questions...


      Please contact us within two (2) business days from today with answers to the questions below:

      1. Has the traveler received a full refund of their payment? If not, when can they expect to receive it?
      2. Have alternative accommodations been offered or suggested to assist this traveler in securing another rental?
      3. What is the reason for this cancellation?

      If we do not hear back from you by 3/23/2012, we will be forced to suspend your listing until this matter has been resolved.



      First of all, thank you HA for actually giving me the benefit of doubt and thank you for asking me these questions before actually talking with me first! Why would I refund this man's money after he actually stayed with us the entire period? How can I possibly have cancelled his reservation after he stayed with us?


      Please everybody read this man's complaint and tell me what I've done wrong because I have no clue in the matter. Please note I have cencoured the names of the individuals...



      The property Rental XXXXXXXX . First to begin with I thought something was suspicious about the owner. The price of the apartment as listed on your website was $800 reais per week during the high season we stayed their for one week during the high season and were charged $1300 reais. FXXXX Dos Santos paid $300 by deposit and I paid $1,000 reais directly upon staying. We are both black and were charged higher rates. Second I was told I could stay as long as I wanted afterward. On the following Wednesday of Febrauary 21st 2012. I got a call we had only stayed since the 14th that night. The call was from Sao Paulo I was told that the owner wanted me out of the apartment by 3pm it was 10am that day. You listed an individual that violated my human rights and likely overcharged me due to my race. I am furious and if the matter is not resolved...



      For the record I told this man he was free to stay in the apartment to wait for his flight that day. We received a booking later that day and unfortunately we had to ask the man to please leave the apartment at 3pm. When we called and asked there were no aparent problems. He had no aparent complaints about this at the time.


      So, I replied to Homeaway as they requested and asked them to please respond asap what they are planning to do next. I am totaly dependent on this business and if HA wants to suspend my account then I would like to know soon so we can look elsewhere to advertise our properties.


      I think it is extremely unfair of HA to threaten to suspend our account due to one man's insanity! This man sent me an email telling us we will be sued in court and he will do everything in his power to have our website and HA account removed.


      I'm tired of writing you emails to respond HA. Please, I ask you very respectfully, as a paying costumer, and as respect to our business here in Brazil, please respond to this matter as we are tired of being left in the dark.



      Andreas Bachmann

        • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
          msdebj Senior Contributor

          I wondered abt the outcome of this. Hopefully you have proof of his payment and the signed contract.


          This person is "**** IN THE WORST SENSE'. AND I think he's trying to not only scam you, BUT HA as well. 


          Oh dear, "Human rights"?  REALLY/ This buffoon needs to be educated as to what "human rights" are.

          I'm SO sorry you're having to deal with this.


          This actually seems "press " worthy to me.  Take it to a travel blogger or news organization.



          Please keep us posted.  

            • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
              anja Senior Contributor

              Moderators:   PLEASE assure us Owners reading this thread that someone in HA is also reading Odin78's plea for help, here.  PLEASE assure us that someone in HA will address the severity of that "Traveler's"  unfounded accusations against this Owner...and that "Traveler's" blantant disrespect for  "contracts" signed... and disregard for the services he received delivered to him!   That Traveler is out of bounds!  And...the racial accusations against this Owner are horrendous and they reach a new low level in "Traveler complaints" that I sincerely hope HomeAway Inc., will not tolerate!   PLEASE assure us that someone in HA's office will READ ALL THE BACKGROUND and SPEAK TO THE OWNER.  The "traveler" is NOT...I repeat NOT...always right in all cases !!!!

              HOME AWAY...Help this Owner, pleaseWAKE UP!

                • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                  New Member

                  We have now listed our apartment on Tripadvisor, just in case, because we really don't know what HA is chosing to do here. We never heard anything more from HA and I've written them emails asking them to please hurry the case so we can plan ahead on what to do next. It's a real shame that HA treats their clients this way. The more I think about the matter, who is actually the HA clients? Us, the homeowners who actually pay for the service, or the renters? What I find outragously disrespectfull by HA is the fact that they threaten to suspend my account if I don't answer immideately. If they make such demands, shouldn't I espect the same fast response from them?


                  HA needs to realize, that for many homeowners renting out is a serious business. There are people, such as me, who are very dependant on the income generated from renting out our properties.


                  I feel stupid to be so naive in this case, just because this man rented our apartment last minute from us and we did not write any contract. My wife was generous enough to meet them at the airport for free and took them to the apartment. They told us they loved the apartment on arrival and had no further questions. We left them alone after that and heard nothing from them until the very last day. The strangest thing of all is that they had no complaints what so ever during their stay and the man left the apartment quietly with no complaints to speak of. Lesson learned! From now on it's all pre-signed contracts!


                  Luckily, I do have all conversations between us via mail and sms on record. I have proof of payment. Also, we have talked to a lawyer here in Brazil just in case. He is absolutely amazed of how this man is behaving. He says this man has absolutely no case whatsoever ( I knew that already).


                  Again, if any HA moderators read this, I really need to resolve this matter quickly.


                  Best regards,

                  Andreas Bachmann

                    • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                      anja Senior Contributor

                      Ugh...no contract!  Not good.  But, you have a receipt for what he paid you, I suppose? If for any other reason to prove that you did not overcharge him, vis-a-vis what your advertised rates clearly state.  By the way, is the renter a resident of Brazil?  Does he --- or do you --- have any legal recourse in Brazil if your business ends up being threatened by this individual?

                        • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                          New Member

                          Thanks for the responce Anja. This man is a citizen of the U.S. His girfriend is from Rio de Janeiro. We do have the receips of transactions made between us yes. We haven't been renting out that long yet, just a couple of months since November 2011. We have two apartments listed on HA and four more apartments not yet listed on HA due to them being re-furnished. We have not registered our company yet because we want all apartments to be included and ready before renting, so this means the laws that apply are slightly different. I'm sorry my english isn't that good so it's hard for me to explain this in detail. For this reason we contacted our lawyer just to be sure what rights we have in the matter. He reasures us that this man does not have any case to speak of, the reason beeing that we have on record conversations with the man from the day of arrival, and to the day of departure. There is abselutely no doubt that this man stayed with us within the agreed period. Also, in his own emails sent to me and to HA he admits staying in the apartment in the agreed period, and, he also admits that he payed 1300 reais, which was the agreed price. And, as you can see in my original post, he actually posted my rates displayed on my listing and claims there is no mention of any extra costs during holidays when it's indeed described very clearly right in front of his eyes! My lawyer here in Brazil had a good laugh when reading his emails, because he is indeed digging his own grave with all his claims of overcharging and racism.


                          My only concern in the matter is how US laws differ from Brazilian laws. Can this individual actually go to court with this in the US and make HA remove our listings?

                  • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                    marym Active Contributor

                    It's too bad you're having this horrible experience.  Sadder still is that HA seems to have presumed that the traveler is right and you're wrong.  There are lessons to be learned (never, ever  do a rental w/o a contract!), however the more pressing issue is HA's response and its effect on your business.  Wish you the best and will be watching for what I hope is a good resolution!

                      • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                        New Member

                        I agree with you Marym. Indeed it was stupid not to write a contract, but you know how it is sometimes, last minute bookings and the client seems nice and trustworthy. But done is done.


                        Also, you are correct that it's not the costumer that's the problem right now, it's the lack of response from HA who still hasn't responded!


                        I don't really care what happens at this point. This man has absolutely no case here in Brazil. We have our lawyer who is ready to take whatever comes along. If HA wants to rule in favor of the client and suspend our account then that's fine by us also. I just want an answer from HA of what they are going to do so we can put this behind us and continue with our business.

                      • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                        New Member

                        Still no answer from HA. Not a word. I am so furious now I don't know what to do! I have never ever in my life experienced such poor, absolute lack of costumer service!

                          • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                            New Member

                            Gosh, what a nightmare!


                            HomeAway has been going downhill for a long time now, as seen by how they are becoming much more traveler "friendly" and neglecting the rights of property owners who have paid large sums of money to advertise on their website.  Many, many rental owners are becoming fed up with their business "management" and policies.


                            My advice, if at all possible, would be to get on the phone and NOT hang up until you have got this matter resolved.  Do NOT speak to a representative; DEMAND to speak to a manager........  DO NOT GIVE UP.......


                            We have had to deal with several minor issues with HomeAway, when compared to yours, and the only way we got anything resolved was to speak to a top person.  Make sure you that you get their name and e-mail, their position in the company, record the time of the phone call, and tell them about the abysmal service they have given you so far.  Then, make sure that you get your problem resolved right there on the phone...... do not give HomeAway an opportunity to say that they "Will make further inquiries" because at that point you can be assured that you will be given the brush-off!  You MUST be tenacious, even though I know that this will cost you some money to call long-distance.  Follow up your phone call with an e-mail which lays out all that was discussed and send it immediately back to HomeAway, including the person with whom you spoke.


                            It is difficult, I know, as I speak from experience, but if it wasn't for us property owners, HomeAway wouldn't exist!  You have a right to be heard, and if HomeAway won't answer e-mails - as is typical of their behavior lately - then you must CALL and be PERSISTENT. 


                            Good luck!  You have many people here rooting for you........

                              • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                New Member

                                This is a little bit off topic, but Homeaway reminds me of the airline company I always fly with 7-8 times a year between Europe and Brazil. TAP Portugal airlines has monopoly over several routes to the northeast Brazil. For example, where I live, Fortaleza, there is only one daily international direct flight to europe. You can fly down to Sao Paulo and grab a flight from there to anywhere in the world, but then you are talking an extra 10 hours of travel to Europe and the US. My point is... TAP Portugal has the absolute worst service ever! They are seriously overpriced on routes where they have monopoly, such as Fortaleza, and if you have a problem with them you can spend 1-2 hours waiting for someone to answer their costumer suport center. The service, the food, the prices... it's all bad! However, I still choose to fly with them, just because travel time to Europe is around 7 hours, instead of 18 hours, if I were to make a stopover in Sao Paulo. The major spanish airline Iberia tried to compete with them last year when they started their new direct route Madrid - Fortaleza, but lasted only 6-7 months due to loosing costumers to TAP Portugal solid strong roots allready in the market.


                                There really doesn't exist any really good options on renting out properties international besides Homeaway. I am certain that Homeaway is aware of this. They have virtually a monopoly in this market and I am sure there are many wishing to compete, but nobody dares to. I've signed up with Flipkey allready when waiting for HA to resolve this issue. I am concerned however of the lack of properties in Brazil listed on Flipkey. Lack of properties = lack of costumers? All of you living in the US are alot better off in my opinion. There are more options on where to list properties.


                                I've sent HA 3 emails already. I've cried for help on their forums. Right now I don't care anymore. I don't see why I should pick up a phone and call them whem they should in fact be calling me! I pay for 2 listings already, and plan to list one more apartment in a few months. Well, they haven't suspended my account yet despite them telling me they would suspend it today if the dispute is not resolved. So maybe it's all good, maybe not. I don't know. Only HA knows.


                                Anyways, thanks for all support. We'll continue our business as usual and see what happens.


                                Good night!

                            • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                              New Member

                              Seriously HA....? Almost a week and not a word. Well, my site is still fully funcional so I take it that the case has been closed and everybody is happy in the end?


                              Just a last word of advice to HA. It doesn't really cost all that many calories to actually send an email ensuring us that the case is being looked at, or that it has been resolved. You have my email adress, you know the case, just an email saying you will get back to me as soon as possible would be far better than nothing at all. If you are all so busy then hire more employees. What about when I'm busy? What if I was too busy to answer and couldn't respond to your email within 3 days as you asked? Then there would be consequences, correct? Do you feel this is fair?


                              This is my last post on the matter. Hopefully I won't have to experience this again. Thanks for all comments on the matter. Have a great easter holiday!



                              • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                travis HomeAway Employee

                                Hi Andreas,

                                Our Trust and Security team has your case in their queue and will be contacting you soon.

                                We take all complaints seriously but also understand that there are two sides to every story. While we don’t mediate disputes, we document both experiences when we receive a complaint. This helps us track patterns of issues. We always encourage our property owners and their guests to communicate to work toward a mutual resolution. It’s extremely important that owners respond to complaints because this process helps us maintain the integrity of the site.

                                I hope this information is useful.


                                  • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                    anja Senior Contributor

                                    Thank you so much Travis for responding.  It is a reassurance that the matter is being looked into -- and from all sides. I believe that is what's important to know.

                                    • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                      marilyn Active Contributor

                                      Certainly every story has two sides. BUT, to assume the home owner is guilty, per Homeaways original response email, is not right.


                                      Homeaway, haven't you seen enough situations where the traveler is looking to get something for nothing? Homeaway, haven't you seen enough travelers who for some strange reason (usually money) are unreasonable?


                                      I certainly understand two sides to a story, but don't threaten a home owner with suspension of the advert when you don't know both sides of the story. Don't make a home owner feel like they have done something wrong. Ask the home owner to explain their side of the story and that it is time sensitive as you would like to resolve the complaint.




                                      Odin 78, you are right in advertising on other sites. You will see that as new sites grow, your inquiries will grow as well. AND, unless Homeaway starts to listen, their advertising will dwindle.

                                    • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                      native7 Contributor

                                      I, for one am offended at this standard "canned" response from HomeAway!


                                      Typical of how they treat their "paying" customers.  No loyalty what so ever!


                                      I seriously do not understand the mindset that makes them think they should treat their customers the way they do.


                                      Remember , 10 years ago there was no Facebook or HomeAway. 


                                      A few years from now we will hopefully have a better option. A company that knows how to treat their customers!


                                      I am sure that all of HomeAways existing customers will be happy to show them the same loyalty they have shown us and more than HAPPY  to WALK AWAY when something better comes along!

                                        • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                          marilyn Active Contributor

                                          It's interesting that when a renter complains, Homeaway and affliates jump, but when the home owner has a comment, complaint or suggestion, it takes two weeks to get an answer. SO WHY? WHO PAYS THE BILLS? SHOULDN'T WE GET EQUAL TRATMENT?




                                          • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                            New Member

                                            This is also exactly what I don't understand either. We, the homeowners are Homeaway's clients, not the renters. The renters are OUR clients, not HA's. There is NO excuse to not respond to clients emails. HA has left my subscription open, thankfully, but I've yet to hear the outcome of the dispute with my client. No word from HA. I guess they have other things to do at the moment.


                                            At the end of the day, HA is what pays the bills, so I guess we all just have to put up with whatever they throw at us.

                                              • Re: Homeaway, wake up please!
                                                marilyn Active Contributor

                                                Actually, we do not need to put up with whatever is thrown at us. We can change websites. Yes Homeaway does provide a lot of inquiries, but what is your ratio of inquiry to bookings. I think you will find that there are sites that have less inquiries and the bookings are the same as Homeaway or greater.


                                                I am not advocating the overthrow of Homeaway. I just feel that if we all band together and contnually send emails and post to the community, Homeaway will wake up and smell the coffee, or in this case our protests.


                                                Everyday there are new travel sites started. Competition for Homeaway gets greater each day. As home owners become disgruntled and leave (as some have done already), they will see the bigger picture. Each day I find new and different was to optimize my personal sites.


                                                I am on my way to the conference this afternoon and hope my voice will be heard.


                                                LET'S ALL SPEAK UP> LET US ALL BE HEARD.