I apologize in advance for the length of this question but I thought it best to provide as much information as possible.
I rent either my whole property, or just the upstairs bedroom, bathroom and private deck (Treehouse) - in which case the renters "share" the rest of the property with me. This is stated in my listing description. 70% of my rentals are for the whole house. Treehouse renters are usually couples and arrive expecting to interact with me to some extent. Some have become friends and/or repeat guests. Treehouse rental is half the price of renting the whole house.
I recently had a guest who initially requested to rent the Treehouse. In discussing the accommodations (by phone) she realized that it was just one bedroom, she wanted a second bedroom (for herself and her son) - but not the whole house. I made an exception that I had done twice before and offered to stay in the Treehouse so that they could be in the two bedrooms downstairs. She did not want to pay for the whole house.
After they arrived and I had explained a few things about the house I got the feeling she was expecting me to leave. Somehow I brought up the fact that I was going out but would be in the Treehouse, upstairs. She appeared surprised that "sharing" the house meant I was actually in contact with the guests. I told her anecdotes about some of the fun interactions I have had with previous guests.
The next evening she said, " I knew you would be in the Treehouse, but I did not think we would see you." and asked if I would consider refunding their money so they could go to a hotel. I told her that was not possible and from that point on I only saw them a few times, in passing. I left on a trip three days before their rental ended, so they had the house to themselves at that point.
My son arrived late at night ( from 6 months in China) and stayed over to bring me to the airport in the morning, pick up his car and head north to stay with friends. He never saw them and they never saw him - but I had let them know he would be there, just in case their paths crossed. Supposedly, a couple and child entered the front yard and took some pictures - so the renter lady decided (without any discussion) that this was my son, his wife and child, and decided to move to a hotel. All very odd. They said nothing to me beyond a text message that they had left the house and I could call my cleaners in.
A few days later I received an email threatening that if I did not send her the $1000 she spent for two nights in the Marriott she would write a horrible review. I said I was sorry that the arrangements had not been what she expected - or I expected, for that matter - but did not feel I owed her any money, especially when she moved out after I left them the whole house (with no increase in cost, of course).
So she did write a nasty review, burying the real issue - sharing the house - under a list of other petty, personal taste or downright not true items. VRBO has been of no help in answering my questions regarding this, so I am turning to the Community - having realized anyway that my fellow Owners will have better advice than some $10/hr VRBO website monitor who only knows how to answer questions with the closest-fitting pre-scripted answer.
You can see the review at vrbo244577. I have created an item-by-item explanation/reply, but don't think that is the way to go for posting to the site. If there is interest from the Community, I will post that here. But like some others have said, that's more for venting. I'd just like some guidelines on how long the reply should be, which issues are really significant - like the one about money which is completely made up.