I do not know exactly what happens now. When I was paid the damage deposit, i.e., before HA held it on my behalf and automated the refund payment, I could write an email to the guest explaining the need to charge their deposit and then refund the balance. I have only had to do it twice in 15 years, as most of my guests have called me before their departure about incidental damages and offered reimbursement.
I do not think that the renter would get any notice from HA other than an email stating that their damage deposit has been refunded minus the amount that you kept. This is not something that I have seen in the forums, nor on the HA website, so it would be very enlightening if you were to screenshot any messages that you get while holding back the extra cleaning charge from your damage deposit.
I hope that you are also going to write a personal email to this renter advising them of the charge and including the cleaner's bill. You write very well, so I am sure that you can couch your fee notice to them in language that would circumvent any anger they may have at being charged for their lack of concern for your home.
As to when to complete your star rating of this guest, I would not do anything until you have made sure that all transactions are complete.
Here's a different approach. Either withhold money OR give two star "review."
If you don't withhold the money, then you can give the two star review and the guest won't see it until after the 14 days are up or after they send in their review, whichever is first. By not withholding the secdep, the guest is not alerted that anything is wrong. Question: how much is it worth to you to give a public negative review? $50?
Or, you can withhold but not write a review at all. If the person writes a bad review, you will have the oppty to respond, in which case you can quantify the excess cleaning time and note that you didn't charge him. For $50, you risk a negative review, with the opportnity to rebut it.
In either case, you can alert your management so that this guest can't rent in your community again.
BTW, when you withhold, you will have a space to add a note to the guest explaining the charges. You don't need to submit a bill.
In my experience, when I have had to withhold, the guest has never written a review. However, we used to have control over asking for a review or not asking. Now that Mother VRBO controls all, and sends out a review request whether you want one or not, your risk of a negative review is probably higher than it was in the past.
Is this helpful of just useless?
Here's what I do:
- First, I have set my refund preference to 14 days in VRBO.
- In general, I manually refund the damage deposit on the date of check-out if there is no damage, thereby bypassing the 14 days automatic refund (I always manually refund because I think it's in poor taste to delay refunding the deposit if there was no damage).
- If there is damage, I would await to refund till day 13 and withhold the amount I plan to deduct. Most guests will have written a review within this timeframe. So in most cases you're in good shape. However, if not, they theoretically could rapidly submit a bad review upon learning that you are withholding damage.
The above approach can help lessen your chances of a bad (i.e., "retaliatory") review.
IMO the timeframe of the damage assessment and two-way review process being exactly the same (14 days) is problematic for the very reason of the topic of your post. HA should close the review process prior to the damage deposit assessment timeframe. That would guarantee that there could be no retaliatory review for withholding a portion of the damage deposit.
Review guidelines from the Help section: Both the travelers and the property owner have 14 days to write your review once a review is submitted by either party. You have one year to submit your review of your stay at the vacation rental, assuming that the property owner has not already submitted their review and initiated the 14-day blind period. Once both parties have submitted their reviews or the 14 days are up, neither party will be able to edit what they have written.
When you write a review on the traveler, they will be notified that you wrote a review and they then have 14 days to write a review of your property. If they don't write a review in that time frame, then they do not have another opportunity. The 1 year time frame is only if you don't write a review on them. Here is more info on how it works.
HomeAway Community Manager
Hi Erinn homeaway_community_manager,
At what point can an owner see a traveler's star rating? There's been some discussion about whether or not we can see the owners' reviews of a traveler before we accept a booking request.
Thanks so much!
If a traveler has a star rating, you can see it when you get their inquiry/booking request. Their name should be a clickable link. If it's not, then no partner has rated them yet. Thanks!
This was my concern with a guest I recently had problems with that called HomeAway, and they de-activated my account after I didn't respond to 2 emails HomeAway sent shortly after the guest left. I feel HomeAway should have called me when I didn't respond to the emails, instead of erring on the side of and guest and giving him the benefit of the doubt, when he certainly didn't deserve it. I was busy cleaning up the damage, plus having hip and foot problems. I feel a responsibility to warn other homeowners to never rent to this guest. He is horrible.
Thanks Erinn. I thought each had 14 days total. I didn't realize clock reset to 14 for the one that hadn't submitted a review. Rather a moot point now, since damage deposit was refunded in 9 days, rather than 14 as was supposed to be done. I've changed my listing to avoid this happening again.
I find it amazing that HA won't admit they made the mistake, ask me for the invoice to prove the cost and credit my account that amount. I wouldn't expect them to go after the guest once they've refunded.
Did you call customer support and escalate the matter? While we cannot force the traveler to repay you once refunded, if we are at fault for early return of deposit, we can see what we can do to make it right. Thanks.
Supervisor called the next day. No way, no how is HA going to admit they made a mistake or repay me. Honestly, $50 back would have been nice but not worth worrying about anymore. So far, no review from the guest, even after I directly emailed her a nastygram.
I let most small damages go as cost of doing business but when my cleaning lady, who is not a complainer, calls almost in tears and rightfully bills me for extra time, I wanted to be reimbursed.