18 Replies Latest reply: Aug 28, 2018 10:29 PM by uncheval RSS

    Lots of Questions-Damage Deposit Timing re Review Sharing

    susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

      First time ever I am going to make a claim against damage deposit, to retain $50 of $200 for extra cleaning. I'll have an invoice to submit from cleaner. I am going to rate my guest low. I know clock starts ticking on both damage deposit refund and review sharing.


      I will submit the review as soon as I get the link from HA. How can I be sure guest won't be invoiced or however HA notifies the guest that they will not receive their entire damage deposit until after guest writes a review?  If guest doesn't write a review within 2 weeks but I rate guest, does guest have up to a year to submit a review? If I extend date for a week before remainder of deposit is returned, as HA allows, am I safe from guest writing a review?


      If guest knows I rated her poorly, she is likely to write a bad review, which I prefer to avoid.

        • Re: Lots of Questions-Damage Deposit Timing re Review Sharing
          ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

          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.

          • Re: Lots of Questions-Damage Deposit Timing re Review Sharing
            oceangrover Contributor

            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?

            • Re: Lots of Questions-Damage Deposit Timing re Review Sharing
              scowol Active Contributor

              Here's what I do:


              1. First, I have set my refund preference to 14 days in VRBO.
              2. 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).
              3. 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.

              • Re: Lots of Questions-Damage Deposit Timing re Review Sharing
                homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                Hey susaninrehoboth,


                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