We researched your account and see that the two text messages you are referring to were actually requested by you. They were requests for verification codes for two-factor authentication to log into your account. You can choose a text or an automated phone call to receive the code. Generally texts are going to be cheaper than a phone call, but you can choose whichever you prefer. Customer Support Reps can send a text if it's requested, but would not do so unless that's what you were calling for help with.
Here is more information:
HomeAway Community Manager
Hi Erinn, I appreciate you looking into this, but if the two text messages you found in your research are not the text messages I am referring to. I have over 16 text messages that I did not request. You say "Customer Service Reps can send a text if it's requested" but I did not request any of these text messages. You say, "but would not do so unless that's what you were calling for help with." but I'm telling you that's not true, they send a text regardless of what the call is about and they do it often, I would say 20% of the time without even asking. It's not unreasonable for you to train your reps to not take actions that incur expense on your customers without their consent.
I believe that these texts are sent to you as part of VRBO's two-factor authentication process. By texting a code to the cell phone number that VRBO has on file for your account, VRBO is helping to keep your account safe from hackers. I get these types of texts from a lot of different businesses, even when I'm just doing something online and not talking to a live person. Many companies now have two-factor authentication that happens automatically before you can login to your account. It's actually a good thing (even if you have to pay text charges). I consider it to be a "necessary evil" to protect ourselves from Internet fraud.
I don't know the particulars of when you received these verification code texts, but I'll give an example of why businesses use a two-factor authentication system. Let's say someone hacks into your computer (or physically steals it) and has your VRBO account number and password. The hacker wants to change the bank account information for where VRBO deposits your guests' payments from your bank account to the hacker's bank account. As part of the login process, VRBO texts the verification code to the cell phone number that VRBO has on file for your account. But, the hacker doesn't have your cell phone so he can't provide VRBO with the verification code. Your VRBO account is protected. If VRBO only sent verification confirmation texts when requested, it would defeat the whole purpose of the two-factor authentication.
Here's how to solve it. DON'T LOG OUT. I was looking at this, reading iris's advice, and scratching my head as to why I never get these. Then I realized, I never ever log out of my app.
So you have choices:
Log out of the app every time, and every time you log in you will get these texts (as you should).
Never ever log out, which means you never have to log in (that's how I roll)
Stop using the app altogether.
If you care about your privacy, you are out of luck. Sadly the multiple step verification process is here to stay. I delete cookies regularly which forces this process over and over again. I do not typically use a cell phone so text is non-existent where we live In the middle of nowhere. There is really nothing you can do to avoid what is now a standard procedure. What is even worse is that ABB requires a real time photo to book as one of the multiple step processes. You can not even download a photo.. You must use a real-time photo taken within minutes, when attempting to book. You must use a smart phone, tablet or computer that has a camera to complete the booking. Sad...for those of us that do not use the latest equipment or care about our privacy.
We also live in an area where we lose power frequently, so I kill the modem every night. By doing so, it requires loging in every morning, since I choose not to store passwords. Bummer....
Another alternative we've implemented here: the phone number on our account is a google voice number.
Free SMS sending/receiving and received SMS messages turn into emails.
Phone calls from anywhere (you tell it the number you want to call and what phone number to call you at to do the connection and Google Voice handles everything for you).
Voice mails convert to email transcripts (and text-to-speech errors lighten up my day every time!) along with an MP3 file to listen to.
It's limited to certain countries (definitely USA), so check with it to see if it's available in your area, but it really cuts down on guests calling me directly... I can call them back using Google voice and it'll look like it's coming from my GV number without having to reveal my cell or home number.
I made a call to a customer service rep, and she asked me, "Do you mind if I send a text to your phone?" and I was pleased to be asked before sending. I said, "Yes,... " and while I was saying "I do mind" the text came in. Another $5 down the hole. I've had dozens of unauthorized texts to my phone since I last posted on this issue and I appreciate the attempt at making progress on this issue, but asking me If I mind and then ignoring my answer is just as infuriating. I said to her, "You sent me a text when I said I mind and I'm very unhappy with that" and she said, "but I heard you say "yes". So she was not really paying attention or understanding what she just asked me. This is so frustrating!
wishing4wind, I'm really confused as to why you are getting a text every time you call in. I have never ever gotten these. perhaps as soon as they ask for your listing # you say, before I give you that, I need to tell you, please do not send any texts to my phone, or some way of letting them know you do not authorize.
So it happened again today. Case number 21436175.
They don't say, "may I send a text to your phone?", so when they pick up, after they say welcome to the premier line, I said "Please don't send a text to my phone". "OK Ma'am, can I have your property number?" I give the property number. BAM text to my phone. I recognize the voice and it's the same rep who sent a text to my phone after I asked him not to before. He's done this to me several times. Each time, he's said he didn't hear me ask not to send a text, but he hears the property number perfectly clearly. What in the world is wrong with people? It has me wondering if he's doing it on purpose to annoy me because I have complained every time he sends me a text, or he just doesn't listen or care.
so now it will go like this,
welcome to the premier line
Please don't send a text to my phone
OK, can I have your property number?
First I want to know if you just heard what I said...
We haven't started, I need your property number first
I asked you not to send a text to my phone
OK but can you give me your property number?
Yes, but first I want to know if you heard that I said don't send a text to my phone.
What if the decision to send the text is handled automatically in the CS software and out of the CS rep's hands?
Might as well change the phone number on your account if you want to not get text messaging instead of fighting with people based in the Philippines who don't care that much whether you want a text message.
Greetings, wishing4wind . I don't have an answer for you, but I can validate your experience by sharing my own. Like you, I am a "premier partner." Last week, I had not one, but two occasions to call (as you did) the PP "line" (as you did). Back-to-back days. Granted, it had been awhile since I've had to initiate such a call. Maybe a month or so?
Imagine my surprise when -- having verified the cell # from which I was calling ("... in case the call was disconnected" for which I'm grateful, and have grown accustomed to) -- both CS reps immediately activated a text to me with a verification code. BAM! In each instance, the rep was still on the line, and I was able to override the unwanted interruption that toggling back-and-forth to fetch the code, find a pen, write it down, and repeat back to the rep by saying: "Just ask me to answer my security question." They both complied, and with nary an objection.
Seems to me that this is some new(-ish), crazily ill-conceived CS protocol. Why? Who knows ... but I -- like you -- am here to register displeasure that an otherwise simple phone-in, 10-second verbal authentication has been made to be so unnecessarily complicated.
*I will note that you are also incurring expense for each unwelcome PP CS-initiated text. I'm continental US, so that is a small consolation for me.
I'll note, too, that Erinn was the last moderator to offer any response to your OP. That was way back on 2/19/19. And was 'incorrect.'
Ha Moderator(s): what's the deal?
I have a land line. I cannot receive texts. So it doesn't cost me anything. BUT, BUT, if I were you, and I were calling CS, I would immediately say DO NOT SEND ME A TEXT MESSAGE, even before I give them my name and property ID. I would say it two or three times, because CS does NOT listen.
The last two times that I called CS I was asked to provide the last 4 digits of my phone number so that the CS agent could use SMS authentication for verify that I was who I was. They wanted to send me a text. A text to my land line...haha. If I had a cell phone, like wishing4wind, and I was paying for text messages, I would say DO NOT SEND A TEXT. The CS person will have to find another way to authenticate me....and wishing4wind
You can see my issue in the thread Not Everyone Has a Smart Phone
You might check your security settings in your account. There should be a verified phone number and then you can choose security questions only.
We set this up so that they cannot send a text because they only have a landline number and had to verify via email back then.
I would not use the one which has an answer your primary frequent flyer number. (Who dreamed that one up?)