23 Replies Latest reply: Dec 29, 2019 4:07 PM by janez RSS

    Is this situation normal?

    janez New Member

      Hi guys,

       

      here is the situation:

      I have guests with pet who booked our house for 7 days for Christmas. When they checked in, I spent around 15-20 minutes to show them around the house, including the facilities like Gym, Sauna, they both were satisfied and kept saying the house was great and super. I also told them that they can contact me anytime during their stay if they have any questions or problems. After one night stay, they sent me a message that they have already left because they were not satisfied with the house. And sent me some pictures like a few dirt spot on the trash can, some water stain on the tap. Then they asked for compensation.

       

      I asked them why not contacted me before leaving, I definitely would do my best to fix the problem. They said they didn't have the desire to stay any longer.

       

      Since the days they booked are already blocked and it won't be able to rent to other guests. What about my compensation? So I refused to give them compensation, and contacted HA support about this case. Now I was told to wait for their investigation.

       

      As a Premier Partner, I've met many guests and I understand that different guests have different standard and it's normal that guests have complaints, but like my case, I never had this before.

      Any suggestion would be appreciated.

        • Re: Is this situation normal?
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          What investigation? Did the guest make a complaint to HA/Vrbo? If so, what was the complaint? Dirt spots on a trash can and water mark on the tap doesn't sound like something that would be "investigated." If the days are still blocked then they haven't canceled. I'm confused. Can you give more information?

            • Re: Is this situation normal?
              janez New Member

              Actually i have no idea too. I was told to wait because the HA assistant said that the higher department will investigate it.

              Yes, the days they booked are still blocked.

              All the things that the guests mentioned about can be solved as long as she contacted me, but this couple just left.

              Now I don’t know what to do, keep waiting? So far it has been almost two days, I haven’t heard anything back from HA. They said normally it will take 24-48 hours to get the reply.

              That’s all the information I have so far.

                • Re: Is this situation normal?
                  martyp Contributor

                  You should definitely ask the VRBO customer service to forward you to the  "higher department"  to ask them what has transpired.

                   

                  As for "early departure", that would fall under the same cancellation rules; no refunds after the date specified.  Since they have paid for the time, I don't think you should un-block or re-book any of the 7 days. 

                   

                  You should have a clause in the Rental Agreement that states that any problems or issues must be brought to the owner's (or managers) attention immediately.  ... I will check my own Rental Agreement to see if I have that .

                   

                   

                   

                   


                   

                • Re: Is this situation normal?
                  janez New Member

                  Sorry, I didn’t say it accurate : the days they booked are still blocked because they didn’t cancel their reservation.

                • Re: Is this situation normal?
                  green_mango Active Contributor

                  The guests can't 'cancel' the reservation after it starts, VRBO simply doesn't give them that ability, so the dates will remain blocked unless you open them up (which I would do to try and re-rent for NYE).  What does your rental agreement say about early departures?  I agree it's very frustrating not to be given a chance to fix things. 

                    • Re: Is this situation normal?
                      janez New Member

                      Our rental agreement only mentions some house rules and refund percentage, nothing about the early departure.

                      Now she asked me for compensation, I said HA assistant told me to wait. But nobody contacted me yet so far.

                      • Re: Is this situation normal?
                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                        You are right the guest can't cancel, I should have asked if the guest contacted Vrbo to request to cancel. It sounds odd that Vrbo is "investigating." I am wondering if the guest called and reported something different than dirt spots on a trash can and water mars on a tap.

                          • Re: Is this situation normal?
                            green_mango Active Contributor

                            I would reiterate no refunds for leaving early.  I don't know anything about what VRBO 'investigates' - I believe they only step in if the guest reports a listing is significantly misrepresented.  So it it's truly just the two minor things you mentioned then all should be fine, but for future I'd tighten up your RA pertaining to early departures and time within to notify owner of a problem and attempt to remedy without compensation. 

                        • Re: Is this situation normal?
                          linky17 Active Contributor

                          Echoing green_mango > What does your RA say?

                          • Re: Is this situation normal?
                            janez New Member

                            Guys, thanks for all the replies.

                            Since i haven’t received any reply from HA, I couldn’t give the guests any feedback, actually she has already blocked me.

                            Should I contact Homeaway again to ask what’s going on?

                            • Re: Is this situation normal?
                              sage Senior Contributor

                              It sounds as if the guest's complaint is in writing and amounts to petty issues. That is good. What your rental agreement says may be critical, but in general a guest is not entitled to walk away and expect a refund unless there is a material issue. Minor cosmetic issues are unlikely to be deemed material.

                               

                              I would caution against opening the dates and attempting to book them unless it is clear from your rental agreement that you may do so and retain the payment unless the dates are rented by someone else and it is absolutely clear from the written complaint that the guest has permanently vacated and will not return under any circumstances. At this point the guest paid for the full stay and is entitled to occupy for the dates paid. If you take any action to make the property available to someone else the guest could point to that and say that it is your actions that prevent their return, and that they are entitled to a refund for the nights you made the property available for rent to someone else.

                               

                              The guest may file for a chargeback on the basis "not as described." The de minimis issues raised by the guest should not support a claim that the property was not as described (unless, perhaps, the listing describes it as being pristine with new, spotless plumbing fixtures and trash can, or something of the like). While there can never be certainty regarding the outcome of a chargeback, a proper response to issues as you describe should prevail.

                               

                              I often feel that it is advisable to attempt to keep guests happy, but this situation seems to have crossed a line where I would hold fast and not compensate nor refund any more than the damage deposit, and that only after the scheduled end of the stay. Increasingly guests accustomed to hotels are staying in VRs and bringing their hotel expectations with them, but even hotel rooms may have stains around plumbing, and the remedy for a poorly cleaned trash can in a hotel is to call the front desk and have housekeeping attend to it.

                               

                              The guest can file a claim under the Book With Confidence Guarantee. HA has changed the market to encourage people who are not well suited for the VR experience to book stays. Let HA deal with it and explain to the guest why they are entitled to nothing. Maybe that will encourage them to book their next stay at a Holiday Inn and spare other owners from their petty complaints.

                                • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                  bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                  Sage advice from Sage...

                                   

                                  Only adding that I read on another board somewhere that there are guests intentionally scamming Vrbo/ABB by taking advantage of all the 'travel guarantees' they offer.

                                   

                                  The scam is this (or some variation): Guests book at several homes using Vrbo and/or ABB (let's say they just want a weekend in Miami).  They book a week with one property checking in on Friday with Vrbo and another property checking in on Saturday with ABB.  Then they leave the first property on Saturday and go to the second property on Saturday.  In both cases they file a complaint that something was wrong with the rental and get refunds from both Vrbo and ABB.

                                   

                                  The owners are out the rental and HA/Vrbo lose their fees BUT the travellers get a free weekend in MIami. 

                                   

                                  The thread I recall discussing this also mentioned that there are web groups and reddits to discuss the latest and greatest tactics for completing this scam... and where travellers boast about how many free days they got.

                                    • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                      janez New Member

                                      That's awful! I don't know if my case is the same as this scam. But some of my friends( they are hosts too) all guessed that why this couple left without communicating with me could be some other reasons like their friends in other city called them to hang out for Christmas or something urgent happened in their family which made them have to leave immediately, they wanted some refund since they have already paid for 7 days. So they made up some reasons which are actually all able to be fixed easily.

                                    • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                      janez New Member

                                      "Increasingly guests accustomed to hotels are staying in VRs and bringing their hotel expectations with them, but even hotel rooms may have stains around plumbing, and the remedy for a poorly cleaned trash can in a hotel is to call the front desk and have housekeeping attend to it."

                                      I can't agree more with that. The first thing is to call the front desk, not just leave the hotel.

                                       

                                      Let me make all the steps from the guests left :

                                      1. They sent me a message that they have left because of those above reasons and sometimes heating has some noise. In the message, they asked me for feedback.

                                      2. I told them to contact HA.

                                      3. They sent me another message with the screenshot of their chat with HA, HA suggested them to contact me.

                                      4. They came to me again to ask for compensation, and pointed out that the most important thing is the noise from the heating.

                                      5. I replied them that they could contact me at first place no matter what problems bother them in stead of leaving directly. Since they didn't contact me, I suggested that let HA deal with this issue. They said they didn't have the desire to stay any longer. ( I would say that would be your problem.)

                                      6. After I contacted HA and was told to wait for the investigation, I told the guests immediately this, then they blocked me.

                                       

                                      Till now, I haven't heard anything back from HA, I don't even know if they are processing this or what kind of investigation they are doing. Will they contact the guests or not? Can the guests sue me if they don't get any reply or refund? I totally have no idea.

                                        • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                          Anyone can sue, that doesn't mean they will win. If the guest left for the trivial reasons stated without even notifying you, I wouldn't give a refund.

                                          • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                            wildiris Senior Contributor

                                            If Community members are to give you the best advice that we can, it is necessary to have a complete understanding of what transpired.  You forgot to mention the guests' complaint about the noise from the heating source in your original post.  You also forgot to mention that when the guests contacted you and told you that they had left the rental that you told them to contact HA.  What exactly did the guests say to you when they notified you that they had left?  Also, what exactly did the guests say in the message to HA? 

                                              • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                                janez New Member

                                                First of all, I apologize if I didn’t  explained the thing clearly. I was very frustrated and couldn’t organize the whole thing.

                                                About the noise of the heating, she didn’t mention it as the most important thing in her first message, it was listed behind the others like dirt on trash can. By the way, it’s also an easy thing to fix.

                                                When they contacted me that they have left, I replied them immediately to explain the things they mentioned, and said I would do my best to

                                                fix them if the could let me know before they left. Because all the issues they complained about are all easy to fix in a short time.

                                                Then it seemed they didn’t accept it and asked me for compensation. That’s why I asked them

                                                to contact HA because I felt it should be their responsibility not to contact me. As my opinion, if they contact me and I refuse to fix, they could leave with strong reason. I used to have a guest who complained about the pillow was too hard(although it’s pretty soft for most of the guests) and required a soft one,  I did it right away even it was 10pm. Then everything was settled. It’s normal that guests have complaints, as a host, I will do my best to do what I should and what I could as long as it’s not that ridiculous or beyond my ability, but if you don’t let me know, how would I be able to fix it?

                                              • Re: Is this situation normal?
                                                twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                Um, I have seen water stain on faucets in hotels and so that should never be an issue. They are just being super critical for whatever reason to get out of the rental agreement. Could be that friends rented a bigger place close by and invited them to share with them and they just are grasping at straws to figure out a refund. GRRRRR!