Paris apartment rental: bad experience at

… via

Recently, I used VRBO to rent Paris apartments, which referred me to: or

Be very careful of patronizing this Paris apartment agent, which I do not recommend, because of business practices. While the apartments and landlords themselves were fine, the agent overcharged my credit card several times without authorization, refused to refund overcharges or to justify with written itemized bills, and went utterly non-communicative. Per the contract, I incurred no cancellation, damage, foreign-exchange, cleaning, or other fees. Indeed, one sweet landlord loved how I cared for her place, and kindly invited me to stay at her apartment again. My credit-card company had to intervene. agreed about my plight, but was otherwise unhelpful.

Wow, I’m shocked, I’ve used VRBO but have always dealt directly with the home-owners. I almost always rent my apartments and houses this way and have never had an issue. Sorry you had a bad experience but thanks for the heads-up.

From: Trust & Security <>
Subject: RE: VRBO: #228027 & #242308 - Apartment operator has overbilled, but will not refund (" onclick=";return false; [ ref:00D78VtP.500PB4:ref ]
To: "vhong_" <vhong_@*.com>
Date: Monday, May 3, 2010, 1:04 PM

Dear Victor,

Thanks for your email. I’m sorry that we are unable to provide you details of the status of this dispute. As we are simply the listing service for individuals to advertise their properties, and you are also a client of, we are unable to actually mediate disputes. Our procedure is to note both sides of the story and closely monitor accounts that have had a complaint filed. I assure you that we have taken the appropriate action in this case, and will not hesitate to take additional action when necessary.
Please understand that we have done all we can here and this case is considered closed.

I’m sorry again for your experience and that this dispute was not resolved to your satisfaction. We wish you all the best and many happy future travels.

Best Regards,
Melissa® Trust & Security" onclick=";return false;

Another reason to question VRBO about whether or not it protects consumers/travelers, particularly the candor and usefulness of its “customer reviews”.
My feedback was rejected, despite having stayed several nights at these locations, as a courteous, respectable, (over)paying guest.

From: VRBO (Do Not Reply) <>
Subject: Review Not Posted - Property: 228027 Review: 1036056
To: vhong_*
Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 4:26 PM

Thank you for submitting your review. The purpose of the review system is to give travelers an opportunity to comment on the experience of renting a vacation property. We can only post reviews that are consistent with our review policies and guidelines which can be found by clicking on the link below or copy/paste the link into your browser:

Help" onclick=";return false;

The review you submitted does not meet our guidelines and it cannot be posted at this time.

Your review must be in your own words. We will not modify or change the content you submit, nor can we tell you how to change your review to conform with the guidelines because giving you guidance as to what to say is the same thing as modifying or editing it ourselves. We invite you to resubmit your review. Before you do that, please take a minute to read our guidelines. You can then resubmit it by clicking on the link below or copy/paste the link into your browser. Your current review text is displayed at the bottom of this message." onclick=";return false;

Thank you for using VRBO,

Wow. I’ve had great luck (though limited to Chicago)… Makes me wonder.


Telephone number for VRBO (hotel, photos, old, credit card) - Travel -airfare, hotels, car rental, backpacking, resorts, cruises, vacations, airplanes, international... - City-Data Forum" onclick=";return false;

I have noticed in very poplular tourist areas when you “contact and owner” on VRBO you are often reffered to a rental agency, real estate company etc. This just happened to me with a house I wanted to rent in Grand Cayman. Found it on VRBO went through the contact procedures and was contacted by the agent. She seemed very, nice and professional and good reference so I rented the house from her. Hopefully I will have better luck than Victor. [thumbs-up.gif]

Maybe VRBO needs a new name. [swearing.gif]


George, just try to reach a customer-service representative at Rots of Ruck.

VRBO paints it self as just the web page where people can put their properties for rent. That would be like complaining to the Chicago Tribune if you bought a bad used car from their classified section. Although VRBO does sell trip insurance and generated $4.3M in sales last year, I assume from advertising. I would think their CS department would only involve rental placements.


A quick perusal of Google indicates that even property owners are upset about the inaccessibility of VRBO assistance.


Did you pay a fee to VRBO?

If not, why do you expect customer service? Seriously.

Although I do not pretend to understand their business model and having only used VRBO once (happily), the service seemed obviously to be caveat emptor. Again, I did not look into any protections that VRBO might offer. I looked at the transaction as if I needed to qualify my vendor.

I did not pay a separate fee to VRBO, if I recall correctly.
My understanding is that VRBO gets paid to refer us travelers to either local agents or property owners. Based upon that, it should ensure fair, reasonable, and honest business practices of all service providers whom it represents for revenue.

Here are where I had stayed, posted on its site.
Batignolles, Paris Vacation Rentals: house rentals & more | Vrbo" onclick=“;return false;
Odéon, Paris Vacation Rentals: house rentals & more | Vrbo” onclick=";return false;
The landlords and their properties were fine, but both VRBO and agent to which it referred me were not recommended, based upon my experience.

I have been repeatedly trying to post honest, non-emotional, non-attacking, reasonable, justifiable feedback on VRBO about the properties. However, VRBO has been declining each draft, apparently unless I largely delete any critical statement. Yet, if I were absolutely and emotionally effusive about VRBO, its properties, and its referrals, it would certainly welcome that sentiment, regardless of veracity. How tilted and questionable, as a source of consumer help and advice.

VRBO according to their website takes no commision from the property owners who list their property there.

Ts&Cs are here" onclick=";return false;

Not letting you post your reviews is another issue all together.


OK, I stand corrected. Apparently, VRBO gets paid to advertise the properties on behalf of landlords or their agents. Thanks.

Fodors just allowed me to post the feedback. It inadvertently read my comment as an advertisement. Not really.

I have used VRBO 5 times in the last couple years and have had 3 ok rentals, 1 bad rental and 1 ripoff. I will confirm that they do not stand behind you as a consumer and the fact that the owner can remove a bad review from their own site infuriates me. What good are reviews if they aren’t relevant?

I have since started using with much better results.

The one ripoff experience I had was in Ojai, Ca. and was a house that was created just for this website. House was probably worth $750,000 and they were booked solid at $600 a night. The problem was the house was not finished and was barely habitable. That totals over $200,000 a year in rental income! No wonder scam artists are infiltrating the site, there is a lot of $$ to be made.

I would say if VRBO keeps traveling down same road, they are doomed as a business model. Lots of negative feedback going around.

I’ll be more careful going forward with VRBO esp since the owner can remove poor feedback, which makes the whole operation troubling to me, I never expected more of VRBO than complete and accurate reviews and a means to contract owners…thanks, Victor and Tom

I used VRBO twice last year for CO ski trips, with no issues. One of these was funneled to a rental agent, also.

But the fact that owners can “opt out” of having a “comments” section on their page is quite disturbing, and a red flag when shopping.

HomeWay and VRBO are affiliated.

VRBO has allowed my watered-down review. Previously non-communicative, the agent now acknowledges my overcharge claims, but also says how they were automatically refunded, with full billing explanations. Based upon independent credit-card records, that is not the case. I have sent a screen-shot of his response to my credit-card company, in case he tries later to revise.

After several successful rentals through VRBO, I was stunned by an experience when I tried to post a review last month. Initially the reviews go directly to the owner/agent first and then to VRBO’s compliance department.

I gave the property 3 /5 stars. When the rental agent received the review, I immediately received 7 angry text messges and 1 angry phone call from the agent. Now I think I know why so many properties have zero reviews. If the owner/agent doesn’t like them, they threaten or harrass you. I will now question any property without reviews and even those with nothing but perfect reviews. VRBO’s response to my concerns - nothing we can do unless I can submit written proof of extorion or threats.