Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > VRBO is now charging renters a service fee--What's up?

VRBO is now charging renters a service fee--What's up?

Reply

Mar 6th, 2016, 05:05 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
VRBO is now charging renters a service fee--What's up?

I've rented through VRBO many, many times and have never paid a service fee. Now I am looking at some rentals for this summer, and they all have a hefty VRBO service fee.

I am not happy. I know an owner who advertises on VRBO already pays a subscription fee to advertise there. So why am I also being gouged now? This isn't benefitting the owner at all, and I don't see any value to me as a renter either.

"The service fee is a fee charged to the traveler and is calculated on a sliding scale of 4% to 9% of the rental amount, excluding the deposit or taxes. The charge applies to the cost of the rental and will not exceed $499. The service fee helps cover the cost of running the HomeAway websites, including features such as 24/7 customer support and marketing efforts to ensure a quality experience on our sites for both travelers and owners. When you book and pay through HomeAway, you are eligible for the Book with Confidence Guarantee."

I read through what the service fee is supposed to get me, and as far as I am concerned it is not much. Since I am always very careful when making a booking and do my due diligence, I do not want this supposed "service" which to me is just a money-making grab on VRBO's part. When one is renting a unique vacation space that was chosen as a rental because it has some unique attributes, there is no way VRBO could make me happy by substituting something else.

We've probably done at least 40 or 50 VRBO rentals in the past, and other than one place in Athens, Greece, that was not clean, we have not had any issues.

Has anyone else encountered this new scheme?
julies is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2016, 05:27 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,787
It appears to be for online bookings through VRBO and not the properties where you still need to contact the owner directly. I haven't used VRBO recently so this is new to me too.
Patty is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2016, 05:27 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,360
My guess is they're adjusting to the competition's model, Airbnb, who charges a fee to both parties and a possible result of losing listings to Airbnb. The charge to hosts by Airbnb is relatively low, lower than that charged to those who book accommodations on their site, so it makes sense for VRBO to lower fees to hosts and balance the loss of revenue by charging guests. I don't know this to be true but it makes sense.
MmePerdu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2016, 07:07 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,613
I rent 2properties on VRBO and had no idea this service fee was now being added. Thanks very much for the information. Obviosuly VRBO is not disclosing this to their owner customers. It is outrageous.
emd3 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2016, 07:28 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
If I just deal directly with the owner and write a check rather than using their online booking engine, can I avoid this fee?
julies is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 03:29 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,330
I just returned from a weeks vacation at a vrbo property and paid through the the web site. I didn't notice an additional fee. Now I'll go back and check. If so, I'll not book or pay through them again Even though past experiences have all been good. I had it up to here with sneaky add on fees from businesses!
Dayle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 03:56 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
It is interesting because as I've continued my search I've noticed that perhaps 80% of the properties, but not all, have this new added in fee. When I click get a detailed quote is when I find it. I also wonder if it is only the properties where one can pay directly through VRBO. Out of curiosity I checked on a property I've rented in the past where there is no choice to pay directly through VRBO, and where I always have just sent a check to the owner. That property doesn't have this fee.
julies is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 11:02 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 15,865
Yes, it is sneaky and gouging, posed as a "benefit" to the renter.
Just like resort fees for places that are not resorts, it's just another way to pick pockets.
Those vrbo owners who use vrbo to take credit cards (an added safety measure for the renter, since the owners never see the cc) usually aren't set up to take ccs themselves.
Really leaves a foul taste in the mouth, for renters and probably for owners.
sylvia3 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 12:06 PM
  #10
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
Homeaway, which owns vrbo, has just been bought by Expedia. I think that accounts for the new business model and fees. To me, this isn't a good thing for those of us who like to book directly with an owner through vrbo and Homeaway.
cw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 01:48 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,613
The service fee is showing up on quotes for both of our two rental properties, even though neither of them can be rented through VRBO. Both properties require contacting the manager to rent them, so the VRBO service fee would not be charged. But it shows up on the quote.
emd3 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 02:33 PM
  #12
phm
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
I'm an owner and I'm not happy. This a straight money grab brought on by the Expedia buyout. I pay $1100 a year for the service already. I don't want my guests getting screwed. This fee will hurt me as well.
phm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 04:33 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,330
Sounds to me like a prime opportunity for some enterprising, but fair, owners to start their own new website. Let us know when and where and I'll be one of your first customers.
Dayle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 07:02 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,436
Patty,
That link was educating. Thank you. I have forwarded it to some of my recent hosts. Big business gone greedy.
Inakauaidavidababy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 7th, 2016, 07:45 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
I am a very pissed off property owner that advertises on VRBO. A very large number of property owners on the site are furious over this recent "improvement" as HomeAway calls it. They even have the gall to provide us with suggestions on how to sell it to our potential guests. Well, I'm going to call it like I see it.

There most certainly is a way to reserve and pay for any property while avoiding the fee. Go to the website guestservicefees.com for some guidance. You'll get some very good information on how to find and contact the property owner outside of VRBO.
Meathead is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 8th, 2016, 07:41 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,116
I noticed the fee recently while looking for a summer rental in Tahoe. What a bummer.
MichelleY is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 8th, 2016, 09:59 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,229
Meathead--

Great link!

I'm fed up with this entire scam too and just wish there were other sites that have these listings. It has gotten worse since VRBO was acquired by Homeaway. Now to hear that this has now been acquired by Expedia is disheartening and eliminates the competition since there are no longer independent websites.

I am not a big fan of AirB&B and its fees, but at least originally (maybe they no longer do this) they were supposed to at least somewhat protect people from bad owners or renters. Whether that is true or not I don't know.
julies is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 8th, 2016, 10:07 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,436
AirB&B knowingly lists illegal rentals.
Inakauaidavidababy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 8th, 2016, 10:13 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
As an owner, I am furious with this new fee. I already pay $1500/yr to advertise my property, and they are now implementing a service fee to guests. It started when Expedia bought out Homeaway.

Ask the owner if you could book directly with them, and save yourself the money.
Alternatively, check other sites such as
Vacation Home Rentals & Homeescape. These sites have no booking fee's.
Sunshinevillaflorida is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 8th, 2016, 11:19 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,982
It's a business and that's their model. If you don't like it, go elsewhere. Owners who think it is a ripoff and they get nothing, put your money where your mouth is and leave VRBO, and see how far you get.
Christina is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:57 AM.