Is it safe to book on Vrbo (HomeAway) in 2024? – Read this first


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What is Vrbo and how does it work?

Vrbo (formerly HomeAway) is a global vacation rental network.

This is responsible for putting owners and travelers in contact.

We must not confuse Vrbowith other acquaintances reservation portals such as Booking or Atrápalo, in which the portal almost completely manages the reservation.

So what is Vrbo/HomeAway? Vrbo is more like a kind of bulletin board for housing rental, but with some nuances, something like an AirBnB, but totally focused on rural houses and apartments in holiday areas.

Vrbo, as well as other well-known vacation rental platforms such as Trivago, belong to the Expedia group.


Since November 2019, other well-known booking portals, such as Toprural, have become Vrbo, which makes us see that Vrbo has been making a very strong presence in the world of vacation rentals.

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–> The alternative to HomeAway

Is Vrbo trustworthy?

We decided to write this article after checking the bad reviews accumulated by Vrbo on the Google home page.

When asked if Vrbo is reliable, we can say that it is not entirely.

There are many complaints from customers who have lost their money or have not been refunded when there were problems with the reservation.

Vrbo washes its hands of putting these problems on property owners.

But without any doubt The little peace of mind that booking with them gives you leaves the platform in a very bad place.

If we continue surfing the net in search of vrbo opinions From some and other travelers, we really found a good number of negative evaluations towards this reservation portal.

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Owners and tenants complain about the lack of protection they suffer after confirming a reservation through Vrbo, but; Is everything so negative in practice?

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Our experience 

We have booked twice through Vrbo (formerly Homeaway) and we cannot say anything negative about it, which is not to say that some owners and renters have not suffered certain negative experiences. 

In September 2019, we rented a rural house in Asturias, Spain, to celebrate Halloween together with 12 other friends.

From the first moment the conversations with the owner were fluid, plus the location of the apartment and handing over the keys, was carried out with total normality.

In December 2019, we decided to rent an apartment in Cabo Negro, Morocco through HomeAway.

As in the previous reservation, the transaction was completed as normal.

In addition, both reservations were made at a really advantageous price, saving more than 40%, compared to other portals in which these accommodations were also advertised.

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So; What's the deal with Vrbo?

After extensive research on the most common concerns and complaints between landlords and tenants, we found that almost everyone has the same type of complaints.

If there is a cancellation by the owner or tenant, Vrbo retains the amount paid for an indeterminate time.

This practice, which at first seems to be beneficial for both tenants and owners, bothers both of them equally.

It's actually the biggest complaint we've found during our investigation.

vrbo reviews

But; Is this really a negative for Vrbo?

As we have explained before, Vrbo is just a booking portal, which puts owners and tenants in contact.

We believe that the greatest disappointment of these is caused when this type of reservation portals is confused with others such as Booking, expecting from them the same way of working and the same conditions.

That being said, if you have certain points to take into account, it is very clear before booking through VrboAfterwards, you will not be bitterly disappointed.

Points to consider before booking with Vrbo

The owner can cancel the reservation at any time

That's how it is. If the owner, for whatever reason, decides to cancel the reservation after receiving the payment, he can do so freely.

This also happens in well-known reputation portals like AirBnB. Here factors such as the seriousness of each owner come into play, as is.

Below is a YouTube video where they explain very well the differences between Vrbo, AirBnb and Booking. In the video there are first hand opinions about Vrbo.

The seriousness of each owner plays a fundamental role

By having the last word on the rental of their home, each owner can behave more or less seriously during the rental process.

Our advice is to start a conversation with him through Vrbo, even before making the reservation.

This will give you an approximate idea of the attitude of the owner and his good work.

In the two reservations we have made through HomeAway (Vrbo), from minute zero we have engaged in a fluent conversation with the owners, feeling safe at all times.

And what happens if even so, the owner cancels the reservation a few hours before, or the house is not what you expected?

HomeAway (Vrbo) has a guarantee for travelers, in addition to an emergency service in case we were involved in one of the two previous cases.

Since we have not had any problems with this portal, we decided to contact customer support directly to ask them about these and other concerns.

From Customer Service, they tell us that if we find ourselves involved in any of these situations, within a few hours after notifying them of our situation, they will relocate us to another accommodation with similar characteristics, without having to pay a price difference in the event that our apartment initial was cheaper.

In the event that our house or apartment is more expensive, they will relocate us in the shortest possible time in the same way and, in addition, they will begin an investigation to be able to return the difference in the amount as soon as possible.

How can I make sure that I am fully protected against possible fraud? 

vrbo (HomeAway) has a secure payment system through debit or credit card if we book through its own portal.

After our investigations, we have been able to reach the conclusion that many of the people who say they have been scammed through HomeAway, had used alternative payment methods, how; Western Union, or bank transfers directly to the owner's account.


If you want to be fully protected both on this booking portal and on any other that uses the same operation, you must always pay for the reservation through the secure payment gateway offered by the platform, even if the owner tells you otherwise.

In this way, the reservation portal is fully responsible for any unforeseen event that may arise in this regard, on the other hand, if you make the payment through alternative methods, you will find yourself totally unprotected against any attempt at fraud or scam.

This is valid both for HomeAway and for any other reservation platform, it is a basic issue that we often overlook, believing that we are going to save a few bucks, but that can ultimately turn our vacations into a real nightmare.

vrbo HomeAway may hold payment for an indefinite period of time

This is an issue that makes both parties very uncomfortable, but at Mihotelperfecto we believe that it is "absolutely" necessary to guarantee the security of both parties, although it is not the only option.

Although it is true, they could add payment methods such as PayPal or Amazon Pay, secure payment portals with extensive experience in this sector.

In fact, we believe that the day they add new secure payment methods, they will gain the trust of many more customers, although for now, secure card payment seems to us to be a viable option for HomeAway to continue to be an option to keep in mind. account in the cheap vacation rental

How to contact Vrbo

On its portal we found an international telephone number (001512-782-0805), which we decided to rule out from the outset as a method of contact, due to the more than possible high cost of the call.

We believe that the most useful way to contact Vrbo is through their customer service line, so we leave you the free phone numbers that we have found to contact them directly, at no cost to you.

  • Phone Vrbo Spain: 900838427
  • Calls from abroad: +34911238309
  • Property owners: 90083 8426


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Our opinion on Vrbo Spain

As we have previously discussed, our rental experiences with Vrbo have been positive in all cases.

Vrbo reminds us of those first advertisement websites in which the owners rented holiday homes in the south, with the difference that everything is better organized on this portal and that, on those websites, nobody offered you any assistance or protection. 

From our experience, the best advice we can give you before booking on this or any other portal is that you never try to carry out the transaction directly with the owner outside the reservation portal, because what at first may seem that it will do saving money can become the worst experience of your life.

Personally, we will continue to use the Vrbo portal at specific times, when we travel as a family or with our group of friends, and if one day we have a bad experience with them, we will update this article and tell you about it openly. 

What is Vrbo

Another recommendation with which you make sure that the announcement of the house or apartment conforms to what was promised, is that you go for the houses with the best evaluations or, at least, with some evaluation or comment from a previous tenant. 

This seems to be very logical, but not everyone takes it into account when reserving a house or apartment over the internet, however, it is our best "anti-surprise" tool.

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By following these simple recommendations, we should have no problem when booking our vacations through HomeAway, saving a lot of money compared to other similar portals.


Vrbo Reviews

As we have commented, although our experiences with Vrbo (HomeAway) have been positive, many people on the net do not think the same.

We can find many negative opinions from Vrbo. Customers who have had bad experiences of all kinds.

vrbo reviews

So, for example in trustpilot, Vrbo reviews has a rating of 2.5 out of 5, and is rated as bad by many customers who made ratings like this.

vrbo reviews

In tripadvisor You can also read very negative opinions.

vrbo tripadvisor reviews

In opinions Spain where more of the same.

vrbo reviews

We want to know your experiences

We would like this article to be nourished with the comments of travelers and owners (both positive and negative), to become a complete help guide on Vrbo, with real 100% experiences, so do not hesitate to leave your comment below.

When writing them, try to be as objective as possible, in this way, together, we can see what their positive points really are. And what are the negatives?

Greetings travelers!


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22 comentarios en «¿Es seguro reservar en Vrbo (HomeAway) en 2024? – Lee esto antes»

  1. It's not safe.

    From here I want to warn about the way homeaway and the owners proceed. A month ago I rented an apartment in Nerja for Easter. The rental required advance payment and a non-refund guarantee to which I agreed. After two weeks, the owner insistently began to ask me for a damage deposit through an international transfer to which I replied that I would do it a week before our arrival since there was still a month to go. The owner insisted that I make the transfer, even sending personal emails that seemed like real harassment. I checked with Homeaway to which they told me that I didn't have to pay anything and not to worry. When I told the owner this last thing, she told me that I had to cancel but I didn't get to do it. A few days later came the state of alarm and the travel ban. Something that we must comply with for civic responsibility. The only option to return the money is to reach an agreement with the owner, in my case a lady who irregularly asked me for more money. When I complained to homeaway again, they told me not to worry that they were going to pass everything on to a higher department and that I would receive an email to guide me in solving my case for the return of the money. Hours later I received an email telling me that to help me and claim the refund from the owner I had to cancel. I very naively listened to them. And shortly after they sent me an email telling me that they would refund the service fee, that is, 93 euros of the 847 pounds I paid. When I have claimed the rest they tell me that since I have canceled it is the only thing I am entitled to. Shameful.
    1: for not protecting customers against covid 19. All companies are returning the money
    2: for making a person believe that they were going to help and guide them so that they could cancel themselves and get rid of the problem
    Not only do they harbor owner fraud, but they themselves deceive customers.
    3: for giving shelter to owners who ask for money outside the page and not forcing them to return the money when changing the conditions of the contract.
    I plan to denounce all this where necessary. If only for dignity.

  2. Terrible management, the house we rented did not meet the requirements that they were supposed to have according to the characteristics that appeared on their page... house with cobwebs, dirt and dead bugs... old and dirty mattresses, no microwave or dishwasher, a toilet broke, The pool shower and the washing sink got clogged, the pool turned green on the second day and we were left without electricity and hot water in the middle of the stay... the owner apologized and proposed compensation but after this request they blocked everything and we They replied that since we had not complained in the first 12 hours we had no right to anything... so you know that everything that happens to you outside of those first hours is not solved... it seemed to me a very unprofessional, ethical and moral management . And of course they have charged us 95 euros for their deplorable management

  3. I had the intention of celebrating my wife's birthday in a rural house in El Catllar. The situation after the new outbreaks of Covid has made all these plans go to waste and I have been forced to cancel my trip.

    As of today I do not know anything about the owner, nor about Vrbo, who turn a deaf ear and have no intention of reimbursing anything, alluding that it is not their problem. Everything points to the fact that if I don't want to lose €719, I'm going to have to file a complaint and go to lawyers.

    There is a situation of force majeure and the government has legislated. NO displacements, NO meetings of more than 10 people.

    Very disappointed with this company and their service. They are incompetents who are only interested in money.

  4. I have spent the month of July in the apartment in Gijón that I booked with Homeaway/ VRBO.
    Everything correct until the moment of receiving the refund of the €100 deposit.
    After a month of contacting the owner, and in an almost impossible way with the platform, I am ready to go to the Consumer Office, because I see that this is delayed without reason or signs of a solution.

  5. The Vrbo page is fatal, not recommended at all and the customer service with a non-existent problem.
    They do not solve anything even being in order with their rules. They turn a deaf ear so that the protest deadlines are passed.
    I was lucky, to say the least, to find out about almost all the damage to the accommodation on the first day. Built-in wardrobe was cracked in the masonry wall that supports it, broken washing machine because the owner told me a few hours before arriving at the accommodation, broken microwave, loss of water in the shower, the house quite dirty.

    What was communicated to Vrbo is a maze of hieroglyphics to find how to communicate. In an app chat. The answer was a hello, Yoselin Andrea attends you and there it stayed.
    Insistent telephone, e-mail does not exist and the chat is useless.
    Later, to get the money back from the damage deposit, another odyssey of eternal waiting that does not even meet the deadlines.

  6. My experience has also been bad.
    I booked a summer house with Vrbo, which, in turn, managed a real estate operator whom I also want to denounce from here, MO_RENTALS.
    These gentlemen canceled my reservation 5 minutes after making it, but the worst thing is that not only did I pay the Vrbo service fee, but the real estate agent also charged me almost €700 a few hours after canceling the reservation.
    I recovered the service fee after a month and a half, but the real estate charge has taken me more than 4 months to recover, after a multitude of calls and desperate efforts.
    It has been a real joke in which I have been totally unprotected since Vrbo has very kindly answered all my calls, but has not provided a solution to my problem, claiming that they are only mere intermediaries. As a solution, they suggested that I manage something with my financial institution and its insurance against fraudulent operations.
    I have finally got my money back but I have lost confidence in this platform and I will not use it again.
    Of course, I will not do any business with MO_RENTALS either and from here I encourage everyone to be wary of that company.

  7. BEWARE, THEY ARE A SCAM! We have been trying to recover a deposit for almost 1 month, calling daily and talking to people who only open incidents and review the case without giving any effective solution, when all we want is our money back. The property did not accept our reservation and they have kept the deposit, after many hours of meaningless conversations, emails, sending vouchers and calls that are often cut off, at the end of this week we will take legal action, since it is otherwise completely impossible. This is a warning for future or possible clients, AVOID THIS SCAM AT ALL COSTS, or you will lose your money and even worse, your valuable time. #ESTAFA #FRAUDE Santiago Machado

  8. I say as a very negative point of Vrbo, it is that it discriminates between owners in its rates. The old ones are charged a 3% plus an annual fix of €229 and the new ones an 8%, this being much more expensive than the others. In this case, as owners, you have unequal opportunities compared to other owners, it is the only platform that does it. The others, better or worse, apply the same conditions to everyone. I believe that it is a very unfortunate policy, not only because it is not fair, but also because it makes them less competitive and attractive. The owner is going to want to earn the same on all platforms, and if the price on Vrbo is higher, the client is not stupid, he will book before through Airbnb or Booking or any other, it is what he called greed breaks the bag. They want more and it means less. In my case I have it clear, I will work with them again when the conditions are the same as the others, otherwise it makes no sense to be there, my property will not be interesting for the users and the money I request is the same, they only want maximum commission . Without counting the one that they also apply to the user, that there is no entry. They charge both.

  9. disappointment being behind Expedia, after having paid for a reservation and confirming it with the owner, after 15 days it is seen that tourism is going better, the owner thinks better of it. And it increases both the nights and the amount, once paid we would have to have some rights, with this form we do not have them, they only protect the owner, much better Arbnb..

  10. I don't know how to recommend it to anyone. Reservations already confirmed are canceled two days after closing. According to Vrbo, the owner's fault, according to the owner, Vrbo's mistake for not keeping the calendar right. The only solution they offer is to give you your money back and a scolding to the owner. As if it were easy to find another reservation in summer. Of course, more than 120 euros of commission for the take out that they took for doing nothing.
    And if you have taken out insurance through them, you have to worry about calling the insurer to cancel. Customer service with waits of more than 15 minutes… 11 at night. Oh... and the pasta from the reserve and the insurance "frozen" for a week until they return it.

  11. It's a platform scam. On October 2 we reserved a rural house for the end of the year. They confirmed the reservation and we made the first payment. Today we had to make the second payment and seeing that they rejected it, we sent a message to the owner to see if she would accept a transfer and surprise!! He told me that the house was not available for those dates. I have told him that we had reserved it on October 2 and, without further ado, he has canceled the reservation with a refund of the money.
    I have called VRBO to tell them what happened and it turns out that they neither verify the reservations nor support them. If the owner unilaterally decides to cancel the reservation, they can do so without any penalty from the platform. I feel ripped off and advise everyone not to book through VRBO. It is a platform with a lousy service that does not guarantee anything. Thank you

  12. This company has ripped us off and left us on the street. DO NOT CONTRACT WITH THEM

    We are in Malaga (AT FAIR) with a reservation canceled the same day of arrival, having already paid part of the house. The only solution that this company gives us is that we (WE) look for another reservation (find a house on the same day of the fair for 7 people…) and that we advance the money that they supposedly pay us the difference of what has already been paid in the previous , we have to pay more than €2000 in advance plus the €1500 already paid. to which we allege that they are the ones who have mismanaged the reservation and it is their responsibility, so they must find us an apartment with the same conditions without us having to pay anything else again, to which they tell us that it is not This is how they act and that if we don't advance the money (which we don't have) WE STAY ON THE STREET… IT'S OUTRAGEOUS WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK AND NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING THROUGH THEM IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SCAMED.

    • How exaggerated! I have used Vrbo several times and have never had any problems. As with any platform, you always have to take precautions, but that doesn't mean it should be ruled out completely. Everyone has their preferences, right?

    • I have booked several times on Vrbo and have never had any problems. Don't get carried away by a single item, each experience is different. Do your own research and decide for yourself. Good luck in your accommodation search!

    • Hahaha how funny. Did you travel in the Delorean or what? The reality is that experiences can vary and not everyone is as lucky. I can't trust a platform that has had so many complaints.

    They canceled my reservation on the day of arrival since they offered non-existent accommodation. We ask to be rehoused and they don't.
    We also found other accommodation and they refused to pay us that cost.
    They are real scammers


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