by Demonte James
Every homeowner’s worst nightmare: Imagine saving up for decades to buy your dream home and the short-term vacation rental company VRBO (owned by Expedia) recruits you to host their guests with promises of $1M in damage protection. They call you on your phone and tell you they’re going to create your home’s vacation rental profile for you, and then they do. But when the first guests bring a surprise, drug and alcohol fueled music video party into your home, VRBO walks away without paying a dime. This is what happened to one Southwest Florida homeowner:
They called me up and asked to create a short term vacation rental profile for my home, in order to rent to VRBO guests. I asked if my property would be protected from potential damage and they said, and I quote, “that would fall under 1M liability.” Because platforms like Airbnb offers a $1M “Aircover” protection, it made sense when VRBO told me the same. After VRBO’s “four person” booking showed up with 27 people partying, jumping, dancing, and bouncing (with their shoes on) on top of my designer granite counters, pool table, and Restoration Hardware Aviator Desk and Chair, over $55,000.00 was left upon me in damages and fines. When I complained to VRBO, they ignored me for several months. Only recently, they said they wouldn’t pay for one single thing. Their reasoning was that the $1M in damage protection would not cover property damage caused by their guests. When I pointed them to their VRBO associate telling me over the phone that damage would be covered up to $1M, they reviewed the phone recording and said the VRBO associate thought wrong, and they refused to live up to what she thought, that property damage “would fall under 1M liability.” In other words, they started doing word play while I got stuck with a $55K+ bill. I wish I never trusted VRBO, I wish they never called me, I wish they did not create my listing and mislead me with their “thoughts.”
Life & News reached out to VRBO and Expedia for comment about two months after the unsanctioned and damage causing party. Expedia responded by saying VRBO’s customer support team was going to resolve things directly with the homeowner. When we followed up with the homeowner several weeks later to see if VRBO resolved things with the homeowner, the homeowner said “they didn’t resolve a thing, didn’t pay one penny toward my $55,000+ bill, and what’s worse is after two months, the partiers actually reversed their original credit card charges, so VRBO pulled the $1,350 booking fee, right out of my bank account.”
Life & News also received a screenshot of the way VRBO’s platform displayed their $1M coverage for the booking in question. It is plainly, visibly obvious that the $1M coverage for the booking is listed under “PROPERTY DAMAGE” as seen here.
This is a new low for Expedia, which generated $3,360,000,000.00 (3.36B USD) in revenue during the quarter ending June 2023. That’s more than enough for them to do the right thing by their homeowners. We hope they’ll take notice and do the right thing.
*If you or someone you know has ever experienced a VRBO of Expedia NIGHTMARE, please contact author Demonte James at email@example.com
**To this date, Expedia and VRBO have not responded to the publication of this article.