Website: www.vrbo.com
Corey – Sep 17, 2020

Victim Location 90068

Type of a scam Travel/Vacations

Tony pulls a popular vrbo.com/airbnb.com scam where he lists a property with pictures on their site and gets you to book it online. The day before you are to leave on your vacation, when it is too late to change plans, he says that property is not available for some reason (in our case a broken pool heater) and directs you to another property that is "much better" and happens to be the same price. It is not better and in fact would be less money to rent.

In case anyone believes this is simply a misunderstanding, you should know that I said I would take the original property with the broken pool heater and he refused. If you look closely at the reviews for the property they seem suspicious as well, as if they were written by him or an associate.

Randy – Aug 15, 2020

Victim Location 48118

Total money lost $6,000

Type of a scam Online Purchase

VRBO website is used by paying homeowners to advertise their rental property. VRBO collects the deposit and holds it, collects the remainder of the rental fee and holds it and is supposed to dispense funds to owners account when renter checks out. For the past 3 weeks, they have sent a message that fees are not being dispensed into the owners account for 14 days due to a "glitch" in the system. For 21 days, even today, we are being told there is a glitch in the system. They are keeping the money owed to homeowners, surely a glitch in the system would have been corrected in the 28 days of the message. They are keeping the money. They have merged with homeaway, have not changed any property numbers and rental properties are being rented with the same account numbers. We are being charged a lot of money for this incompetent, unprofessional service. I am filing the complaint but this is being done to ALL of their thousands of clients.

Leslie – May 22, 2020

Victim Location 10011

Type of a scam Travel/Vacations

I attempted to book www.vrbo.com property number: 1985009 on the morning of 5/21/20 by emailing: Mathias Linde as was listed as the contact information on the posting. I received an email from Mathias indicating the property was available, requesting the dates of my intended stay, the names of the people in my party and a copy of my drivers license, which I provided. I then noticed the listing on vrbo.com was no longer available via the search feature. Later in the day, I received a text message and two emails from Mathias indicating that the booking had been initiated from the VRBO platform with a link to complete the booking process. The link took me to a website that very much resembled a Home Away/VRBO (sister companies) page, however, I contacted VRBO to confirm the link was valid only to learn that it was not. Mathias Linde falsely advertised a home on VRBO and then attempted to collect $4,600 USD from me via website he crafted to look like an official Home Away page.

Alyssa –

Victim Location 34770

Type of a scam Rental

I went onto VRBO to rent a property, it has you contact owner, a James Silvestrini contacted me via email, gave me a rental contract and a paypal account ([email protected]) to make payment. I was having an issue with paypal, he told me he was as well, and he would let me know when his paypal account was resolved. He contacted me today asking if I can pay directly with my bank account. I told him yes to get his information. I have attached his bank account info.

Thru a little sleuthing from a friend, she found the home owners name and phone number, I contacted him and he told me he does not use VRBO nor did he know of a James Silvestrini. He told me he has a listing of who is renting in June and they only book for a week at a time, that this was a fraud.

I contacted VRBO and all they did was remove the posting, nothing further. They could not even find me another rental for that time period I needed in June. They said that is the chance I have to take.

With the Grace of God I was able to not lose money, but I felt you should be aware of this scam so hopefully others will be aware of this website and this person.

Natasha –

Victim Location 94552

Total money lost $250

Type of a scam Other

I had an issue with a listing on VRBO, so I posted a negative review (1 star). The listing currently has 16 reviews–all 5 out of 5 stars. It looks as if VRBO is suppressing/not publishing bad reviews for listings. The owners of the property wrongfully withheld half of my deposit. I was not warned about any potential issues because the owners’ reviews were inflated and potentially negative reviews that could have warned me about issues with the owners were not posted.

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