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HomeAway Blocks Negative Reviews

December 18, 2012

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We do a lot of vacation home rentals via HomeAway and its VRBO property and they have always worked out well but this summer we had a terrible experience. The homeowner pointed to the fact that there were no bad HomeAway reviews for his property as proof that he was above reproach. Having filed a complaint we see now that HomeAway and VRBO reviews system is rigged to favor the home-owner. It makes sense as its the home-owner who pays for listings so HomeAway and VRBO would like to protect them.

We suspected that HomeAway did not want bad reviews as when you submit a review it indicates that all reviews will be submitted to the home owner before they are posted.

Research shows that we are not the first to discover HomeAway and VRBO’s policies to purge negative reviews at owner’s behest. Forbes covered it here.

Given that we cannot post a negative review on HomeAway, we will have to do it here in hopes that future potential renters of this property might search and find this post.

Bed Bugs, Construction and Broken Promises

Our experience at Marty Treece’s rental at Mauna Launi on the Big Island can only be described as disastrous. We rented the home for a month for my wife and 2 young children. While the house itself is nice, our stay was marred by a pair of unexpected problems, made much worse by Treece’s broken promises.

– Undisclosed construction zone. The home is surrounded by 3 construction sites, which Treece never divulged. As we live far away from the house it was not possible for us to know of the construction without Treece being forthcoming about it. When we arrived at the house we could not believe that this is the house we were going to be staying in for a month. One of the draws of Hawaiian life is that you can spend time and eat meals on open lanai but with the loud noise and dust we had to keep the patio doors closed during the days. Had we known we would not have agreed to pay the rental amount. When we called Treece to fill him in he said he was surprised and let us know that “I would consider discussing some partial reduction in your rental fee after your departure. Or possibly could I treat you to an Island adventure/event/dining/etc while you are there?” Treece never made good on that offer.

– Bedbugs. The four of us found bites within the first week and assumed they were mosquitoes but a local saw the bites on us and suggested they looked like bed bed bugs. When we noticed that the bites were worse in the morning we turned over the beds and discovered bed bug infestation. We called Orkin to come and they confirmed that it was a bed-bug infestation and that we should move out of the house immediately. We called Treece and he agreed that because the home was not inhabitable he was responsible for the costs of a comparable living situation.

Treece booked us in the closest hotel and 2 days later we moved into a new rental that he booked. During this we were sympathetic with Treece because bed bugs irradiation is expensive, but then we got frustrated because Treece was not returning our calls and we were in limbo in our hotel. When our trip was over and we sent the hotel bills to Treece, after much back and forth, he refused to honor his commitment to pay our hotel bills and only paid half. He also suggested that we were fortunate because he had spent so much out of pocket to take care of us. Really? Fortunate that we were covered with bug bites, spent 5 days cleaning our clothes, returning our car rental, packing and moving twice.

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