QuestionA: Our host Vrbo canceled our booking less than 24 hours before we arrived, causing my wife and daughter to lose their flights. I need your help to get a refund for our final hotel bill.
I booked a rental in El Paso and paid it in full. At 9:30 pm, the day before my family flew to El Paso, I received a message from the owner saying, “The house is not available. It’s already booked.” Then another message that she canceled our booking and initiated a refund.
I sent panic messages to her that there must have been some mistake that we had booked and paid in full over six months ago. I said that we have flights and we arrive the next day. She didn’t answer. No help, no apologies, nothing. I found her cell phone number and called three times, going straight to voicemail each time.
Vrbo said there were no other rental options. Instead they booked us one night in a double room at the hotel. We would have been left on our own to find a place for another two nights. I can’t warn other Vrbo tenants about the host’s dishonest behavior and I would like a refund for all the nights we spent at the hotel. You can help me? — Jim LoScalzo, Washington, DC.
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IT HAS: The host was wrong to cancel your booking right before you arrived, but that’s not the worst. When you looked at your account, it turned out that the owner gave you one star even though you never stayed on the lease. (This may affect your ability to rent from Vrbo again.) Vrbo should have found a replacement for you and covered any additional costs. Instead, the company refunded your rent and paid for one night at the hotel.
Vrbo has a “book with confidence” guarantee that protects you from last-minute cancellations. It promises guests assistance with rebooking or emergency accommodation if their booking is “wrongfully canceled” at the last minute by the host.
It was not immediately clear why Vrbo paid only for one night in a new hotel. You called and wrote to the company half a dozen times, but they didn’t tell you anything. By the way, I list the names, numbers, and email addresses of Vrbo executives on my consumer advocacy website at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/vrbo-customer-service-contacts/. A short, polite e-mail to one of them might help.
I contacted Vrbo about your case. His records show that Vrbo covered emergency accommodation for the first night.
“For the remainder of his stay, Mr. LoScalzo was asked to book a hotel through one of our websites and only submit receipts for refunds if the cost of his stay at the hotel exceeded the cost of his original booking,” the spokesperson said. “Because the total cost of his hotel reservation is not…