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HomeAway/VRBO scam

I rent a small apartment in Italy and so far have rented either privately or quite successfully with Wimdu (which no longer exists) and Airbnb. Personally so far I have had no complaints with Airbnb which I also invariably use when travelling. However, Airbnb has come in for quite a lot of criticism lately so I was looking to diversify perhaps with Homeaway/Vrbo. So far I have not taken this any further because despite spending some time on their site I have been unable to discover what percentage of commission they charge me and my potential guests. Anyway, to get to the point, I came across this, which has quite put me off.......
Tina - I saw this thread when Michael first posted it and wondered how he could lay down $10K on a rental with no reviews. The wonderful thing about SlowEurope (and the original Slowtravel) reviews is that they are made by regular members who have actually stayed in the properties. I give their opinions a good deal more weight than reviews I see on TripAdvisor, Homeaway, or VRBO. Thankfully, we haven't been burned yet, but I do worry about it whenever making a reservation. Reading the full thread, I'll definitely avoid Homeaway in the future.
I've also been following that thread on Fodors, and I think it was Homeaway's money back promises that reassured the original poster.

In a way, it is quite sad - I used Homelidays before it was absorbed by Homeaway, then HA and VRBO for many years without a hitch. It seems things have changed since the company was taken over by Expedia.

As the "Bogus Villa" thread has achieved some notoriety on travel forums, It wouldn't surprise me to see Homeaway's reputation end up in tatters.
Though I've used VRBO in the past, I'm more comfortable dealing with the smaller, local agencies. It really helps if they have a brick and mortar office near the rental. The first time we went to Italy, Martin and Alice at Italian Vacation Villas guided us through making choices and the entire rental process, giving us the name, address and phone number of their local contact. They have retired, but they pretty much set the standard for what we expect as far as communication, knowledge, and reliability. It's hard to know when old favorites get bought out, but I still rely on agencies such as TuscanHouse and Tuscan Enterprises when possible.


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