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VRBO booking difficulties

I am elderly … several weeks ago
I booked a vacation rental with VRBO for my family in Costa Rica for January 2023 and sent them thousands of dollars as a deposit and received a confirmation
A few days ago I get a text from an unknown person in Costa Rica telling me I had to change my reservation or it would be cancelled
I tried to reach VRBO but it was very difficult
Long waits many disconnects and a few chats
They said they would look into it and get back to me
Three business days go by and no word from VRBO
I email VRBO several times then wait 30 minutes on hold to speak to someone
Nothing had been done on my behalf
Finally they call the rental agency and I am now told my reservation is canceled
No apology
They still have all my money
No help to get a new reservation
I ask for a supervisor and am told it will take 72 hours for someone to call me
So far no call just an email that my reservation is cancelled
What can I do??
I have lost thousands of dollars for a month now
I am elderly and not proficient with the internet
Can anyone please help me with VRBO or the agency Special Places in Costa Rica??
I don’t want another elderly person to go through this upsetting and frustrating and frightening experience
Thank you

Posted by
7106 posts

How did you send the “thousands of dollars” in deposits? Did you charge it to your credit card? If so, perhaps the easiest approach for you to take at this time is to call your credit card company and dispute the charge.

If they cancelled on you, you should receive a complete refund of your deposit.

Next step, have a family member help you with the new plans. You mentioned that you don’t feel entirely comfortable with the internet and this is a family trip. Utilize those family resources.

PS consider changing your title. It sounds like it is the agency in Costa Rica that is at issue here. VRBO hasn’t scammed you, they just have not had the level of customer service you would like, especially when you are so stressed out by this.

Posted by
1641 posts

The key sentence is "A few days ago I get a text from an unknown person in Costa Rica"

Posted by
4110 posts

Assuming you put the fee on a credit card, use the written cancellation email to force a charge back.

AirBnB can be more expensive but I have never had a bad experience. I did have a poor VRBO experience in Italy and I stopped using them.