Founded in 1995, Vrbo assists vacationers in finding accommodations through local homeowner properties. Vrbo has locations spread all over the world with an easy search bar so travelers can easily find the exact vacation home that they need for their perfect vacation. As part of the Expedia Group, Vrbo gets over 750 million views per month. Vrbo offers a wide range of rental properties in 190 countries including the lowest prices all the way up to high-end luxury rentals.  

The Good

  • Variety of Options
  • Booking Options
  • Cancellation Protection
  • Customer Reviews and Protection
  • Mobile Services

Variety of Options

Vrbo has a variety of options for travelers. Each rental owner determines the price to rent his or her space, so prices will vary based on location, amenities, size, condition, etc. Vrbo rentals are available throughout the United States and in 190 countries around the world. An email and phone number are provided for each property owner, so travelers can speak directly with the property owner before they book or during the booking process. With the phone number, travelers are also given the best time to reach the property owner along with the languages they speak. Emails go through Vrbo.com.

  • Insurance Options: Vrbo provides customers with the option to purchase damage and cancellation insurance.
  • 24/7 Support: 24/7 support is available to all customers by Vrbo.
  • Large Property Selection: Currently, Vrbo has over one million properties listed.
  • Secure Payment Options: Vrbo has a secure and safe payment process, providing comfort to its customers.

Booking Options

Reservations are made through Vrbo.com. Travelers have the option of clicking the "Book It" button after their dates are selected to reserve the space. Or travelers can choose to email or call the rental owner for more information.

Cancellation Protection

Vrbo offers cancellation protection through a HomeAway partner, CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services. This service safeguards the traveler's non-refundable payments in case they need to cancel their trip for a covered reason. Vacation rental payments typically become non-refundable 30-90 days before the arrival date. Cancellation protection features:

  • Protects insured trip cost up to $50,000 if guests need to cancel.
  • Offers reimbursement if guests cancel their trip due to covered events such as sickness, injury, flight cancellations, mandatory evacuation, or job loss.
  • Travel delay benefits available if guests are delayed for 12 or more hours due to flight delays, weather, or sickness. Learn more.
  • Additional services* can be found on the site.

Customer Reviews and Protection

Each property has customer reviews listed under their rental descriptions. Each review also has a star rating; so potential travelers can easily determine the quality of the rental without having to read through each review. Additionally, any payments made through the secure HomeAway platform are protected up to $10,000 against fraud. Or an additional fee will protect you against other renting issues like double booking or security deposit issues.

Mobile Services

Vrbo has a mobile friendly site. The mobile site makes it easy to enter the desired location and dates on the landing page. The site's design also makes it simple to browse rental listings. Vrbo also has the "HomeAway & Vrbo Vacation Rentals" free mobile app. Users are given the option to view the app when they visit the mobile site.

The Bad

  • Customer Complaints
  • Fees
  • Certain Fees are Not Refundable

Customer Complaints

Vrbo has many negative customer reviews about things like poor customer service and excessive fees. Both customers renting from Vrbo and homeowners listing with the site have written complaints. Many homeowners complain about new changes under Expedia's ownership. They complain about higher fees, more control by Vrbo, booking problems, etc. Renters complain about higher fees, booking errors, cancellation problems, and unresponsive or helpful customer service. 

Fees

Overall, there are quite a few things that Vrbo could improve on.  The biggest issue with Vrbo is the extra fees.  There is a high service fee and fees associated with damage insurance, cancellation insurance, and the Carefree Rental Guarantee.

  • High Renters Service Charge: Vrbo charges renters a 5 percent commission in service fees to rent their property. 
  • Credit Card Processing Fee: Vrbo charges a 3 percent credit card or e-check processing fee for the total amount paid by the traveler. 
  • No Verification: No verification is done on properties listed with Vrbo. This is concerning, as customers want to be sure they are renting a legitimate property and aren't getting scammed.
  • No Free Cancellation: Vrbo doesn't offer all customers a free cancellation option with all properties.  

Certain Fees are Not Refundable

Another issue that customers have been commenting about is the fact that Vrbo charges a customer's credit card upon booking, but owners are not paid until renters are in the house. If customers go to cancel the rental, customers will not be refunded certain fees. Most other companies refund these fees as a courtesy to renters if they have to cancel. Make sure to use the Vrbo fee calculator to see how expensive these add-ons would be for your vacation.

The Bottom Line

Vrbo has over one million vacation rental options, so you are bound to find a rental that works well for you. If possible, try to find a vacation rental you feel is secure so you can possibly skip out on those extra insurance fees.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

1.8
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118 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 star
11%
4 star
8%
3 star
2%
2 star
2%
1 star
77%

Sentiment Criteria

Value for your money
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Quality of product or service
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lrs

February 4th, 2016 Napa, CA

I had a terrible experience with a VRBO rental and my negative review of the property never appeared on their site. Too bad for future renters.

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nate c

January 16th, 2016 Los Angeles, CA

One of the worst companies I've ever dealt with. We rented a property on VRBO and were refused the property when we arrived and the owners KEPT the money! Because Homeaway doesn't hold the money there is nothing we could do except file a dispute with our credit card. On top of that, because when we asked the property owner for our money back, we said we would remove the review and consider our transaction void, Homeaway then removed and BLOCKED us from any future chance of reviewing claiming we were trying "black mail" or "extort" the property owner. They have ZERO customer service and favor the property owners no matter what. I will NEVER rent with them again, tell EVERYONE I know to not rent with them. Only use Airbnb as they actually HOLD the money to protect their customers. They give WAY too much power to the property owners and cannot even fathom how they have succeeded as a business. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!

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Steve

September 22nd, 2015 IL

Paid for a cabin, never received arrival info and had to get different a comparatives. VRBO said we had to work it with owner and owner refused to refund money. Will never use VRBO again and certainly wouldn't recommend it.

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Joyce Harrington

July 30th, 2015 Lompoc, CA

vrbo.com is the industry leader and standard. I have been with them for 15 years.....4 different properties through the years in two states and two countries. No one produces results that come close to vrbo. I have seen the evolution, growth, change they have gone through and responded to. Thank you for all my bookings - don't know what I would have done with out you vrbo!

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Pamela

July 28th, 2015 Cedar, MI

I use airbnb.com, Flip Key (TripAdvisor) and VRBO. I do get quite a few bookings through VRBO (about half as many as I do through airbnb.com. But it is an inferior site. The metrics can be glitchy and it is difficult to reach customer support. They refuse to sync their calendars with other sites (which airbnb does) and it could lead to double bookings (it does import the competitors' calendars, though). So I have to manually check each booking to make sure I don't double book. BUMMER. The quality of guest is not nearly as good as airbnb, I think because we can't rate the GUEST. Rating the guest makes them so considerate (in advance). VRBO seems like an anonymous, corporate machine. Airbnb seems like we are in this sharing community together (notice the word community, you won't see that word in VRBO). I do like that they allow you to collect the fee without using there service, because I have had big problems with refunds and security deposits through them. So I never use their credit card booking service. I get paid in person. I think it stinks that they are owned by Homeway and try and get you to pay TWO fees to belong to both. Rip off. I guess the best thing I can say about VRBO is that it is better than TripAdvsor (Flipkey) that sent me a drug abusing domestic abuse, pyromaniac couple.

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Donna Retchless

July 24th, 2015 Vancouver, WA

We have used VRBO for several years! They show the property accurately and list numbers and information for the owners. Pricing is listed and insurance is available and usually have several units at a complex listed. We don't look anywhere else!!

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Evelyn Watson

July 21st, 2015 Little Falls, NJ

I have used VRBO my first time, I had to go to Florida for a family reunion, it was wonderful to rent a home for the amount of time I stayed and I would do again. I had everything I needed for my vacation. Thank You!!!

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Deborah Turner Fowler

July 21st, 2015 Decatur, AL

I have used VRBO for several years now to find vacation homes and properties to rent. We usually have more than 5 going with us, so we cannot use hotel room...it would cost too much to pay for more than one room a night...SO for us, it is much better to get a whole house or condo...with plenty of room, a kitchen, grilling area, and our own porch. Also, it is great for larger gatherings of family members!

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Suzie Peirce

June 26th, 2015 Abington, PA

I use VRBO a lot and have had great experiences!!! It's so much better then staying in a hotel.

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Lois Viars

June 22nd, 2015 Sevierville, TN

I have vacation rental property listed with VRBO and also have rented vacation property through their site IMHO they are # 1 in customer service..highly recommend to everyone... Totally 100% pleasure to do business with...

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Bev Supak

June 22nd, 2015 TX

I have used VRBO many times, as have others in my office, who travel for business and pleasure - it has always been a perfect experience.

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Tami Flynn

June 20th, 2015 Denham Springs, LA

I am going to tell you my issue with vrbo.com. VRBO stands for vacation rental by owner, right?!! I have been renting from this sight for years! My problem is that it is mostly not the owner who you are dealing with anymore, its the realtors who want to add on all kinds of fees! It is definitely false advertisement!

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Brett Aylesworth

June 18th, 2015 Rhinelander, WI

Great website, have two properties listed through them. Very easy company to work with and their fee is fair.

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Annie Moffitt

June 18th, 2015 Mcminnville, TN

I was referred to you through a friend. We have not took the trip yet but have it booked. The condo owner has been very helpful and it was easy to work with the company to complete the arrangements for payment. I found a good variety of condo's to match my needs and it was easy to search your site. I will follow up after our vacation. Annie

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Holly Nonesuch

June 17th, 2015 Fort Bragg, CA

I am a vacation home owner who pays HA/VRBO to advertise my property, vrbo.com/79324. Due to recent changes for SOME of the homeowners in our area, my home has been moved from the Mendocino listing where I was #3 of 112. Yes, I paid the Platinum subscription price to be listed that high, $1249.00 for 12 months and have been advertising with HA/VRBO for 10 years. Now HA/VRBO has moved my listing to a city with only 2 homes listed. They REFUSE to refund the difference between the "regular" listing price of $349.00 and the $1249.00 I paid. My inquiries have decreased 95% and a portion of summer is still unbooked. Hmm, you moved me without my consent into a city where I do not need to pay Platinum fees to be higher on the list, you refuse a refund....and I CANNOT get a MANAGER or "Escalation Specialist" to call me about this? Very unhappy with the service anymore.

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Laura

June 17th, 2015 Milford, NH

I have used VRBO for many years and have never been disappointed. Va, NY, WI, MD, NH

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Dave & Shari

June 16th, 2015 Seattle, WA

We have used VRBO for 4 stays in Panama City Beach, Florida and are very satisfied with our results.

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Patty

March 5th, 2015 Newnan, GA

Complaint of VRBO by Owners In 2010 I began renting my Beachfront condo to short term transient guest to cover my expenses with this condo. Like so many other property owners I turned to the service that I used my self, VRBO.com (Acronym for Vacation Rentals By Owner). Initially VRBO was nothing more than a classified ad site for property owners to post their properties in various categories based on location and amenities. Initially the process was pleasing and enjoyable. Skip forward 5 years and there is not a day that goes by where I do not think of a way to escape the necessary evil in my life. VRBO! VRBO enacted a policy in 2011 that required owners to allow reviews of their properties. Prior to that, as an owner you could disallow or allow this feature. As a digital consumer I recalled the process Ebay.com has in place where the review process is not so onerous. A purchaser may think twice about leaving an embellished bad review in fear that they will be given one in return for merely falsifying a review to be vengeful. VRBO has completely stepped away from their roots. VRBO does not own my property, I do. My property is not a Hotel, its mine. I do not have to let people stay at my property, I allow them to as my guest. VRBO is spending a lot of its efforts to compete with the www.expedia.com, www.travelocity.com, www.hotels.com market. Those sites are renting hotel rooms from companies that rent hotel rooms. Needless to say because VRBO has drifted so far away from its initial vision it allows pure onerous reviews where a guest that just chunked my TV out the window and lit my sofa on fire may post a negative review about my property in the fact that I kept their $300 security deposit "unjustly." I request assistance to return the power to the owners of the properties (the people that pay VRBO.com's salary) or even the playing field by requiring guest to create a profile and get reviewed themselves as well. Perhaps they may think twice before hurling that TV out the window this time.