Vrbo, pronounced ‘ver-boh,’ is a popular vacation rental booking platform where homeowners can list their homes without going through a management company. But how safe is it? Is Vrbo safe?
Vrbo is a safe and legit vacation rental online marketplace in the United States. It is PCI-DSS certified and offers protection against fraudulent actions. It is safe to book a rental property using Vrbo.
Read on to learn more about Vrbo, including its features and rates, among others.
Is Vrbo Safe?
Vrbo is a safe vacation rental online marketplace in the U.S. It is PCI-DSS certified and offers protection against fraudulent actions, both for hosts and travelers. It is safe to book a rental property to stay in using Vrbo.
When renting a vacation house, the last thing you want to happen is to get scammed. After all, you’re looking forward to relaxing and taking a break from your busy schedule. Or, if it is work-related, the last thing you want to happen is for your business trip to get ruined. In this article, let’s discuss how safe it is to use Vrbo and prevent getting scammed.
Is Vrbo Legit? Who Owns Vrbo?
Vrbo is indeed a legit business. There are many shady or fraudulent vacation home rental sites online, but Vrbo is not one of them.
Initially launched in 1995 as Vacation Rentals by Owner businessman David Clouse established it in Aurora, Colorado. The initial goal was to have his Breckenridge Ski Resort condo rented through its website. Later on, it became a service for other homeowners who also wished to have their place rented.
Its success impressed HomeAway and led to its acquisition in 2006. In 2015, HomeAway was acquired by Expedia Group. Then, in 2019, they rebranded the Vacation Rentals by Owner and changed the business name to Vrbo.
The Vrbo Website
Vrbo’s website is convenient for booking a rental property to stay in a while on vacation or a business trip. The website is easy to navigate. Nonetheless, it features an extensive section should you need further assistance.
On the website, you can efficiently book a property for rent. If you have several concerns, you may engage in proactive communication with its customer service staff. You will also learn about the features of the insurance policies offered through Vrbo. This may come in handy in case your trip does not go as planned.
Vrbo basically provides an online marketplace for hosts and travelers. Therefore, when it comes to the booking process, Vrbo takes a hands-off approach. The booking agreement is limited between you and the property manager. Any issues encountered shall be resolved without Vrbo except, perhaps, when it comes to extreme cases.
Tips on How to Use Vrbo Safely
Vrbo responsibly screens its hosts to ensure their legitimacy as rental property owners. However, like in any other online marketplace, we, as renters or buyers, must also be vigilant to prevent getting scammed.
Here are 5 tips on how to safely use Vrbo:
- Check the Listing’s Specifications.
- Communicate with the Property Manager
- Do Your Own Research
- Avail of Travel Insurance
- Always Choose a Secure Payment Method
Let’s discuss each one of them.
1. Check the Listing’s Specifications
When you are looking for a temporary place to stay, checking out the specifications is surely the first thing you would do. That way, you’d know whether the property meets all your requirements or not.
Unfortunately, for some travelers, as soon as they have ensured that their requirements are all met, they don’t check out the other details anymore. Doing so might pose a problem later on. Worse, if you demand a refund, you might not be able to get your money back anymore.
So, when checking out the specifications, make sure that you read every detail. Read the terms and conditions in their entirety, including the cancellation, rebooking, and refunding policies.
Check out the Vrbo ratings for that particular property you are eyeing. For all you know, that place that seems to be too good to be true is, indeed, not true at all. Take your time to read as many customer reviews as possible. Be sharp-eyed and learn to identify warning signs.
Allot enough time to do all these. More than anything else, do all these before making your final booking.
2. Communicate with the Property Manager
If you have read every detail indicated on the Vrbo website, it should not stop you from contacting the property manager. Even if it seems as if you don’t have further concerns anymore, still think of something to ask.
Communicating with the property manager allows you to further screen and identify whether you are booking a legit property or not. Perhaps, you can ask if there are other fees you need to pay. Ask for all the amenities available or inquire about the surrounding neighborhood.
Check if the property manager’s contact number is indicated on the website. If so, directly call and talk to him. The Vrbo website also has a Send Email feature to type your inquiry and send it to the property manager. His reply will help you gauge the legitimacy and safety of booking that particular property.
3. Do Your Own Research
It is quite easy to dig deeper into anything using technology’s power in this day and age. It would not hurt to go the extra mile to do your own research about the rental property you are eyeing.
Determine where the property is exactly located. Look it up on Google Maps using Street View or Satellite View. Then, compare it vis-a-vis the photos posted on the Vrbo website.
If you are not satisfied with the customer reviews posted on the website, reach out to the property’s previous guests. Politely ask for contact details from the property manager and ask permission to contact the previous renters. That way, you can get more feedback from the previous guests.
4. Get Travel Insurance
You may get insurance through Vrbo, but it is advisable to look into it thoroughly. For all you know, the insurance that Vrbo offers may not be adequate for you. Its terms and conditions may be enough for some but not enough for everyone. In which case, you might need to get a more comprehensive policy. If so, do not hesitate to avail of one.
It is safe to say that you should not presume that Vrbo can 100% protect you if you encounter a mishap. Availing of travel insurance allows you to have a worry-free out-of-town trip.
5. Always Choose a Secure Payment Method
When paying for your booking, it is advisable to use PayPal, eCheck, or a credit card. These types of payments are accepted following the Book with Confidence Guarantee of Vrbo. You will find the label “Book with Confidence” indicated on the property information page for properties using these payment methods.
There are properties posted on the Vrbo website that ask for cash, cheque, or money order payment. Avoid these types of payment methods, if possible. We’re not saying that these properties are a scam. But these payment methods are not covered by Vrbo’s guarantees. It is always good to be on the safe side.
Is Vrbo Reliable?
Vrbo is a reliable platform to get a good property for rent. It is a legit and trusted vacation rental online marketplace in the United States. This accommodation site is PCI-DSS certified and offers protection against fraudulent actions. It is generally safe to book a rental property using Vrbo.
However, as a responsible individual, you also have to be alert and act with caution to avoid experiencing any booking pitfall. Following the above-mentioned tips will remarkably lessen, if not eliminate, the risk of getting scammed.
To learn more about the dependability of Vrbo, let’s talk about some of its policies. Vrbo has created these policies to work in the best interest of travelers. Let’s tackle some of these, which include the following:
- Book with Confidence Guarantee
- Secure Payment Forms
- Property Damage Protection
1. Book with Confidence Guarantee
This policy confirms that travelers will undergo a fair and dependable booking process. Among the regulations stipulated in this guarantee are the following:
- Vrbo responsibly conducts fraud screening to prevent the existence of scammers. It conducts background checks and account verification of members engaging with their services.
- The Vrbo Customer Service Team goes the extra mile to assist you when it comes to last-minute cancellations. Vrbo has specialists that aim to assist travelers in finding the perfect property that fits their requirements. Should you wish to get a re-accommodation, a Vrbo specialist will gladly help you too. All you have to do is to file a report within the first 12 hours.
- If you encounter a property owner who wrongfully withholds your damage deposit, Vrbo steps up to help you address this concern at the soonest possible time.
2. Secure Payment Forms
In case you are hesitant when it comes to the payment method, be relieved that Vrbo is PCI-DSS certified. This means that your payment information is protected by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Furthermore, as earlier mentioned, Vrbo protects against deceitful actions.
If you are paying through HomeAway, rest assured that your payment is also automatically covered by the Book with Confidence Guarantee.
Should you have further doubts about the payment method, do not hesitate to reach out to Vrbo’s Customer Service Team. Feel free to ask questions, and do not hesitate to share your concerns. Inquiring about it is normal and is part and parcel of your entire booking process. Remember that we are talking about your money here. As a traveler, you always aim for a fast and smooth transaction.
3. Property Damage Protection
Property Damage Protection is an insurance you can avail of through the Vrbo website. It will cover you from paying fees resulting in accidental damage to the property. The coverage includes damage to furniture, electronics, or home accessories, among others.
You might think that availing of this type of insurance is unnecessary. In all honesty, it is essential, especially if you will be traveling with children or pets.
Safety Measures for Property Managers or Owners
Vrbo does not only have policies that work in the best interest of travelers. They have regulations for property managers’ or owners’ safety, including rental agreements and ID verification.
The rental agreement acts as a legal document that protects property managers and/or owners. It contains comprehensive guidelines, rules, and regulations that travelers must strictly adhere to. You can find this document on the Vrbo website.
Verification of IDs
Travelers need to confirm their identity when they book a rental property. This process promotes trust between the traveler and the host. Becoming a verified traveler allows you to increase your chances of having your booking request approved.
Vrbo does the verification process. This means that sensitive personal details are not divulged to property managers and/or owners. Doing so preserves the privacy of all Vrbo users.
Conclusion – Is Vrbo Legit? Is Vrbo Safe to Use?
Vrbo is indeed a legit and safe vacation rental online marketplace in the U.S. It is PCI-DSS certified and offers protection against fraudulent actions, both for hosts and travelers. It is safe to book a rental property through Vrbo.
To confirm how reliable Vrbo is as an accommodation booking site, check out the Vrbo website. All necessary details that you need to know as a traveler and even as a host are indicated there.
Also, allot enough time to read Vrbo ratings and customer reviews found online. These reviews have an important role in the property manager’s credibility — and the property per se. Once you have experienced becoming a Vrbo traveler, allot enough time to post your own review. That way, you will be able to help other Vrbo users.
If you are not satisfied with the information posted online, do not hesitate to contact Vrbo’s Customer Support Team. Ask as many questions related to the booking process as you want. Air your concerns until everything is addressed. The customer support team will be more than glad to help you.