Not two months ago, we wrote an article about the benefits of booking through HomeAway .
Our first two reservations, with which we saved a few euros compared to the competition, had been a success, so our opinion about HomeAway was not all bad .
Well, human is to back down when in the end things are not what they seemed to be at first, or rather, how HomeAway wanted them to appear to us.
Before reading further, we warn you that if your intention is to book through Home Away , you may not feel like it after reading this article, then don’t say that we have not warned you?
What is HomeAway?
Home Away is a vacation reservation platform that connects owners with tenants , AirBnB type, however, they are light years away from offering a similar service, in terms of customer service or security during the reservation process it means.
In our previous article , we told you more about who HomeAway is , so we won’t get too long on this.
Is it safe to book with HomeAway?
It depends on what you understand by security, let me explain.
If you want to book an apartment or vacation home to enjoy a well-deserved weekend or vacation without last minute surprises, HomeAway is not safe for you .
You have a good chance that the owner of the house is not the serious person that you expect, so perhaps a few days or a few hours before, he cancels the reservation and you stay on the street.
We know for good that this type of practice happens in the HomeAway portal.
Unlike Booking, HomeAway does not have a decalogue of good practices for owners to comply with, if they had it, they would avoid this type of disruption to travelers, but they are only mere intermediaries who will not intervene at any time. We don’t say it, they say it themselves.
Simply, an owner can cancel the reservation at any time with total impunity , regardless of the damage that this could cause you, so if this situation inspires security, go ahead, book with HomeAway.
For this reason, it is very important that you make secure payment through HomeAway , never by transfer or money order, no matter how much the owner insists on it.
But dear traveler, using HomeAway’s secure payment will not save you from going through a real ordeal if you finally decide to cancel the reservation , or if, on the contrary, the owner decides to cancel it for you.
Neither secure payment nor free cancellation, rather a guaranteed nightmare!
In one of our last reservations, we have been able to see first-hand what happens when things go wrong with HomeAway, we assure you that it was not a dish of good taste.
We booked an apartment in a coastal area of North Africa for a period of 10 days.
We choose the secure payment provided by this portal, paying the reservation at the same time to ensure confirmation.
In short … the owner decided to cancel the reservation several weeks after it had been confirmed and paid in full, claiming the following:
Good afternoon, you have to cancel the reservation because the price has not been well adjusted.
If you don’t cancel, I won’t receive you.
We automatically contacted HomeAway and explained what happened.
Since the message had been sent to us from the platform itself, they could personally verify that this owner had decided to get more profitability from his apartment, without caring at all to ruin our trip.
From Customer Service they were very friendly and quickly told us that the owner could not act in this way since the reservation was confirmed and paid.
They agreed to speak with the owner and call us later to offer us a solution, but it was not until 6 days later, when we received an email from HomeAway, in which it was indicated that perhaps we would have some possibility of recovering our «lost money» , because This is how they rated it themselves.
Here begins the real nightmare
There were no apologies, just a generic email they send to all their customers when they have a problem, no apologies, no practical solutions… NOTHING!
We quickly decided to contact customer service again via their phone number.
The response of the operator who attended us left us even more perplexed if possible:
«I can do nothing to help them, because this case has already passed to a higher department and they are the ones who must solve this problem, you can only contact them by responding to the email they have sent you, as they do not answer by phone call «
It should be noted that the email had been sent to us by an autoresponder, and at the bottom of it the phrase clearly stated: «This is an automatic response, please do not reply to this email»
So all this ended up dislodging. A week had passed since the owner wrote to us asking us to cancel the reservation ourselves, and no one had offered us a practical solution .
It wasn’t until we started bombarding them with messages from every possible channel that we finally got a response.
The text that you can read below is exactly the answer they gave us after much insistence.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience and consternation this situation may be causing you.
Our role is to monitor the situation between both sides and, in the event that no solution is found, to provide assistance to travelers through our Abritel® – HomeAway ™ reservation guarantee. Therefore, the owners are responsible for the cancellation and refund of reservations «
Wow! This was a big surprise for us.
We sincerely expected an apology, followed by a; «Do not worry, everything is controlled, in a few hours you will have your money deposited in your bank account», but it was not like that.
We contacted the owner
Given that if we kept claiming in this way we were going to run out of money and without an apartment, we decided to contact the owner directly .
We express our discomfort at this real nightmare, and we indicate that we would not hesitate to resort to justice if it were necessary if we did not receive our refund in the next few days.
A few hours later, the owner contacted us. We imagine that, driven by fear of a possible inspection or something similar, his response left us even more depressed.
“ First, I ask you not to scare me with the issue of justice.
On the other hand, it is homeaway that has not allowed me to reimburse the amount charged.
I will do my best to give you the money.
This was beginning to sound like a soap opera, we couldn’t believe what the owner was saying; HomeAway did not allow him to refund the amount charged , but on the other hand, HomeAway charged the owner with all the responsibility for said return.
After more than 20 emails, we managed to get HomeAway to accept the responsibility to return the money paid, but our nightmare was not over yet.
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In one of their emails, they asked us to provide documentation to carry out an investigation into the case, attaching a photocopy of the passport or driver’s license … TOTALLY SURREALIST!
We flatly refuse to agree to these requests, since they themselves have access to all the conversations between the owner and the tenant , not to mention that we had booked with the option of free cancellation and we were already beginning to get tired of this whole issue.
It was then that we suggested writing this article dedicated just for them, when they rushed to give us a fairly sensible answer.
A week later, we get a response from HomeAway
After several days of agonizing wait, they told us that we had to provide them with an international account number associated with the reservation holder. We did so.
After this mail, three more arrived; one of them told us that they were going to pay 80% of the amount of the reservation.
In the following email, they told us that another 15% of the reservation would be paid to us through a new refund.
In the third and last email, they told us that finally through a third transfer, the last 5% would be paid to us. One more time… SURREALIST!
And the money collected, where is it?
More than 10 days after this nightmare began, we have still not received the refund of the amount paid for the reservation , so we will update the article when this happens.
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We have learned the lesson with sticks, but now we know for sure that after booking at HomeAway anything can happen.