What you need to know before booking this summer vacation home – Boston 25 News

“It was hell”: what you need to know before booking this summer vacation home

A couple claims they lost thousands of dollars after renting a luxury vacation home due to its poor condition.

Kim and Paul Walz thought they had found their dream vacation home in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

“Had a nice view of the pool, ocean view,” said Paul Walz.

Walz said that was according to photos and rave reviews they found on Vrbo, a popular rent-by-owner website.

They paid $12,000 upfront for three months. They didn’t expect the nightmare they found behind the front door.

“I think, I paid for it, and that’s what I’m getting,” Walz said. He said there was a broken toilet, a leaking fridge, broken blinds, broken furniture, and they found an old paint can supporting one corner of the bed.

” A pot of paint. The slats had broken and this man thought the easiest solution was to use a paint can,” Walz said.

The couple claim that all attempts to clean and repair the house have failed as the landlord has not responded to them or Vrbo.

“They couldn’t contact the owner, so it was all put to bed,” Walz said.

The couple said they left a month early and lost $4,000.

“We thought it was going to be heaven, and it was hell,” Walz said.

For renters like Walz, those nightmares start online. Most vacation renters have not seen the property themselves and make reservations based solely on the photos and reviews they can see.

“We see this beautiful house in Florida, this house really seemed like a luxury house to us,” said Tim – who did not want to share his surname.

He and his wife rented from a property management company that manages homes for private owners in a central Florida resort community.

“It was kind of immediate, you see rips and stains on the furniture,” Tim said.

He claims the pool was not the one pictured online and the promised bassinet could not be found.

He said the unit had not been cleaned and they found a chicken bone on the floor.

Tim said that after complaining “no one called back for 24 hours”.

Both couples made their decisions after reading positive reviews online, but said they wouldn’t make that mistake again.

According to Walz, he and his wife wrote a review for the property listed by Vrbo, but the rental company never published it.

When asked about it, Vrbo said the Walzes waited a month to complain, so they weren’t eligible for rebooking, and their review violated company guidelines, so it wasn’t published. .

Consumer experts recommend looking closely at published reviews.

“Look at the dates of these exams. Are they evenly spaced? How many reviews are there? Is there some sort of repetition in these reviews that could be an edited copy-paste situation? said Holly Salmons of the Better Business Bureau.

Ask for the physical address of the property before making the reservation. Search multiple browsers for photos and reviews posted by real renters who have a true story to tell.

Consumers should critically examine photos on large screens, ask for shooting dates, and ask for references you can call.

According to consumer experts, the best defense is to discover the potential problem before you book and pay.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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