This trip to The Big Easy started a little rough…
I considered VRBO Ruined my Birthday, and Fleas are Not Party Favors as alternate titles but as an optimist, I choose to applaud and uplift Airbnb. They may just have customer for life as VRBO (also Homeaway as they’re all under Expedia) may never get another dime of my money.
Imagine booking your vacation rental months in advance and getting to said property and discovering there’s fleas and receiving radio silence from the property owner. There wasn’t just one flea but an infestation.
Oddly enough, VRBO doesn’t give you the property owner’s number and the only way to reach them is via VRBO’s messaging site. After itching for a good thirty minutes with no response in app, I called VRBO.
“They could surely help as we put over $1100 into this rental.”
The phone wait wasn’t long but explaining my situation on my birthday was frustrating. The first customer service agent accused me of having a pet on vacation with me. I don’t even have a pet at home. The same person asked me if I could prove I wasn’t just taking different photos of the same flea. “Can you get a photo of a few of them together? They’re supposed to have legs. I pulled it up on Google and your photos just have dots.” I raised my brow appalled as I spent an hour and a half trying to gather fleas together. I’m just thankful my boyfriend and BFF’s immediately knew they were fleas.
I got into bed with one bug bite and immediately there were four. I could play connect the dots down my leg. -_- What more proof did these people need?
“We can give you money to buy something to fumigate until we can get in touch with the owner.” That is the point where I hung up on customer service agent number one, as I believe in kindness and was running short on patience and kind words. I also didn’t pay $1100 to be an exterminator and accused of lying.
I calmed down and called again. This time Deja answered. She didn’t insist on me hosting a flea circus. I told her the situation again, sent her more photos and she informed me that she could put in a hotel for one night but we’d have to talk to the property owners for a full refund.
On our way to the AC Hotel our property owner Deborah finally returned one of my dozen calls. We called her seventeen times in two hours. She explained the place was recently being treated for fleas and they had to bomb it every three days (our stay was four days). “It’ll get worse before it gets better. Neighborhood cats are making it hard.”
She’d treat the house again and we could stay free of charge because she felt bad and finding a new place would be hard this time of year.
That was her offer.
We wasted a whole night washing all of our clothes at the AC Hotel before even walking into our new room. We needed to ensure that our room was flea free. I took the last $7 in quarters the hotel desk had on hand.
The most stressful part of this ordeal was being told our refund would take 3-5 business days. We put our heads together and popped a Zyrtec before booking a new vacation rental while on vacation. Airbnb (Hosteeva) came through with a beautiful, cheaper loft right off Canal Street and it didn’t have fleas.
Learning from my last experience, I inspected the room and noticed the futon was broke and customer service just asked for a photo and we enjoyed the rest of the trip hiccup free.
It was full of great food, art, parades, music, we solved an Escape Puzzle, and I even ran into my sister on Bourbon Street. I got to prance around dressed as Harley Quinn for my cake day and experience a little southern hospitality.
I guess there’s a reason vacation rentals are called Airbnbs and not VRBOs. I did receive my refund after my trip was over.
“We can’t expedite the process,” VRBO insisted even though when I paid for the trip my money instantly left my bank account.
“Even though it’s my birthday and I need the money to find somewhere else to stay?”
“That’s correct,” VRBO responded and I was in no way tickled.
Staring at me and my friends bites, I’m irritated and I hope VRBO picks up some empathy. We lost an entire night as we shuffled together to find a new flea free spot as VRBO loves to distance themselves away from the property owner’s when things go wrong. I love souvenirs but flea bites are the worst party favors. Again, shout out to Deja for having a little sympathy. As it was both of our first times dealing with fleas.
Stay tuned next week for an awesome post on the best things to do in New Orleans that isn’t Bourbon Street.
Bourbon is for when you turn 21, Frenchmen Street is where all the 30-year-old people hang out. – Me
Have you had a vacation rental nightmare?