Coronavirus: Policies vary for refunds for virus-related cancellations on vacation rentals

Coronavirus: Policies vary for refunds for virus-related cancellations on vacation rentals
People across the country have had to cancel trips because of the coronavirus and getting a refund or credit for a cancellation at a vacation rental can be tricky. (File photo via Pixabay.com)

People across the country have had to cancel trips because of the coronavirus and getting a refund or credit for a cancellation at a vacation rental can be tricky.

Sue Brumm and her family had been planning a trip to Phoenix which was supposed to take place last week.

They booked the trip on Vrbo in November but had to change plans about a week before leaving because of the pandemic.

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"Hour by hour things were changing and cities were closing down,” Brumm said.

Brumm had already paid more than $2,000 in full and tried to get help from the property owner about a refund or a credit.

Brumm said she hasn’t been able to get any answers.

“This is not OK,” Brumm said. “We’re out $2,000.”

WFTV contacted Vrbo to find out what options there are for people like Brumm.

A spokesperson for the company said they are refunding 100% of Vrbo traveler service fees for trips canceled because of the coronavirus.

As for the money paid to the property owner, Vrbo said the owner is either supposed to give the customer a credit for full value or they are supposed to give the customer at least a 50% refund.

But here’s the catch: The enforcement of the policy is limited.

A homeowner who does not follow those rules will only lose out on the benefit of additional visibility when travelers do online searches.

“Partners who do not abide by these standards (offering a 100% credit/refund of at least 50%) will be disadvantaged vis-à-vis those who act within our policy,” the policy states on the website.

Vrbo said it’s looking into Brumm’s case

"I understand their side,” Brumm said. “They're running a business. But what is going on is not something that's under anybody's control or could have been foreseen."

Airbnb said it will give full refunds for reservations made on or before March 14, 2020, for stays with check-in dates between March 14, 2020, and April 14, 2020.