Saturday, January 28, 2017

Expedia/HomeAway "Guarantee" False, Misleading, Confusing & Violates Consumer Protections

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It's been three weeks now since we contacted Expedia/HomeAway regarding the rats, safety hazards and fraudulent promotion of the Amsterdam canal boat we rented from them. (RATS! Notifying HomeAway/Expedia)

The issues remain unaddressed. Their "guarantee" is clearly fraudulent, their multiple online Terms of Service forms are long, vague, confusing, often filled with seeming contradictions,  and formatted in a manner that makes them difficult to read and understand.

Expedia/HomeAway Refuses to Accept Responsibility for Rats, Dangerous Rental Conditions, Property Fraud

The only response from Expedia/HomeAway was to fill out a series of forms, all of which are lengthy, time-consuming, and disavow taking any action unless your credit card company has provably refused to reverse the charges to the card used to make the payment. 

This is significant for three reasons:

(1) It means that Expedia/HomeAway does not take any responsibility for the properties they rent. That is a false and misleading action that makes the Expedia/HomeAway "guarantee" meaningless.

(2) Because Expedia/HomeAway requires pre-payment on rentals, the request to the credit card company is often too late to meet the credit card company's rules.

 (3) Requests to the credit card company involve an additional time and major hassle factor that becomes a personal cost to the renter. This alone can be a barrier to recovery of funds.

Rats, Electrocution Hazards, Carbon Monoxide, Fraudulent Misrepresentation NOT Covered by Bogus "Guarantee"

The "guarantee" does not cover issues such as rats, dangerous safety hazards, and/or properties which  were fraudulently represented in the property rental web page by Expedia/HomeAway.

The Basic Rental Guarantee Terms and Conditions is a 6-page, 2,381-word mass of tiny, hard-to-read type which is clearly designed to impose an unreasonable barrier to reading and understanding.

Even the format -- tiny type and no paragraph breaks -- makes it hard to read, harder to comprehend, and reduces to practically zero the chances that a new renter will read or comprehend them.

Below is the paragraph which describes the entire protection offered by Expedia/HomeAway's fraudulent "guarantee."

Text is reproduced here at 100% of that on the web.

Meaningless "Guarantee" Designed to Protect Expedia/HomeAway and Not the Consumer

Indeed the "guarantee" covers only the misappropriation of funds -- only up to $1,000. That limit and the omission of safety, quality, and fraudulent representation of a property clearly show that this "guarantee" was designed to protect Expedia/HomeAway and not the consumer.

"Guarantee" Limits NOT DISCLOSED In Basic Rental Terms of Service 

In addition to the "guarantee" being grossly inadequate, the "Book with Confidence Guarantee from HomeAway" does not clearly state that it is it is a Terms of Service agreement for renting a property.

Even if that ToS issue was clearly addressed, the basic Tos-"Guarantee" text NEVER mentions the $1,000 limit, and fails to mention any guarantee if a property is unsafe or presents a danger to life and health.

More telling in the "Book with Confidence" ToS text, Expedia/HomeAway failed to provide a link to the Reimbursement Request Form." The underlines there and in the rest of the form are simple text underlines. There are no hyperlinks. In addition, by renting, a renter has agreed to accept these ToS requirements and, by proxy those of the Reimbursement Request Form

Sign Away Your Rights -- NOT!

We filled out the online Reimbursement Request Form. However, the web page demanded that we agree to the ToS mentioned above before we were allowed to submit the form. We read the eye-blinding text and realized that we were signing away all our rights.

We did not submit that form

Instead, we sent the information to Expedia/HomeAway on January 6, 2017. They have have steadfastly refused to address the issues. That is why we posted the same, identical letter on this site: RATS! Notifying HomeAway/Expedia.

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