Thursday, May 4, 2017

Expedia/HomeAway thinks that illegal, unhealthy and dangerous rentals are OK! (Visa agrees!)

My shredder did such a good job on my Cabela's Club Visa that most of the bits were too small to arrange. I am confident that, if HomeAway had allowed us to use American Express (as their website fraudulently led us to believe) this saga never would have dragged on for more than four months. And the outcome would have been different.

Brief Summary of Fraudulent, Illegal, Dangerous & Unhealthy HomeAway Rental & Visa's Complicity

The following is from an email sent to HomeAway (a division of Expedia) and to Cabela's Club Visa on May 3, 2017. The links in the text are to previous posts on this site that contain photos, video, audio and descriptions of the illegal and dangerous accommodations that HomeAway/Expedia rented to us.

According to Cabela's Club Visa who profited from the transaction, dangerous, illegal and unhealthy accommodations are exactly what we know we were paying for so we should not complain.  Alternatively, their logic indicates that we should have left the boat and spent the next two weeks in a homeless shelter or on the streets in the December rain.

We would rather not go to court, but Expedia, Homeaway and Visa have all told us they will do nothing.

HomeAway rented to us an illegal, dangerous, rat-infested, mold-afflicted, dark, damp, poorly ventilated, former cargo boat for a visit to Amsterdam, December 15-29 2016.

HomeAway has since refused to reimburse us despite the fact that we were fraudulently induced by their website which promised a spacious, comfortable, well-appointed Amsterdam canal houseboat. HomeAway has refused to consider any reimbursement.

See our initial January 14, 2016 complaint to them here: Expedia/HomeAway Doesn't Care About Rats, Electrocution Risks, Carbon Monoxide, Black Mold, Fraudulent Listing.

Visa has knowingly aided, abetted, and improperly profited from this illegal and dangerous transaction. It refuses to help in this matter because they said we got what we paid for because we didn’t leave.  


 We certainly didn’t get what we paid for and we didn’t leave because there was no where to go. We were unable to leave because this was holiday season and there were no alternate accommodations. Had the rats breeding in the walls been active in the daytime when we first entered the boat, we would have made arrangements to travel to another city.


 What’s more, the rental was a violation of Amsterdam city laws. We learned this three days after checking in. That’s when we received an email from the owner pleading with us to lie to city inspectors if they paid a visit to the boat.

For more, please see: Is Expedia/HomeAway Illegally Renting in Amsterdam? What’s more, HomeAway and Visa illegally and improperly conspired to enable an illegal transaction.

At the very least, HomeAway knew the transaction was illegal. Visa has benefited financially by its continuing role in funding illegal activity. Our decision to try and make the best of a bad situation was based on the:
  1. Lack of alternate accommodations.
  2. Fact that we had already paid for the fraudulently represented rental and were unsure of recovering money already paid.
  3. Fact that all of the potentially life-threatening dangers were not immediately apparent.
Obviously, our decision to try and live with the floating slum we had rented turned out to be a bad decision.


  As verified by audio, video, emails and scores of photos(at this posting: “Serious injury or death: HomeAway/Expedia ignores substantial hazards in Amsterdam Rental”, the accommodations were dangerous:
  • The tiny galley had a gas stove. But there was no fan or vent. Not near the stove nor anywhere in the boat. This was December with freezing temperatures. That presented a carbon monoxide hazard that others may not have noted.
  • Illegal and dangerous electrical fixtures adjacent to wet areas provided the only light in bathroom areas
  • The boarding ramp was slippery, lacked a proper handrail.
  • Once on board, it was easy to fall into the canal because we had to make our way along a very narrow walkway between the water and a raised deck area with nothing to hold onto.
  • There were no railings on the small boarding ramp or on the narrow, extremely steep ladder-like steps down below.
Any one of these could have resulted in serious death and/or injury.

They are lethal liabilities that were known or would have been known to any and all parties had any level of ordinary care been exercised.


This is a close-up of the rectangular area in the next image (which is taken from the HomeAway web site and is obviously Photoshopped. This is what the underside looks like. Rats crawled, scrambled, scratched, and squeaked just above this and in the walls. There seems to have been a nest just above this panel. The darkest areas are mold. The surface was damp to the touch and I believe this was from rat urine.
This is an annotated screen capture from the HomeAway web site. It was obviously staged and Photoshopped because the boat was dimly lit. The rectangle denotes one of the areas where rats lived.


Once down below, it was apparent that little of the dark, cramped and chaotic quarters resembled the photos on the web which had obviously been Photoshopped.

After three days, the aft compartment became unusable for sleeping.

This is because the rats scrambling in the walls caused our daughter great distress when she was unable to sleep.

 Even when she moved to sleeping on a narrow padded bench in the main cabin, she had trouble sleeping because the sounds were still very loud.

Our visit was supposed to be an enjoyable and academically educational holiday visit to reward our daughter for receiving a scholastic “full-ride” to college.

It was certainly memorable in ways we had not anticipated and educational in many unpleasant aspects.

More details about other verified facts that made this a regrettable stay can be found on the web at HomeAway/Expedia Horrors.Com. That site also has a selection of the many photos, videos and audio files of rats scratching and scrambling inside the walls and panels.  


  We attempted to use HomeAway’s complicated and serpentine online complaint process, but it requires the user to sign away most of their rights and ability to recover before they can even access the formal complaint forms.

That process fraudulently induces people to relinquish and surrender consumer rights under California law without proper disclosure or adequate warnings.

For more, please see: Expedia/HomeAway "Guarantee" False, Misleading, Confusing & Violates Consumer Protections.

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