A Stamford woman reached out to NBC Connecticut Responds to share her story when her vacation rental didn’t live up to expectations.
Jamie Lamborn said she’s a frequent customer of vacation rentals. However, it was her first time booking a reservation with HomeAway.com.
“I’ve had friends use it before. So, it was recommended to use it,” said Jamie Lamborn.
The Stamford resident said she wanted to spend a quiet week with her mom at home nearby that she spotted on the website because she had limited space in her Stamford apartment.
She showed us the receipt, which indicated she spent $1,112 for a week-long stay from November 26 to December 1 of 2018. But on the day that Lamborn checked into the home, she said things felt off.
“I was surprised that the homeowner was there greeting me and she seemed a little uncomfortable and I was uncomfortable as well as I had to ask her to show me around the place,” said Lamborn.
According to HomeAway’s policy, it does not allow the homeowner to be present in the property during the rental. Lamborn was also shocked by the condition inside of the property.
“The place was dirty. There were dishes everywhere, dog pee pads…just a mess and it seemed really disgusting,” said Lamborn.
Lamborn said she picked her mom up from the airport and headed back to the home. Since it was 11:30 that night, the two decided to stay overnight and called HomeAway the next morning.
“They said they actually don’t host homes with a shared living space like that. So, I was expecting that we’d have this private area to ourselves. So that was confusing at first,” said Lamborn.
Lamborn said she left the property and filed a claim with HomeAway asking for a refund for the remaining days.
“They said that the negotiations on whether I would get my money back or cancellation would be at the discretion of the homeowner, said Lamborn.
HomeAway also instructed Lamborn to file a claim through her bank, which she said she did. A few days later, Jamie said HomeAway informed her that she needed to file a second claim to get the damage deposit refunded.
“They told me they were going to reach out to the homeowner and explain what the claim was about on my side and wait to hear their response,” said Lamborn.
Lamborn said HomeAway also told her to try and resolve the issue with the homeowner herself while they processed the claim.
Meanwhile, the bank denied Lamborn’s claim for the damage deposit. After she provided the proper documents, HomeAway sent her confirmation through email stating that the company would refund her $500.
When we contacted HomeAway for comment, the company told NBC Connecticut Responds:
“HomeAway does not permit owner-occupied rentals or other types of shared spaces on our site. Once we found out this rental was owner-occupied, we removed it from our site.”
As for Lamborn, she’s just relieved to have this experience behind her.
“It was a horrible experience and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that,” said Lamborn.
Some things to remember when booking a vacation home rental: Be sure to read the host’s profile, listing description, pay attention to the amenities, house rules and cancellation policy. Read the ratings and reviews and make sure to protect your personal information.