thumbs down gesture

Every once in a while, once, maybe twice a year, I give myself the leeway to rant about something totally unrelated to IT strategy on this blog.  So here we go!!  Maybe I’ll make some loose link to this false sense of trust we get from feeling connected to people online via others’ positive reviews … but no promises.  I’m primarily just going to rant.

Six weeks ago I began researching houses to rent for my family in the mountains this summer.  Since we need a pretty large place, there weren’t a ton of options, but we found one that looked great and came to agreement with the owner on renting his place for a week.  We agreed to the price, and to the dates.  He was on vacation and said that we’d work through the contract as soon as he got back.  I emailed and called a few times and that continued to be his story.  He assured me the house was ours and we’d work through the details later.

Long story short, I got screwed.  When I called him once again this morning to ask to finalize the contract he acted like he didn’t even know me at first and then claimed to not remember the previous conversations.  We talked for about 20 minutes and by the end of it he did remember and apologized, but couldn’t do anything for me.  Needless to say, I will be writing a pretty harsh review on vrbo.com to warn others, but it may be lost amidst all his great reviews.

After channeling all that negative energy into making cold calls for work (which worked surprisingly well), I started looking around for alternative places to sleep.  In talking to one nice salesperson from a management company, I heard some much worse horror stories about VRBO.com.  Apparently there’s a whole slew of scams out there where people post pictures of houses that aren’t theirs, collect payment in full, and send people to knock on the door of some very surprised homeowner who knew nothing about their intended “guests”!  I guess I should be thankful I’m not out any money.

That’s my venting and here’s my warning.  Just beware online, even if you THINK it is a reputable website and you see that people get great reviews.  Again, I’m lucky I’m not out any money and that we didn’t show up with no place to stay.  I think from now on I’ll use a real business to do this kind of thing.

PS, Meich, if you are reading this, don’t worry!  The kids have all pitched in to find some other fabulous places today… it is going to be a great vacation. 🙂