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Has anyone booked holiday accommodation through the website Homeaway.co.uk

(29 Posts)
ihatethecold Tue 13-Jan-15 15:01:41

I'm thinking of booking an apartment in Sardinia in the next day or 2,
I will be paying the owner directly with a credit card for 25% of the amount.
I can't find much out online that's current as to whether they are a safe website to go through.

Anyone used them?

DialMforMummy Tue 13-Jan-15 15:10:25

I think I have. I am in bed now (I live abroad) but I can check tomorrow. Pm if I forget and don't come back on the thread.
Fwiw, I can recommend airbnb, it has been good.

haggisaggis Tue 13-Jan-15 15:12:44

I've used them a few times for accommodation in USA - but the website is just a means for owners to advertise their properties - you deal with the owner and make your booking / payment with them so really depends on the individual owner. I only book with those that have a good number of reviews - preferably reasonably current. I think it's a good site though - and the site does give you tips on booking (not paying using Western Union,, speak to the owner by phone before booking etc ) which is all good advice.

Costacoffeeplease Tue 13-Jan-15 16:12:00

On the other side of the coin, I'm an advertiser on homeaway and have been for about 14 years. As pp have said, they're just a vehicle for individual owners/managers to advertise their properties. You should be able to see how long they've been advertising, which should help a bit if it's several years

pinkbraces Tue 13-Jan-15 16:16:53

We booked a lovely farmhouse in Tuscany last year, it was our first time using these kind of sites and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

We made sure we only looked at places with recent reviews, had been on the site for a while and we spoke to the owner on the telephone before booking.

Have a great holiday

42notTrendy Tue 13-Jan-15 16:25:17

We did in 2013. The apartment we chose didn't have any reviews but was exactly what we were looking for. I contacted the owner via email and their response was prompt, efficient and friendly. I was a bit nervous but the owner's responses reassured me. All was well, was a great holiday!

mummymeister Tue 13-Jan-15 16:33:52

we have booked quite a few places through them. they are just an advertising portal not an agency so make sure you ask the owner lots of questions about what you are getting and check out the reviews carefully.

ihatethecold Tue 13-Jan-15 16:39:36

Thanks everyone,
There are no reviews for the property.
There isn't a lot of choice in my price range in Sardinia, it's very ££££
It says he has been advertising since 2012.
He has been quite prompt replying to my emails.
If I pay by credit card I should be covered, right?

booface Tue 13-Jan-15 16:39:44

I booked a four night stay in LA. I was very cautious as the previous posters have said - it is purely an adverting portal. I googled the owners, googled the property, found out they did indeed own the property, etc. Might be harder to do in Italian, but if you do a basic level of research, you should be fine!

Maybe look at Airbnb if you want another option. There you pay the money to them and they hold it until you are in the property and it is then released to the owner.

booface Tue 13-Jan-15 16:40:27

I would be cautious if there are no reviews on your Sardinia property.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 13-Jan-15 16:44:36

I'd also be cautious if there are no reviews. If there is a phone number, call the owner direct and speak to them.

I have heard of cases where owners' email or own websites have been hacked, happened to friends of mine who arrived at a house for a booked and paid for weekend, the owner was confused because as far as she was concerned there wasn't a booking for that weekend. Turned out owners direct (or similar) had been hacked and basically someone was intercepting her emails and had taken the payment.

They were covered as it was a credit card, but essentially had to come back home again - which was OK as it was UK and they'd driven but would be a major PITA if they'd been abroad.

ihatethecold Tue 13-Jan-15 17:11:07

I have looked at Airbnb also, there isn't a property as nice for the same budget.
My budget is about £1000 max for a week in august and it needs to have access to a pool.
I'm looking near or on the costa smerelda which narrows down my search area somewhat.

I have emailed the owner directly to ask if he advertises elsewhere because there are no reviews.

Thanks for all the advice , it really is much appreciated.

legoqueen Tue 13-Jan-15 19:07:50

I'd telephone the owner if possible rather than e mail - the scams have been where e mails have been intercepted & then dodgy transactions follow. We've booked through them in the past & it was fine, but this was one of the sites mentioned as vulnerable (& as offering little or no protection) in the Press in the last year or so.

ihatethecold Tue 13-Jan-15 21:21:55

We have discounted the place now, I'm now driving my self dizzy looking for elsewhere to stay.

cococandyfloss Tue 13-Jan-15 23:55:02

I have used them before -I always check that the property exists on google earth and I try and book with a British property owner if possible so that I can check out their phone number /linkedin profile/google them etc. I know that sounds a bit stalkerish!

ihatethecold Wed 14-Jan-15 06:26:56

I think that sounds very sensible coco

HelloClouds Wed 14-Jan-15 11:35:21

Always google the name of the villa! Most owners (ourselves included) advertise on at least two or three sites and often have their own websites as well. You may find that even if a villa doesn't have a lot of reviews on HomeAway that there will be reviews on TripAdvisor/Holidaylettings or alternatively Owners Direct - we usually ask previous guests just to put their reviews on TripAdvisor! And I agree with everyone else that you should phone the person you're booking with - I really like to talk to our guests and answer any questions personally and I know most owners do!

CotedePablo Wed 14-Jan-15 11:52:02

Yes, and was very pleased indeed with it. We stayed in California, and also used Airbnb for some of our accommodation (we were touring around).

However, I would agree with others, check feedback. A few years ago we booked through Airbnb for a place in Spain, didn't get anything from the owner in the week or so leading up to when we were going, and discovered that he was a bit thick, and didn't realise that Airbnb held the cash until you were in and happy with things. He'd let it out to someone else in that time, without us knowing. Cue loads of rushing around to get some place to stay last minute. Ok, that could happen to anybody, and I have used them again, but when I got on to Airbnb themselves they were about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

ihatethecold Fri 16-Jan-15 18:33:08

I've booked another apartment through AirBnB.
It's lovely, right by a beach.
Thanks for all your advice. It's really helped.

paul54 Thu 01-Feb-18 21:59:56

Homeaway complaint
Ibiza town, property number #8312876 contact: encar

Owner cancelled booking, doubled prices, then re advertised

We booked our family villa holiday Aug 2017 for June 2018 holiday.
We contacted owner December 2017 to confirm all ok prior to booking 8 return flights.
January 2018 we received emails from owner (whom we had spoken to and she confirmed all was ok, 4 weeks prior) stating she did not know how booking was made, it was not her, she was cancelling and refunding payment. However, if we would like to re book, our dates are available - albeit the price had been more than doubled!

We now had 8 return flights booked and no accommodation.

We contacted Homeaway, they were not interested and we were not even allowed to leave a review, as we had not stayed there.

They suggested we go through their on line complaints procedure, we did, we received 1 email acknowledging our complaint, advising they would investigate. Then nothing, except an email to rate them on their service on the matter!

Refunded payment £142 less than paid. homeaway not interested

I paid original reservation deposit, about £1,400 and homeaway book with confidence insurance fee, about £350 through the homeaway web site using my barclaycard.
Upon receiving my refund, some weeks later, it was £142 less than originally paid.
This was due to international payment charges incurred on payments out and payment refunded and the fact that the euro exchange rate had weakened from original booking to refund.
I explained all this to homeaway and they weren’t interested. They said they were bank charges, nothing to do with them.
I reminded them that we had done nothing wrong. We had booked through Homeaway, paid through homeaway, it was cancelled through homeaway by their customer, and we were refunded through the homeaway process. Why should we not receive every penny we had been originally charged?
I then contacted Barclaycard directly and explained the situation. They were very professional and informed me that it is the merchants duty to refund original sum in full, including all charges etc. Barclaycard then said they would credit my account immediately and take the matter up with homeaway. Hooray for Barclaycard

Summary
Homeaway holiday bookings - BEWARE
You are NOT protected through homeaway
You will get NO help from homeaway
All homeaway are interested in is their fees and an automated booking process.
Anything that does not fit this formula, they will not rectify.

Haisuli Fri 02-Feb-18 08:19:46

That is scary Paul. I thought that HomeAway would be better than that. It is scary that the villa is still there.
However, looking at the listing I wouldn't touch it because
a) No reviews
b)Only 60% response rate from owner.
c) there is no name on the villa so you can't google it and see where else it is listed/get more reviews/pics.

We've always followed these rules and been ok so far. Mind you my mum and dad booked somewhere with loads of lovely reviews but it was filthy. They hated being there and had to buy new mugs to drink their tea out of, and had to sit on the balcony to drink it because they couldn't stand being inside. I guess you take your chances. Shame on Homeaway though :-(

Brighteyes27 Fri 02-Feb-18 08:42:47

Yes several times I have used them holiday lettings and owners direct. Usually I chose somewhere with lots of positive reviews. But once booked a property in Rome with no reviews it looked fantastic, was really cheap and in a perfect location but no reviews. I emailed the owner who said it was new to the market hence no reviews and all worked out perfectly.

mummymeister Fri 02-Feb-18 08:48:01

I think that the problem is that it is difficult to differentiate agencies and websites. an agency will have inspected the property, know the owner have all the support stuff in place etc. A website is just that - a portal where people who own holiday homes advertise.

you have to go into something like this with your eyes open. if it looks too good to be true then it usually is. if there is no property name, proper address and just a generic sort of photo spread, don't touch it. if there are no reviews, don't touch it. we nearly got caught out with a villa in Cyprus. looked fantastic but no reviews. I found out that the villa owner had 6 villas in his ownership and basically picked the best photos from each one for the website. he couldn't see anything wrong with this at all! despite the fact it showed a stunning sea view in the advert which only one of the villas had. we always re-google and look at info on the villa name and on sites like trip advisor. unfortunately there are scammers out there.

travelplan Mon 26-Nov-18 21:36:13

The worst company you can deal with. I am sure most of the reviews here are fake. For my family and friends, my simple advice is to stay away from this website.

I booked a free cancellable apartment for £800 and cancelled 2 days later to know that £55 has been deducted on transaction charges. Used booking.com or hotels.com and cancelled so many times where free cancellation is allowed and paid £0.00 as cancellation charges.

It's a scam and you must stay away from them if you don't want to lose your money.

After looking at Paul54 message and being with barclaycard now will contact them and see if they can help me with that.

travelplan Mon 26-Nov-18 21:37:48

The above message was for Homeaway.co.uk

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