A TikTok user and Vrbo renter, Kaya Summer (@kaya.summer), shared a disturbing experience during a Vrbo rental in San Diego, which has since garnered over 538,000 views. Her account is a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with vacation rentals.
In the video, Summer recounts, “I had a very scary situation happen a couple of weeks ago…We rented out a Vrbo in San Diego over New Year’s. We were there for an entire week.” The stay was uneventful until their final night when, at 2:30 in the morning, Summer was startled by unfamiliar voices in the living room. She describes her initial confusion, thinking her little brother and dad were conversing, only to realize that the voices were of two strangers.
Describing the confrontation, she says, “There are two strange men in the living room that I have never seen before… And they’re yelling at us, saying, ‘What are you doing here? This is my house. Why are you in my house?'” The situation quickly escalated, with the intruders accusing Summer and her family of breaking in and being uninvited. Despite showing them their rental agreement, the men remained aggressive and confrontational.
The Vrbo renter recounts the tension: “I kind of got in his face and was a little bit like, ‘Hey, we rented this. I don’t know what your deal is.’ And he starts yelling at me…” The family’s attempt to reason with the men was futile, leading to an even more disturbing turn when the police were called.
Summer notes, “The cops show up. We show them my reservation. They ask us a few questions, and they’re like, ‘Alright, well, have a good night.’ And then they leave.”
Reflecting on the security lapses, Summer points out, “That means that the door lock, like the keypad, was never changed… And there was also no deadbolt on the door that could have prevented the situation from happening.” These shortcomings highlight significant safety issues inherent in some vacation rentals.
In the aftermath, Summer contacted Vrbo renter assistance to report the incident but was met with a lackluster response. She explains, “I called Vrbo the next afternoon and said, ‘Hey, this is what happened. This was so scary that I completely assaulted us.’ And Vrbo’s like, ‘Oh yeah, that sounds horrible. I’m so sorry to hear that, blah blah blah.'”
However, Vrbo’s assistance was minimal, with the company asking for proof of the incident.
Despite providing evidence, including a video and a police report, Summer felt Vrbo needed to address their concerns adequately. Expressing her frustration, she states, “So, my dad is trying to escalate the case further with Vrbo, but they’re not budging at all.” This experience has left her questioning the safety and reliability of vacation rental platforms like Vrbo.
@kaya.summer Please help me get their attention XOXO! @Vrbo you need to value your customers and their safety. Get it together. #vrbonightmare #travelnightmare #homeinvasion #fyp #foryou #storytime ♬ original sound – Kaya Summer
There were numerous, sometimes competing ideas about what occurred. Most people believe she was due a refund or at least immediate action from Vrbo. One person told her: “You should post the property address and the property manager that no one will rent from them again. Sorry, you had that experience.”
But others pointed out her interesting comments as if the owners could not have perceived them as threatening: “We’re a family that looks like this? So y’all couldn’t possibly be criminals because ‘you look like this.’ The loudest thing in your video, TBH.” Adding on, another commenter wrote, “‘A family from Utah that look like me’ was INSANE behavior. Not saying they were okay, but we all heard that.”
Summer put up a follow-up post with a brief update while thanking commenters.
Summer’s ordeal as a Vrbo renter underscores the importance of secure and well-managed vacation rentals. It highlights the need for rental platforms to ensure their properties’ safety and provide responsive and supportive customer service in times of distress. Her story, resonating with many viewers, is a cautionary tale about the potential risks and challenges guests face in the vacation rental market. It emphasizes the crucial role of companies like Vrbo in maintaining trust and safety in their service offerings.
The Daily Dot has emailed Vrbo and contacted Summer via TikTok for comment.