Traveler rents ‘VRBO nightmare’ when she realizes that her rental is hosting an estate sale. Customer service is doing nothing

@mommysquirrel/TikTok Postmodern Studio/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘That is NOT OKAY’: Traveler rents ‘VRBO nightmare’ when she realizes that her rental is hosting an estate sale. Customer service is doing nothing

‘As an owner of many rentals, VRBO IS TERRIBLE. We dropped them last year.’


Stacy Fernandez


When this woman pulled up to her Vrbo rental with her kids, a contractor told her the home wasn’t livable—she says Vrbo didn’t do much to help.

That’s not what you want to hear on the first day of your beach vacation on one of the busiest weekends of the year (Fourth of July).

Vrbo, which stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner, is a site that specializes in renting out vacation homes, such as houses, condos, cabins, and villas, to large groups.

Its mission statement focuses on ensuring families can find a place to stay for their vacation that comfortably accommodates everyone (aka less having to share a bed between parents and kids or among siblings).

While it arguably has less name recognition than short-term rental giant Airbnb, it’s actually been around longer. In fact, Vrbo rented out its first home in 1995, more than a decade before Airbnb’s 2007 launch.

In a viral TikTok with more than 600,000 views, mother of two @mommysquirrel shared her Vrbo “nightmare.”

A Vrbo nightmare

When the TikToker pulled up to the Galveston, Texas property with her kids, she immediately noticed things were off since construction was happening. Unable to get in touch with the owners, she says she called the real estate agent since there was a sign out front with their info since the house was being sold.

The agent let her know that there was mold in the house and that the construction being done was to rectify that health issue.

On top of that, she says the kid’s beds had no mattresses, and there was going to be a two-day estate sale during the time she was supposed to be renting the house.

The creator says she called Vrbo about her concerns, and they essentially told her the situation didn’t look “so bad.” They—who preach comfortable living situations for families—suggested her kids just sleep in the primary bedroom with her.

But @mommysquirrel pointed out she didn’t even have access to the home. She was only able to see inside for a bit because of a helpful construction worker.

After being on hold for three hours with three different agents (not a great start to the vacation), she claims Vrbo told her they couldn’t get a hold of the owner, and that they had no other properties to offer her, which left her feeling frustrated.

According to the creator, customer service ultimately gave her some money to try to book a hotel, but judging from the fact that the TikToker turned around and drove back home, it didn’t seem to be enough to cover a last-minute booking at a popular vacation destination.

“I thought they were better than Airbnb,” she says. “…We’re not happy with the solution.”

“We’re sad that our vacation was cancelled, …but we’re gonna make the best of it,” she added in another video featuring her two kids.

@mommysquirrel VRBO nightmare. @Vrbo anyone else? #4thofjuly #galvestontx #frustrated #airbnb ♬ original sound – TK

The owners never approved the booking

Plot twist, the creator did eventually get in contact with the owners, who said they had no clue her family was coming—hence the construction and estate sale.

They told her they’d deactivated their account months ago and didn’t remember approving the reservation. Though @mommysquirrel pointed out she did get a message with check-in instructions (this could have been automated).

“It seems like there was a glitch,” she says.

Once the owners realized what was happening, they canceled the reservation so she could get a refund.

People in the comments section had a lot to say.

“As an owner of many rentals, VRBO IS TERRIBLE. We dropped them last year,” a top comment read.

“VRBO should have paid for the expenses of any hotel you could comfortably get into,” a person suggested.

“My parents booked a beach house on VRBO, and it got canceled on Sunday when they were arriving Monday morning this week!!” another shared.

The Daily Dot reached out to TK for comment via TikTok direct message and comment and to Vrbo via email.

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