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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 117358
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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A vacation rental property owner has $600 from me but refuses

Customer Question

A vacation rental property owner has $600 from me but refuses rent me his property or return my money. The owner and I are in different states, the rental property is in a different state from both of us. The property is handled through VRBO, which is based out of yet another state. Do I try to get my money back from the property owner, VRBO, or both? And which state would I need to go through to file a legal complaint? Thanks.....
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Why will he not return the money to you or rent to you?
VRBO will not return your funds?
If your contract was with the owner, you seek to get the money back from the owner and you would have to sue him in the state where he resides.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your quick response. I will try and make long story short. Last July I paid for a full for a week in September. Had no choice but to reschedule, which was right at a month in advance. Told owner to keep the $600 in good faith effort that we would rebook with him this summer and use $$ as down payment since summer would cost more. Picked a summer week and contacted owner back in late september. He quoted me a 25% higher rate for our selected week than was listed on VRBO website. When asked his reply was that he raised his rates but hadn't updated on website yet. That was september, but as of April this year it still showed 25% less than he was trying to make me pay. BTW, he didn't lose $$ on our original canceled booking, the property was booked that week by someone else. Told owner that was shady and either wanted the advertised quote or a refund. He never responded. In may my husband contacted owner to book a week in august without disclosing that i was his wife. Owner stated the week was available and confirmed website rate. My husband advised owner that he would like to book and that his wife had already provided a $600 deposit he would like to use to secure the rental. He will not confirm rental, answer calls or emails, or refund our $$. As to why VRBO can't help, I have no idea. All they say is that they are mediators and can't make him do anything.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you have tried to negotiate the deal with the owner, your next step is to print out the website prices showing that he was trying to charge you more than advertised, which can be deemed an unfair and deceptive business practice. Your final recourse to get your money back at this point though, I am sorry to tell you, is that you will have to file suit against the owner in small claims court where he resides. Part of your suit can be the reasonable costs of you having to travel to his state to file suit.
Since he agreed to apply your $600 deposit to a future rental, you have the right to use that deposit and the fact that he is now refusing to book the rental or return your money, he is in breach of contract with you in addition to the unfair and deceptive practice and false advertising for advertising one price and trying to charge you a different price.

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