HomeAway’s fees anger renters and owners
HomeAway.com, the online vacation rental site, has riled customers with a change in practices that some say has made the getaways of their renters more expensive.
At issue is a new “service fee” that HomeAway imposed in February on renters who book through the company’s site. The move has infuriated property owners, some of whom pay HomeAway thousands of dollars each year to list on the site. They say HomeAway, which owns VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com, is using its market power to hit renters with excessive fees.
“I was blindsided by the fees,” says Ivan Arnold, a Los Angeles-based investor who lists five homes on VRBO.com. Arnold is the lead plaintiff is a class-action lawsuit filed against HomeAway in March, claiming fraud and breach of contract. Arnold claims the service fee has “had a devastating effect on inquiries and bookings. We already pay them to list; they shouldn’t go after our renters as well.”