O Captain! My captain, why are you keeping my deposit?

Tim Clark chartered a fishing excursion to celebrate his son’s upcoming wedding. When inclement weather caused the entire trip to be canceled, he expected his $500 deposit to be quickly returned.

The captain had other ideas. Read more “O Captain! My captain, why are you keeping my deposit?”

Help! This rental deposit is nonrefundable — and now I’m being muzzled

After Kim Thomas rented a five-bedroom home in Dallas this spring through HomeAway.com, she made three troubling discoveries:

First, the deposit was nonrefundable. Period.

Second, she wasn’t allowed to criticize the deposit’s nonrefundability or she would face litigation.

And third, HomeAway.com, would not do anything to help her. Read more “Help! This rental deposit is nonrefundable — and now I’m being muzzled”

Hey HomeAway, I’m back home, but my deposit is still away

Nancy Friedman paid a $1,500 damage deposit when she rented a condo in Santa Barbara, Calif. through HomeAway. There’s no damage. Why is her refund delayed? Read more “Hey HomeAway, I’m back home, but my deposit is still away”

Hey VRBO, what happened to the security deposit on my vacation rental?

I’m a longtime admirer — and critic — of VRBO, the dominant vacation rental site. I like the way it consolidates a disorganized business like vacation rentals into a cohesive online marketplace and makes it easy for consumers and rental owners to find each other. But one thing I’ve never been able to understand is how it disingenuously feigns neutrality in disputes between managers and customers.
Read more “Hey VRBO, what happened to the security deposit on my vacation rental?”

Help, my Mexican vacation rental pocketed my deposit!

Nancie Thomas had no reason to believe the owner of her vacation rental in Akumal, Mexico, would keep her $1,000 deposit. Her friends had rented the same house on three separate occasions, “and had a great experience each time,” she says.

Alas, the fourth time wasn’t a charm for Thomas.

Her first warning? The method of payment.

“We were surprised when the owner asked for a deposit check rather than credit card,” she recalls. “But we confirmed with our friends that they had always made the deposit by check.”

(Let me stop right here and say it: Always, always insist on paying by credit card. If Thomas had done that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.)
Read more “Help, my Mexican vacation rental pocketed my deposit!”