This Vacasa rental is a dump. Can I get my money back?

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By Christopher Elliott

The vacation rental Carol Wilson books for her group through Vacasa is infested with rats and insects. Vacasa offers to refund one night. Can they get all of their money back?


I planned a trip for a group from a small rural town in Kansas. I booked a vacation rental in Galveston, Texas, through Vacasa. From the start, the stay was truly horrible. The house had not been cleaned. As the days went by, things only deteriorated. We found rats, cockroaches, and bedbugs. The air conditioner went out, and the owners didn’t repair it.

I have kept a record of all calls, texts, and emails to Vacasa but have received very little back in terms of responses. Vacasa staff members promise to get back to us but don’t.  

Vacasa has offered to refund one night of our stay. We want a full refund. Can you help us get our $6,292 back? —  Carol Wilson, Wichita, Kan.


Your vacation rental was a dump. According to your notes, the house wasn’t clean when you arrived. There was trash in the house and the outside garbage bins were overflowing. The toilets were dirty. The beds weren’t made. And that was before you discovered the rodents and insects.

If you ever check into a rental like that again, here’s my advice: Leave immediately! Obviously, no one had serviced the home, and it wasn’t ready for you. Does Vacasa guarantee that your home will be clean? In fact, Vacasa promises that its homes will be squeaky clean — or, in its words, premium clean. “Our professional team is committed to providing clean and safe homes for our guests and owners each and every stay,” it says.

Here’s how you could have fixed this Vacasa problem

It appears Vacasa fell far short, at least in your case. I see a lot of back and forth with Vacasa in your paper trail. At some point, it might have been more useful to appeal your case to someone higher up. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Vacasa customer service managers on this site.

At the risk of repeating myself, I don’t think you should have ever accepted this rental. But you did, and that complicates things. Your group not only stayed in this inferior rental, but it also cleaned the property and purchased trash bags, new pillows and blankets, and laundry detergent. I commend you for trying to be a better renter by staying in the home and cleaning it. But ultimately, that was the wrong decision.

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Because your group stayed in the property, Vacasa assumed you found the accommodations acceptable. Like all vacation rental companies, it has a policy for offering refunds when something goes wrong. Staying in the rental means you have accepted the accommodations, and that makes a full refund all but impossible. (Related: The reader didn’t scratch the vacation rental’s floor, why should she pay for damages.)

Unless, of course, you call me. You reached out to my advocacy team for help. I asked Vacasa to take another look at your group’s experience. I also forwarded some of the photos of the property. Vacasa contacted you and raised its offer to $3,200, or about a 50 percent refund. Your group is happy with that resolution.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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