Classified Scam

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Scam contentsChris Ferguson
• 1 h ago
In Sept., 2022, I rented a short term rental for the month of March, 2023, from VRBO, who transferred the account to Houzlet. 2 weeks before we were to leave, Houzlet cancelled the reservation. I have been on the phone with Houzlet many many times for my refund, and all they say is call your credit card company for the refund. I have lost $3,705.00.
Comment / Reviewit has been reported that houzlet cancels reservations about two weeks before the due date, there for hurting both the tennants and the landlords.
They also refused to offer any form of refund or compensation.
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  • Reviews and comments left by Internet users are sorted in chronological order and are not checked a priori

    • Kay 06/13/2023 at 06:48 PM

      Just got them delisted from my listing on VRBO. Houzlet is a big scam and guests need to know this. I wonder why VRBO continues to allow them because as of today, they are still listing properties on VRBO. I suppose they cannot ban them if some of the listings are legit, but I would susp0ect that after so many complaints, they would want to vet this company, but meh, I doubt they will. To hosts and guests out there, watch out for Houzlet, the cannot be trusted!

    • Maggie 07/06/2023 at 03:49 PM

      I took booked a place in Florida for January 2024 but after questioning their policies, I cancelled and I did get refund. Apparently any listing listed on MLS for rent or sale, if option checked in the listing to list on sister sites, is up for grabs by Houzlet who is considered a 'sister' marketing site. They then use VRBO for marketing/listing on their site but once booked on VRBO all financial rental responsibilities gets transferred to Houzlet. VRBO earns it's fee for just listing but they do not see the financial piece at all.

    • Robert 08/30/2023 at 03:02 PM

      I did a search for a monthly luxury rental in boca Found amazing condo for twenty k and went to pay 12k deposit for December 155 tower . Right before I went to pay I googled houzelet scams and saw all the posts and did not complete the deposit . Turns out the building has a three month minimum rental and the listing was totally illgitame . The next day I got a email that was written to leave the impression i was being contacted by the owner but It was really houzelet trying to get me to pay my deposit . I told them I should report them to the police and got a reply that they understood and to please consider them again in the future

    • Almost scammed by Houzlet 09/13/2023 at 10:51 AM

      I was getting ready to pay $16.000 for a condo at the pinacle in Sunny Isle FL when started getting suspicious. I was going to rent for the entire month of February 2024. Turns out after receiving a fake invoice with no information, I started to question the rental with strange answers. Long story short, I was able to get the condo# and reached out to their management team. From there was able to get the listing on this unit. I then spoke to the listing agent and he informed me this unit isn’t even able until June 2034 with a minimum of 6 month rental. They are a total scam. I filed with BBB and posted on their bogus website and will continue to file complaints. I printed all complaints I saw online and there are many and contacting a Manager at VRBO. In my opinion this will hurt their business too as they should take this more serious.

    • Dennis 10/12/2023 at 03:20 PM

      They just did the same to me, I booked 3 months (Dec, Jan, Feb) in Jensen Beach, FL back in May. They cancelled my reservation a few days ago. I'm guessing they are making / collecting interest by all the down payment monies they collect. VRBO is a waste, they don't bother doing anything about Houzlet

    • Clan Laird 10/26/2023 at 08:23 AM

      How does a property owner get their property delisted from VRBO (Houzlet). I have a home listed on Airbnb which has been, without any notification or authorization from me, listed on VRBO (Houzlet). How can I get it removed ? It shows the property available for a month which has already been rented through Airbnb. I am very concerned about how this can happen, and it's possible consequences. Help!

    • Aggie 10/28/2023 at 12:23 PM

      Booked a Houzlet home through VRBO and then several weeks after booking they canceled on me, saying the owner decided to sell the property.

      After they tried to find me a different place that wasn't close to what we had booked to begin with, I canceled on the VRBO site. I go back to the VRBO site the next day and see the house is listed again, something definitely looks fishy.

    • martybill 11/07/2023 at 07:45 PM

      I would stay away from anything connected with Houzlet. They cancelled my rental,then offered properties at a 100% increase and said take it or leave it. Bad, bad company

    • Roxi 11/21/2023 at 08:28 AM

      My husband and I booked a Condo through Houzlet for the months of February and March. Paid approximately 85 percent upfront. I received a phone call from someone stating that they were from this company asking me questions about upgrading at a very low cost and requesting permission to charge my card. I immediately felt that something was not right after getting burned last year with VRBO and another partner that they are with Christian RRP, and sure enough nothing but bad reviews. Not sure why VRBO continues to partner with these individuals. VRBO is very difficult to deal with in getting your money back and then denying any knowledge of wrong doing. I call BS on VRBO's part. To many complaints to not be aware. RUN RUN RUN from Houzet or Christian RRP.

    • Steve_2022 12/01/2023 at 04:34 PM

      Wow I can't believe these reviews or comments on this site. Well I rented a home for 3 months on Houzlet after my airbnb host left me stranded. I had no issues renting the home or checking into the property. I am sure like airbnb they get some scam listings but again I had no issues on my end. Also they have 5000 + reviews on airbnb, vrbo and expedia maybe that should be taken into considering next time when you use them.

    • Don Eklund 12/04/2023 at 05:06 PM

      We rented a condo with Vrbo however houzlet was the property manager. I booked in April of 2023 for 6 weeks in Florida. We were to leave on January 1 of 2024. On November 27, 2023 I was notified that the property was sold. I have been trying to get my money back from them and it is not going good. Do not go with Houzlet. I have learnt my lesson.

    • Robert T 12/07/2023 at 12:55 PM

      I've rented through VRBO in the past without incident. I booked a home in Estero Fl in March '23 for Feb and March '24. Received a cancellation notice 2 months later that the owners were selling the property (seems a common occurrence) and fortunately the money was refunded. I rebooked another for the same timeframe and 6 months later (November) got the same cancellation notice that the property was selling. As I've seen in other posts, the property was delisted. I called to ask why it was delisted if the property was for sale, and was told that was a mistake. I've been trying to get my refund for this SECOND cancellation and have had nothing but trouble. STAY AWAY FROM HOUZELET

    • San 12/13/2023 at 05:58 PM

      Same story as others. Booked a place for Jan 2023 for our winter vacation and 30 days before the move-in date, got cancelation from Houzelet saying the owners needed the place for themselves. Offered me other options at twice the rate. Won't give me my deposit back. Any suggestions where I can report them?

    • Don 12/15/2023 at 05:18 PM

      I received a call from the listing agent for the place I put a deposit down on back in March 23 for a stay in Feb/Mar 24. He informed me that that unit I booked wasnt even available for rent in that timeframe. Now Ive been fighting to get my deposit back. Houzlet has been telling me that the transaction is past 180 days and the merchant cant return the funds due to their merchants policy. I know that the merchant doesnt keep all of the deposit, they only charge a fee to process credit cards. Any person that owns a business knows this. Houzlet has my money, and they are offering to give me a voucher for that amount Im owed. Im not the smartest man in the world but know I would never want to book a doghouse with them in the future.

    • Jobie 12/21/2023 at 12:42 PM

      They are known for ripping listings from local realtors and posting them on VRBO as a "feeder" so they can place travelers in more expensive accommodations at the last minute....after 'they' cancel the bogus booking. People are desperate so they pay double. Total scam. Stay away.

    • Susan Leonard 12/26/2023 at 05:57 PM

      Ditto to most of the comments above. InJune,2023 we rented a lovely condo in Naples, Fl for the month of January 2024. I found the listing on VRBO but was rerouted to Houzlet. I never dreamed they were scammers since we had rented many other times through VRBO and had no problems and figured Houzlet was vetted by them. Well same story as above. On Dec 5 we were notified that the condo was having "electrical problems that couldn't be fixed until end of January. We were offered 3 "comparable" rentals that were twice or more than the original contract amount. After much frustrating correspondence the company refused to refund our deposit because it was past the 180 day window......a situation that was caused by them not us. As of today I am addressing the issue with my credit card company to dispute the charge. My advice is RUN, not walk away from any association with Houzlet.

    • Rhonda Beach 12/28/2023 at 07:33 PM

      I am having the same issue with VRBO and Houzlet. Four weeks before we were to lease a condo in Naples for January and February 2023, Houzlet cancelled the lease stating the owner decided to sell. The "comparable" condos were not comparable, either twice the money or run-down in a distant location. I was told I could not have a refund because of the 180 refund policy, but the time lapse was only 177 days. Houzlet still won't refund the money. My credit card company originally rescinded the $6000, but today we learned that Houzlet got it back. Why can't something be done?

    • Pat F 01/10/2024 at 10:09 AM

      My story is like several others above. In Jan. 2023 I booked a condo rental with Houzlet through VRBO for the month of Feb. 2024 in Naples, FL. Had never heard of Houzlet, but I did some googling, made sure the property existed, saw the Houzlet website, didn't find any scam reports at that point and thought I would be safe with the 100% back refund policy from VRBO. I put down about $1,500 (including $400 VRBO fee). Mid December I got contacted by a Houzlet representative who said the property was being sold and no longer available, asked that I cancel. I put in cancel request through VRBO but Houzlet has not approved the cancellation--it literally still appears under my booked trips in VRBO account. Houzlet offered to help me find another rental, which consisted of suggesting I increase my budget and asking me if I had found anything yet. After requesting a refund multiple times I received a voucher from Houzlet for the other $1,100. They have stopped responding to my request for refund rather than voucher. Now I see all the scam reports starting in about April, 2023. Contacted VRBO who has "escalated" the case. I am expecting VRBO will refund only their fee, as others reported. Planning to contact credit card company to dispute the charge, and planning to contact the Florida Attorney General's Office.

    • Anne 01/10/2024 at 01:58 PM

      I too have been scammed by Houzlet- Cancelled my reservation 4 weeks B4 only because I kept calling them to send me more information!!! They are terrible and why VRBO works with them says a lot about VRBO- I will too contact the Florida Att. General's office and submit a complaint. Run when you see the name Houzlet by a rental!!!!!!!!!

    • Mikki 01/20/2024 at 02:39 PM

      I too been scammed by Houzlet. Book a place in Venice Fl through VRBO/Houzlet. Was told 3 weeks before we were to leave that we couldn't have the house. VRBO returned their fee immediately but still waiting on my $2,500 back from Houzlet. Wished I would have googled Houzlet before I booked but since it was VRBO thought it was legit!

    • Disappointed in VRBO 01/22/2024 at 06:59 PM

      Houzlet and VRBO also scammed me - VRBO told me I am due a refund but that they can't make Houzlet do that; they (VRBO) said if my CC company didn't reverse it, they would honor their "book with confidence" guarantee. They gave me a case number and an email to respond to, when I responded to it the email, I get an autogenerated response that they don't check that email. When I call, I get regular customer service, but they do not help.

    • Darlene 01/30/2024 at 02:50 PM

      Please…let me be the next victim. Booked condo in Clearwater beach last April for arrival March 1, 2024 . Paid deposit of $2595. Received email yesterday, January 29 that owner cancelled the booking. They refuse to refund deposit stating it was after 180 day refund policy. How can these people sleep at nite scamming honest people just looking for a vacation. Something needs to be done !

    • Avoid Houzlet 01/31/2024 at 02:37 PM

      Similar scam for me too. Reserved a home Mar2023 in Athem, AZ with VRBO that was hosted by Houzlet. Made deposit payment directly to Houzlet. 30 days before check-in (Feb2024) received notice the property is no longer available (medical illness with owner). They offered an alternative property at 2x the price. Requested a refund of my deposit, was told deposits > 180 days cannot be refunded. Currently working with credit card provider to file a dispute.
      Avoid these guys...someone needs to shut them down.

    • EdC 02/05/2024 at 09:48 PM

      Me too! NEVER book through Houzlet, either directly or through VRBO! Back in June 2023 I booked a condo on VRBO for the month of March 2024. Houzlet was the host, with a listing on VRBO. I sent my deposit and received a confirmation. In January 2024 I received an email from Houzlet that the condo is no longer available, and they refuse to issue a refund. They offered several other condos that were twice the price and in different cities. They are offering a credit for future use, which is totally unacceptable, even though the cancellation was not my fault. I'm still fighting to get a refund.

    • Will 02/06/2024 at 09:03 AM

      Scammed by Houzlet. I rented 2 properties, gave deposits. When I tryed pay the balance in December they told me the property was gone. GONE! SHE COULDN'T TELL ME WHY.
      I asked for all my deposits back and cancelled. Still waiting for VRBO to get my money back. It is February 2024. VRBO should drop them.

    • Jenny 02/06/2024 at 12:36 PM

      Screwed by Houzlet!!! August 14, 2023 paid initial down payment on condo in Sarasota for 41 nights beginning January 19, 2024. Final payment due December 20. Received email on December 19 stating - "bad new; owner has a family emergency and needs condo so not available to you any longer"! They told me I had to cancel, which I did on December 20. On December 21, 2023 my credit card was charged for the FINAL PAYMENT OF THE CONDO WHICH HOUZLET HAD NOTIFIED ME I COULD NOT RENT!!! After many nasty emails and threats I received the FINAL PAYMENT CHARGE refunded two days later. However, HAS NOW BEEN 32 DAYS SINCE NOTIFIED MY CANCELLATION WAS RECEIVED AND REFUND WOULD BE PROCESSED WITHIN 14 DAYS and I do not have my initial payment refunded yet. Guess they can't count. Have emailed and called and can get no answers. Have contacted an attorney and will be filing a lawsuit in order to get my initial payment of $4665.30 refunded. Really hard to believe they can continue to get by with the fraudulent actions! VRBO refunded our charge to them two days after the December 20 cancellation was sent; why can't Houzlet handle their affairs as efficiently?? VRBO really should not promote Houzlet any more!!!

    • Jerry 02/08/2024 at 03:02 PM

      I too was defrauded by Houzlet. I booked through VRBO. Almost impossible to escalate the issue with a senior representative from VRBO but finally did. I was told they had 5-6 cases like mine and they were requesting refunds from Houzlet but were denied. I was told to file a dispute with my bank/credit card company which I did and was refunded my deposit. Visa will take these funds from Houzlet's account. The VRBO sent me an email stating VRBO would refund my money if the Bank/credit card did not. My issue is this. Why does VRBO make it so difficult to escalate a call to someone who can make a difference? Why does VRBO continue to do business with Houzlet??? VRBO's entire business model is based on trust. Once lost they can flush their business down the toilet. Be very cautious. Two names are associated with Houzlet = Anthony Louis lV, founder and CEO and Joel Stein, CEO. If these two men are leading Houzlet the IRS should investigate them, the Florida Justice Department and City of Miami Beach, Florida should do the same. Dishonesty, lies, cheating and defrauding are core to Houzlet's business model based on my experience.

      I have the documentation to prove this.

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