Since VRBO pulled my review regarding the return of the deposit, I’m posting my own review with all the facts.
And since the landlord threatened me, I’m posting my experience.
Today, November 15, 2012, I finally received my deposit on the house we rented in Rochegude France. I’ll never rent from this person again. The owner was very contract oriented, which she should be, and told me on several occasions how professional she is. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. People have a right to know about the landlords they might have to deal with when renting from VRBO.
The deposit finally arrived today, November 15, 2012. I have to wonder if filing a complaint on VRBO and submitting a bad review had anything to do with ‘the process’.
We checked out of ‘Le Tonneau’ on August 10, 2012 and should have had our deposit returned within 30 days, about September 10, 2012, as promised in the contract. In case the link doesn’t work it’s listing http://www.vrbo.com/180211 and it’s listed also at www.homeaway.com/.
November 17, 2012 My bank has traced my contracted wired funds for the rental of Le Tonneau. My bank nor the interim bank removed my 10 euros from the contracted amount for rent. Carroll’s bank removed MY 10 euros from the contracted amount. I have forwarded my banks emails with attached paper work to Carroll and VRBO.
Update November 18 – Carroll’s response to my banks email and paper work.
She suggested in her email at the bottom of the page that I, ‘Your remedy is to ask you bank’s branch manager for a verifiable step-by-step paper trail of the process, right down to confirmation of the amount received by Banque Chaix, so you can see that way you will see where the 10€ “dropped off.” Please let me know how that goes, as I will need to provide evidence to Banque Chaix.
However, when providing her with the paper work her response is:
‘You call it “PROOF”, but “Proof is in the eye of the beholder.” I suggested you obtain a CERTIFIED audit trail of your bank’s activities surrounding your deposit, for YOUR SATISFACTION, not mine–I could not care less. For you, that means “certified by a CPA (a Certified Public Accountant)” NOT a first-person, unaudited, narrative of low-level bank personnel. ) Charlotte, you seem to be determined to fight a “war” of your own making, even though I don’t even owe you any money!! Carroll ’
I asked VRBO to remove my initial good review from their site since I cannot support an irresponsible, unprofessional rude person in her endeavor to rent her foreign home.
I also wonder how Ruth would feel if she knew she’s being used as an excuse for not having paid my deposit in time. Ruth is a vivacious professional person with whom I enjoyed my short visits and conversations regarding her family and life.
ALSO, should you choose to rent this place beware of the false address you will be given. Rochegude does not have one single address. The entire town uses post office boxes. If you lose your luggage and give them the false address they won’t know where to take it. Ruth had no idea where or how Carroll came up with the false address. It would have been nice to know this when our luggage was lost and we provided the information to the airlines.
Listed below is the progress of my emails.
I sent this email on September 25, two weeks after the 30 day time period to return the deposit:
I’ve been meaning to write but I’ve been so busy. First I got caught up on things around here that were neglected due to planning the trip and then being on our trip. Now I’m in turbo mode getting prepared for Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour that’s on October 5, 6 & 7. My husband and I have participated for 8 years, opening our home to the public and selling our art.
Air France paid the girls their allowance for the days the luggage was missing. They were extremely prompt, I was impressed. I’m still on a cloud from being in France even though it’s been over a month since we got home. I’d love to go back!
Though I took my pastels I never had a chance to paint, just as I thought. We were on the go the entire time. I’ve painted one small miniature painting of the scene from the bathroom window at sunrise and a miniature of a stone building and lavender. Those are the only two paintings of France so far. I’ve been painting my little fingers off to have new material for Sierra Art Trails. You can see them on my facebook page, it’s public.
Your guidance and suggestions were invaluable for our trip. Thank you so much for helping make our trip such a success! My daughters and I had the trip of our lives.
I hope all is well with you!
I then sent this email on October 6 when I had not received a response to my email and I tried calling her phone number but it didn’t allow me to leave a message. I sent this email with the wrong departure date that actually gave her an extra week:
My husband is concerned about not receiving the deposit that was suppose to be returned within 30 days of departure. We departed August 17, today is October 6. I sincerely hope you are alright since you’ve been so thorough with all the arrangements.
What should I tell my husband?
On October 14 the landlord sent this blanket email with excuses for not returning deposits.
Thank you for your patience!!
For those of you who did not already know, Ruth’s husband was in what Ruth described as a “very bad car accident” early in the season–I’m not certain when, but she did email that she had to pause to help with his recovery and that they would then be setting off, with their children, to visit her family in Switzerland.
When they returned Ruth not only had to ready their children for school, but she also had to assemble the Le Tonneau paperwork given her by Nathalie (the housekeeper), in order to accurately report the various usages to me, along with any possible damages (no worries, there were no damages by anyone), in order for me to complete your records, and thereby issue your refunds.
The timing of both caused an unusual circumstance, one that none of us could have anticipated, which meant that our reporting to our customers was delayed. We cannot apologize enough for any inconvenience it might have caused you vis-a-vis your deposit refunds. We will get them “squared away” (as my father used to say) within the next few days by processing the refunds in visit order, first to last. As we complete the utility calculations we will issue same to each of you by email, along with a form to complete so that we can complete your refund by wire or paper, to match your original method of payment.
Again, thank you for your patience.
On October 20 the landlord sent this email with the break down for the deposit. I have yet to have any of my emails responded to. The landlord had mentioned months before that my bank was 10 euros short of the rental total. She included a receipt from her checking account which coincidentally had the amount I sent in coded numbers at the bottom of the receipt.
Dear Charlotte Of course you received the group email regarding our delays in issuing deposit refunds to some of our 2012 guests, and we cannot apologize enough for that, but we are happy to announce that our process is back online. Happily, Ruth’s husband, Laurent, has recovered and we thank you for your patience!
I responded to this email the same day with attachments of my banks paper work showing they sent the exact amount for the rental:
I attached the document of the wire transfer from my bank. It shows $1156 wired to your account. Interesting that within the numbers on the bottom of your document are “115600″ and that’s the amount my bank sent. What do the numbers at the bottom of your document mean…..??
000000115600 TVA 00,00 GB
I would perfer a money order sent Certified Mail rather than all all the costly fees of yet another wire transfer. You really should look into Paypal. Our Paris apartment PayPal fee was absorbed by the landlord AND I had my deposit back within a week. I think you’re making more work for yourself and everybody else with wire transfers.
When I hadn’t heard from her for two weeks I then sent this email on November 2:
I was wondering/hoping if you are all right. The situation on the east coast looks horrendous. I don’t have television but what I’ve seen online is heart breaking.
Let me know if I can help in any way.
On November 11 I filed this new review on VRBO. There is a grace period when the review is being reviewed before being made public.
The house is an excellent base for visiting this area of France. Communications were excellent prior to trip and during the trip. However 3 months later I’m still waiting for the deposit to be returned and not one of my emails has had a response. The money transfer idea is faulty.
The next day on November 12, after over 3 weeks of no direct responses to any of my emails from the landlord, I sent this email regarding my requests about the deposit. I also filed a complaint on VRBO.
I responded to this email the same day you sent it, October 20, well before the storm hit your shores. I really don’t understand all the friendliness you exhibited prior to my renting your house, emailing during the last few days we were at your house, then emailing while we were in Paris. Once we were state side again all communications ceased.
You didn’t respond to my emails on September 25 or October 6. This makes me feel like you only wanted my money and had no intention of returning the deposit.
On October 14 you sent the impersonal letter about deposits. October 20 you sent the run down about my personal account, I immediately responded but again you didn’t respond to my email. And still no refund.
I really don’t know what to think about you. I think it’s time I looked into mediation.
The landlord started to response the same day:
Subject: RE: Deposit Refund Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 04:22:37 -0500
Charlotte Here is the updated matrix of your deposit refund, updated from the one you didn’t like the first time I sent it–at that time you stated “I perfer
That was all that was written at the top of the previous email so I emailed back that I thought part of her email was missing……I then sent this response:
This old matrix of the deposit refund is fine and yes I spelled prefer wrong but would still like to have the deposit returned via US mail.
VRBO reviews are submitted, reviewed then posted. Around this time the post was made public.
I got a response on Tuesday November 13, more excuses:
Sorry Charlotte, my email servers (“msn.com” and “live.com,” both products of msn, the microsoft network) were recently migrated to msn’s own email server “Outlook,” on all of the msn platforms, thereby co-opting the freedoms and familiarity of we msn users, which explains the incomplete email message you received below, sent because I am unfamiliar with the interface. For my part, Outlook is terrible, which is why I did not make it my default server 12-15 years ago–it is THE WORST! Now that it is my default server (through no “fault” of my own), I have lost all sense of familiarity with my msn email apps. Soon I will have to switch to yahoo, a site without the same ego and “growing pains” of an msn site. I will email all of my customers before that happens. I am really sorry but I must get to sleep now–I am a local Red Cross Volunteer and in past 24 hours I have had just one hour of sleep (from 9am to 10am yesterday morning)–will email email further tomorrow, but don’t worry your refund will be on its way as soon as I have time to get to the Post Office. Best regards Carroll
At this point she emails back a long email and threatens me. So I thought people considering using VRBO should know about this.
The landlord’s reply today. Hmmmm…..now she’s willing to email me.
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 3:50 AM
Subject: FW: Deposit Refund
Here is my reply to this insult. If you have any questions, please let me know. If this is not resolved with an apology to me, within 12 hours, I will remove my property listing from vrbo. Carroll
Subject: FW: Deposit Refund Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 05:59:54 -0500
Hello Charlotte Your refund is on its way via the USPS, mailed Sat 11/13/12. Note that the handwriting on the postal money order is that of one of the postal clerks–the clerks complete the forms for me as I cannot write in such small spaces because I am handicapped. The Certified Mail Serial Number is 0000000000000, which you can use for tracking via usps.com. The Postal Money Order is treated the same as a certified bank check (except that it costs you a lot less)–redeem it for cash at your local post office or deposit into your bank account to clear overnight. Just to let you know, there was 1 lady (of the 3 people in line after me) who requested to speak with the Postmaster because she had not received any mail since Sandy “arrived on our shores” (to use your vernacular)–that elderly lady was told that they hadn’t been able to carry any mail for 3 weeks “due to the storm.” They were not lying–huge trees are down all over, with some roads just opening this week, and I have neighbors just one short block away who have not had electricity for 16 days!
We at the Red Cross have organized shelters for displaced families, “warming centers” for the homeless and families with no heat (STILL! . . . and it’s COLD!), assembling/distributing information throughout the township about feeding-center locations/hours of operation, “cleanup” stations where people without water/electricity can shower and wash their clothes, and we provide transportation for people who need to reach scheduled medical appointments. It’s such a heartbreaking scene!
As to details regarding your deposit payment and refund, I am not going to waste time verifying email-trail dates, but I will describe the chronological facts of the process, as I know them.
- When I emailed you with the details of your deposit refund you waxed irate and, frankly, downright huffy, as if you thought I were lying, or maybe you just did not understand. To help you with the understanding part, prior to renting you did execute a contract that gave you a choice of payment/refund method–the choice was between wire OR paper. You chose wire, therefore I provided you with my bank account information so you could effect the wire transfer, as you did, a perfectly normal procedure.
- Then the House Manager’s husband was involved in a very bad car accident, which held up her reporting for some time, while she took care of him and they left for Switzerland, with their three young children, to visit her family for his recuperation–I know I informed you (and the other 10 guest parties awaiting deposit returns) of that development, once Ruth informed me.
- When Ruth reported to me the utility consumptions (which Nathalie, the Housekeeper, had carefully recorded before and after each guest’s visit) of individual guest parties I emailed your details to you and requested the information necessary for my bank to effect a wire transfer of your deposit refund, but you refused to provide the information. Instead you demanded that it be returned by certified check via certified mail, explaining that you did not want to pay the wire transfer fees, although you had already contracted to pay those fees. Your contract also states that paper (vs. wire) payments and refunds incur an additional 9% surcharge to cover the additional manual calculations (which we have waived JUST for you). In the second place, as you had already wired the funds to France, it was perfectly obvious to you that the funds were in a FRENCH BANK, not in the US, and that somebody would have to pay the wire costs to return them to the US.
- As I had to pay the costs on your behalf, in order to recall the funds from France, those charges have been deducted from your deposit just the same, as have the additional costs of the USPS transactions you requested. I did not, however, bill the additional 9% for the paper payment you requested for the deposit refund, although, as noted above, your paper payment is en route, with no hard feelings.
- FOOTNOTE to the DEPOSIT PAYMENT DIFFERENCE, BETWEEN YOUR “SEND” AND MY “RECEIVE”: You challenged my bank’s reporting a 10€ difference between the payment-transfer paperwork submitted by your bank carrying the notation “Libelle Operation” which translates to “Operation Label,” (equal to the word “Description” in our stateside banking documents). The transfer documentation was written as the full payment of 1156€ due. The payment received by Banque Chaix, however, was only 1146€, or 10€ short. The sending bank (your bank) controls the sending process–somewhere along the way they charged you a 10EUR fee for currency conversion. Your remedy is to ask you bank’s branch manager for a verifiable step-by-step paper trail of the process, right down to confirmation of the amount received by Banque Chaix, so you can see that way you will see where the 10€ “dropped off.” Please let me know how that goes, as I will need to provide evidence to Banque Chaix.
Charlotte, lastly, to address the complaint you filed with vrbo (in addition to the b.s. “review” you submitted just a day or 2 ago), people with out-of-control tempers can get themselves into trouble, and trying to ruin someone’s reputation (business or personal), especially online, is lawsuit fodder and can cost you pots and POTS of money, just in case you were not aware, so you might want to retract both of those items, as any reasonable person would look at the facts and you could find yourself in a court of law, or NOT, depending on how you would want to proceed.
P.S. I never did hear from you if my son’s emails to the crews of your UAL flights got you any recognition–it would have been nice to know, as it cost him extra time that he doesn’t typically have.
P.P.S. Here’s hoping you don’t EVER find yourself in any of the California hazards, an earthquake, firestorm or mudslide–if you do, contact your local Red Cross. We are here to help.
Here is your final Expense Table
Underpayment by Payee’s bank (€1146 paid, €1156 due, as emailed earlier)–see record copy below.
Banque Chaix charge for receiving wire payment).
Banque Chaix charge for issuing return wire payment.
Banque Chaix charge for issuing currency-conversion wire payment outside eurozone.
Deposit minus Banque fees
Total electricity usage–0 € due for water usage because readings were not taken.
Refund subtotal, in EUR, to be paid in USD by guest’s request.
= € 420.76 x $1.22841, average USD exchange rate for visit dates per European Central Bank, via http://www.ecb.int/stats/exchange/eurofxref/html/eurofxref-graph-usd.en.html (copy the full link and paste it into your web browser’s address bar).
= $3.60 Postage ($0.65) + Certified Fee ($2.95) + $1.55 Fee for Money Order > $500.
= Final refund due to be paid in USD by guest’s request. NOTE: the 9% surcharge allowed by contract has been waived in spite of guest’s request for manual currency conversion (guest should note this is a BENEFIT).
This guest notes the benefit.
But this guest also notes that she was informed about Ruth’s husbands accident in June and that he was on the mend.
This guest also notes that she was informed in June that Ruth would be taking her yearly visit to see her family in Switzerland during my stay in Rochegude but Nathalie would be available. Apparently Nathalie wasn’t that available and failed to show up to inspect the house before we left. I spoke face to face with Nathalie, wrote the date and time in French and had an interpreter, there was no excuse for her not showing up.
This guest also notes that her temper has not flared one iota. There was fear and dread but not anger.
This is my final email with my reply:
There are no reasons for which I should apologize.
My deposit was to be returned by September 10, 30 days after our August 10 departure.
My email of October 20 questioning the numbers on your bank receipt that match the amount my bank wired and my stating I would like my refund via Postal Service were politely requested. I had told you in the beginning of our negotiations that I didn’t like the money wire idea and you said it would be okay to have my deposit returned via Postal Service. I avoided paying the costly transaction and conversion fees of MY bank. You completely misread the email. There was nothing ‘waxed irate and, frankly, downright huffy’ about that email despite the fact that you have completely avoided contact with me. If you’d have bothered to take a moment to ask me I’d have gladly explained my reasoning.
You have violated the contract between us. I have not been rude to you, quite the contrary, I’ve been polite and patient. There is nothing professional about ignoring people and violating contracts and covering unprofessionalism with excuses. Obviously you had access to email since you emailed on October 14 and again on October 20 and yet you never acknowledged my emails.
When you didn’t respond to my October 20 email request for my deposit to be returned via Postal Service and 3 weeks had past without a response from you, I submitted my review on November 11. The next day I emailed you and filed a complaint on VRBO.
You have threatened me, which I find insulting. There is nothing professional about the way you have conducted yourself or the process of our contract.
No, I never did tell her if we got any recognition because she never responded to any emails….but no we didn’t, we were treated like all the other passengers.
I have contacted my bank. They did not take the missing 10 euros. They said it’s probably a bank between us and the landlord that charged a fee. My bank is looking into this.
And there you have it. Draw your own conclusions.