What: FlipKey, a Trip Advisor company, offers to list your home for rent for a modest 3% booking fee, but penalizes for cancellations.

Expected pay: NA

Husl $core: $$$

Commissions & Fees: 3%

Where: National

Requirements: Real estate to rent

Review:

This Trip Advisor company offers to list your home for rent for a modest 3% booking fee. However, problems can arise when the homeowner needs to change the booking dates or needs to communicate directly with a renter

Changes can trigger a cancellation fee of $150 to $200 paid by the homeowner. And the site makes it all but impossible to communicate directly with your renters, which can create a variety of problems. To be sure, many sites that charge a percentage of the rental amount, discourage direct communication between renter and homeowner for fear that the two parties will spurn the matchmaker and make a deal without paying the site’s fee.

But here it is taken to extremes — as is the site’s cancellation policy, which can cost both renters and homeowners big bucks. Worse, it appears that homeowners can only reach customer support by complaining in some public forum. You can still make money renting your home through FlipKey, but given the homeowner reviews below, it’s not our top choice.

What their homeowners say: (From Trust Pilot)

“Ridiculous Customer service to owners who list vacation rentals. We got our first potential rental which we accepted. A few days later we realized we would need to move the check in day by one day. Tried emailing the tenant multiple times, no reply. We finally tracked down a number to FlipKey online and asked trip/flip if they could give us the renters contact info… I mean, they had already paid their deposit of more than $1k which Flip/trip has but they would not!!. They conferenced a call with the tenant which was like speaking on a jail house call with someone listening. The tenant said she didn’t receive any emails after booking. She said she would get back to us in a couple days which she did through the same conference call with big brother listening in. One of the most uncomfortable conversations I have ever had with flip/trip listening in. Spooked the tenant and she asked to cancel the reservation. We said OK, apologized for the flip/trip policy and said we would cancel. We then find out flip/trip will charge us $150 to cancel. The reservation isn’t for another three months! Last time we will use flip/trip. I have over 180 reviews on the trip side. No more. Deleting account.”

I have been a ‘landlord’ with Flipkey for a couple of years now and managed to survive with their ancient and backward customer care until now. I have recently had a booking from a guest who has paid a deposit with Flipkey and has asked simply details of how to get from the airport to my home town. I sent links of the train company and bus company. Flipkey decided that links to train companies and bus companies are unacceptable. They have informed me I will be removed from their website if I continue to help a guest with their enquiries of how a guest is expected to get to my house. There is no way to contact a human being on Flipkey. It is all just drop down menus on ‘help’ boxes. I was lucky to actually get a reply from a ‘representative’ from Flipkey. It was a one word reply where I was accused of trying to contact the guest directly and giving them my contact details. Flipkey had obviously never even read my message. I wrote to Flipkey again, and received yet another word pro reply. I complained again. This time I received phone call to be told that they were too busy to read emails and I could not send web links to clients to help them.

“I’m a homeowner and have 6 properties with Flipkey, I list in Chattanooga, TN listing because I am 25 miles from Chattanooga in northeast Alabama. I started with Flipkey from the start in our area,,, my advertisement states I am 25 miles from Chattanooga and my map also shows I am in Alabama. My cabins where in the top 10 of all the listing until September of 2017, when I had 1 customer complain about that is was not in Chattanooga and they took my cabins and placed toward the end of listings. 

“Guest booked for a date on my calendar that was showing open when the calendar hadn’t been syncing correctly from my other accounts. 12 hours after booking i notify the guest that the date is actually not available. Another 16 hours go by (28 hrs since booking) and the guest agrees to cancel. Well apparently, she’ll lose all of her deposit ($206) by cancelling, even though Trip Advisor has the funds and if I cancel, I have to pay Trip Advisor $150. So, here we have two parties in agreement to cancelling the reservation and the Trip Advisor (as the booking agent, that should act has an intermediary) will not cancel the reservation without someone paying them beyond their normal processing fee. Had the guest cancelled within 24 hrs, she would’ve received her money back. However, this SHOULDN’T have been an issue in the first place.

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