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Nina's complaint against HomeAway

Nina Lindley


Out of the frying pan in to the firer. Holiday nightmare!

Complaint against HomeAway

My family's home was flooded and because living conditions were so bad. We decided to go away on holiday and have a few weeks family time. The builders agreed it was best thing to do. They said it would allow them to start drying our property out and pull floorboards,skirting and plaster off the walls without us been there. I started looking for somewhere but because it was last-minute choice was very small between two cottages based in north Yorkshire coast. We had 24hrs to empty a huge kitchen and pack for a two week holiday. We were booked to arrive on Saturday the 27th but I told the owner we wouldn't arrive until Sunday the 28th at 5pm, the booking was for two adults one child and two dog's.When I entered the property I was hit by a urine smell. The front room floor carpet hadn't been vacuumed and was covered in bits. I walked through in to the kitchen the tiled floor was filthy with old bits of dog food splashed cross the floor. I again could smell urine. Then I looked at the worktops and saw crumbs and dead flies. I was then alerted so I went upstairs to check upstairs again it hadn't been vacuumed I actually found toe nail clipping yuck so disgusting. The bedding and towels were very hard and smelled horrible. I've never smelled fresh bedding and towels like it.. they smelt of sweaty bodies. I immediately tried to contact the owners to get the cleaners in but nobody answered. I then went on my phone trying to find yet another cottage but there was nothing available. We decided to wash the bedding and towels ourselves and vacuum the whole cottage without moving the furniture. There was a curtain hung over the doorway that was covered in old dog urine stains that were dry but it smelt and my dogs were continually sniffing so I thought there is no way I'm washing curtains. So I picked the curtain up and looped it over the curtain rail so it was off the floor. We did the basics wiped the sides down with dettol and ended up cleaning all the kitchen cabinets. The photos that we'd seen of the property were obviously taken when the kitchen was new. The foil that coats the doors were peeling off and chunks missing the whole kitchen looked uncared for, in fact the whole place needed some much needed TLC. Once we'd finished we made dinner and relaxed. I was done and sat and watched a film has a family. my husband within minutes complain that he'd been bitten on his legs. He showed me he'd got a huge red hive on his thigh. But I didn't think too much about it. The next morning after a terrible nights sleep because we were all scratching all night I felt like the bed was alive. I was convinced they had bed bugs. The next morning I had all the bedding off again and looked for any signs, but nothing! I went downstairs and there was my son and my husband comparing bite marks. I looked at them both OMG something had treated us all like dinner during the night. We were all exhausted. I tried to ring the owner's again yet no reply. I noticed my two dog's were acting very strange they couldn't rest they were on the move all the time and scratching I thought it was a change of environment and maybe they were excited. They'd been to the vets just days before we came on holiday for. booster vaccinations,wormer and flea treatment. They were both healthy and active dog's. Unfortunately that wasn't true. That night one of my dog's was struggling to breath and couldn't sit still he was scratching all the time. He was scratching that much I took him in the bathroom and put a cool shower on him. That is when I noticed his whole body just looked like bubble wrap under his fur and his face was swollen. Omg!! I thought his not been anywhere or done anything he'd been in the cottage all day relaxing with me, because of the amount of pain I was having in my back and legs due to my spinal injury.. I was up all night with him I coated him in sudo cream. But by the early hours in the morning his breathing was getting so bad I woke my husband and took him to emergency vets with his brother because his brother had hives on his feet. The vet took one look at him and asked me "when this started"? I explained within hours. She asked me what he'd been doing. Then it clicked he'd been laying on this fireside rug with his teddy nearly all day, because I thought he was warm with the weather but he's constantly on the move. My dogs were having a massive reaction to flea bites and they were like pin cushions. She pulled th flea comb through their fur it was full of flea poo but no fleas because once they've bitten my dogs they die unfortunately they've already done the damage and caused a reaction. The vet started steroid treatment straight away. She said hopefully they will start to improve by Thursday or Friday she also give them three other drugs to take and injections and give with fluids and antibiotics and more steroids to help with their breathing. I was so upset and stressed, if we'd not bought them in their breathing would have worsened and he would have gone in to shock. We left the vet's. I tried to contract the owners yet again all six numbers I tried. You couldn't leave any message. I wanted something doing so I phoned up HomeAway and told them everything. They were not very helpful I was treated like I was lying. They said we want proof. They wanted photos. I took plenty of photos and sent them only to be told they couldn't open them because of a upload size on e-mails. I resent them a few at a time yet. Still kept getting a "oh no it's too big" this was just sending two photos at a time. After 22 attempts I was beyond stressed. I phoned up and demanded to speak to someone. They said to me we'll put you through to our solutions team. I explained the whole nightmare, they apologized to me and then did tried to contact the owner (so they told me) while your waiting for them to connect you. Surprise surprise they also couldn't reach the owner. They told me they'd e-mail them. I decided to also message the owner through the Homeaway app. I told the owner the full situation. Guess what? No reply. Two days later I phoned HomeAway yet again I was told the person I'd spoken too in the monday night didn't forward a e-mail to the owners are the solutions team. The customer solutions team apologized yet again for a breakdown in communication. By this time we were stresses beyond belief we were now all bitten from head to toe I was vacuuming five six times a day. We put a flea collar in the vacuum. We also put fine ground salt all over the floors to try and dehydrate the fleas. We'd washed,curtains,bedding sofa covers,cushions. scrubbed tiles on floor for with borex and bleach plus bottles and bottles of disinfectant. Then we started moving furniture OMG! It was disgusting. Then I'd just sat down there was a knock at the door this little old lady came in (she is 84) she was the mother of the owner of the cottage. She could hardly walk.She sat there talking to me about the situation and the whole time she is scratching She said to me it's the midges. But it obviously wasn't she was itching under her bust and around her neck and under her arms. She told me it's funny because no dog's has been in the cottage for a long-time. Nobody ever complained before now. She said there is really nothing I can do, I'll speak to my son. I told her we can't go home we have no floorboards and they have drying equipment in there otherwise I'd be home straight away. In a heartbeat. I hate it here. I had tears in my tears thinking how my dog's and family had suffered this was supposed to be a stress free holiday and to stop thinking about our flooding situation. The old lady then told us about she had to make our beds by herself because the cleaner is away(she must have been away years judging by the state of this place) I then offered to leave it clean and make the beds and leave the towels out for the next guests. She was grateful. She then told me only to wash our dirty bedding and towels for the next guest's on a 20minute wash at 30degrees. I told her I'm sorry but I believe all bedding and towels used for guest's needs to be washed on a cotton wash at 60 degrees. She said it takes way too long. That is why.(that explains the smell of the towels and the bedding I thought no wonder they are infested with fleas) I also suspected that she had brought the fleas here with the bedding and towels she told us she never treated her dogs for fleas. After she'd gone I put a plate with water and a few drops of washing up liquid and focused a lamp over the plate. Your supposed to leave it overnight, but I didn't need too. Within minutes they started to appeared from the bedding draw under the bed. I then did the same experiment in the front room and kitchen each time catching them within minutes. I rang HomeAway to tell them how bad the infestation was and I believed they needed a professional to deal with the problem. They told us they'd contact the owners yet again. Yet again nothing happened. We were all taking antihistamines to try and stop the bites irritation and redness and soreness. That night I couldn't get warm my body was fighting infection I thought it was because I'd done too much. My husband tried to turn the heating on for me no matter what he did nothing worked. I was in bed for three day's thinking it was a virus but it was infection spreading. We had a power cut that night due to thunder storm and it tripped the RC unit. My husband opened the fuse box and reset the power that is when he noticed the reason why the heating didn't work was because they'd turned the power off. They'd even turned the power off to the lighting on the back to the PIR sensors on the back . When you rent a cottage it says heating you expect heating, not for it to be turned off. We even found mouths and flies toasted in the toaster. Nobody helped us, When we came home the fleas came home. There's been complaints since 2016 with guest's getting bitten. I do have many photo's.

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