Stayz (HomeAway) - Drip Pricing & Other Issues

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Seems to me this site is contravening australian consumer law in that full costs re not given up front.
Searching for accommodation, the property I was interested in came up as available on my dates for $534
However, when I clicked to book there was also a $60 cleaning fee, $50 for each guest over two and a
$50 service fee from HomeWay. No cancellations either
HAd previously used Stayz a number of times and been very happy but looks like it has been taken over by the US based HomeAwat

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Hi Jennifer,

I have just checked Stayz website and did a search for properties at Kingscliff NSW to see what it brings up.

The total prices shown for the examples in the resulting search are totals which include the cleaning/service fees. The only additional costs I could see were a refundable damage deposits.

Maybe the ones I found didn’t have drip pricing like those you have found.

Is it possible to post some some screen shots here of the search result cropped to only show the property…then a screen shot showing where additional charges have been included?

In relation to drip pricing, the ACCC has information on their website:

If drip pricing has occured and you feel like you have been mislead, you can lodge a complaint with rhe ACCC. The above screen shots will also need to be provided to the ACCC to support any complaint.

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Hi
HAve done some screen shots of the property in Tasmania I was looking at - complete information is not what comes up first, you have to go through the booking process to see the full charges.
I can’t see how to attach screen shots but this is the info
WHat you see on first screen after entering dates and number of people is
Total (Includes taxes and fees) $396.28
plus says $44 cleaning fee and $14 additional guest plus the $224 damage deposit
Then when you click on the booking button and enter your details you get this
Total is $529 which includes $60 additional guest, $60 cleaning, $49 service fee which is over $100 more than the first price you see

Jennifer

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Hi Jennifer

Just drag the screen shot into your post as you create/edit it, it will upload the image into the post. It prefers jpg files or similar eg png, or gif. So just make sure you save them as one of the supported formats before dragging them into your post.

Hope that helps
@grahroll

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Thanks for the report @jennifer.stephenson. Any chance you could email me those screen shots at bmays@choice.com.au?

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Booked accomodation in Victoria at a beachside location for an odd $850 for easter weekend 2021. Booking was accepted and half the cost was charged. Then booking was cancelled and accomodation relisted forcing a longer stay (min 4 nights not 3) and nightly rate significantly increased meaning total cost to book over easter was now an odd $2,500. Will apparently take up to four weeks for my refund to be processed.

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Hi @Billie1, welcome to the community.

It won’t be Stayz but the owner/managernof the accommodation booked. Stayz is only a booking platform.

That did the booking T&Cs say about the host/accommodation provider cancelling a booking?

If they were silent and your booking was confirmed, I would be asking what grounds they had to cancel your booking when it appears the property is available, albeit for a longer minimum stay.

It appears the host/accommodation may have incorrectly set the minimum stay over Easter and only discovered it when you made a booking. This isn’t your fault, but theirs, and a decent host would have honoured your booking.

I would also be lodging a complaint with Stayz about the host and their action. Make sure the complaint is factual and without emotion.

If this is the behaviour of tbe host/owner, I would be looking eslewhere as I wouldn’t want my money going to a host which appears not to care about their guests.

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Thank you very much for your advice. I agree. Have gone elsewhere. I’ll check T&Cs but suspect they’ll have catered for all scenarios.

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Perhaps post the address of the accomodation so as to forewarn othes about the owner’s despicable actions.

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Ok sure, if that helps. It was at Wye river Victoria (they don’t provide the full address on the Stayz website) but is called “Two degrees of separation- relaxed family beach house” in the website.

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This is a great forum by the way. I’m a lawyer (but don’t work in consumer rights space) but am often frustrated by what appears to be at least unethical or questionable practices.

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This sounds like a potential breach of contract. The ACCC industry advice to service providers in this instance is:

"You may be in breach of contract if you cancel a booking you have already accepted, unless you are legally permitted to do so (for example, under a valid term of the contract or if performance of the contract is frustrated).

The customer may be entitled to claim damages from you as compensation for any loss they suffer as a result of your actions."

It’s unlikely such a ‘valid term’ exists in the contract. If a term allowing cancellation under such conditions does exist, it would probably be invalidated by the Unfair Contract Terms legislation.

It’s worth advising the accommodation provider, via Stayz, that you will report them to your state consumer affairs body. Not that you’d want to stay with them any more, but they need to be made aware their tactics are likely illegal.

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Great! Thank you, will do that now.

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If you paid by credit card, the monies held by Stayz until refunded will be accruing interest. I would be requesting at least the refund of the interest paid as well. Being a month until refund, you could be paying around $10-12 in interest ($850 x assume 0.15% credit card interest/12 months in the year) for a cancellation which not the result of your own actions. These are direct costs you would be incurring at not fault of your own…but due to the owner cancelling your confirmed booking. They need to be responsible for at least these costs.

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Was wondering about that as it apparently takes an extended period for the refund to process, so will ask for that- thank you

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Something also worth knowing is that Stayz is a part of the Homeaway.com.au company and their Book With Confidence Guarantee applies (see the first Book with Confidence section):

https://www.stayz.com.au/trust/traveller

This is the Homeaway.com.au Book With Confidence Guarantee:

https://www.homeaway.com.au/legal/book-with-confidence-guarantee

Your cancellation may come under a ‘protected incident’ and you are entitled to claim for losses incurred. You might also be worth asking, if your replacement accommodation was also booked through Stayz and was more expensive, if the difference is also covered by the guarantee. This should also come under the loss part of the guarantee. Hopefully Stayz charges and losses they pay you back to the property owner which cancelled your confirmed booking.

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Great- thank you, I’ll look into this too!

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Stayz is on my banned list. They described a property as having a communal pool. A pool was an essential criteria in the property selection. When we arrived at the small unit complex and couldn’t find a pool, the explanation by the host was that the descriptor “communal pool” meant the council pool kilometres enters away. Neither Stayz/Homeaway disputes resolution process or the state consumer affairs dept considered the description misleading.

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Brisbane Tim- That is unbelievable. I won’t be using them again either.

Also - Stayz replied advising:

  • property owners who cancel in these circumstances get marks against their profile (they did not elaborate in how this works)
  • property owners may be removed from the site if what they deliver falls below the “marketplace standards” set by Stayz (they did not elaborate on what this standard is).

They refunded deposit within 2 days.

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Experiencing a very frustrating situation with Stayz. Early last week after looking into a holiday rental for a family group over December/January we booked a coastal rental property. $14000 for 3 weeks. Dates were available and booking was accepted and then 15 minutes later an email arrived from the owner saying sorry I forgot to block out the dates and the home is not available on your dates so booking is cancelled. I have been chasing my refund ever since. Today on a call to Stayz we were told it might be a further two weeks to process. They had previously said on a phone call and email that the transaction was processed. I am considering asking my bank to do a charge back and thinking of other options. So much money and I’m not able to book anything else until I get a refund as I don’t have the spare money.
I guess I wanted to warn anyone using Stayz to send a message to the property owner to check dates before paying.

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