I am writing this post to share with others my experience with Turnkey Vacations. Had I done more research prior to my rental, I probably would have passed.
My wife and I planned to stay close to home on this vacation due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic. We settled on a short trip to Texas Hill Country. The plan was to take our dog with us and visit some of the state parks as well as a side trip to Fredericksburg, TX. We’ve had good success with VRBO and used them to select a vacation rental. We found one in Dripping Springs, Texas. It was a new listing. The pictures of the rental looked fine. It had a separate fenced-in area for a dog. So I entered my credit card information and booked a stay from August 28 through August 31, 2020.
A few days after I made the reservations, our dog was riding in the car and injured her foot after a sharp turn. By this time I had already learned that the property we rented was managed by a company called Turnkey Vacations. So I emailed Turnkey on August 16 to see if we could reschedule our trip to October. I believe they responded the next day. The email said something about changes made to the reservation within 30 to 11 days prior may have additional charges. Now I’m 11 days out. So I call them. After holding for thirty minutes, I selected the option to have them return my call. No one called back. I called the next day and got someone right away. I explained my situation. “Sorry, you are now 10 days out and we can no longer make any changes.” As it turns out, it would not have made a difference because their policy is that you can only make changes within the same month if it’s in the 30 – 11 days out time frame. It was my first indication that this Turnkey Vacations might not have been a good choice.
With no other options, we boarded our dog and headed to Dripping Springs. The communications from Turnkey were clear and detailed. We were told that there would be two gates. The first gate would be open and the second gate required a code. My wife liked this layer of security. However, upon arrival, we discovered that the second gate was opened and it did not close after we passed. No problem. I’ll send Turnkey a text message. They responded that they would look into the issue.
The picture below is from VRBO. The drawings are mine.
It was late when we got there. We were pretty tired from the five-and-a-half hour-drive. Our first impression was that everything seemed as advertised. The place looked clean. It was only later that we started noticing a myriad of little issues. Here are a few things we discovered that night.
- There was a drawer in the kitchen that would not close. Not a big problem but one that could cause injury.
- None of the windows in the living area had window coverings.
- The furniture was sparse and uncomfortable. The couch was comfortable, but you couldn’t sit there and watch TV because the TV was in an Armoire that had doors that blocked the view. Bottom line was if you wanted to watch TV you had to sit in one of the two stiff chairs.
- The TV was a small 27-inch screen. Viewing options were limited to Netflix. That was it. No cable. The TV shared a slow wi-fi signal. If you were using a computer with wi-fi, Netflix would freeze up.
One of the reasons we go with VRBO is because my wife and I like to have our own bedrooms. I chose the smaller of the two bedrooms. When I pulled back the covers of my bed, I noticed a stain and a foul odor. It was late. It was dark. I was tired. I got in bed and pulled the covers tight to block the odor. I also could not find any pillows that were comfortable. I ended up using a stiff throw pillow.
I didn’t sleep well. The odor from the bed was awful. The pillow was uncomfortable. The next morning I got up and went to the shower. That’s when I noticed there were no towel racks. I also discovered that the stopper in the sink was broke. I got in the shower. After a few minutes, I noticed that I was bleeding. I’m talking puddles of blood. WTF? I couldn’t determine where I was bleeding from. I looked down and noticed several pinprick spots on my foot. Bed bugs. Yuck.
I went back to the bedroom and pulled back the sheets. This is what I found.
That’s it. We’re out of here. Before leaving I got a text message from Turnkey wanting to know if the gate had been fixed. I told them I didn’t know (it hadn’t) but that I had some problems to report. I asked that they call me.
I received a call on the way to Fredericksburg. I was told that they were sending someone out to clean the sheets. They were also sending out an exterminator to take care of the bedbugs. I replied that I wasn’t coming back and expected a refund.
A few days later I received a text message informing me that they were going to refund me $175 of my $950 + initial charge.
Rather than waste my time arguing with this company, or taking them to small claims court, I decided to write about my experiences here on this site where other people can find it.
I’m sure that many people have had positive experiences with this company. If someone from Turnkey sees this post and decides to respond, I will post their response. But ask yourself Turnkey, wouldn’t it have been better to simply offer a full refund?
Note: This site is dedicated to reviews of nonfiction books, films, and documentaries. Occasionally, I use this site to call attention to other issues of importance. Also, the two pictures on the home screen of this site are from our last vacation to California where we stayed at two different VRBO locations without problems.