Bachelorette party claims they were ‘set up’ by home rental service

A member of a bachelorette party took to TikTok to claim that the group was set up to be robbed “or worse” after renting a home in Austin, Texas.

Callie Bryant (@callie.bryant), one of the bachelorette party members, shared a video of the group sitting in a hotel lobby and said this was after the party made an “emergency evacuation” of the home they rented from Vrbo. Vrbo is a vacation rental online marketplace and has a reputation for being slightly cheaper than Airbnb because of its lower service fee.

Bryant claimed that on the first night of the weekend, the group realized that none of the doors locked and the alarm system was dead. One member of the party reached out to the rental owner, but Bryant said they never got a response. Then someone allegedly noticed that the Vrbo listing for the rental had been removed from the website.

“We are aware of this TikTok video,” a representative from Vrbo told In The Know. “Our Customer Relations team has been trying to contact these guests for more information for the past several days so we can look into the situation.”

The Vrbo representative also claimed that the group has not responded to any of Vrbo’s attempts to get in touch.

“We cannot find a booking or inbound call to our customer support team that matches the situation described in the video,” the email says.

In a multi-part series of TikToks, Bryant clarified that she personally didn’t book the house on Vrbo; another member of the party did. At the time of the booking, Bryant added, there were 19 reviews.

“There was no review that showed anything that would’ve been a red flag,” Bryant said, “or given us any reason to think that we would be unsafe.”

Bryant claimed that the friend who booked the house met the owner, who gave her a tour and allegedly taught her how to input the passcode for the security gate leading up to the house. The owner then allegedly put the front door key in her pocket and told Bryant’s friend they wouldn’t need it since the front gate would be locked.

At the time, the group didn’t think much of it, but looking back Bryant called the moment “red flag number one.”

“[Then] it’s about 10 p.m. and we’re kind of winding down and we’re trying to lock the doors,” Bryant said. “I don’t know what made us think about this, but we were like, ‘Let’s just make sure they’re locked.'”

Bryant said that after nine girls tried to lock the doors, that’s when Bryant’s friend decided to text the owner, who did not respond. Around midnight, the group started to get concerned.

At first, Bryant said that the women barricaded the doors and that’s when Bryant noticed an alarm system by one of the doors.

“I’m starting to push buttons and it’s not working,” she said. “It was completely dead.”

Then, Bryant said, one friend decided to pull up the original listing, hoping that maybe one of the 19 reviews had information on how the doors locked or how the alarm system worked.

“It’s gone, it’s not there,” Bryant claimed about the listing. “There’s no rental property with our address, no house that looks like the one we’re staying in — the whole thing was completely gone.”

Bryant then called her brother, who is a police officer in Arkansas, and he told her that it sounded like the group was “being set up to be robbed or worse.”

Since everyone flew into Austin from out of town, nobody had a car at the house. Bryant said that the group had to pack up quickly while a few people called Ubers to get them to a nearby hotel.

In a comment, Bryant claimed that someone did call Vrbo from the Uber after leaving.

“They didn’t answer, so we left a voicemail,” she wrote. “They never returned our call.”

“All guests that book and pay directly through Vrbo.com or the Vrbo app are protected by the Book with Confidence Guarantee,” the Vrbo rep told In The Know. “This offers protections for guests before, during and after a stay, such as payment protection against fraudulent listings, lodging assistance if travelers are unable to check in and rebooking assistance if the host cancels at the last minute. This policy would have applied to the guests in the TikTok video.”

Bryant’s original video has since racked up over 3 million views with thousands of comments praising the group’s awareness.

“Canceled my Vrbo after I saw this and booked a good old hotel,” someone wrote.

“The listing being gone gives me chills,” another added. “So glad y’all got out of there.”

“Not me watching this in my Airbnb in Austin on a bachelorette party,” a commenter said.

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