The vacation industry is a huge one, and with billions of dollars being transacted each year, it has become a fertile hunting ground for scammers who want to rip off unsuspecting vacationers looking for rental villas. If you are planning on renting a villa, here are a few tips to help you avoid the bag guys and save you from a poor experience, as well as from losing a lot of money:
How a property is advertised is sufficient to let you know if it is genuine or a scam. Genuine villas will be advertised on multiple websites, and will have clear and detailed listings, including reviews from past guests. If you land a listing in just one place with scanty information and user reviews, don’t bother wasting your time with it. It could be setting you up to be scammed.
Check out the Owner
One characteristic feature of scammers is that they don’t own any villas. To be sure you are dealing with a genuine villa, call the owner on the number which will be given on the listing. Don’t just call, but ask for a virtual tour of the property. With current technology, they can take photos or videos inside the villa or around the villa as proof that the property is indeed available. Also spend some time researching the owner if you can find more details about him, especially unresolved complaints by past clients.
Don’t fall for wire transfers and don’t pay anything before you get the written and signed contract from the owner. Read the fine print to understand all the terms relating to returning or calling on the deposits and have a good understanding of the payment schedule. If anything is not clear, be sure to seek clarification and if they are not willing to cooperate with you on those terms, then simply avoid them.