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I've heard of people getting ripped off? How do I protect myself (and my wallet) when renting vacation properties.

Views: 2070
Votes: 0
Posted: 17 Dec, 2007
by: Mullins C.
Updated: 17 Dec, 2007
by: Mullins C.

We do not verify the accuracy or legitimacy of any listing. We are strictly an advertising agency.

We have assembled a short list of things you can do to help minimize your exposure to fraud and ensure a great trip. If your gut tells you something is wrong, it probably is.

get referrals from other guests

Pay by credit card. We highly recommend paying by credit card. If something happens you can ask the bank to do a chargeback to the merchant if they fail to do what's in the contract or should the listing be fraudulent. PayPal may not offer this chargeback ability with vacation homes. The safest way is to pay with a credit card. Once you do a wire transfer or pay by check the money is gone.

Purchase travel insurance - its cheap insurance should something happen to you or your plans change. We currently recommend CSA Travel Insurance. If you know of other high quality Travel insurance providers we would love to hear about them.

Contact the homeowners association & see if the information they provide matches up with what you have. Ask them if they know if the property is a rental.

Call the better business bureau & see if they are registered or have any complaints.

Contact the cleaning crew and ask them about the property. Ask them if the pictures on the web site match up and it still looks like that.

Contact other service providers to the property and ask if the information is current and correct.

Get a signed contract (both you and the owner) before sending any money that explains what is expected from both the owner & renter.

Verify the property exists in a mapping database, like Google maps.

Call the title recording office or county assessor & verify ownership information. Are you sending the check to someone not listed on the ownership records?

Google the persons name & phone number. See if there are any complaints.

Call the city and verify if they have a business license.

This list is not exhaustive but is a starting point with which to do research. Please report any listing you have reason to be fraudulent to us ASAP.

 If you suspect fraud please contact:

  • FTC toll free hotline: 877-382-4357
  • FTC online complaint form (www.ftc.gov)
  • Canadian PhoneBusters hotline: 888-495-8501
  • Internet Fraud Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov/)
  • Non-emergency number for your local police department.
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