Many of the best memories of a holiday (whether with a partner, family members or friends) are forged in the holiday villa. Therefore, it is crucial not to make any mistakes when choosing the right villa and to avoid travel scams.
When we decide to book a villa, we should consider the following points, among others:
But often one does not pay close attention to these details - but that happens even to experienced travellers. In the euphoria people overlook that it is a villa fraud and lose thousands of pounds.
How can you uncover a possible scam? What steps should you take to check the most important issues? And how can you behave if you identify a villa rental scam?
If you have already dealt with these questions or have been affected by them yourself, we suggest that you carefully read our advice.
First of all, you should definitely check the company through which you want to rent a villa. You can find a lot of information about a serious company that has been on the market for many years on the Internet. The situation is different with fraudulent companies that appear out of nowhere. Another way to get information about the company is through travel agencies.
Also make sure that the web address you provide is legitimate and that there are no redirects to another site or minor discrepancies in the domain. Many fraudulent companies have minor changes in the domain and make the customer believe they are on an official and reputable website.
In addition to the points already mentioned, there are a number of more indicators that demonstrate that it is a scam.
Other important indicators are the payment method and the contact details. Be suspicious if a website only allows bank transfer as a payment method.
If you have no precise contact details such as a telephone number where you can get information or a physical location is not given, you should also become suspicious.
The fact that one or both of these points are fulfilled does not necessarily mean that we are dealing with a villa fraud, but the probability is higher.
And if we are dealing with a villa scam, you should report it immediately to Action Fraud. Mark Tanzervv (Chairman of the ABTA) warns:
"ABTA sees firsthand the damage that fraudulent travel agents do to desperate customers. After these customers have found out that their long-awaited holiday will never happen, they ask us for advice. It is not only about the financial damage, but also about deep disappointments and emotional suffering.
It is in our hands to work closely together to ensure that these scams do not continue. "
You should be sceptical about tempting offers that are simply too good to be true, when you book a villa. Trust your common sense in these cases. For example, if you see an enticing villa offer during the high season that is not comparable with any other offer in terms of price and performance, you can assume that it is a fraudulent offer.
In order to uncover a possible villa rental scam and not lose thousands of pounds, here are three important aspects you should consider when renting a villa for your holiday
1. Carry out an online search: Find out who you're booking a holiday with. Don't just rely on e-mails and also contact the provider by phone. Talk to the company and make sure they can give you important information. Example Information about the property, the location and the terms and conditions
Check the web address (URL) and the SSL certification. The certification indicates whether the site is secure. You can verify it by the green lock in front of the URL. Please also make sure that you are not redirected to a completely different page. Use Google Maps or Google Street View to verify the existence of the villa.
2. Read the reviews: You can find them on the provider's own website or on social media platforms. Customers who have already tried the service are a good indication that the offer is real.
3. Payments: If you are only offered an advance bank transfer to a bank account, please make sure to clarify why only this payment method is possible. Many reputable travel companies offer not only bank transfers, but also payments by credit card, PayPal etc. When paying by credit card, you are covered up to £30,000 under "Section 75" of the Consumer Credit Act.
And remember: If you detect a villa rental scam, please report it immediately to Action Fraud.
Scam can occur anywhere, but holiday scams are one of the most common. It is therefore always important to remain vigilant and be aware of this when booking a holiday.
You should also be vigilant at your holiday destination: whether it is theft of money and valuables, overcharged prices, etc. Always maintain a healthy level of mistrust. Take all necessary measures before you start your holiday, such as taking out travel insurance, etc., so that you will not have any unpleasant surprises during your holiday. Do not make bank transfers abroad via public WiFi. Use your credit or debit card instead.
If you book a villa online and follow the precautions we have indicated, you can enjoy a peaceful holiday in your dream villa. If you know how to stay safe online, the Internet is a perfect way to book your holiday. You can find very good and serious offers of holiday villas online that will meet your needs exactly.
If you have any doubts before making a booking, please contact professionals such as travel agencies or tour operators such as ABTA first. They will give you all the information you need. Search online for verified social media accounts where you can also find lots of information about the providers.
A fraud is not only a material damage, but also a big disappointment for all involved.
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