Unfortunately, there are some potential issues and scams that you should be aware of when booking holiday rentals online.
No matter how hard travel companies and authorities try to prevent scams, there will always be fraudsters who will try and make money illegally.
Unfortunately, this often results in innocent people having their holiday dreams shattered.
How To Avoid Holiday Rental Scams 1.
Finding the right holiday rental company Finding the right holiday rentals website for booking apartments, villas and other forms of holiday accommodation online is extremely difficult.
Your first piece of advice is to find a trustworthy website.
To trust a company or website, you could check the age of the website using a domain age checker tool such as 'seologs'.
This is a neat little tool that allows you to input the website's name and you will immediately be given the date that the website was first registered.
Online holiday businesses come and go, and if the website name appears to have been registered within the last year or two, then it is probably best avoiding.
Another way to check the credibility of a company is to visit your favourite search engine and search using the full holiday website domain name followed by 'scam'.
This search should return all results that relate to the rental company and scams, if any exist.
Do a quick check on the first two pages of results to see if your chosen company appears in the results and whether any negative stories about them exist.
Advertising and Links Holiday Rental websites that display lots of adverts, banners or links to other sites are also best avoided.
Website owners who place advertising on their site do this purely to generate revenue through third party companies (against Google's guidelines) or use a system in place where the owner makes money each time their advert or link is clicked by visitors.
You need to ask yourself the question, if you visit a site which you believe is a holiday rentals site, will you really benefit in any way from seeing or clicking on lots of adverts or links that lead to third party sites? Many of these links can be quite discrete and may fool, and if you click on what you believe is a genuine link or use a link to search for accommodation in a particular destination, you could be taken to an alternative website.
The only purpose of this is to generate some revenue for the website owner, which means they do not care where you click on the site and will certainly not be bothered about you booking a genuine holiday.
Another method of advertising is the use of pop-up adverts, these can be rather annoying and deceptive by placing information in front of you when you have not requested it.
Do yourself a favour; don't waste your time and avoid these types of sites.
Contact Details When you have found a Holiday rental website that advertises a choice of properties, before you make any enquiries to property owners, have a quick check to see if the holiday rentals website displays their contact details.
If the site does not display a phone number, address or email address then it means this website does not want to be contactable.
If you ever have a problem or a query, how can you contact the site? Do yourself a favour and avoid sites that offer no support or a means to contact them.
Be Realistic If a website is displaying holiday accommodation with exceptionally low prices or huge discounts, be wary.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Remain Vigilant If you find a property advert but it displays minimal information, this suggests that the owner has not been willing to make much effort to promote their own personal property.
Holiday homes are an investment, and most genuine owners want a return on their investment and will therefore market their property accordingly, which involves spending some time and effort to create an attractive looking property advert online.
The owners advert may well be genuine, but adverts like this often lack information for a reason.
Be wary, and if you are in any doubt you should request further details from the owner such as more photos, to help you visualize the property.
Research the Property Before you part with any money for deposits you should obtain the owners full contact details including their home address, the holiday home address, phone numbers and email address.
Once you have received the address for the holiday home, it is worth checking that the property address actually exists, using Google maps.
It is also worth doing some searches using the owners name and email address, in case this returns some negative PR or bad experiences from previous guests.
Request to see some references from previous guests, and contacting them directly should give you some added comfort.
Keep Records Keep a copy of all email and telephone correspondence with the owner before your booking, including statements for any payment made to the owner.
You should also request a receipt from the owner for any payment made to them, and keep copies for your records.
Travel Insurance Most travel insurance companies do not cover fraud, so if you have been caught out by a bogus scam then it is likely that you will be left on your own to retrieve the money.
To safe-guard yourself, check with your current insurance provider what your policy covers.
There are some travel insurance companies that do cover fraud, especially in situations where visitors have booked a property that is wrongly described or does not actually exist.
It is well worth taking time to find an insurance company that covers this before you book your holiday.
Payment It is advisable to pay your transaction by credit card, as many card companies do provide some form of protection.
Check what your card provider actually covers.
Refundable Deposits Many owners request a deposit to cover damage or breakages should they occur during the holiday.
The deposit should be a refundable deposit and returned to the visitor upon satisfactory inspection and exit of property.
When booking the property, make sure you are comfortable with the amount of deposit being requested, and have an agreement on how soon the money will be returned.
It is also a good idea to take some photos before you exit the property, and request that the owners agent checks and agrees with you in writing that the property has been left in a good condition with no breakages.
Most people have been booking holiday rentals for many years and experience no problems whatsoever.
Just be a little cautious and don't leave your brains on the plane.