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Owners direct

(19 Posts)
SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Mon 10-Oct-16 19:35:23

I'm trying to organise a letting in Cornwall for half term. The owners of the place we like have asked us to call and make the booking and payment over the phone. Is this usual? AIBU to be a bit suspicious about it, especially seeing as there are no reviews on this property?

MatildaTheCat Mon 10-Oct-16 19:38:28

Have they offered to send you a contract and written confirmation of the transaction? Also is it a landline number? There are so many cases of fraud on these websites but this isn't any MO I've heard of.

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Mon 10-Oct-16 19:41:39

No to those things, Matilda. No contract or confirmation. Mobile number. What's MO?

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Mon 10-Oct-16 19:42:21

Modus operandi?

civilfawlty Mon 10-Oct-16 19:44:30

My sister go stung by something like this. Although I've no idea which website, and it wasn't in the UK.

Helen1966 Mon 10-Oct-16 19:45:24

We've used Owners Direct 4 times to book villas abroad and have not had any problems. We paid by bank transfer and also by Paypal for one of them. In all cases the owner emailed me an invoice and then emailed a receipt.
Search for the property and/or owners on Google and see if you,can find reviews or comments elsewhere.

UterusUterusGhali Mon 10-Oct-16 19:45:31

Owners Direct have changed their terms since being taken over I believe.

Possibly the owner has had problems with this.

I'd have a frank discussion with them and ask why, but yeah it would ring alarm bells. People scam folk looking for a rental home these days, so could easily do the same with holiday homes.

Someone more knowledgable should be able to explain better. blush

KathArtic Mon 10-Oct-16 19:45:47

You're best going through an agent like Sykes Cottages

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Mon 10-Oct-16 19:47:20

But do they invoice you through OD or directly, Helen?

SpaceUnicorn Mon 10-Oct-16 19:51:21

I'd be very wary of bookings made outside of OD. I've read of lots of scams via OD using this type of method.

Are they happy for you to pay by credit card or do they want a bank transfer?

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Mon 10-Oct-16 20:12:01

Thanks everyone. Glad to know it's not only me who is a little suspicious! Space, I don't know yet how she wants payment made, I'm waiting for an email explaining procedure.

I just spoke to the owner in the phone. She sounds lovely and is fed up about the changes to charges OD made. She did sound genuine but I'm still not sure, I'll wait and see what the email with booking procedures says.

SpaceUnicorn Mon 10-Oct-16 20:20:01

There's been cases where scammers have hacked OD and changed the contact details in order to intercept bookings, so try to make sure that the 'owner' you're speaking to is the actual owner (though I don't know how you'd actually do that? confused Was it a landline or a mobile number?)

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Mon 10-Oct-16 20:28:29

Mobile. Sounded genuine, had a little one and got her other half to read another story and do bedtime while I was in the phone. Dunno...

MrsMozart Tue 11-Oct-16 02:23:15

Google it. There was something on one of the tv programs about scams. People losing all their holiday money. Not saying that's the case this time but better to check. You need to know your payment is safe.

pierpressure Tue 11-Oct-16 02:46:39

I'm on owners direct with my holiday property. I often take bookings direct
As it saves commission for me and a new charge for guests that the owners direct site now makes. I suggest you :

1. Check how long the listing has been on the site. It tells you in a little box on the right along with the owners name. I've been on since 2006, so my guests know I've been there on the site with no complaints.
2. Google the owners name, that should give you some info.
3. Ask for her home address, google that to check it exists & matches up with name.
4. Phone the landline rather than mobile, that gives you a geographical pointer to check that the phone code matches the address.

I will always take a booking through the site if guests are still nervous, but can't discount in that case.
It was all so much easier when people sent cheques to my home address!

BarbaraofSeville Tue 11-Oct-16 06:39:15

Perhaps by doing the booking by phone she is looking to avoid paying commission to Owners Direct, which is probably outside the agreement she has with OD - like when people offer to sell things off ebay to avoid the sellers commission, but have used ebay to find the buyer.

I understand why people do it, because the fees are often quite high and most people will be honest and just trying to make a living and fight back against the big operator who is dominating the market, killing competion and dicatating terms. Maybe follow pierpressures tips and play it by ear - book if it seems fine, but if the owner is cagey about home addresses etc, or google gives conflicting or bad info, avoid or go direct through OD?

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Tue 11-Oct-16 10:56:52

Thanks all. I followedpier's advice and have been relieved to note that her engagement was announced in the Telegraph! Also some references to her professional life held true and, although payment had to be by cheque or bank transfer, the cheque was to be posted to the rental property address (they move out during school holidays so they can rent out the property) so I'm happy that all is legit. She was understanding about our trepidation as well!

SpaceUnicorn Tue 11-Oct-16 12:15:57

Glad to hear it's all legit, SuperMoon smile

IAmAPaleontologist Tue 11-Oct-16 12:28:59

That's good, glad all sorted. We use owners direct envy year and always do bank transfers, the people we have rented from have all be wonderful, helpful, genuinely fabulous people. In fact we've just had a email yesterday to say that the watch I lost back in August has been found and is being posted back to me!

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