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Villas in spain scam.

(12 Posts)
SaucyMare Mon 03-Nov-14 23:11:17

Does anyone have any good tips to check a villa in spain for rental is actually available and not a scam?

mummymeister Tue 04-Nov-14 11:17:52

use a well known/respected website like vrbo or tripadvisor. if it looks too good/too cheap to be true then it usually is! we do lots of online searches including putting in the villa name and location into the googlebox and seeing what comes up. why are you worried, any particular reason?

SaucyMare Tue 04-Nov-14 11:20:13

it is a lot of money, to end up in spain with £1000 lost and nowhere to stay.

I have read lots about it but couldn't remember the how to stay safe advice.

I worry about every online purchase that isn't from a company i know well smile

SaucyMare Tue 04-Nov-14 11:21:18

often they aren't to good to be true the scammers charge full price for a villa that is real, but just not owned by them.

holeinmyheart Tue 04-Nov-14 11:32:42

I have booked several villas abroad and in the UK with Owners Direct. They have been subjected to scams. How the scammers work is they intercept the owners emails. It happened to friends at half term.
It has not happened to me . The advice to avoid being scammed is as follows. First of all make sure the owner has a telephone number and an address in the UK. Make sure that they have a owner profile. You can speak to them and get their bank details by text rather than email.
I have booked to go to the Canaries in March. I also phoned up Owners direct to see that the owner existed and paid the money into a UK bank account.
I can recommend one or two villas where I have been if you are interested. I rarely go to the same place twice.

holeinmyheart Tue 04-Nov-14 11:38:31

I meant to add,when you are transferring money electronically, just send £10 initially and ask them to telephone you when they have received it,before you send more.
I paid out over £3000 for a villa in France last year and it was all fine. Owners Direct are just the cheapest but a telephone number is crucial. Scammers do not have UK landlines.

SaucyMare Tue 04-Nov-14 11:41:40

thanks hole

F1fichef Sat 08-Nov-14 11:13:24

Have a look on BBC Iplayer at this weeks Watchdog. Fortunately the item comes on first. Homeaway have merged with Ownersdirect so are one and the same. Looking on Tripadvisor it seems that there have been scamming problems since 2011 so why it hasn't been sorted out by now is a surprise. I have booked a couple of villas with them - no problem. Ofcourse the bigger properties with a heavier price are the ones that the scammers are drawn to.
For 2015 I have booked a large property in Malta for 11 people which has not been without it's problems. The first one I chose I had already just sent the deposit when Homeaway notified me by email not to pay anything. I fortunately was able to cancel the payment in time. They said that the transfer was being intercepted but gave no more details.
Unfortunately, the second one I booked - the owners did not have a UK bank account. I checked the name of the owner on Google (who is a resident in Malta) and didn't find anything bad about them and also had their personal mobile no. which I checked out. I'm confident that all is OK now!!!

Hoppinggreen Wed 19-Nov-14 22:15:39

I own an apartment in Spain that we rent via a couple of websites.
A couple of times people have phoned me before booking and I'm happy for them to do that. We usually swap a few emails as well, before booking

dreamingofsun Thu 20-Nov-14 10:24:41

hopping - swapping emails though is no confirmation that all is OK. if i undestand one of the scams, its that they intercept the emails and answer questions as if they were the owner

jenpetronus Thu 20-Nov-14 11:07:02

Yes! Ring the owners. We have a holiday rental in France and I always encourage it.

HelloClouds Thu 20-Nov-14 18:04:32

Pay by credit card! Holidaylettings (owned by Tripadvisor) has a guarantee scheme that covers you for up to £10,000 if you book online. We use both the Holidaylettings and the HomeAway systems to take credit cards. The HomeAway Reservation Manager system in particular has worked really well for us so I'd advise any villa owner who doesn't yet take credit cards to give it a go! Owners Direct should have online payment next year.

And, as mentioned above, speak to the owner on the phone, check how long the villa has been advertised for (should be on the advert), read reviews (not infallible, though!).
I think these scams are still pretty rare and a private villa is still excellent value for money!

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