Beware the scammers but also the monopoly web holiday companies because of their dominance trying to change the independent holiday market and charge you for a direct owner booking. Is competitive & cheap villa pricing a thing of the past?
For many years owners of holiday villas have advertised their properties with a paid-for web site listing. The owners from their advertisement would have a direct relationship with the customers via email or telephone contact. This was quite an efficient way of advertising. It keeps the cost of your villa rental down to a reasonable level. All parties, property owners, holiday clients and the web advertising companies have a reasonable split of the profit.
Now traditional holiday web advertisers the very companies many have supported with reviews want a bigger slice of the action. This can put the cost of a holiday villa up by as much as 15%. When booking asking you the customer to pay a “Booking fee”. Basically a commission that was never there in the first place inventing an income stream for themselves.
We have all heard of the scammers, holiday villas not even existing, owners having their email accounts hijacked and so on. These excuses are now being used to frighten and scare monger holiday makers into paying these quite unnecessary fees. It is not in the interests of the web site companies to sort out their own web site security ! They want to charge booking fees to fix their own issues.
Their efforts would have better been spent increasing the security of their web sites rather than using these issues as excuses for fee introduction. Double and triple security walls, phone and password validation. Vetting of owners so scammers could not list non existent properties. Verifying bank accounts by paying in 1 pence to verify who and its existence. The list of security measures is now extensive. PayPal do it, why not them. Yet these are of no interest, only self interest in ripping you off with these unnecessary fee’s.
The fees you are now being asked to pay are being disguised as peace of mind payments. Offering you some level of so called security for your deposits and final payments. Find out what the T&C’s are in place for the contract you are entering into. Carefully check the web for complaints about them. Contracts can be deemed unfair if favoring one side, many of them being stacked against Owners and holiday makers.
There are many complaints emerging from 2 sides of this triangle, owners and holiday makers alike. Holiday makers not gaining full refunds when making a claim. Having to pay balances for properties before a refund is even considered. Money back guarantees that have admin fees deducted. Owners waiting months after the holiday for payments. Owners having properties cancelled with no chance of a re-rent because its to short notice. The list is growing on both sides. If this was PPI .Gov would be all over this, but of course its the internet so buyer-beware.
Be careful what you wish for, providing reviews to this type of advertising site has created these monsters. There are now massive conflicts of interest. So called independent reviews that sit on the largest holiday web sites in the world are never going to be independent. Their interest is to sell you a holiday. Over the years with their come on board free approach encouraging reviews (many of them fake) they are now turning on the hand that feeds. If not careful we will both be victims of this Rip Off !
In many instances because we as owners are web based, the top spots on Google type searches contain only the offerings from the big boys. This squeezes the smaller owner and is forcing them to advertise on these dominant web sites. Google will wake up one day, having a search that contains on page one, 4 results from a single web site is not impartial. Search a bit further down the results on the lower pages, the cheap villa holiday still exist.
The rise of DIY holidays and the internet are now having a great influence, but come on, charges where charges did not exist is a rip off. Terms and condition for this quite unnecessary triangle that set owner against holiday maker, the web advertiser stepping aside when things go wrong. If these companies want to make these charges and take fees at such a high level they should be held responsible under the umbrella of the likes of ABTA paying the appropriate fee for your cover and protection. Doing something for their money instead of smoke and mirrors and bleeding the industry dry.
The latest little ditty to come out of this legal scam has now come to light. Even though you the holiday maker might have been duped into paying a booking fee to a particular web site. Beware of the hidden T&C’s you sign up for. Making a claim on the holiday web site for something going wrong you will first be advised to contact your own bank and make the claim on your own card insurance. Strange in the majority of cases plastic card payments would have normally covered you in the first place. Duping you into a second line of insurance might be a catch all but beware again if your card company or bank refuse to cover you for the issue why will the web site company ?.
Along with this are the value limitations. Most of this so called cover limits any claim to £700/800. A family holiday in a decent villa or apartment can run into the £1000’s just for the property. Who covers the rest. ?
Verify the owner and the property, Google them.
Beware villa details and images can be copied. If you find multiple adverts for the same property (not uncommon) verify the owners or the agents advertising them.
Look out for a land line telephone number, beware some trip to mobiles you can sometimes tell or give an out of UK ring tone. Google the numbers.
Never deal with only an email address ! Get more details.
Be aware if asked to pay direct into a non UK bank account, scammers will offer a discount for full payment. Book early and pay a deposit, pay by card or PayPal for some cover.
Look at proper verified reviews and contact them if possible.
If it looks to good to be true, it more than likely is !
As of Jan 2017 Villasun.net has removed its advertising from Owners Direct and Holiday Lettings and has never advertised on Tripadvisor.
Posted on 24/12/2016
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