Being wary

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Be wary and do check it out as thoroughly as you can. If in doubt – run a mile!

A few days ago Just about Travel highlighted research from both ATOL and ABTA which urged people to book their travel with a bonded provider. In this way there was protection if problems occurred with the supplier. But that only works if you buy a “package.”

What happens if you respond to an internet ad where there is no ATOL symbol?

The answer is that you do so at your own risk. You can reduce the chances of a problem by paying on a credit card ( not a debit card) and you may be able to claim against your credit card issuer.

But many people will be out-of-pocket because the villa, cabin or other accommodation they have booked doesn’t exist at all. Scammers are using it merely to get money from you. Can you protect yourselves against them?

If you are tempted to book a villa from a group, organisation or company you have never heard of, the obvious thing is to check them out.  That isn’t as easy as it sounds especially if they are based overseas. The first thing is to see if they want money up-front. If they want the whole amount, run a mile! That is often a sign that there is something amiss.

Check to see if there is an address at the bottom of the website pages. There should also be a privacy statement about how and why data is collected. By law there should be contact details other than just an e-mail address.

Check to see if the organisation offering the holiday let is a member of any trade association. If it looks to be so, check that the trade association exists in the country concerned. See if the villa is on any site that you recognise and trust. S9metimes scammers use real villas but they are owned by soeone else and they have no right to let them.

If you use a destination website check that is the official website and not an official website. There are some websites that claim to be official but aren’t. You can usually check by looking at the website and under the “About us” it should indicate if they are official or a commercial site. If there is no “About you” section that forget the site.

Above all, if the rental price looks so very cheap then it is probably  a scam. And don’t go by any reviews it lists on its site. They can make those up. Even on well-known sites you can buy reviews to be placed on them. Despite the best intents of the sites, some fraudulent ones get through

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