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How to avoid a scam when booking vacation condo??

How to avoid a scam when booking vacation condo??

Old Mar 12th, 2012, 07:02 PM
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How to avoid a scam when booking vacation condo??

I would like to book a vacation condo, apartment or home for my 1 week vacation to Miami. I am currently only considering places that will take a reservation with a deposit and take the remaining payment upon arrival. Any other tips or suggestions on minimzing the risk involved? I contacted paypall and they said they will only intervene when problems occur with not receiving goods but can do nothing if promised services are not delivered, which include vacation home rentals. All tips and suggestions much appreciated!! Thanks and happy travels.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Check out Trip Advisor for reviews, BBB of Miami for past problems lodged.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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Use a trusted website to search for your apartment. We rented an apartment in Rome without any problems.

We have rented a condo in Hawaii using VRBO (we haven't been on our trip yet), but I searched for the apartment via VRBO which is highly recommended by Fodor's readers.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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VRBO and Homeaway are more reliable sites, though they are still listings put up by individual owners. I only check the rentals that have reviews, and also check how long the listing has been on VRBO or Homeaway. The more reviews and the longer the listing have been on, the less likely it'll be a scam.

I also google the owner's name and phone #s to make sure nothing suspicious pops up.

I would avoid craigslist for short term vacation rental.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 07:58 PM
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most rentals will require full payment at least a week before check in so you are limiting yourself a lot.
In addition to yk's excellent advice, call and talk to owners yourself, asking lots of questions about the property, just to engage in conversation.
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Old Mar 14th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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For reviews, I prefer tripadvisor and booking.com to vrbo or homeaway because the latter only post their positive reviews, and the former post all. With tripadvisor, I look for reviews by people who've done many reviews, and whose reviews run the gamut. I know there can be an honest review by someone who's only written one or two, but I figure it's much less likely. Also, look for reviews that don't sound like they could have been written by the owner themselves.

I've had mixed success with finding good places on vrbo and homeaway. But I have to say, I've experienced from great to ok, nothing terrible, so I'm still doing it.

I like jubilada's advice about engaging in conversation with the owner. I want to go someday to a place I found in the Poconos but couldn't end up going to this past fall, simply because I enjoyed the conversation with the owner! Also, ask for as many pictures as you want. So if there are pictures of the living room and kitchen but not the bedroom, and you want to see the bedroom, don't be shy about asking. It's your money and your vacation!
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Old Mar 14th, 2012, 07:36 PM
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homeaway has negative reviews sometimes, but even if owners remove the negative, if there are many positive ones, that means something.
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