Fraud Help Desk would like to make people aware of the risks involved in booking holiday accommodation online. For this reason, we have compiled a checklist which may help you avoid being conned. Please use this list to your advantage. Don’t let your dream holiday turn into a nightmare.
Make sure the travel agent is a member of a recognised trade association such as the ANVR, the SGR travel refund guarantee fund or Thuiswinkel.org, the sector organisation for online retailing in the Netherlands. You can verify membership on the websites of these organisations. And you can turn to them for possible compensation.
Of course, there are also reliable individuals around offering holiday homes or apartments. If you want to be sure that you’re not dealing with a scammer, please pay attention to the following:
If the offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Chances are it’s a scam if the email:
– is badly written
– is impersonal or overly polite
– has a compelling tone
– was sent from a country other than the holiday destination
– the identity of the person or company offering the accommodation: their name, address, telephone, email address, VAT number and official registration number should be clearly shown on the website. When in doubt, give them a call. Remember, people who have nothing to hide, will give you all the information you need.
– the address of your holiday home using Google Maps.
– The rental contract should give all the details of the accommodation offer
– The fees must be transparent and easy to understand.
– Double-check the offer, if you’re offered a major speedy payment discount
Usually, you pay a deposit when you get the key. If you’re asked to pay the deposit in advance, then:
– it will be safer to transfer the money to a bank account
– check that the bank account is in the name of the landlord and that the landlord is from the country where your holiday home is located
– don’t transfer money into a foreign bank account or by using wire transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram