How it works: you receive a call from an „agent“ trying to sell you guaranteed bookings and best placement of your listing in a web catalogue (supposedly one of Airbnb, VRBO, Roomorama etc. web portals).
However you will never receive any booking from them!
If you visit my website more frequently you already know that aside my passion for travelling I do short term rents for tourists from around the world through Airbnb and VRBO servers. In case you want to start something similar, check out my article series here.
Recently I had a weird experience which I am going to tell you about:
In quick succession I received couple of calls from different short term rent server providers who tried to persuade me to publish my listing on their website. All of them were pretending to represent an American company with a name containing “holiday”, “rental” or even better both of these terms. In my case it were: vacationholidayhome.com, vacationcasas.com, rentvacationrentals.com, rentholidayrentals.com and holidayrentaladvisor.com.
They claimed to have a tremendous interest for off season rents and therefore would like to incorporate my listing in their offer. I did not suspect anything in the first case. Some to me unknown company vacationholidayhome.com is trying to give me a promotion. I did not have the time to examine the thing more, so I gave them my email address.
The other day, they called me again from a foreign number, this time it was rentvacationalrentals.com. The conversation was rather similar to the previous one. They wanted to check whether I am providing short term rents and so on. Supposedly they were looking for appartments for their scandinavian clients.
Later on in the conversation they mentioned a condition: if I want to get my listing in their catalogue I have to pay 299 EUR which will guarantee 10 – 15 bookings per year. Because they consider my appartment really nice it will be certainly even more. They were pushing me to register and pay the fee as soon as possible. They even offered me a discount code whoch will reduce the price to 100 EUR per year without having to pay a state tax (who could resist that!). Still I found the whole thing suspicious and asked them to send me an information email.
After couple of hours I received another call again from a foreign number with a similar offer. This time from rentvacationrentals.com. Again I was suspicious and asked them to write it down in email.
First email from firstname.lastname@example.org (freemail service) I got was this one:
Well you can visit to our website on weekend and you can proceed further by your self.
You will have to do the registration and you can do by your side.
I would like to tell you that if you want then I can call you at your convenient time and assist you over the phone.
You can also accept the payment of €99 by Master card,Credit card, Visa card or by PayPal.
I am sending you the steps of registration in next mail so that you can do by your self and you will not have to pay government tax .
Another one followed soon:
I am sending you the steps of registration please follow these steps below and you will be able to do the registration after that please send me the email with your property details so we can do all the necessary things .
1.Open this link: http://vacationcasas.com/index.php?action=listproperty
2.Then click Get Started, it will direct you the next page, here need to fill all the details to create your profile and also select your password, remember your password, it will be your login password and your email id is your login id.
3.Then click the small box (terms and conditions).
4.Then click SUBMIT.
5.Now you can see the regular price of EUR 299.00 plus government VAT, but you have the special price discount.
First select the properties selct 1 .
Right hand below you can see to fill promotion code.
Your special Discounted Promotion code to avail the discount is VCPRONKNKN plus government tax, fill this code and click APPLY, your price will be changed to your special price of €99.
Now you would see left side below
1.pay with my credit card and
2. Pay with other gateway.
Choose pay with other gateway then you will not have to pay tax.
6.Now click to NEXT, it will direct you to another page, it is your order confirmation.
7.Now Choose Click here to Purchase.
8.Now fill your
3.Security Code(three digit numbers on the back side of your card), and
4.Card Holder Name.
Now click To Pay Now.
Kindly let me know after making the registration and send me the link of your property, so I can assign my listing team to create your advert, and ask me any question if you have.
Have a great evening
I did not react to any of them and couple of days later I got the very same email only with a different ending:
Online Marketing Executive
To show my good manners I answered:
I went through your web and conditions, and for now, the subscription model doesn´t suit to my needs.
Therefore, thanks for your offer and maybe next time.
I thought the case was closed but I was not right. Couple of days later I received another call from John who was very persistent. He believed I did not understand the benefits of such an offer and immediately he offered me a better deal. If I didn’t want to pay 99 EUR now, I can pay just 44EUR and later after the first two bookings I can pay the rest. If there will not be any bookings via his website I can get my money back.
I suggested that he can detract the membership from the bookings. He said it was not possible, because 3 years ago his company lost 20 000 EUR due to hosts who never paid their membership. And if I don’t believe him it is rather an unhealthy business relationship. Not that I would be so suspicious, but as I looked up the history of his domain vacationcasas.com I saw it was just 2 years old.
Couple of days after this conversation I received another call. It was from: +14158005959. The person intruduced himself as sales representative of holidayrentaladvisor.com and he offered me to display my listing for 200£ for 5 years on their website.
He stated they were a government organisation, so I can trust him. (Well, who would call a guy in Prague from a goverment organisation in the UK or US?)
I told him I was not interested in their subscription model and he offered me another option: they would detract 3% from every booking. That looked again suspicious I thought- such a small amount won’t make business. Afterwards he said that this option requires again a fee of 70£.
I refused all options and hung up.
Maybe you think this scam is so obvious that there is no need to write an article about it. My experience when preparing this article about another scam proves it is still dangerous.
There are still too many people who will trust it and send their money. But if they can read my experience, think about it and maybe google a little bit more information there is hope I can save their money.
And that makes me really happy.
Moreover it was a bit of investigation to put this article together too.
Was it informative and useful, please share to warn the others.