BBB issues scam alert on vacation properties

Travellers urged to use extreme caution when booking an owner- operated vacation rental property

The Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island is warning would-be travellers to use extreme caution when booking an owner- operated vacation rental property.

The BBB was recently contacted by a consumer from Calgary that had been ripped off after booking a condo in Victoria for a vacation.

The consumer found the rental via a popular website for vacation rental properties. The consumer paid a deposit and portion of the total rental cost in order to secure the booking.

A little over 24 hours before planning to travel to Victoria, the owner of the vacation rental cancelled the booking, failed to refund the pre-paid deposit and stopped responding to the customer’s emails and phone calls.

“Travellers who are thinking of renting a house or condo instead of staying in a hotel or resort need to consider whether it is a genuine and legal opportunity,” said Rosalind Scott, president of the BBB.

“Rental scams often start with fake online rental listings, intended to trick would-be vacationers into making deposits on rental properties that don’t exist or that aren’t owned by the person listing the property.”

To avoid vacation nightmares, consumers should do online research and work with a reliable company to find their vacation rental, Scott said.

For more information about scams, frauds and tips to protect yourself go to: bbb.org/Vancouver-island. To report and monitor scams go online to BBB’s new Scam Tracker online tool at bbb.org/scamtracker.