Holiday Complaints

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Hi and welcome to HT! Sorry to hear of your predicament. I shall move this to our Complaints forum as some of our members may have suggestions for you.

luci :wave
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Whilst you have paid by Bank Transfer, which normally would mean you have lost your money, have you spoken with the bank? For obvious reasons they will not wish to be associated with dodgy companies/individuals.
Whilst it might not resolve your problems in such circumstances you need to enlist the help of anyone and everyone who might possibly assist.

For anyone else reading this post the message has to be do not pay via bank transfer unless you are 100% sure that the person you are dealing with is legitimate.

fwh
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I am sorry you have been scammed in this way.

I advertise on the holiday rentals website and they asked for a copy of the deeds to my property before accepting my listing. Maybe their policy is different for UK rentails but I can't see why it would be.

I take it you have complained to the website admin?
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Am confused here sorry but is it holiday-rentals.co.uk who you are unhappy with or

the holyroodrentals.co.uk website came down two days after our money went missing
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Hello Susan107, I'm so sorry to hear about your predicament - I live on the east coast of Scotland and know just how scarce accommodation in Edinburgh is during the Festival and just how expensive anything that might be available is going to be.

If you are in a position to afford to re-book somewhere to stay can I suggest that you have a look at the VisitScotland website.

http://www.visitscotland.com/

They are still advertising some SC flats in central Edinburgh that will sleep up to 4 people in the £600-700 price range for the week beginning 20th August which isn't bad for during the Festival. As they are the official tourist board people they do inspect properties and vet advertisers and make it clear whether this inspection has yet taken place for newly registered properties. Also, for a good many properties they directly act as the booking agent and it is them that you pay in the first instance which makes it much safer. For others you do deal direct with the owner but for many of these, I've simply paid in cash on arrival when they've met me with the keys (especially for last minute/short notice lets) otherwise it's been by personal cheque - I've never been asked to pay by bank draft.

Even though only I live approx 70 miles north of Edinburgh, I have used their service a lot because it is nice after a late night event not to be worrying about the times of the last train etc. The properties do range from the quite small and basic to the spacious and luxurious but I have always found the gradings to be accurate in terms of what can be expected. I hope that you get fixed up and also get your money back.

SM
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To take these in order - that's absolutely right - you should only pay by bank transfer if you're absolutely certain and it's a mistake I shan't make again. I'd had several email exchanges with the 'owner' and made the payment that way because he didn't accept it by an alternative method. Won't do that ever again. I'm usually extraordinarily careful in these matters.

I have now taken this up with the Advertising Standards Authority, written to Trading Standards, am seeing the police later today and am exploring every avenue possible (including contacting the bank) so that this doesn't happen to someone else. I don't expect my money back but it's been a distressing experience and I don't want someone else to go through it. I'm also writing to holiday-rentals.co.uk again (I have been in correspondence with their security and trust department already). With the benefit of hindsight, I've looked at the ip address associated with the domain name used by the company. It's had daily complaints on a fraud detection website. I didn't even know you could check that before this happened to us, but it only takes a couple of minutes.

I am very glad to hear that the company asked you for sight of your deeds in your instance and I know that there are several very decent people who work through the company (we'd rented from the website before, hence the fact I trusted them). I just wanted to warn future renters to be doubly careful so that their summer wasn't spoilt too.

Thank you very much for all your suggestions.
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Sorry but I am getting confused here. You state that

because the letting company doesn't exist (the
holyroodrentals.co.uk
website came down two days after our money went missing)


So where does

While we appreciated that
the holiday-rentals.co.uk website
was a broker for the holiday


Come into the equation?

They are two separate organisations - To me at least the "dodgy" site was playing on a similarity of names and so snaring people.

fwh
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Yes, they are two separate organisations. Holyrood is, of course, a district of Edinburgh. No confusion between the names at all or their various roles in this.
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I think what the OP is saying is the accommodation was advertised on Holiday Rentals but 'owned' by Holyrood Rentals who advertised it on Holiday Rentals.

Holiday Rentals do offer a protection scheme against f r a u d. I suggest you contact them without delay if you haven't done so already:

http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/info/travel-tips/traveller-protection?icid=IL_TravellerProtection_P_T_HPTile_TravellerProtection_LPRO_TravellerProtection
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They do offer up to 50% of your deposit up to a maximum level of £700 which offsets the loss but doesn't cover the total amount or, of course, all the additional money spent on transport and associated activities. I'm now going to write to Mark Prisk, the minister in charge of regulation at BIS, because I now find that there are numerous instances of similar situations reported on the internet. If tourists to the UK experience similar issues during the Olympic year it's going to reflect very badly on our leisure and tourism industry.

Thank you very much for your suggestion.
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As a legitimate advertiser on Holiday Rentals myself I do think the title of this thread should be changed as it implies that booking any accommodation through that website is likely to be problematic.

The title should be with reference to the actual company the accommodation was booked through particularly as Holiday Rentals offer a protections scheme.
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As a legitimate advertiser on Holiday Rentals myself I do think the title of this thread should be changed as it implies that booking any accommodation through that website is likely to be problematic.

The title should be with reference to the actual company the accommodation was booked through


AHV makes a very important point here. Perhaps the Mods should look at this. Holiday Rentals is a responsible company and there are, in my opinion at least, legal implications in the title. It could be considered a smear against Holiday Rentals which could result in legal action against HT.

fwh
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In the balance about whether Holiday-Rentals should be flagged as dodgy. The question is do they do the right checks on property owners or did this one in particular do something unusual? If this is a deliberate criminal act then they have questions to answer but if it was a genuine business that went bust it would be harder to blame them.

holyroodrentals.co.uk was registered in April this year but the IP address belongs to a major IPS called one.com who have bases in Copenhagen and Dubai, they do market their services in the UK so it wouldn't be suspicious that someone here used them.

The site was registered in the name of a real person living in Dunbar, I presume the police will have found that out already and made contact. Does that match the bank transfer payee?

You say the flat doesn't exist - do you mean physically or just not available to rent?
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I'm now leaving that up to the police, and yes, to the previous correspondent, it does depend on what the public deems as an acceptable check on properties.

I'm now leaving this in the hands of the police as my best efforts found that the registered business address is actually a shop that sells beads.

I'll also be writing to Holiday Rentals with a list of what I hope they'll take as very constructive suggestions as to how they might better protect people who rent through the site in future.

At no point was this meant as a slight to the company who have dealt with this efficiently retrospectively. But wouldn't it have been better if some of these checks had been made in the first place.

This holiday was meant as a treat for my son who'd worked very very hard for his GCSEs this year. If by suggesting some alterations to process I can stop one more parent having to stand in front of their children explaining that they can't have a holiday because someone's taken our money, then I'll be satisfied.
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fwh wrote:
As a legitimate advertiser on Holiday Rentals myself I do think the title of this thread should be changed as it implies that booking any accommodation through that website is likely to be problematic.

The title should be with reference to the actual company the accommodation was booked through


AHV makes a very important point here. Perhaps the Mods should look at this. Holiday Rentals is a responsible company and there are, in my opinion at least, legal implications in the title. It could be considered a smear against Holiday Rentals which could result in legal action against HT.

fwh


I have reported the title of this thread to the Mods but so far no response.
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Perhaps I am being pedantic but your complaint only involves Holiday Rentals insofar as you found a link/advert on their site to the offending company. You cannot blame them for the actions/faults of their advertisers. Having had a quick look at their site I cannot see how much more they can do. Remember the "dodgy" outfits are very adept at concealing their true colours.

fwh
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Whilst not blaming Holiday Rentals (much) for what happened I don't see a problem with the thread title. It says
warning
and the post shows that some people can abuse that site so care is needed. The rest of the thread covers the details in a balanced way and shouldn't pose a legal issue to this board. There's no point in changing it to a warning about holyroodrentals if that is already closed down, but another name could sprout up and do the same thing so the warning remains valid. The idea we can't mention a company name in case they don't like has never bothered us before. If Holiday Rentals want to use this thread to announce improvements to their vetting or guarantee or even to explain what investigation they have done then they would be welcome, they are a victim on a different way here.
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Thank you Steve - that's exactly the spirit in which I posted the original message - as a constructive warning, certainly not as an attack. I do think there are some simple additional measures that can be put in place which would drive traffic to the many bona fide advertisers on the site and be of considerable commercial value to Holiday Rentals in the long run. Reputation and trust, when trading on the web, are so important. I've looked round the web and they appear to have suffered with this sort of attack previously with Spanish properties (if web content is correct) so of course it's in their interests to stop this behaviour. I'll repeat that they've been very prompt in their removal of the property and in their dealings with me but I honestly think that everyone needs to clear whose reponsibility it is i.e the company or customer to undertake the very basic research, be it with through Land Registry, domain name holders, ip tracers etc that gives everyone involved the transaction peace of mind. This isn't a nice experience for anyone.
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But Holiday Rentals are just one of many listing sites - Holiday Lettings, Owners Direct, Spain Holiday, Portside Promotions to name a just a few - and all have the same potential difficulty. An owner/business may satisfy their acceptance criteria and then prove to be bogus.

I would suggest that anyone booking self catering accommodation look for information about that owner/business on the listing site - all the ones I list with say 'Advertiser since xxx 20xx' etc. The longer an advertiser the better......
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