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this is my first time using a VRBO and i have read to not take cash so what do i do when the person i'm talking with wants an initial depost wired to them for one night and then a full payment wired to them a week before we get there? or cash on the day we get there?
also, the reviews for http://www.vrbo.com/318414 are perfect 5/5 so with all of this, it makes me feel like something is fishy. any advise on how to approach this would be greatly appreciated.
Are there any other was to validate that this place is legitimate?
Call them on the phone. Their number is on the listing. Never wire money unless you're absolutely certain you're dealing with the actual owner.
It is very common in European countries to request a wire transfer or cash on arrival. Nothing stood out on the property to page to me but if you are not comfortable with the situation, then don't do it. You should call them to get a better feel. Also, ask if they take paypal. Mnay Euro owners do.
I have a few more thoughts for you regarding renting in Europe. I would always advise that if you have never traveled to that country or speak the language, it might be best if you stay in a hotel for your first time to get a feel for everything. It can be quite intimidating to rent an apartment in a foreign country. I am a seasoned owner and a world traveler and I still get nervous about it! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE living like a local in a foreign country, just make sure you feel comfortable with it from beginning to end.
What you read (do not take cash, do not wire) is not always good advice. It is up to the owner what payment they will accept. If you feel uncomfortable, find a place that does make you feel comfortable.
I have not wired money, but I have prepaid by check (to U.S. owner) for foreign properties, I have paid cash upon arrival at foreign properties, and already have my foreign cash for my next rental in a few weeks. I wouldn't have minded wiring money to any of the people I have rented from.
The listing you have referenced has been on VRBO since 2010. I would bet that they are legit. I would call them at the number provided and speak with them. I see no problem with taking cash with you.
It looks like a lovely apartment. I hope it works out for you and that you have a lovely trip.
I don't think that he asked for cash, you may confirmed again from them. I think nothing stood out on the property to page to me but if you are not comfortable with the situation, then don't do it.
I think this can go both ways. Obviously it's not smart to wire money/prepay for something through Craigslist or anything that you feel uncomfortable with. I've taken a big liking online payment systems that use Paypal and hold cash until both parties are satisfied. Specifically the system Rentini uses where they hold it until 24 hrs after guests check in to ensure both parties are satisfied. Heres more in their recent PR: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/rentini-helps-homeowners-travelers-avoid-161600478.html
Thanks for all the good feedback and I asked the owner to go thru PayPal rather then a wire. The owner signed up for PayPal and I made my deposit so we are going to trust the experience.
I'm sure there's more I could've done here but for now, this feels comfortable enough and I've had several email conversations asking deeper questions each time and have received good feedback from the owner.
I will let you know how it goes after we get back in early Sept.
Cross your fingers...
I am also dealing with an owner in Europe, and I want to warn you about something, and maybe get some feedback from others to see if this is common.
The owner invited me to use PayPal or wire transfer, or send a personal check. He warned me that PayPal charges a 4% international fee, and that my bank may also charge a fee. If I had sent a check I would have saved a little money. I opted for PayPal because of all the online warnings--just to be safe.
What I have just discovered is that Paypal removes the fee out of the total; so although I sent him a 250Euro deposit, only 240 has been delivered to him. (4% of 250Euro =10 Euro, 250-10=240). Although in some cases with online vendors, the seller absorbs the fee, in this case it looks like I will be doing that.
I will be very interested to see how your experience works out. My owner has so many good reviews, too--I hope it pans out.
as an owner I have accepted wire transfers twice now from Europe (guests who wanted to pay by wire transfer). Yes, there is a charge on the renter's end, and also on the owner's end, so both parties share the cost. PayPal charges a credit card transaction charge, if you are using a US card paying a US owner, the owner is charged the US charge (on a $250 deposit I receive $242.45). As a US owner, I am charged 4% for all international transactions (including Canada, there I get $239.95 on a $250 deposit). Yes, there are cheaper merchant account options out there. When I signed up with PayPal 2 years ago (as an owner), one of the terms I had to agree to was that I would not charge an extra fee to guests who wanted to pay by PayPal.