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I am still in shock. I am not quite sure what to do about this, so I would really appreciate anyones feedback! We rent from the listings for Keuka Lake, NY for the last couple years now and never have had a problem. The owners have all been quick to respond and upfront and all around great. This March my boyfriend and I asked his parents if they would be interestd to rent there with us.. Well his mom decided to take charge and they found a place and contacted the guy with listing #55646-he told her to mail him the deposit, which she did -IN MARCH! He said that he keeps it till a month before and we would mail him the remaining balance and he would cash them together. (weird) and he does not do contracts... I asked many times over the last few months if she had contacted him and she said no, but when she did call his phone messages were full and he would never return her calls. I continued to ask her to call him and we couldnt get through. We mailled him the remaining amount for our week 2 weeks ago. He still has not contacted us. I called today from a different number and he answered. He told me that we did not have the place and that he never got the money and it is rented to someone else. He was very rude and not to concerned about the situation. I am so confused how this happened? I want to be able to report him. He is making this very difficult to even dare rent from the site again. I cant even wrap around what happened. He either is really bad with keeping his rental organised or he is a scammer. Either way the situation has ruined our summer vacation and I am really upset
Can you please answer some questions so we can attempt to help you?
You mailed him checks? Were they cashed? Did you put a stop payment on them? Did you actually speak to the owner before you mailed him money? Why did you mail him more money 2 weeks if you hadn't heard from him? I admit that this doesn't sound good. Not having a contract is the first red flag and I would suggest to anyone that they NEVER rent without a contract.
I know it's difficult to never want to work with these sites again but please know that 99.9% of owners are upstanding and devote all of the time and energy into running their vacation rentals and making their guests experience the very best they can possibly have. Here are some tips for renting in the future:
1. NEVER rent a property without a contract. If an owner says he doesn't do contracts, run the other way. It doesn't matter how amazing the property or price is, it's not worth the risk. It shows that the owner is serious and runs his rentals like a business.
2. Pay with a credit card or paypal if possible so if they cancel, you have recourse with the credit card company to get your money back.
3. Pick up the phone and call the owner. You can get a good feel for the owner and his practices by speaking on the phone. Do this BEFORE you sign a contract or transfer money
4. If you have a hard time having an owner call or email you back before you have booked, best to pass that property by as you will undoubtedly have issues later on.
5. Keep in touch with the owner if you book far out so you know they are still in business and haven't skipped town.
If you file a complaint with homeaway about this owner, it does go in their file and once they get a certain amount of complaints, they are kicked off.
There are other places you can leave a review if they are listed. www.tripadvisor.com or try slowtrav.com.You are also free to post on the forum for the particular city on Tripadvisor. There are tons of people that read the forums and you can actually put the property # and name on tripadvisor. You can do this even if they aren't advertised on that site. You can also try fodors.com on their travel forum.
Yes my boyfriends Mother mailed him a deposit check in March for $350.00. He said that he has been doing this for years and doesn't give contracts.? I always got one before. We did speak to him regarding the rental that was available. He gave us an address to send the money to. a P.O. Box number. not physical address. She said that he told her he was going to hold the deposit until we sent the final check a month before we go. That sounded strange to me too. And yes we sent him the $1100. 2 weeks ago. He has the checks now and he said that he rented to someone else and never got the checks, but they did not get returned and he wont answer the phone since I talked to him this morning. I am guessing that since I called my boyfreinds parents this morning about this that they would stop the checks or check to see if he cashed them (whatever they need to do now). This just happened a couple hours ago.
The best thing to do at this point to call and see if the checks have cleared. If not, immediately put a stop payment on them. If they have been cashed, you have much bigger issues. I always find it odd that someone only advertises on vacationrentals and NOT on the biggies VRBO or HOMEAWAY. I searched for any other listing and didn't find anything. There are 83 homes listing on vrbo in Keuka. You shouldn't have a hard time rebooking something.