How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Fake Luxury Villa Ads

For the ultimate in holiday vacations, nothing beats the allure of luxury villa rentals. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a professional villa rental company that actually takes the time and effort to make sure that they inspect the villas they feature so that each one meets their standards and appear as advertised.

Villas offer much greater space than hotel suites, plus you will also enjoy much greater levels of privacy. In addition, what’s really great about the best villa rentals is that you can also receive personalized service. With a great concierge service, you have pros handling the hiring of a chef for your meals, the live music for your pool parties, or the hiring of a yacht for some ocean adventures.

These vacations can be a bit on the pricey side, but for those who can afford it the entire experience can be worth the expense. Unfortunately, if you deal with the wrong company then you may end up getting scammed instead.

So how can you avoid the possibility of fraud for your fabulous vacation? Here are 10 tips that can help a lot:

  1. Start with the right website. This should be a website that’s professionally organized, and it also must contain a proper “About Us” section. You can then Google the names of the CEO and other company officials listed there so you can confirm that the website is legitimate.

  2. Check the prices. There are many adjectives to describe a holiday villa, but “cheap” isn’t usually one of them. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a villa in a prime tourist destination like St. Bart. Stay away form deals that just seem to good to be true and realize you get what you pay for.

  3. If there’s a toll-free number, call and ask questions. Most legitimate villa rental companies will offer a toll-free number so that potential clients can make easily make inquiries.

  4. Look for online reviews. You should find reviews either on the site you’re booking through or on independent sites like TripAdvisor. Obviously, you will want to see mostly positive reviews for the villa you want to rent.

  5. Only pay by credit card. That’s the safest way because there are built-in protections in place when you pay via credit card. The least safe way to pay is through money transfer as you won’t be able to get your money back easily.

  6. Make sure that your security deposit is reasonable. Usually these villas will require something like a 10% security deposit. The more expensive ones may ask for more. But if this exceeds 25%, you may want to think about your rental a bit more.

  7. Confirm the existence of the property. You can ask for more pictures, as a legitimate company will have plenty of those. You can also search Google Maps to find the precise location of the property.

  8. Check the state of the property when you arrive. It’s best if you do this right away, and in the company of the property manager or owner. You can then take photos of any current damage to the property so that you don’t end up paying for them afterwards.

  9. Don’t forget to get back your security deposit after your holiday. If there have been some deductions, ask for receipts or proofs of the deducted costs.

  10. If you find a web portal that you can trust, continue using them. At least now you know that the villa rental company can be trusted!