Avoid being scammed on your private holiday accommodation this summer

7/3/2017

Are you going to rent a private accommodation this summer? ECC Sweden has the tips on how to avoid surprises and how to complain if problems arise

Today, many people choose to rent a house or apartment privately through popular agencies such as Airbnb. According to a press release from Airbnb, Europe is the hottest destination this summer with the cities London, Paris, Barcelona and Rome in the top.

Renting a private accommodation is often economical and gives you the opportunity to experience the culture of the destination in a new way, but it can also come with surprises. Consumers who contacted ECC Sweden have encountered problems with payments, agreements and cancellations.

"A consumer who called us had paid 40,000 SEK via bank transfer and later could not reach the landlord. Another consumer had been promised a big kitchen, but when they arrived at the apartment it turned out to be a kitchenette. We also had cases where the landlord cancelled the booking in short notice", says Jolanda Girzl, Director of ECC Sweden.

Since there is no protection through consumer legislation when you book private accommodation, ECC Sweden has listed things worth considering before signing a contract with an unknown person, as well as what to do when problem arises.

5 tips before booking holiday homes privately through a brokerage

  1. Check the owner's profile and reviews before booking. Look for landlords who have good recommendations from most guests and ask for references from these previous guests.
  2. Read about the accommodation in the description and read about the travel destination and the neighborhood so you know what to expect. Do not blindly rely on beautiful images of the accommodation that can be retouched or even copied from other sites.
  3. Check the terms of the agreement before sending a booking request, especially if you or the landlord would cancel and if there are special requirements for cleaning, pets, etc.
  4. Always pay and communicate through the website. If the landlord asks you to pay outside the site, you should not accept the accommodation. The agency cannot help you if you have paid outside the site and if there occur a problem with the payment.
  5. Pay by bank or credit card. If problems that you cannot solve on your own persist, you can contact your bank to request compensation through chargeback. If you pay by credit card, you also have extra protection through the Consumer Credit Act.

How to complain on the private accommodation

  1. Complain directly to the landlord if you detect an error or problem. Send the complaint via the agency's platform or via the landlord's email. Attach images or other proof of the problem.
  2. Contact the agency if the landlord is not responding or not correcting the error. Describe the problem and attach the proof of the error as well as your correspondence with the landlord. How fast you need to contact the agency varies. Check out what is applicable to your agency.
  3. Contact ECC Sweden if problems arise with the agency, and the company is located within the EU, Norway or Iceland. Unfortunately, we cannot help when problems arise with private landlords in Europe. If you are in dispute with a private person, you can conduct the case in court.