Florida Attorney General Warns Consumers About Vacation Rental Scams
On July 7th, 2022, Office of Attorney General Ashley Moody issued an official consumer alert warning Florida residents to beware of vacation rental scams this summer. As vacation season hits full swing, scammers are putting even more effort into defrauding honest, hard-working people. Here, our West Palm Beach deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyer highlights some of the tips to avoid vacation rental scams.
Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams: Six Tips from the Florida Attorney General
While there is an almost never-ending list of different types of scams out there, most vacation rental schemes involve a relatively similar strategy. Scammers post fake or materially misleading advertisements for vacation rental properties. They try to get application fees, security deposits, or full payments from interested customers even though they cannot and will not deliver on their promises. In some cases, families show up only to find out that the vacation rental property is nothing close to what they were promised. In other cases, families find out that there is no vacation rental property at all. Here are six tips from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to detect and avoid vacation rental fraud scams:
- Be very careful when leaving a major, trusted online rental platform (AirBnb, VRBO, etc) to complete the reservation.
- Use a reputable service provider and payment with a credit card. Doing so will make it easier to bring a claim if something goes wrong.
- Use a reverse image search and try to cross reference the property and the photos to confirm it is legitimate.
- Do not communicate with the other party solely through email. Get a phone number and beware of foreign phone numbers.
- Check for reviews from previous customers to see if they seem to be valid. Lack of reviews or obviously fake reviews should be considered a red flag.
- If you feel like something is “off”, it is better to trust your gut. There are many other vacation rental properties available in Florida and throughout the country..
Fraud Victims Have the Right to File an FDUTPA Lawsuit
Were you defrauded by a vacation rental scam? You should report that matter right away. You may want to file a report with local law enforcement and with a consumer regulatory agency. In addition, you also have the right to file a lawsuit against any party that engaged in or facilitated that scam. Under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), a scammer and other businesses engaged in improper commercial practices can be held legally responsible for any damages caused by material misrepresentations of material omissions. An attorney can help you navigate the legal claims process.
Contact Our Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our FDUTPA lawyer is an experienced, reliable advocate for clients. If you have any questions about vacation rental scams, we are here as a resource. Call us today to request a fully private, no commitment consultation. With law offices in West Palm Beach, Wellington, and Miami, we handle FDUTPA lawsuits throughout South Florida.