We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
ZLI
Galiano Island...
Level Contributor
99 posts
429 reviews
Save Topic
beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

They will steal your money, vacation and even your health! I call them the Grasping Gringos. They advertise vacation rentals; a degree in creative writing is needed. when you arrive, the place is not even remotly as advertised. Here's our experience: in August, saw a place on baja.com and were referred to Bareka en Todos to rent a house in La Cachora neighbourhood for 4 months. Paid $1500 up front. The place was advertised as peaceful, simple elegance, air dried linen, fresh flowers. When we arrived, paid a second $1500. Well, first things we noticed was the garbage in the drive - plastic containers, crushed beer cans etc. Inside the house was unspeakably filthy. It had not been cleaned for months - even years. Stove caked in grease, floors filthy, windows never cleaned, shower drain plugged, fridge dirty. When it got dark, the bugs came. Roaches the size of tennis balls running everywhere, moths, mosquitoes etc buzzing. The screens were rotted, the palapa was full of holes and dust. Upholstery and bed infested with silverfish. As for quiet, no one mentioned the family with 2 screaming babies living in the garage. When we complained, we were told what we had paid was not refundable. The property is called Las Puertas. The owner is Sally Lovett, who lives in the USA somewhere. When I phoned her to complain, she was furious I would bother her. Her suggestion? Just walk away (and leave my $3000 in her bank account presumably)Rhoda Jacobs is the property manager but she claims not to be and points the finger at a vaccuous girl called Dulce who seems to be totally clueless about property maintenance. A second house on the property is billed as 2 BR 2 BR. It isn't. Just as filthy, it is a 1 bedroom with an extra TOILET, not bathroom, behind a screen in the living room. The smell of sewer overwhelms. Stay away from Las Puertas. It was probably nice once, but lack of cleaning and maintenance has turned it into a dump. Be careful of the "cosy fireplace" the chimney won't have been cleaned. We fled after 6 horrible days. They got nearly $750 out of us. I had the foresight to stop payment on the check for the second $1500. All thse people cared about was the money. These places are unregulated as they pay no tax and are not registered as a business, so can't complain to anyone! What a nightmare.

Cabo San Lucas...
Level Contributor
5,778 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

good to know thanks do they have reviews on the website you rented from? If so you should copy this and place it there as well.

ZLI
Galiano Island...
Level Contributor
99 posts
429 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

There were no reviews, which should have been a red flag.baja.com has removed the property from its site and Baraka en Todos claims it will take it off unless it gets cleaned up. I just really don't want anyone else to get ripped off like we were. Even though we got some money back (I wouldn't shut up or just walk away) they still got over $700 out of us. We had to sleep on the floor wrapped in our own blankets because the bed was so bug infested. For this we had to agree to pay $120 a night to get out of the contract. The best hotel in town had lovely rooms for $90! The excuse we kept getting was that it had rained (2 weeks prior to arrival) and that caused bugs (that's why screens are maintained) and had damaged the interior of the house. Everthing was someone else's fault -Bareka en Todos said "we don't manage the place" (just take the money) 5ulce said "the owner won't spend money" the owner said it was Bareka en Todos who was rsponsible. The owner actually left a shreiking rant on my voice mail when she learned baja.com had de listed her dumps.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

Hi,

This is Jim Pickell. I own Baja.com and felt this warranted a response. We have built what is arguably most comprehensive travel sites for Baja. On it we provide information on hotels, restaurants, events, activities and, of course, vacation rentals. Much like VRBO and Home Away and others, we are supported by advertising revenue. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to physically inspect every property we work with. We are not paid to maintain the properties either. Instead we tend to work with high quality property managers in each region. We rely on them to handle these situations that come up from time-to-time, especially off season. This same house is likely on every major property rental site on the web. When we learned of the condition of the house, we did everything we could to resolve this situation. We certainly did not earn any money from your rental. We worked to help find another solution and both we, and the local property manager, refused to ever work with this owner again. I don't know what more we could have done for you. I am 100% confident it was over and above what any of the other sites where this property was listed would have done. I hope you reconsider casting our business as "criminal" when we are one of the few services actually investing in providing information about Baja and jobs within Baja for Baja lovers. I think if you speak to 99% of the clients we have helped, they would rate our service level at 5 stars. What other vacation rental listing website even offers customer service? I am deeply sorry for your experience. I would gladly give you the keys to my home in the area. I really hope you would reconsider this review which casts a shadow over our entire business. We do allow for reviews of our properties (and would have encouraged yours). Because of your feedback, we removed the property.

I am more than willing to discuss this with you directly as my sole goal is for people to have safe and special trips to Baja.

Regards,

Jim

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1,313 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

Jim, having never seen your website I just checked it out based upon running across this post. It's always nice to see another place to get information on the baja. It's too bad the poster ran into this bad property and had this issue. I like the fact that you also posted a response on here, but it appears that the propety in question is still up on your site?

ZLI
Galiano Island...
Level Contributor
99 posts
429 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

Baja.com is not responsible in any way for the bad property owner and manager. Lisa, an employee of baja.com was very kind and helpful. I hope I didn't imply that these folks were responsible in any way. Of course they can't inspect the hundreds of properties listed. I told my story as a cautionary tale. Sadly, it does reflect badly on the vacation rental business. Not all properties are as represented. The owner of Bareka en Todos came by to see the place and agreed it was not habitable, while insisting we knew it was "rustic". I didn't think rustic meant decayed and dirty. We drove for 2 weeks to get here and landed in a horrible place. I just don't want this to happen to another visitor. We will have to cut our stay short because finding something else isn't easy. All the good places are taken. However, I wish to be very clear that baja.com is not at fault.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

Hi bwask. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. We had indicated we would not work with the owner again last week but the property has been pulled. By way of background, there was one of the most violent storms that hit Todos Santos in years shortly before this guest arrived. It wreaked havoc on the entire town. There are only a limited number of contractors available. Casitas with palapa roofs will suffer more than others. Todos is a rustic town and this was a simple (not a luxury) rental (as many are). Unlike other services, we have staff to help people navigate areas in Baja in which they are unfamiliar. My staff tries to ask all the right questions to make sure the expectations are in line with the reality when people arrive but it's never a perfect science. The pictures of this unit were pretty close to the reality. It was simply dirty from the storm. Admittedly, unacceptably so. My understanding is that after staying for a few days the guest got offered a hotel room while it was cleaned. Due solely to the involvement of Baja.com and the local property manager, she was offered a complete refund even though the property manager suffered a $300 charge for a cancelled check in Mexico. This is far beyond what the cancellation policy provided. I do feel that when one rents a vacation rental, the risks of things going wrong are greater. But you typically get much more for your money (including the use of a kitchen) so it's worth the risk for me. To suggest criminal behavior is happening in Todos Santos is simply fear mongering at a time when the locals are really bending over backwards to cater to tourists and prove that they are honest. We are doing the same every day or every week. Todos Santos and Baja is absolutely a phenomenal place to visit and it's a shame that this one experience might dissuade anyone from visiting the area, renting a vacation rental or using Baja.com to find a nice place. If you have any doubt, email me directly and I will personally commit to find you a place you will love. Baja's one of my favorite places in the world.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

Thanks for the clarification ZLI; however, I wish you would remove this post or rewrite it. It sure sounds like you are accusing us of not only being responsible but of doing so w criminal intent: "beware! new type of criminal in todos santos ” They will steal your money, vacation and even your health! I call them the Grasping Gringos. They advertise vacation rentals; a degree in creative writing is needed. when you arrive, the place is not even remotly as advertised. Here's our experience: in August, saw a place on baja.com" My personal belief is that a property owner should provide a full refund in 99% of the circumstances when someone is unhappy, regardless of the cancellation policy. Not all owners agree and many depend on rental so it's tough on them when this happens. Given they do not have experience running major hotels, we "dance the dance" when someone is unhappy (rarely happens). My understanding is that the unit is now occupied by a very happy guest (not through us). We live and learn and will continue to strive to provide 5-star customer service. My understanding is that our staff is working on finding you a unit for December. I am sure we will all be extra careful to ask the right questions this time around.

Todos Santos, Mexico
3 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

I am the owner of Baraka en Todos and I refer inquiries to various rental properties in the area. I pride myself in being a service provider and often give over and above the usual customer service of most rental agents here...or actually anywhere. I depend upon the property managers of the properties that I refer to, to deliver quality accommodations. When I was alerted to the fact that Las Puertas was not cleaned well and was bug infested, I immediately went into action by calling the Property Manager, who also took action right away to improve the situation. The Property Manager admitted to us that the poor condition of the place was her responsibility. She was told that Baraka en Todos would not be referring her any more renters until the place was improved and if not improved, it would be taken off the Baraka site. We offered these clients a complimentary upscale midtown hotel to stay while the place was fumigated and deep cleaned, but they chose to leave. I am truly sorry that we could not improve the conditions to the extent needed to make it habitable in the short amount of time requested. The property manager and I recommended to the owner to make a full refund. Baja.com and Baraka refunded 100% of their commission. I am not a "criminal" and I hope you reconsider casting my business as "criminal" and treat me with the same respect that I treated you throughout this process.

ZLI
Galiano Island...
Level Contributor
99 posts
429 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

I stand by my post. We were treated horribly. The storm had nothing to do with the filthy state of the house. Did the storm create the grease on the stove or the dead stuff in the fridge? The storm was over 2 weeks before we arrived. No cleaning was done at all. We were expected to settle and sleep in filth. We received 25% of our money back. We only got the other because we stopped payment on the check. That cost me $150 plus the cost of phone calls. We were offered hotel accomodation nearly a week after we started raising issues about cleanliness. The first day we were in the house, we raised concerns about the dirt and infestations. Dulce told us "most people don't notice. We clean if they do" bottom line is the owner only wants revenue without cost; the property managers want their commission and to heck with the poor "guest". They only wanted the money and did not care about how horrible it was for us to have to be in that awful place. The other occupant was not happy. She knew she was getting a dirty dump, however and agreed to put up with it for a few days while something better was being prepared for her.

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
1,309 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: beware! new type of criminal in todos santos

Unfortunate you had such a terrible time with this property. We have rented many properties through out Mexico using VRBO and have only had 1 problem with a rental not being what it was when we arrived. No where near as bad as what you describe but the owner of the property or the owner of the website never hasseled me when i posted the reality of the property on trip advisor either. It is what is so i think your post is valid.

Get answers to your questions about Todos Santos