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Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

Montevideo, Uruguay
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322 posts
16 reviews
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Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

pls those of you planning on rentals, as I usually do, beware of these couple of bad experiences and avoid these vendors:

tripadvisor.com/…postreply

I read the same thing happened to me and another traveller in the same period of time. This may be becoming a joint effort of these two below to get better offers as time of rental is closer, and leaves those that have planned earlier with more convenient prices 'homeless'. In my case, with a 12 hs pre-warning.

lodginginflorence.com

http://www.apartmentsflorence.it

31. Re: Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

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Removed on: 9:51 am, January 31, 2013
Florence, Italy
2 posts
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32. Re: Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

Dear takecarenow,

I work for apartmentsinflorence.net and am answering on behalf of the agency, as I'm American and a native English speaker.

I completely understand your concerns for booking an apartment online in a different country, and compliment you for having done your research.

We are an agency that has been renting apartments since 2004. We choose what apartments we list on our site, and have either have met and worked with the owners for years, and/or personally visited the majority of these accommodations.

In Florence, and in any other touristic city that rents vacation apartments, it is very common for the same accommodation to be listed on several sites at several different prices - this all depends on how much commission each agency wants to make off that particular apartment. This is true even on larger scale sites.

In this particular case, it seems the owner had forgotten to have listed her accommodation on Perfect Places, and if their site listed the apartment as being booked through 2013, we, unfortunately, cannot control their errors, but can only ensure that the content listed on our site is accurate.

As for the email address, Isabela is the housekeeper and person responsible for check-in and check-out. The owner of the property, being Italian, perhaps could have used a more appropriate English word in place of "agent." Even in owner-direct apartments, it is very common to have another person who handles guest welcoming and room cleaning, who can be either Italian or foreign.

I've been told that after you booked the apartment, you asked to pay your full balance before your arrival, which may have been the cause of this confusion. We require a deposit payment of 15%, the rest of which is paid upon arrival, both for customer convenience and Italian tax laws. When you asked to pay in full, this was not part of our payment policy, and we were not able to accept 100% of the rental cost for Italian tax purposes. You were provided with the owner's personal bank transfer or paypal information, and at this point, the payment situation was being overseen by us, but no longer under our direct control. The owner then quoted you a lower caution deposit as a "thank you" for having paid up front. Since paying in full was not common practice, the owner probably did not give clear explanations or instructions. In the future, when renting with any site, I would always recommend paying the full amount upon arrival, and not beforehand, as this provides more security for both parties and peace of mind for you, as well.

To clear any further doubts you have about our site, you, or anyone, are always welcome to call and discuss the matter with us. If you prefer to talk with a native English-speaker, an American colleague, Whitney, is available from 10-18:00 Rome Time, Tuesdays and Thursdays, at the same number, or by appointment (which can also be made on Skype).

Here are links to customer reviews examples (mostly positive but also negative) for our apartments, to ensure you that our accommodations have been rented and continue to be rented:

apartmentsinflorence.net/…

apartmentsinflorence.net/…

To further verify our practice, this is the link to our video page, where I take you inside some of our apartments (This effort has just begun, we currently have 7 videos and are working toward a video for every one of our accommodations in the future):

http://www.apartmentsinflorence.net/video.htm

St Paul, MN
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20,839 posts
6 reviews
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33. Re: Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

i am familiar with Paypal for filing for fraud. You can only file for fraud at Paypal itself 30 days or less after the charge is made.

If you used a credit card through Paypal you can file for fraud through the issuing bank of your credit card but is has to be within 90 days of the charge.

St Paul, MN
Level Contributor
20,839 posts
6 reviews
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34. Re: Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

"In this particular case, it seems the owner had forgotten to have listed her accommodation on Perfect Places, and if their site listed the apartment as being booked through 2013, we, unfortunately, cannot control their errors, but can only ensure that the content listed on our site is accurate."

This means that their apts are not listed exclusivily with their agency, so there will always be a chance that this can happen again. Seems a lot like what must also happen at Rental in Rome agency also where you get this email 2 weeks before you are leaving for Italy telling you that the place you rented is "water-damaged" and now you need to select a new apt that either isn't as nice or costs more.

Avoid, avoid. There are plenty of other places in Florence to rent from.

Florence, Italy
2 posts
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35. Re: Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

Dear lupaling,

I'm from St. Paul Minnesota, too! Small world.

Again, I'm replying on behalf of apartmentsinflorence.net, as part of their staff and a native English speaker.

The reality of this situation is the apartment was not double-booked. The potential client asked to pay 100% up front instead of the 15% up front deposit we require for this apartment, and was put in contact with the owner, who gave her their paypal information, as we are only able to process payments of 15% under Italian law. Along with this, she saw the apartment listed on different sites with two different price points and was scared by both these things, and cancelled her booking before ever arriving.

Perfect places listed the apartment as being booked through 2013, which we verified with the owner was not true, before confirming with the potential client that the apartment was available. The owner now no longer lists with Perfect places.

Before confirming a booking, we always check with the owner as apartments are listed on different sites, precisely to avoid double-bookings.

Hope this helps to clarify. Let me know if you have more doubts or questions.

Whitney

36. Re: Scam at apartment rentals in Florence

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Removed on: 12:16 am, February 02, 2014