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Protect yourself online!

Booking with Confidence on Owners Direct

Owners Direct is a website that puts you directly in touch with the owners and managers of holiday properties. Since we put you in touch directly with the properties’ owners, this means you get a personal service and a great deal on your holiday property. There are no costs to the holidaymaker because owners who list their property on Owners Direct pay an annual fee to appear. Unlike some villa booking companies, we don’t charge a commission on each booking.

While letting a holiday home is almost always a wonderful experience, there are two areas where holidaymakers should act to protect themselves from potential risks of internet fraud.

 

Checking the property

Many people who are new to renting holiday homes worry that fraudsters could place properties on our site that are not real. We have a dedicated team of Trust and Security experts to combat this and, although no process is flawless, this has ensured that in the last year less than 0.01% of new listings published on the HomeAway network of sites were fraudulent.

We suggest holidaymakers do the following to get comfortable with their choice of holiday home before booking:

  • Be wary of properties where the deal looks too good to be true. If you have any concerns then please call us to ask.
  • Be wary if the advertiser uses high pressure sales tactics, such as aggressively discounting while you’re on the phone, or wants you to wire money via a method that is untraceable, such as Western Union, or asks for payment via a money order.
  • Ask the owner to share additional photos of specific rooms.
  • Take out insurance to protect yourself. Europ Assistance offer insurance that will cover any losses from this type of fraud. This means you can still get a great deal on a holiday property and have complete peace of mind. You can get a quote here.
  • Consider how long the property has been advertised with us. All listings have a section at the bottom which indicates the length of time the property has been advertised. If you have concerns, call us.
Calling before paying

The second area where you should take precautions is when you have enquired on a property by email and you are ready to book. It is possible that the owners’ email account could have been compromised due to what is known as “phishing”. In this case a fraudster could have stolen the real owner’s email credentials, allowing the fraudster to impersonate the owner and ask you to send money to them. Fortunately, you can easily take steps to protect yourself against this.

  • Simply call the owner using the phone number on the listing and ask them to confirm their payment details in advance of making the payment. Doing this means you can then be sure that they are paying the right person. This type of fraudulent activity is a result of email accounts (such as hotmail or gmail) being accessed by a fraudster. The fraudster will not be able to change the phone number on our site and so you can believe the person you are speaking to on the phone.  If there is not a phone number on the listing, then please call our customer support and they will provide you with a number to call.
  • Again, to have complete piece of mind here, you can take out insurance to protect yourself. The same insurance policy we mentioned above from Europ Assistance will cover any losses from this type of fraud.

We are highlighting these risks so that you can use our site safely and take sensible precautions. While both of these types of fraud are rare, that is of small comfort if you are a victim.  We want you to know how to better protect yourself to make it even rarer.

In 2012, Owners Direct helped over 500,000 groups and families take fantastic holidays in great holiday. If you follow the advice above you can feel safe and enjoy finding your dream holiday home on Owners Direct. If you’d like to know more please visit our Trust & Secuity centre.

 

If you’d like to get a quote for insurance to protect you against these risks, please visit our partner, Europ Assistance.

 

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