The dream of renting an apartment in Paris is precious. Waking up in the morning and stepping out onto your own balcony, enjoying breakfast with a view of the Eiffel Tower, shopping alongside Parisians at the open-air markets, feeling at home in Paris – these are moments that turn a holiday in Paris into a magical vacation you’ll remember for a lifetime. It makes us sad that people prey upon this dream to take advantage of travelers with vacation rental scams. It happens all over the world and, of course, it happens in Paris, too. Just recently we discovered that a scammer had stolen information and photos of one of our Paris vacation rentals and was falsely advertising it on Craigslist. This is when the scams really hit home for us. We’ve heard the horror stories and know some of our guests have come to us after being scammed by fake agencies or listings.
We are passionate about what we do and about providing our guests with as much information as possible during the reservation and booking process. Whether you choose to book a Paris Perfect vacation rental or an apartment from another agency, we want your experience in Paris to live up to your dreams in every way! With 15 years of experience in the apartment rental scene in Paris, here are our tips to avoid a Paris vacation rental scam.
Do your research before booking a vacation rental!
- Look for contact info. Any reputable agency or individual offering an apartment rental in Paris will have a contact number. Here you have to trust your instincts.
- Make a call. If something seems odd to you, pick up the phone and call. At Paris Perfect we have a toll free number for the convenience of our guests booking from America and a detailed contact us page on our website with details on how to reach us via email, phone and even Skype. Our reservations team will answer any questions or concerns you might have and help you every step of the way during the booking process.
- Be cautious. If you see an apartment listing online without any phone number or contact information, be cautious about moving forward.
- Pay attention to details. If the wording on the response is odd – especially a combination of perfect English phrases mixed with poor English, call the contact number that was provided.
- Better safe than sorry. If you have to ask for their number, or if they provide a different number from their ad or original email, try calling the original number.
- Read reviews. If you’re booking from an agency, read the reviews about the apartment and look for reviews across all of the offerings. If you don’t see any reviews at all, look a little more carefully.
- Check forums. Scammers might fake reviews to a limited extent. Generally, reviews that have been faked by an agency or scammer begin to sound the same. If you’re not sure, research the agency or apartment for rent in travel forums, such as TripAdvisor.
- Trusted sources. Reputable agencies will list their accreditation with sources, such as Better Business Bureau, in a prominent place on their websites. We’re proud of our A+ listing with the BBB and Excellence Award from TripAdvisor, because we know these are important features that allow our guests to book with confidence with Paris Perfect.
- Look for an online presence. Scammers often hide behind a website with little or no personal contact information and listing websites like Craigslist. They need to be anonymous so they can easily disappear without tracks (and with your money!) once a scam is discovered. One thing to look for nowadays is an online presence. Does the company or agency have a reputable, active and respected presence online? You’ll find us online at our Paris Perfect Blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter. We love sharing about all things Paris and enjoy keeping in touch with past guests who regularly share their beautiful photos and Paris memories.
Be careful with payments!
- Don’t pay by Western Union. While an excellent service, scammers love Western Union because there is little or no way to find out where the money went after it was received. Any reputable rental agency or individual will accept a wire transfer, credit card payment or PayPal, all methods that are easier to track who the payee actually is.
- Wire payments only. If the owner or agencies insist you pay via wire only –watch out. Legitimate companies will accept credit card, Paypal or wire payments. If the owner refuses to accept credit card or Paypal payments, we strongly advise that you do not rent the property.
- Make sure terms & conditions are clear. We list our full terms and conditions on our website so guests know exactly what to expect, what is included in the rental, the payment process, arrival and departure details and everything that we think guests should know in advance. No one likes surprises when it comes to deposits, payments and refunds, so wherever you book from we advise you to be sure the conditions are clear before making a payment of any kind.
- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you see a listing for a vacation rental with an incredible offer that seems too good to be true, trust your instincts and take off the rose colored glasses. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who are ready to jump at the chance to take advantage of travelers. If you can’t find anything about the company online or you have a funny feeling, you’ve likely found a scam. Be careful! We hope these tips will help you find the perfect vacation rental in Paris.