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Better Business Bureau Says Online Vacation Rental Fraud Widespread

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Online Vacation Rental Fraud Widespread, Better Business Bureau Says

MEMPHIS (Public News Service) — Fraud is widespread in the online vacation rental market, according to a new report by the Better Business Bureau. The study found nearly 43% of consumers have encountered a bogus listing.

Nancy Crawford, director of marketing and communications at the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South, said the internet has opened the floodgates for scammers, so shoppers need to be savvy.

“There’s so much fraud in today’s world. About 26 million Americans are defrauded by some type of scam every year,” Crawford said. “It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, and it is big business.”

The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker received more than 1,300 reports of rental fraud from 2016 to 2019. The report noted fake rentals turn up on vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.com, despite these companies’ efforts to weed out scam listings.

Crawford said fraudsters most often copy a photo and description of a property, post it online with their own contact information, and then try to get a deposit from the victim.

“Doing some research ahead of time and finding out what typical properties in that area usually rent for will give you some information so that you don’t land on a listing that’s half the price of everything else, and you think, ‘Oh, great, this is a great deal,’ and then end up going on vacation and having nowhere to stay,” she said.

According to the report, renters may find websites that are actually cloned copies of Airbnb’s website. Airbnb warns travelers that scammers tend to exploit popular events, such as the Super Bowl, when hotels may be booked.

“With 43% of online shoppers encountering a fake listing, and more than 5 million consumers losing money to these kinds of scams,” Crawford said.

She added victims of a suspected property-rental scam should immediately file a report with the local police and file a complaint or report a scam to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

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Consumer News

LA Alcohol Delivery Sees Massive Spike Following “Safer at Home” Order

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Photo by Waldemar Brandt

LOS ANGELES — Following California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Safer at Home” order, Saucey has experienced an unprecedented number of users on their alcohol delivery platform.

The company has seen a 300% increase in area sales compared to a standard delivery day.

“As the concern over the COVID-19 virus has grown at both the state and public levels, I think you’re not so coincidentally seeing a rise in people ordering alcohol,” says Saucey co-founder and CEO Chris Vaughn. “We’re feeling the effects elsewhere too, like San Francisco and Chicago; we’re doing our best to assist everyone who wants to use us and use us safely.”

The Los Angeles-based app recognizes they are among select delivery services fortunate enough to be helping people in a variety of markets as they practice social distancing and protect themselves from the rapidly spreading Coronavirus.

“It’s good to see so many people making lifestyle adjustments that let them be as comfortable as they can be during this time,” Vaughn said.

There may be something to that comfort thing. Since March 15, Saucey has seen ice cream sales spike by 500% and soft drinks by 150%. Lime sales also spiked by 350%, potentially pointing to more people making mixed drinks.

As for the alcohol, vodka tops Saucey’s spirit sales and is up by 250%. Whiskey, however, saw the greatest spike at 300%. IPAs held the highest increase in sales in their beer category at 300%.

Saucey will continue providing safe deliveries to the people of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Orange County and San Jose.

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Costco Says Don’t Even Think of Returning Toilet Paper

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(TMZ) — Costco is unsympathetic to all the folks who stocked up on toilet paper like they were never gonna get another sheet … because the superstore has made it clear — NO REFUNDS!!!

This sign was plastered on the wall of the Costco in Pentagon City outside Washington, D.C. Now that people have settled in, it seems they’re realizing they have waaaaaay too much toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wipes and Lysol, and apparently some are trying to return it for cash.

You gotta be a little sympathetic … lots of people got laid off after they hoarded these items, so money is a huge issue.

Also on the no-return list — Water and rice.

Continue reading at tmz.com

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Consumer News

Drives Aim to Keep Historic Restaurants Alive During Outbreak

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Owner Dimitri Komarov at the famous Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

LOS ANGELES (Daily News) — With restaurants limited to takeout service or shut down completely by the coronavirus outbreak, a drive has been launched to keep some of Los Angeles’ legendary eateries from fading away.

Known as 1933 Group, the team operates about a dozen themed bars and restaurants in Los Angeles, including the barrel-shaped bar Idle Hour in North Hollywood, Harlowe in West Hollywood, Highland Park Bowl and the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood.

Many of them have shuttered in recent days amid strict orders implemented by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti, aiming to stem the flow of deadly COVID-19.

“We are struggling to survive,” said Dimitri Komarov, the venues’ co-owner. “The impact is dire. We’re losing our […]

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