Can we trust testimonials on rental sites?

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28 Apr 2015 9:54 PM by CityStall Star rating. 12 posts Send private message

Hi, I'm asking in particular about the HomeAway site, although I suppose this applies to any rentals site.

I've been looking at a rental on the CDS near Marbella, a place called Rio Real, Torre Real, and the testimonial doesn't add up. The owner claims to have bought the property in October 2013, yet the testimonial is from summer 2013!

Should I avoid all those places with only 1 testimonial (especially where it seems a bit dodgy)?  Or could it just have been a mistake by the satisfied customer entering the wrong year?  I realise that many people may have only just started renting out property, so it may take time to get those valuable testimonials. Is there a better way of checking places out?

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29 Apr 2015 9:51 AM by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2609 posts Send private message

Marksfish´s avatar

We have many happy renters, but very few have bothered to leave testimonials on rental websites afterwards. We know they must have been happy as some come back year after year and some do email us to tell us what a good time we have. Obviously we can't put them on the website ourselves. So, we are in a situation where people may ignore the property because of the lack of testimonials, but it doesn't matter to others. If you rent through a website that provides guarantees (our main one holds all monies until the guests have arrived and been on site for 24 hours before releasing), there are no real issues.


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30 Apr 2015 10:28 AM by CityStall Star rating. 12 posts Send private message

Thanks for that Marksfish. Yes I can see how it's difficult to get the testimonials - you can hardly force them!  I'm just concerned that the ones we see may be the false identity variety. As you say probably best to concentrate on using a reputable website.

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30 Apr 2015 10:39 AM by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2609 posts Send private message

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Before the site I use insisted that all payments by customers were made through them, it relied on guests sending the owners money by bank transfer. I was astounded at how trusting people were/ are as my terms were 10% deposit and balance 6 weeks before arrival. I regularly had transfers of 600€ into my account and these people did not know for certain that their UK based owner actually owned the property!!  There are things to look out for though, like how long someone has been registered with the site (although genuine owners can and do join all the time). I also offer (to people who book via my website or off the rental sites) the option to pay some of the rental by Paypal. I also like to ring people  (unfortunately only English speakers) to talk to them about their enquiry and give them an idea of the property and local area. Summer rentals are usually all Spanish guests via the Spanish website, out of season it is usually older Brits who want a few weeks/ month at a time.

I also have a friend who is lucky enough to be able to engage her guests enough to leave feedback on the likes of TripAdvisor, all of hers are genuine but I can see how the "shady" side of the business could take advantage of this type of review area. I would suggest asking questions that you think only an owner would know the answers to if you suspect foul play. Or, I have to be honest, I would book via a travel agent!!

I must also say, I do not use the HomeAway site, so can't comment on how they vet their owners.


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01 May 2015 12:36 PM by rod Star rating in Uk and Spain. 469 posts Send private message

You seem to be worrying unduly the mainstream sites verify the identity of owners rigorously obtaining the same checks a UK bank would adopt when opening an account also if someone is clever enough to commit fraud the better websites have a money back plus expenses costs insurance backed scheme

We personally have 23 five star reviews on Tripadvisor and always ask our guests for feedback most will accommodate a review if you position it well ,but that's over quite a few years we have accumulated that many I am sure it helps 

Here are the sites we use with success that's our own site which we use in conjunction with we use Homeaway as well as a few others etc.

Hope this helps 

Regards Rod


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