We have shared some tips on how to avoid holiday rental scams, but there is one potential short term letting scam that has been getting a lot of press recently. Last month, the Telegraph reported that British holidaymakers may be banned from all-inclusive resorts due to the growing number of fake food poisoning incidents that have taken place in the last few years. According to their report, “Experts are warning a growing epidemic of travel sickness fraud has become the new bogus whiplash claim industry which poses the biggest threat the travel industry has seen in years.”
While this issue is largely focused on UK travel to areas such as Spain, it illustrates just how easily guests can take advantage of short term letting property owners. False claims can end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for, especially if it means that you have to pay out a settlement for a case that is hard to prove wrong.
Don’t Fall for This Short Term Letting Scam
How can you protect yourself as a short term letting scam? For starters, you can consider the following:
- False claims are becoming popular. In this scam, the traveller goes on holiday, spends a small fortune on accommodation, food and other amenities, and then claims to have fallen ill during their stay. Often, it is not as easy as it seems for accommodation owners and managers to prove that the guest is not being honest, even when staff have seen the guest happily enjoying themselves throughout their stay. The guest can then try to claim compensation, which could be anything from a percentage of their total cost to the entire cost. Needless to say, while a larger resort may be able to survive this, a smaller short term rental may find it a lot more damaging to lose out like this.
- Proving that such claims are false are not always easy. In one well-documented case in 2017, the holidaymaker in question posted a number of photographs on social media, showing himself eating and having fun every day of his holiday, including the time he claimed to have been sick. Obviously, his claim was rejected. Without this type of proof, it will be a lot harder to deal with unfounded claims.
- Requesting medical certification is the simplest approach. Even if it means getting assistance from your short term rental manager to find a trusted local doctor who is able to do a call out, having a medical doctor on hand will help to determine genuine cases from fraudulent ones. Simply receiving a medical certificate from a guest will not suffice. Terms relating to this should always be included in your guest policies or house rules.
If a guest truly does get sick during a stay, and you can easily determine that it was your food that caused it, you can decide how to proceed. You may well find however that the claim magically disappears when a doctor is unable to verify a genuine case of food poisoning.
One of the many advantages of working with a professional short term rental manager is that it gives you not only the benefit of day to day management, guest concierge and bookings management, but also active marketing. You also have full peace of mind in knowing that your property is expertly managed at all times. This in turn makes it far harder to become the victim of scams. For more information on getting started with short term letting management, get in touch with the Totalstay team today.