Pay for your vacation rental with a wire transfer? Yes, but not this way

You’ve found the perfect vacation rental. The owner asks you to pay via wire transfer. Should you do it? Meir Hurwitz, of Brooklyn, N.Y., did, and now he’s out nearly $17,000.

He’s not the first to be taken in by a vacation rental fraud and likely won’t be the last. Over the years this site has carried many stories warning about vacation rental scams. Many of those involved wire transfers.

Want a refund on your vacation rental? Then don’t do this.

When Melissa Daniels planned her family’s vacation to Florida, she found a rental on HomeAway. But when she initiated contact and requested to book the property, the management company insisted that she book directly with it instead of through HomeAway. And that’s exactly what she did.

Please stop wiring money to strangers!

Repeat: Please stop wiring money to strangers!

Too bad that Heidi Barker of Watertown, Conn. didn’t see this warning before she wired money for a vacation rental. She was planning a Caribbean vacation in St. Maarten. Using VRBO, she found a beachfront, ground floor, two-bedroom condo. The listing was legitimate. But the person she communicated with via email was not the owner.

I was refused entry to my VRBO rental, so where is my refund?

When Judith Hartlieb rents a condo through VRBO, the owner tells her that he’s not allowed to rent it to her and cancels her stay the day before her arrival. Then he offers her an alternative date. When she declines, he promises her a refund but doesn’t issue it to her. Can our advocates help?

I’m dealing with an “unstable, ignorant” landlord. Can HomeAway help?

David and Helen Kunz were looking forward to their summer vacation in Ocean City, N.J. They had booked a vacation rental home and sent the owners the payments they had asked for to reserve their lodgings. But just before their vacation started, the Kunzes were told that the property was no longer available – and they couldn’t get back the money they had prepaid for it.

Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.