"How Can I verify the Owner?"
THE most commonly asked question! Most will tell you to "call the site" to confirm - HOWEVER: you need to be aware that ALL Holiday Companies are bound by the Data Protection Act. This will mean that the details they can give you are LIMITED. If you give the name of the Owner - they should be able to literally say "yes they own" or "no they don't" - (be aware that some sites won't even do that) - and you certainly will not be given any further information.
Most Owners will not give you the actual pitch number of the Holiday Home until you have booked. This is a safe-guard for the Owner:- there have been several scams whereby a potential guest asks for the Owner and Holiday Home details... and then uses these to scam others.
"I'm OK - as I booked through a "verified Owner" group on social media"
A lot of genuine Owners will not join these groups - simply as many are not prepared to give their Ownership details to the "admins" - who are just a faceless name. Unless the Owner KNOWS the admin, it's not recommended that you pass your Ownership details over - as you have no idea who you are dealing with!
Also remember - that individuals are NOT bound by any Data Protection laws at all... so you are effectively handing your Ownership details over to a complete stranger and have no idea where your information may end up! There is a new group recently where the admin are asking for all Ownership details and personal telephone numbers...
Obviously - this is a completely personal choice as to whether you are happy or not to hand these details over...
"I've booked through a major listing company - so I'm fine"
Just be aware that MOST of the major listing companies do not ask for ANY proof of Ownership before the listing is accepted onto their site... all they ask for are the fees! So check the Terms and Conditions on their websites BEFORE you book - just because someone pays to be on a website does not mean they are genuine!
Lots of scammers are quite happy to pay listing fees for a year - when they can make £100s in return on "fake bookings."
"So how do I know who is genuine & who's not?"
Do your homework!
- Check for any feedback on the Owner's website, or social media pages from previous guests.
- Look closely at the media on the adverts - make sure the photos are not a combination of different properties and any photos of the site itself ties in with the holiday company's website.
- Look at the description given - if it's stated that the property is a 2-bedroom but allows up to 8 people, or has an outdoor pool when the site's website says it doesn't, for examples - the advert is not genuine!
- ASK QUESTIONS! A genuine Owner will answer them clearly.
- Ignore Personal Message (PMs)! If you are approached via a PM - ignore. The scammers regularly check through for any holiday requests and will contact you ONLY through a PM - so their details aren't seen anywhere else.
- Read our blog on "avoiding the Scammers"
ALL ETK MEMBERS ARE NOW REQUIRED TO BE VERIFIED
We require all our listings to be verified - which means that proof of Ownership has been seen by our Management Team. ALL information is kept securely under the Data Protection Act, so these details are safe. Any member who does not supply this information within a reasonable time limit will have a badge stamped with "not verified" added to their listing or potentially have their listing removed from our site.
Whilst this is being processed, a "pending" verification badge will be shown against the listing. Once all documentation has been received - this becomes a full, personalised and unique "ETK Verification Badge" which cannot be used against any other Holiday Home.
So you can be reassured that any booking through ETK is 100% genuine
ETK wish you a happy and safe Holiday booking.