Mexico Vacation Rental: please help me not get scammed
November 9, 2014 12:29 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to rent an apartment for a month in Playa del Carmen through a website that I found on google. Lets say it's called (I can name the actual website if it's relevant). So far, I have been getting very professional responses with all my questions properly answered. The issue is that the agent is now asking for the full month of rent ($2500) plus $1000 deposit 30 days before my arrival. This is raising a bunch of red flags for me. Is this common or am I being scammed? Should I refuse and only pay the deposit? Is this such a big red flag that I I should walk away?
posted by lenny70 to Travel & Transportation around Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you Googled the name of the site and "scam" to see if anything comes up? I do this a lot with websites I'm buying things from, especially if large amounts of money are involved. I think posting the actual website name would be helpful if anyone on here has perhaps dealt with them specifically.

I don't think paying for the rental up front is necessarily a scam. But you are also wise to question that. I know I would.
posted by ananci at 1:05 PM on November 9, 2014

That sounds crazy to me. That's the whole rental, plus a sizeable deposit. Why would they need the deposit before you arrive? You're not going to damage anything while you're in the airplane.

I'd put good money down that this property doesn't exist. Does it have any ratings on reputable sites? I.e. 3rd party ones with both renter and landlord ratings to combat fake ratings?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:09 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Payment in full, in advance, plus a damage deposit, is not uncommon in the vacation rental business - check the typical terms on vrbo, airbnb, and tripadvisor. Who is asking for the money - the people running the site or the owner of the property? A lot of properties are managed by middlemen, who take care of the advertising, key drop-off, cleaning, etc. on behalf of absentee owners. It's generally easier to vet these management companies than the individual owners.
posted by mr vino at 1:15 PM on November 9, 2014

Response by poster: This is the website:
I have done the usual "scam" search and nothing came up.
I have not been in contact with the owner of the property, only with one of the staffs from the website.
posted by lenny70 at 1:42 PM on November 9, 2014

Google the hell out of everything you can: the address of the property, the email address of the agent, the name of the agent, the rental site, etc. Pay via credit card if possible, to make it easier in case of fraud.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:51 PM on November 9, 2014

Best answer: The folks in this forum will know. Good luck! :)
posted by WalkingHorse at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2014

I rented from these guys a few months ago, and I was incredibly happy with the price, location and service, if you're looking for something to compare with.
posted by empath at 2:01 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Btw, you might want to consider tulum rather than PDC for a long term rental. PDC is kinda overcrowded, and the beaches are packed full of people and it's loud as hell at night, and there are so, so many drunk obnoxious american tourists. Tulum is way more laid back and chill. You need a car to get around, there, though.
posted by empath at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks WalkingHorse, I re-submitted my question here. Will see if I get an answer or if I'll get booted out of the forum!

empath, I did spend a month in Tulum two years ago. I loved the peace and quiet in town, but the insane driving style of the taxis became a source of anxiety.
posted by lenny70 at 2:17 PM on November 9, 2014

Best answer: This precisely why I always look to AirBnB first. They hold the money in escrow, and the rental only gets paid after 24 hours, giving you significant protection if things turn out not as described.

Sending the full rental amount in advance is, sadly, normal. How do they want to pay? Did you mail them a rental agreement to a street address, or is it a PO box? I would only send a security deposit in advance if I could use a credit card, otherwise I would insist on paying cash at checkin. I have wired money for deposits in the past, but only when I could verify the destination of the funds, such as an individual person or real estate office with a physical presence. It's not a scam, probably, unless there is some other red flag such as a too-good-to-be-true price. I couldn't find a physical address listed on, which I would really like to see. Plug the pictures into Google Image Search to see if it's listed elsewhere (Feel free to MeMail me if you want help with this). I tried one listing from and it appeared on a couple of other sites, which is not necessarily a problem, though the other sites had prices that were twice as high. I see that you're getting some promising responses from your query, but I would definitely do some more research.
posted by wnissen at 5:13 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am renting a condo in Vermont through I am paying the full amount of the rental + a $750 deposit due a full month before the rental date.

We have usually had to pay full amount + deposit upfront for all of the VRBO rentals we have done.
posted by LittleMy at 5:29 PM on November 9, 2014

Don't pay unless you can do so with a credit card.
Even if the transaction is legit, you never know about the issues that might come up in the future.
posted by WizKid at 8:42 AM on November 12, 2014

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