They Rented a Scam Vacation Rental Home!

Vacation Rental Home or a Hotel?

Booking a vacation rental home over a hotel can be the perfect alternative, especially for large family events such as reunions, wedding parties, and milestone anniversary celebrations. Vacation Rental Homes are typically about 25% less expensive than hotels and offer at least 50% more space and probably 100%  privacy when comparing number of bedrooms in a hotel vs. bedrooms in a Vacation rental. So when it works, it works well.

But what about when it doesn’t work?

Donna Bailey and Connie Paxton tell of their experience in renting a bad vacation rental home as reported by Orlando Vacation Rental realtor Victor Nawrocki, who owns and manages three Orlando vacation rentals with his sister.

These women apparently rented their vacation rental home through a site who does not screen their homes carefully and had a bad experience as reported by Click Orlando,  WKMG Local 6:

“‘I get three calls a year from people who used Craigslist, and they will say, ‘We booked on Craigslist and now we realize the place is a fraud.’  They’re stranded,” says Nawrocki.

Nawrocki doesn’t advertise on Craigslist.  He chose to list his three properties. Each house tailored to tourists with themed bedrooms for kids and elegant master suites for adults.

“I’m booked through the summer solid,” he says.

His renters come from all over the U.S. and all over the world.

“One of my favorite customers was from Israel,” he says.

While Nawrocki has a thriving business and three meticulous properties to prove it, others in the vacation rental business do not and often their customers suffer the consequences.

“It’s a joke.  It’s unbelievable,” says Donna Bailey, who rented through a different online vacation rental site.

Bailey and her friend, Connie Paxton, found a beachfront Oahu home on

“It was just perfect for us,” Paxton says.

They read glowing reviews and fell in love with the pictures.  The website put them in touch with the property owner. Bailey and Paxton signed a contract and started making payments, sending nearly $6,200.  But just after they sent the last check in January, they checked the website and reviews one more time.

“We were like, ‘Oh my gosh!’” says Bailey.

The reviews referred to roaches and other bugs, broken fixtures, busted windows, and other disrepair. Paxton was so concerned she asked a real estate agent in Hawaii to check out the property. The realtor found that the home had been vandalized.  The owner has promised a refund. But the promise came too late.  The couples landed in Hawaii to see the rental disaster for themselves.

“You know you just want to cry, but what good is that going to do?” Bailey says.  “He intentionally took our money knowing this place was a dump.”

The group ended up staying in a hotel, but the experience with the rental soured their vacation.

Nawrocki advises renters who want to use an online vacation rental site to look for property owners who have been listed on the same site for a while.  The site he uses,, tells Local 6 it puts owners through a “rigorous screening process” including “automatic security checks..which end with a staff member manually approving each listing before it goes live on the site.”  Nawrocki says renters should seek the same guarantees from the sites they use.” (read more)

When you read reviews in the Vacation Rental Travel Guide, you know that one of our professional writers has personally visited the rental for at least a week, and have carefully and thoroughly written about their experience and goes beyond a staff member manually approving a vacation rental profile online. We board a plane and personally visit each vacation home we review. Your risk of going to a scam or bogus vacation rental spot is minimized when you read our reviews prior to booking a vacation rental home.

The Vacation Rental Travel Guide Intro Offer

Comments Welcome: Make a comment below (our writers work hard…give them some love!) on any of our Live Reviews by Travel Writer Cindy White, Deborah Nelson,  Renee Fontaine, or Emily Yurcheshen and get a FREE Digital version of The Vacation Rental Travel Guide when it is hot off the press!