Maidstone dad-of-five Angus Kennedy’s heart sank when he realised he and his family had been scammed upon arriving at what was supposed to be their Majorcan villa retreat.
The problem? The villa’s German owner was still there, and told them he had never put the property – which they booked online from what appeared to be a reputable site – up for rent.
He kindly let them stay the night but in the morning, the family were left £5,000 out of pocket and with nowhere to go.
Enter then Maidstone-based James Villa Holidays, who read of the Kennedys’ plight in the local press and immediately got in touch to offer them a villa for the rest of their stay.
By this time, the Kennedys had already found alternative accommodation so the company has instead offered them a free James Villa holiday in the summer.
Danielle Cheney, James Villa marketing and communications manager, said: “As a Maidstone-based business, we spotted the article about Angus and his family’s situation in Majorca and wanted to extend an offer to help.
“We hear all too often about fraudulent villa holidays and understand how upsetting and stressful it can be when holidaymakers find themselves in these situations so wanted to help in any way we could.”
Cheney also reiterated the firm’s advice when it comes to booking a villa holiday, starting with checking for Abta membership and/or the company’s Atol.
But she also warned people to be vigilant to “slicker, more sophisticated” fraudulent websites that may include Abta or Atol branding “making them look like the real deal”.
“If anything seems suspicious, simply get in touch with Abta or Atol,” she said. “Checking the provider you are booking with is a genuine member will put your mind at ease. All you need is the Abta or Atol number they’re advertising.”