AN engaged British couple have lost thousands of euros to a fake property website on the Costa del Sol.
The young Londoners paid more than €4,000 for a deposit on a villa in Marbella for their upcoming wedding celebration via luxuryholidaylifestyle.com.
But when they tried to arrange a viewing of the property, which was booked for five days in September 2019, the company stopped replying to their calls and emails.
Fearing the worst, the groom enquired about the very same villa for the same dates – posing as a new customer – and received an immediate response.
“That’s when we knew we had been duped,” he told the Olive Press.
When they tried to visit the offices in Fuengirola this week, the address listed on the website took them to a block of apartments.
Laura Charles, who runs Reviva Weddings, which is now planning the couple’s big day, knew there was something wrong as soon as she saw the booking website.
“I know for a fact they don’t have access to the properties they advertise because a number of them belong exclusively to companies that I work with,” Charles, who has been planning weddings here for 10 years, told the Olive Press.
One of these villas in El Rosario, near Marbella, is only listed with one rental property company costing €3,500 per day to hire.
However, on luxuryholidaylifestyle.com – whose catchphrase is ‘whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, you can put your trust in us! – it is listed at just €1000 euros per night.
In the contract seen by the Olive Press, the British couple, who have asked to remain anonymous, were billed £3,500 (€4,015), out of a £10,400 total.
But instead of being paid into a company account, all the money went directly into the personal account of a ‘Mr Jozef Mlynarcik’, the supposed owner of the property.
The account is registered in Hull, in the UK.
Luxury Holiday Lifestyle failed to comment before press despite repeated attempts by the Olive Press.