A BRITISH TV star has slammed a bogus Palma based travel company that stole ?5,000 for a non existent rental.
Professional chocolate taster Angus Kennedy lost the money when his family discovered a German man living at the Mallorcan villa they had booked through Dream Villas Spain.
Kennedy, from Kent, revealed that when the family arrived this month, the owner, who gave his name as Klaus, was completely baffled and knew nothing about the rental or website.
Kennedy told the Olive Press they had chosen the seven-bedroom villa in Arta out of 780 different homes for rent on the site.
But he only realised they had been scammed when an airport pick-up never arrived, and they caught a taxi to the €600-a-night property to find the bewildered German.
“I was determined to get to the house and immediately contacted the press” Angus told the Olive Press.
“I think many more have been duped and the scam could be worth millions.”
Sadly this seems true, after the Olive Press exposed a string of fake holiday websites duping tourists coming to Spain two years ago and again last year.
In a series of investigations we found dozens of tourists had been scammed out of millions of euros from various sites, which illegally uploaded villa photos from legitimate sites.
Among those scammed were British Rugby Union star Dean Schofield, who lost €50,000 on a fake villa in Mallorca.
This time, the website used to book the trip, dreamvillasspain.com, was remarkably similar to those created before.
Among its claims is the goal is to ‘create your dream holiday experience and exceed your expectations’.
But Kennedy is already not the only victim.
The Olive Press has discovered another British family who have lost their money via Dream Villas Spain.
The Bolton family from the West Midlands told us of their shock to find their villa advertised as available on a completely different website this week.
Susan Bolton, 61, soon realised she had lost the ?1,300 deposit when the fraudulent company, supposedly based in Palma, shut off all contact.
The mother-of-two had spent weeks finding the perfect holiday villa, near Alicante, before transferring the deposit for the holiday in June.
She has now confirmed that her family have been scammed over the holiday.
“We were this close to leaving for our holiday that never existed,” Bolton told the Olive Press.
“I knew we had been conned when I contacted them regarding an airport pick up and got no response. It made me become suspicious.”
She added the company is now not responding to any calls or emails.
Spain Dream Villas, who operate as Digital Dreams SL, declined to comment.
Jannich Petersen, CEO of Spain-Holiday.com, which legitimately advertises the property Bolton tried to book, told the Olive Press customers must ‘research the company’ they are using before losing money through these scams.
We were unable to contact anyone at Dream Villas Spain as we went to press.
Tips to avoid being scammed
Check how old the company is and try and speak to a human being.
Ask specific detailed questions and insist on checking reviews.
Ask for addresses and Google search the property.
Make sure there is a secure booking system.
Don’t let anyone tell you go to their personal website or email.