Following the global news and social media coverage of the plight of the Kennedy family from Kent, who were conned out of the best part of 5,000 pounds by the bogus online holiday rental website Spain Dream Villas, a British family has been saved from having their Spanish holiday ruined.
Susan Barton contacted Angus Kennedy, who on Sunday reported his family’s case to the Guardia Civil in Arta, and the Majorca Daily Bulletin, which Angus had contacted within hours of landing in Majorca and realising he had been conned.
Sue and her husband Tony put a deposit of 1,300 pounds down an a villa for six adults near Alicante in March with Spain Dream Villas. Since then she has heard nothing from the company re the booking and after having seen all the coverage of the Kennedys’ ordeal online, she tried to contact Spain Dream Villas in an attempt to have her deposit returned.
But there is no reply from the mobile contact number at the so-called head office in Palma. What they did receive was a simple email confirming that their information had been passed on to another online website Spainhouses.net which offers properties for rent and for sale but no information regarding their deposit.
Apart from claiming to trade from another Palma address, the Boltons paid their deposit into a bank account in Ireland, Angus Kennedy paid his into an account in Madrid.
The Boltons’ group of six adults have already booked their flights for June and have now contacted the fraud office in the UK to try and recover their deposit and set about booking a holiday with a legitimate rental agency.
Sue also supplied the Tripadvisor link to comments people have posted about Spàin Dream Villas*. It makes interesting reading.
The Kennedy scam has caused uproar in the Balearics and overseas. Yesterday, Angus posted another video on the Bulletin Facebook page regarding this latest scam, urging people not be fooled by illegal online property rental websites and calling for previous victims and consumer affair bodies to join forces to shut down these sites which are operating "so that children no longer arrive in their destination only to find that they have no holiday to enjoy".
In the video Angus Kennedy also thanks the Balearic government, the police, local authorities and residents who have not only taken this matter extremely seriously but also rallied round offering food, presents and places to stay.
Fortunately, when they were close to packing it all in, they managed to find a villa on the beach in Cala Ratjada, another 2,000 pounds, and that is where they have spent their holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it.
They fly home tonight knowing that this summer they will be returning thanks to kind gesture of a local travel agent near their hometown of Maidstone which has offered them an all-expenses paid week in Majorca.
On Sunday, the president of the federation of tourist holiday stays, Jordi Cerdó, travelled to Cala Ratjada to present the Kennedy family with an ensaimada as a gesture of goodwill on behalf of Majorca and then accompanied them to the Guardia Civil.
The ordeal has disgusted Cerdó and his members but he was quick to stress that while the address for the website HQ may be in Palma, it is neither Majorcan nor Spanish, he claims it is Czech. An investigation has been opened.