Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3339: Rental in Rome, Agency Review
Apartments in Rome, Rome
I rented the Parlamento apartment in Rome through Rental in Rome last November for arrival on March 5, 2008. The apartment was 4-star rated and €150 per night. Toward the end of January, I went on their website to get the link to the apartment to send to a friend. When I did, I noticed the price had dropped to €130 per night, so I emailed Marco with Rental in Rome and asked him why the rate had been lowered and if I would be able to get the lower rate. He did not reply to my email for two days, so I wrote him again and also the customer service email. He then replied that he knew about my email but would have to check. He wanted to know that if the rates had been raised, would I have been willing to pay a higher rate. I replied and told him "Surely you must understand that due to the poor exchange rate we are trying to be as wise as possible about our decisions."
It was at that time that I also noticed the star rating had been dropped from four to three stars. My friend who is going with me on the trip got very upset about this. She has never been to Europe before and has had a lot of concerns about safety and comfort. We had made the decision that we were only interested in four star (and above) apartments in our price range. So I wrote Marco again and asked him why the star rating had been lowered. Finally he wrote me back telling me that the apartment had changed owners and the new owner had dropped the price and the rating. I told him that didn't make sense to me - why would they drop the rating if the quality of the apartment was the same? I pointed out to him that there were several apartments with four-star ratings at €130. I also asked him how old the video was that showed the apartment. He only gave vague replies to the first question and none to the last. He asked me if I would be interested in another apartment. I told him I would - gave him a long list of options and he wrote back that they were all already rented.
At that point I had one day left to cancel the apartment and get my deposit back. I wrote Marco, customer service and Jacobo that I wanted to cancel. I told them that, due to our concerns over the rating of the apartment being lowered and the fact that there was a new owner and we had not been notified of a new contact name and phone number, we had decided we did not want that apartment even if we were able to get the lower price. I asked to cancel and have my deposit credited back to my Visa card (which is how I made the deposit).
Customer service (Anna) immediately wrote me back and said they had canceled my reservation as by my request. That is when my complaint against this agency began. Emails have been exchanged with Ms. de Angelis since February 1. She wanted to refund my deposit to a PayPal account or by bank wire. I told her I did not have a PayPal account - that I wanted the refund credited to the same Visa account that they had debited for the deposit originally. I had written several times wanting to know why she would not do that. Finally, yesterday (2/13) I got an email from her telling me that the banking system functions much differently there than it does here. She said the bank requires them to file a formal dispute as to why the charges have to be reversed and that it could take as long as one year.
My deposit was €150 and I forfeited €50 for canceling - which I understood and accepted. My concern all along is that if I don't go through my CC company, they could send me anything and I would have no recourse if it was not the correct amount. I told her in several emails that I wanted €100 to be credited to my Visa card. I posted on another forum and asked if it was true that it could take up to one year to get a CC refund. I got several replies that it was no different than it was here and that Rental in Rome was full of it.
I have filed a complaint with my CC company in hopes I will get my refund. In the meantime, I wanted to make other people aware what they will be facing if they cancel with Rental in Rome.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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