When a travel offer is too good to be true
We decided at the last minute to take the kids to New York City for Spring Break this year. For two nights after putting the kids to bed, I spent hour upon bleary-eyed hour in front of the computer, searching Priceline, hotels.com, orbitz, expedia, and so on for an affordable, family-friendly place to stay. I wasn't having a whole lot of luck.
So I tried Craigslist. I've used Craigslist a lot. I've sold a high-end Wolf hood and ice skates. I've bought a next-to-new Pearl drumset for my son for an unbelievably low price of $400. I love Craigslist.
Immediately, my eyes lit up and my heart quickened. The vacation rental apartment sublets were cheap cheap cheap and gorgeous. I began sending email inquiries -- at 3:43 a.m.
When I received immediate responses, the red flags should have gone up. Instead, I thought, 'Oh wow, these New Yorkers are as crazy as I am, staying up so late.'
A few hours later, somehow I just knew in my heart, standing there at the Western Union counter, ready to wire nearly $1,000 to a complete stranger in New Jersey, that $150 a night for a two-bedroom apartment rental in Gramercy Park in a prewar building with a garden view, a swimming pool and fitness center, was too good to be true....
I'm writing a story, I'm ashamed to say, about my stupidity and the lengths we go to in deluding ourselves because we so want to believe in a deal that's too good to be true.
I want to hear your stories of apartment/ vacation rental scams or near-misses with scams. Send me a note, or leave a message in your comments below. Look for the story in our Travel section.
| April 5, 2010; 10:18 AM ET
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