What was this about?

That was the second thought I had, not the first. To be honest, I was swept up by emotional phrasing that was done rather well, but the whole mess changed when I had some time to think it through. It started about 2 days ago when I saw ‘My bank did not stop £6,500 payment to holiday scammers despite my pleas’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2023/mar/20/bank-did-not-stop-payment-holiday-scammers). The initial thought was what screwed up thing did the banks do this time, it was accelerated by the small issue of £6,500, which for a lot of people is regarded as loads of cash, especially when you arrange your budget in pints, which in some places outside of London will bank you 1,625 pints. For some people that is a drinking option dragging you on for well over a year, 18 months and that is a lot. So why the beer reference?

Money is a direct number, but how to compare it? There is a discussion whether an annual event can be compared to  normal monthly budget. Personally I do not believe it is valid or even acceptable. If we did that we might never have a vacation ever again at present. But back to the article. We are given “Graham says that for more than six hours after she had authorised a €7,155 (£6,500) payment to a Bank of America account in the US, the money continued to sit in her First Direct bank account. When she received an email an hour after making the payment warning her that the villa’s listing on Vrbo had been removed for security reasons, she immediately phoned First Direct back to halt the transfer”, now there are issues here, but that gets to legal to consider, but VRBO removed the villa AFTER payment was processed, there will be legal issues for VRBO. The second part is that this is a US setting, with seemingly no representation in the UK, that is the actual issue for me. Then we get “At this stage, she says, the people purporting to own the villa said they might be able to do Graham a deal if she was prepared to move outside Vrbo’s email system, and to email directly.” Taking VRBO out of the loop sets VRBO free, why do you want to be out of ANY loop? And that is where the victim gives us “They have been about as useless as they could be”. The woman who is referred to as Sarah Graham is wrong. 

In the first the bank correctly performed a payment setting. At the time of the payment it was ‘agreed’ on by both parties. In the second, the move outside of the VRBO loop got VRBO off the hook because they were unaware of what was going on. 

Now a small education for the stupid people out there. Scammers are pretty much everywhere, where ever there is a quick deal, a cheap deal (£800 cheaper) there is an exponential growth of a scam in place. There is a travel agency in almost every corner of any street in the UK and EU. There is a reason for that. Looking at a hotel in Crete I see one for 113€ a night, that is including the flight a lot less than £6,500 for a month.

There is a growing issue with people thinking that they can get the cheap deal and when you do not know the party on the other side, there is an increasing chance of losing your money. With local travel agencies (in the UK) they tend to have ATOL protection. 

This means that the scheme provides protection for travellers who book a holiday, which includes a flight. If an ATOL licensed travel company collapses, it ensures that your money is protected and you can get home. And now we get to the real part, the article does not once mention travel agency or ATOL. As such the question towards writer Miles Brignall becomes. Did you do anything more than exploit the victim? If you wanted to alert the people you would have mentioned travel agencies, ATOL licences and the issue with foreign organisations, even though I will admit that all facts taken aside, VRBO is in the clear, the scammers made sure that they were out of the loop so that they could collect, and in this the banks have no blame either. A service was performed and the bank performed it. 

This was about a person trying to get the golden deal for a lot less whilst she knew none of the parties. How does that usually go over on the internet?


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