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Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

Melbourne, Australia
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Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

My paristay rental has turned into an expensive, time-consuming nightmare. Having lost my deposit and now receiving no response from either the landlord or Paristay, I wanted to caution others and find out if anyone else has had a similar experience. Below is an outline of what happened:

I rented an an apartment with Paristay (listed as Apartment Pastourelle) in Paris for about six months in 2013.

Paristay's contract included a deposit of 2,000 euro to be repaid, minus energy and water bills, after vacating the property.

The place was homely and the landlord, Fred, was a cultured and likeable lawyer-turned-businessman who ran Jacenko, a meanswear shop down the road. I quite liked him and would often pop in for a chat on my way to the business school where I was studying. Taking him to be an honest guy, I left a 400 euro coat I bought from him at Jacenko, to pick up at a later date.

However, once I moved out, it quickly unravelled into a nightmare. Fred kept the deposit, despite the apartment having been inspected in good condition when I vacated. Instead, he stopped replying to my emails (which were very polite as I actually liked the guy). Paristay later informed me Fred had stopped replying to their emails as well and was not returning their calls.

I have lost count of the times I have written politely to Fred and to Paristay asking for news over seven months, trying to believe an explanation other than selfish opportunistism on the part of the landlord. Or that Paristay did was not willing, able or even interested in seeing its contracts honoured. Eventually, they said they would take down all his properties from their site. However, checking today I see it is back on their site available for rent. I was shocked to think they would continue to offer the property, knowing the owner has run off with a deposit on at least one occasion.

Paristay initially said they would sort it out, then stopped communicating entirely and to the best of my knowledge, has done nothing.

The fact Fred has my jacket in storage at Jacenko makes it feel much more personal. Money is money and it's easy to see why someone might opportunistically want to take it. But what would motivate someone to take a coat? The only benefits I could think of would be personal use or re-sale at Jacenko. This seems weird but I can't think of any other reason he would take it, and after 7 months of reminders, laziness is no longer a plausible explanation.

So not only does Fred have my money, he has my clothes! I have subsequently learnt of another person, also a student from Australia, who's deposit Fred has kept and gone into hiding about.

BEWARE PARISTAY DEPOSITS - They are large sums with no protection! I have been left in the lurch because the company will not do anything to follow up if the landlord decides he wants to keep the money. The in-site reviews are not reliable because (a) they are mediated by the company; and (b) are based on surveys, sent before the deposit should be repaid.

Please be careful entering these kinds of arrangements and do not leave yourself in the position of trying to fix them when you are back in your home country. If the company does not want to deal with it they will just go silent and you may find yourself telling your story on a site like this one!

**Please share your experiences / advice**

The apartment in question (active at the time of posting) is paristay.com/1641-Furnished-one-bedroom-in-P…

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Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

Be sure to review on slowtrav.com and any other review site you can locate.

Victoria, Canada
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2. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

Wow how infuriating. I did a lot of research before I rented an apartment , I have heard similar stories of agencies that can't do a darn thing if owners screw the renters.. And that was a deposit I can't even fathom paying.. 2,000 euros was insane ( was this a 3 bedroom luxury condo ??)

Anyways sorry to hear this happened.. next time try Parisbestlodge!

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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3. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

Deposits in that amount are common for long term stays.

Paristay is an agent. Agency fees are paid to Paristay; rent and security are paid directly to the owner.

There is often nothing the agent can do if the owner refuses to return the security deposit, other than not continue to list that owner's property(s). But, since they collect substantial agency fees for bookings, that's probably not too likely.

You may want to collect relevant links from this forum and include them in an e-mail to Paristay. Sometimes that generates some favorable action.

You may also want to start a new topic with specific details identifying the property/owner in the subject title, so that it will come up with a search of this forum for others. And, also e-mail the link to the owner, who may care about negative comments on widely read and relied upon web forums.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

Janettravels44 - Thanks very much for the suggestion of slowtrav. Review sites are now looking a bit like my only option, which is disappointing. I don't know which are highest traffic / most searchable, but I guess that's what Google's for :)

The combined value is almost enough for a plane ticket to go and sit in his shop every day until I get my jacket and money!

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

joan1 - The apartment is in le Marais, which is an expensive area. There is a link to it in the original post. It now sounds silly of course, but at the time didn't think too much of the deposit amount because I assumed I would get it back and budgeted to have the money when the contract specified.

I also researched, but in the end relied on the recommendation of a friend who had a happy experience. I even had this friend pop in on Fred at Jacenko, when she went back to France, to ask him what was happening. He said something about having been busy, months ago, and nothing happened. It was only in organising conversations around that time that it became clear someone had also had their deposit withheld by the same guy.

Thanks for the suggestion of the alternative platform, I will keep it in mind.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

djkbooks - thanks very much for your suggestions. Would giving the owner's full name be OK with the community guidelines? I am new to this so have been treading carefully. The owner has no online profile personally but the business does have some presence, albeit through write ups and listings on third party sites, rather than its own website.

You are right about the roles of the agent and owner. It would be more satisfactory if the agent held the deposit, as the integrity of their brand is a strong incentive not to engage in that sort of opportunism.

I agree their options are limited, and I am sure the woman I have been dealing would want a reasonable outcome... although re-listing of the apartment and numerous unanswered emails do not inspire confidence in the business' professionalism or attitude to duty of care .

At the same time there's a limit to how much slack you can give them, considering the whole business model is facilitating "holiday and long stay rentals" - that's all they do. So it's not an encouraging situation if they don't have any tools in the box when a "holiday or long-stay rental" they facilitated goes wrong.

At the very least they have a responsibility to be clear on known risks and have a clear process for fixing repeat problems. Unfortunately for me, neither seems to be the case.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Edited: 27 January 2014, 08:01
Paris, France
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7. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

AndrewS - very sorry for this terrible experience, and I hope you are able to get proper resolution for your loss.

However, it must be pointed out that this was a 6-month rental, and your experience is not typical of those seeking weekly or even monthly rentals.

I understand that you feel the need to alert people to possible improper business practices, but I don't think a vacation forum is the proper venue for that. In my opinion, you should post your experience on Paristay's site(s) and other sites specializing in long-term rentals, such as ex-pat forums, etc. They would be much more relevant, there. Each site has it's own Guidelines and Practices, so it would be good to check before including personal information about the owners, etc., which might be construed as slander.

Legally, there are many different guidelines associated with long-term rentals in Paris - responsibilities here are quite different for both renter and proprietor, and the law in France is extremely complicated. Anyone seeking to rent for a period longer than a few weeks would be advised to go through a reputable agency.

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

pattyinparis - thanks for your comments and suggestions.

Going through a reputable agency is what I was trying to do and indeed thought I had done. I'm not necessarily suggesting they are disreputable, just that they do not offer any real protection of deposits. And that this creates a very real risk of losing your money if the contract is not honoured. Finding this out has obviously been a pretty frustrating process.

I wouldn't hold much hope for resolution through the legal system, but neither from sending countless emails. Review sites are an avenue a number of people have suggested in their replies, which I will follow up.

Re: appropriateness of topic, this was my take: Length of tenancy may be different but the players and risks the same for people organising brief holidays. Coming from that angle, I thought what I posted was OK by the forum guidelines including relevance requirement (that said, I am new to this I'm happy to make changes if I've got it wrong).

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9. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

I'm confused about one thing. You say that all communications broke down after you moved out. Did you try to retrieve your coat at the time you moved out? When did you intend to pick up your coat? Why did you leave it at Fred's shop? Details, details....

Paris, France
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10. Re: Paristay Nightmare: company silent on disappearg deposit

I would also not hesitate to post "reviews" of the owner's shop on Yelp, Facebook etc...Also on Paristay's Facebook page if they have one.