I'm wondering if anyone can advise/help me out? I've been looking for an apartment to rent in Rome in about a month's time. I stumbled across a site called 'italyrents.com', which was one of the first things that came up when I searched for holiday apartments in Rome. I found a suitable apartment, and began to go through the stages to book it.
I read their terms and conditions a few times, and it turns out they want an 800 euro security deposit (to secure the property as ours for the period we want it, and as a deposit held against any potential damage etc we may do to the property). They want this 800 euros by bank transfer or credit card, and only after they've received this deposit will they be able to confirm that the apartment is ours.
The second thing is that they want 1200 euros (which is the total cost of the apartment for a week) in *cash* on our arrival.
Both things seem a bit extreme - if I were booking a five star hotel in Rome, they certainly wouldn't want 800 euros down-payment before I'd even seen the place. Secondly, the cash at the *beginning* of our stay is not something one expects from hotel/holiday services.
There's more - there is very little information on 'italyrents.com' on the internet, despite them coming up (near) first on Google. There are no customer reviews on their own website, and the reviews I have found elsewhere are:
"They pretend to rent apartments, but when you reach your destination you find out that they give you just one bedroom in the apartment, with other bedrooms occupied by other unknown people and you are forced to share bathroom and kitchen. When you complain they see it is up to the owner of the apartment to do this!" (October 2009)
and on this site:
"I travel to Rome often---and I find renting an apartment is nicer and more convenient and relatively the same cost. I have used this site many times and never been disappointed with service, cleanliness, or accomodations: http://www.italyrents.com you can choose by location and/or price. (she goes on to talk about transport in Rome) January 2010
I'm not filled with confidence from the first review, and on a separate note, I typed them in on Youtube, and found out their last sign-on was 2 years ago!
In short, does anyone know or have any experience of thsi company at all? We've got our heart set on one of their properties, but does this really sound too good to be true? Is the deposit of 800 euros a lot? Is the request for the full cash sum on arrival out of the ordinary? I'd really appreciate your input!
Many many thanks,