Hey, where’d the money go for my Hawaii condo?

Today’s question isn’t about whether I should try to mediate Deb DiSandro’s case. She paid $3,203 for a vacation rental in Oahu that she obviously didn’t get. I’m going to try to help her.

It’s more a question of who has her money — and who is responsible for her refund. That’s where I could use your help.

One year ago, DiSandro pre-paid for a condo at the Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort. There were numerous warning signs from the very beginning. The owner wanted to be paid in full by PayPal weeks before she checked in. Initially, he didn’t want to honor the rate that DiSandro saw online for the two bedroom unit on the top fourth floor on the north side of the oceanside tower, but then agreed to, as a favor.

It just didn’t look right. And sure enough, it wasn’t.

“About two weeks before our June arrival, the person we rented the condo from called to tell us that we no longer had a place to stay,” she says. The unit had gone into foreclosure and was now owned by a bank.

DiSandro scrambled to find another rental, and eventually paid another $4,000 to secure her accommodations in Hawaii.

“I have tried to get our money back to no avail,” she says.

Here’s where things get a little complicated.

She’d found the unit through a website called StayAtCondo.com, but the site is nothing more than a listing service and informed DiSandro she was booking “at her own risk.” She says a site representative tried to help by making a few calls on her behalf but failed to resolve anything.

She then contacted the former owner, whose name was on the contract and to whom she’d sent $3,203.

“He actually picked up the phone and stammered and mumbled, and said he is not responsible,” she said.

So she sent him a registered letter with proof of her payment, demanding a refund, but he never sent a response or the money or answered any of her subsequent phone calls.

More research revealed the owner had known he was about to lose the unit — indeed, that the condo was probably in foreclosure when the transaction took place — and knew he couldn’t honor the reservation.

How about Ko Olina Beach Villas? DiSandro sent a letter, but got the brush-off.

“No one seems to care,” she says.

DiSandro wants to know who is ultimately responsible: the site through which she rented the condo, the former owner, the bank that now owns it, or Ko Olina?

Well, this one’s a real head-scratcher. I think on some level, all of the parties should be concerned that someone along the line pocketed $3,203 of her money.

Ultimately, the person with the money — the former owner — should reimburse her. But if he isn’t answering his phone, the only way to secure a refund would be to sue him in small claims court.

“Should I just let this go?” she wonders.

I wouldn’t. If DiSandro’s story is accurate, then a condo owner fraudulently accepted payment for a rental that he knew he couldn’t honor. Now he’s giving her the silent treatment. That’s wrong.

The question is, what’s next? Who should I contact in order to extract the refund everyone can agree she deserves?

Who is responsible for DiSandro's refund?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The former owner bears 100% responsibility. He’s the one holding the money. Plus, StayAtCondo makes it clear that you are booking directly with the owner.

    Book your reservation through the property owner/manager.

    I rarely advise contacting law enforcement. That’s usually the worst most useless advice possible. In this case though, it might be worth it. Depending on the timeline (e.g. the reservation date was after the foreclosure date), the Hawaiian authorities might be interested. If so, that will incentivize the owner to cough up the money.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    She paid with Paypal. They have some sort of dispute resolution. That should probably be her next move. File a claim.

  • sdir

    Is there any way for PayPal to still do a chargeback? That’s something she should’ve tried right away.

    Quick question though, did this owner still own the property at the time the lease was signed and deposits were paid? If not, this is fraud and police should be contacted. It’s not the bank’s fault that Scammy McScammerson stole her money.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    PayPal can do charge-backs. I’ don’t know the terms though.

    As far the fraud goes, the question is, did the owner reasonably believe that he would still own the condo during the time frame of the lease. For example, If I own a condo on February 1, which is to go into foreclosure on February 2, I should not sign a vacation rental agreement for March.

  • LFH0

    Given that the rental unit went into foreclosure, I might be concerned as well that the former owner may be insolvent.If that is the case, her only viable recourse may well be a credit card-based claim (be it Paypal or her own bank).

  • backprop

    Yes, PayPal should definitely be one of the poll options. For products and services at least, I’ve used PayPal several times and have had good luck. Particularly with the documentation OP has of staying elsewhere and other correspondence, it will very likely go in her favor.

  • TonyA_says

    Never prepay. I sound like a broken record :-)

  • John Baker

    If the OP has yet to file in small claims court or contact the the HI PD in that area (not sure where the resort is on Oahu), she behind the times. This case is simple. The condo owner failed to deliver the service he was paid for. If the owner knew prior to accepting / demanding the money that the condo was going to be foreclosed on, its fraud and she may be able to recover through the criminal system. Either way, its probably time to spend a few dollars on legal advice.

  • Raven_Altosk

    All of these listing services are like Craigslist. If you wouldn’t buy it on Craigslist (where you go to find cheap beat up furniture and even cheaper dates) DON’T BUY A RENTAL FROM IT.


    Former owner is a scam artist. I’d publish his name…and I’d advise the OP to look into filing criminal charges. Isn’t taking money for something you don’t deliver larceny? Lawyers in the house?

  • Len Oxman

    I’m not an attorney, but this seems to me to be a case of fraud, and I can’t help but wonder if criminal prosecution is in order.

  • Kairho

    And … get the small claims filing in before the former owner goes into bankruptcy!

  • Rick Brown

    The most important thing here is the timeline. If the apt. was truly in forclosure at the time the rental deal was made, then the former owner “sold” something that did not belong to him, and that would seem to involve fraud, and theft by deceit. Criminal charges should be filed.

  • EvilEmpryss

    Getting a chargeback through a credit card or PayPal is absolutely an option, but it isn’t as easy as it seems to settle a resolution. I know someone who had excellent records to prove that a buyer had received and was actively using the product they sold the buyer (he posted comments and pics about the product on numerous social media sites) only to fraudulently chargeback the purchase, claiming he never received it. He even bragged on his websites about how he got the product for free by charging it back on PayPal! It has taken almost a year of back-and-forth with PayPal to get what should have been an open and shut case in the seller’s favor.

  • John Baker

    It doesn’t matter in that case… Even with a judgement you won’t see your money if he/she files for bankruptcy. Lost $18k in a deal like that.

  • Michael__K

    That was my first thought as well. But then I saw this in PayPal’s conditions:

    PayPal Buyer Protection only applies to PayPal payments for certain tangible, physical goods. Payments for the following are not eligible for re-imbursement under PayPal Buyer Protection:

    * intangible items
    * services
    * real estate (including, without limitation, residential property)


    The item you purchase must be a physical, tangible good that can be shipped

  • Gary Moll

    Law Enforcement needs to get involved. Also, PayPal should be involved because of their guarantees.

  • Daddydo

    Chris, you are probably getting rich by doing what you do, but you would make one hell of an ASTA travel agent. We solve these problems on a day to day basis.1) The client had to have paid with a credit card through pay-pay A) stop payment for failure to deliver even in forclosure or B) paypal guarantees against fraud – problem solved. 2) As an agent, you would have suggested insurance that again covers fraud and bankrupcy or failure to deliver. 3) Teach your readers to resarch this garbage before they have to cry about it.. Travel agents do.Commission made on a legit transaction – very good and you would have done the research. Cost to the client, no extra.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I’m honored. I have nothing but the highest respect for the qualified agents who help travelers every day. I’m the guy they call when things go wrong. I’m not getting rich by doing this. I’m just saving the world one trip at a time.

  • Mel65

    I’ve had good luck on two occasions with PayPal investigaing and returning my money to me on fraudulent purchases, but I assume there’s a time limit, yes? And this was a year ago? Also, if the owner has closed his paypal account so that they can’t “pull” the money out of it, would that matter? If the owner knew he was doing the wrong thing, it seems as soon as he got the money deposited he’d close it down. What a mess. I do wonder though why one would continue to do business once the owner first didn’t want to honor the rate found and did so reluctantly and then on top of it insisted on FULL payment up front. At what point do you say “You know what? Dealing with you is unpleasant… I’ll go elsewhere.” And let me be clear, not placing blame on the OP; she didn’t do anything WRONG, I just…don’t get it, that’s all.

  • Donna Palen

    Actually, I’d hope he ALREADY filed for bankruptcy. If she files and wins and then he files for bankruptcy, her winning judgement will be set aside and never paid. Whereas if he filed BEFORE she won a case, he can’t dodge the debt for at least 7 more years when he can file for bankruptcy again. Personally, I think he committed FRAUD, a CRIMINAL action and the authorities might be interested in hearing about it.

  • http://gspirits.com/ Zod

    First.. she should contact PayPal and dispute the charge and see if they can do anything. Then if not, Sue! SUE! Sue them and make them pay for your incidental costs as well!

  • John Baker

    Donna … Unfortunately its the same deal… Our resident lawyers may tell me I’m wrong but my understanding from my debacle was that all debts that occurred prior to the filing of the bankruptcy has to be included in the bankruptcy. If you fail to include it, you waive your right further down the line. Now I don’t know how the court would look at restitution in a criminal matter vs a judgement in a civil one…

  • Joe Farrell

    Paypal should be notified of the facts surrounding the fraud in a simple 5 paragraph letter to its executives detailing with specificity the dates of foreclosure and payment. They facilitated a fraud – they will not allow that – but – if the guy has no money – then he has no money. There is zero reason why the OP should not sue in small claims –

  • DavidYoung2

    A call from a detective at Honolulu Police Department will certainly get the owner to cough up the money. Scamming some out-of-state tourist is one thing. Getting arrested is far, far more serious. The scammer has to know that if they arrest him, his attorney fees will be 5x the amount of the scam. Unless, of course, he’s done the same thing to multiple victims.

    The OP should search the internet for stories about the same condo or owner, then document the other victims and call the police.

  • Chris Johnson

    For the amount of money involved here, she probably could file a lawsuit and pay a fixed fee to a reputable local attorney to go to court for her so she doesn’t have to appear, and get a civil judgement against the former owner.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    You’re correct. The timing of the lawsuit is irrelevant. The issue is whether the debt arose before or after the bk was filed. In theory, her debt would remain because she would allege that it was procured through fraud. The problem is that she would have to deal with the bankruptcy court, which in a case like this mean hiring an attorney.

    If however, it were part of criminal restitution then it would also be nonchargeable as well.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    If, at the time of the transaction, you didn’t intend to deliver the promised goods or services, then it could be fraud, larceny by trick, etc.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Being in foreclosure doesn’t matter. That could be a long process and people successful redeem property all the time. Its the date of the expected foreclosure sale that’s the controlling date.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Sue Paypal on what grounds? Unless this is covered under some fraud protection. If you write me a check for the Brooklyn Bridge and I never deliver, do you sue the bank?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Attorneys rarely file lawsuits for fixed fees. The unknown element makes it a too unpredictable. If the guy mounts even the smallest defense, the legal fees will quickly dwarf the recovery. Then there is the collection aspect. I doubt this guy has any money that could easily be seized.

  • Lori Manganelli Wiesner

    Paypal has a very limited window to facilitate chargebacks, I believe only 30 or 45 days. I got rooked by a travel agent by paying him for a cruise through Paypal, and it was only the fact that I used a credit card linked to my Paypal account that saved me the $2300. Paypal will be useless in this scenario.

  • Michael

    Chris, I think you found a fun quagmire here with more than one answer. The money was indeed likely to have been fraudulently collected by the former owner and that is who she should get her refund from. The second part of this mess unfortunately depends on Hawaii state law and is too late for her, but may serve to help others in a similar situation. In many states there are laws on the books requiring a foreclosing bank to honor existing rental contracts for a set period of time, and in a few cases for the length of the contract. If Hawaii has such a law then the bank should have honored her existing contract at the time, but of course that ship has sailed so back to the money. If the previous owner did in fact already know the unit was in the foreclosure process and would likely no longer be his by the date of the rental then under most fraud statutes he has in fact committed a crime. I am sure the bank would have no issues with providing the timeline of the process as they have no liability after the fact. If they will not then the court handling the foreclosure would have the records of the filings. Once she has this information it is time to contact either the Hawaii Attorney General’s office or the local District Attorney, maybe both. Usually restitution will be part of the adjudication of a non violent theft crime.

  • sunshipballoons

    I don’t understand what the former owner would get arrested for. This is a civil dispute and there does not seem to have been a crime committed.

  • Cybrsk8r

    I’ve said it before. You’re always better off renting thru a real estate agent. In places like HI or FL, there is no shortage of real estate agencies who also handle vacation rentals.

  • JH

    Accepting $3000 for a product that would not be available isn’t a crime? Well then, please send me $3000 for two weeks at my 15-bedroom mansion in Malibu.

  • sunshipballoons

    If there was some sort of fraud, that’s a crime. There is no discussion of fraud in the article. As far as I can tell, the person rented the place, then it was foreclosed upon. At least in the absence of the article saying otherwise, that’s my assumption. No crime.

  • flutiefan

    I think the “they” was referring to the owners, not PayPal. It wasn’t very clear, but that’s how I read it.

  • Mark Carrara

    We don’t know about a possible fraud. We don’t have al the facts. So if we assume it is a civil matter and small claims court is appropriate, what will it cost the OP to appear in court? Yeah she could add it to the claim, but she will have to collect. I filed a claim for $4500 against a tenant. They showed up and told the judge that they agree they owe that much, but they were broke. They produced a net worth statement and I am still out the $4500 but I have a judgement against them, for whatever good that will do.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Good point.

  • JH

    So not returning $3000 for a not providing a service or delivering a product one advertises is not a crime where you live? Around here that would be stealing at best, and if the service or product was known to not be available, that would be fraud. either way it seems to me to be criminal. Taking money for something not available and then not giving the money back SHOULD be a crime if it isn’t.

  • sunshipballoons

    Right, it’s not a crime. Almost certainly not where I live and not where you live, at least if you live in the U.S. The person who was foreclosed on owes money to the potential renter. Not paying money you owe is not a crime. It’s a civil matter. You sue to get your money back. Renter isn’t going to go to jail. (As a practical matter, if this were a one-time fraud, the cops probably wouldn’t do anything about it either, but that’s a different issue.)

  • emanon256

    I voted for the former owner, and I would hope the OP files a law suit against them if Chris can’t help. Hopefully Chris can.

    I know everyone is saying dispute though PayPal, but I don’t think that would work in this case as its been a year, and its a non-tangible item. Even if someone wins within PayPal’s terms, it doesn’t always work.

    I once bought a monitor on eBay for $400. It said it qualified for Buyer Protection though PayPal, so I paid with confidence. I never got the monitor, I complained to the seller and never heard back, so I filed a claim under the buyer protection. PayPal said I won the claim, but still didn’t refund my money. I asked them when I would get my refund, and they said the seller had a zero balance in their PayPal account, so they couldn’t refund me unless the seller had a balance. I asked how the buyer protection protected me, and they said if the seller ever puts money in their PayPal account again, it would be distributed to the people the seller owes, but untill that time, I can’t get a refund. I then filed a credit card dispute, and got my money back, however PayPal then gave me a negative balance and tried billing me for it, and eventually shut my account down. At least I got my money back.

  • John Baker

    First, in most states you start earning interest on what’s owed. Second, you can turn it over to a collection agent and they can chase the person down.

  • Shannon Duane

    Right… she’d have to file a creditor claim or an adversarial suit and even though fraud claims aren’t dischargeable, you have to go through the whole mini trial with the bankruptcy court. For 3k, it’s not worth it usually. It’s worth actually filing the creditor claim, but to go through the whole adversarial thing to make it non-dischargeable and to get a higher priority… not worth it here….

  • Shannon Duane

    What Carver said… to me, this DOES sound like larceny assuming he knew when he took the reservation that he was going to lose the place. Of course, did he expect to lose it? That’s the question. He’d probably argue that he intended to make the back payments with the money he expected to get and then ran into more bad times. It also depends on how many people he did this to. If he did it to 10 people, it starts to look a lot more like an actual crime. Fraud by itself is usually just civil… you need a bit more intent to steal to make it criminal. You can prove civil fraud a lot easier than criminal “fraud” (ie larceny).

  • Shannon Duane

    What I was trying say above :) This is exactly the issue. He might have figured he could net enough to save the house. I’m not sure how long Hawaii foreclosures take, but out here in California you’re looking at 90 to 180 days, so maybe he thought he could get out of it somehow (that’s his defense probably, no matter how silly the thought is). If the sale was in a week… well… yeah, that’s an issue.

  • Shannon Duane

    Best off seeing if a collections attorney would take it on the commission. This amount is their bread and butter. But usually they don’t take things from people off the street… so that would be the main issue. They prefer to get cases from specified clients.

  • Shannon Duane

    WTH??????? I didn’t know this! I won’t ever rely on PayPal again!

  • S363

    IANAL (though I come from a family of them) but it seems to me that accepting money for a rental when you know that the unit is or soon will be in foreclosure is fraud, which is indeed a crime.

    The article says: “More research revealed the owner had known he was about to lose the unit
    — indeed, that the condo was probably in foreclosure when the
    transaction took place — and knew he couldn’t honor the reservation.” So though the word “fraud” was not used it is certainly implied.

  • sunshipballoons

    I did miss that line. If that’s in fact the case (and the situation wasn’t just that he didn’t know if he’d be able to pay the mortgage), then maybe there is a crime. The cops still aren’t going to do anything about it in a situation like this one, though. You might have a slightly better chance reaching out to the state’s fraud prevention group in the AG’s or consumer protection office, but for a one-off kind of owner like this, they probably won’t be terribly interested.

  • Freehiker

    Google Paypal sucks, PayPal scams…etc. There are countless stories of PayPal’s tricks and questionable business practices.

  • EdB

    Google has nothing to do with PayPal. PayPal is owned by eBay.

  • Freehiker

    I never said Google has anything to do with Paypal……

  • EdB

    I read that as “Goggle PayPal” as in Goggle’s PayPal sucks. I guess you meant to Goggle the phrase, “PayPal sucks” and “PayPal scams”. Sorry about that.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Agreed. Every collection case that I’ve dealt with has been from an institution client.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Full disclosure. I know nothing about Hawaiian law.

    I suspect that there are two conditions for those types of laws to come into play. The first being that it’s considered a residential tenancy, e.g. longer than 30 days, and two that the tenant be in possession of the premises at the time of the foreclosure. Neither scenario is present here.

    But as I stated, this is sheer speculation on my part.

  • Shannon Duane

    I always thought collections attorneys could make some good money taking cases like these. There are tons of people who need this kind of stuff done. I keep trying to figure out if it would cause any problems…. like problem clients or anything and I really can’t say that I think regular people would be worse than any regular client or any company. I did collections law for 4ish years and I just can’t think of any reason not to take these cases, but at the same time, I also never knew anyone to take these. I think it’s a good niche market, actually. Luckily I don’t do this law anymore.

  • dave3029

    One question I have (and I may have missed something in the article), but why did it take her a year to bring this up? Other than the normal two-year filing deadline for civil cases (in most locations), wouldn’t all other “protections” like credit card chargebacks and Paypal disputes be long gone?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    There’s a reason why they don’t. I can’t speak about your former firm, but all the ones I’ve dealt with operate as assembly lines. They have a set procedures that they can train cheap labor to perform. This only works if you have a very specific type of client, e.g. credit card companies. The attorneys don’t even look at the case until trial.

  • JenniferFinger

    The former owner. He demanded she pay him directly and completely up front and then failed to come through.

  • Shannon Duane

    I worked at a place like that in San Diego. We had a collection floor and then in house attorneys in the back. Worst place I ever worked. I agree with your assessment. On the other hand, I clerked at a small firm in Orange County that did commercial collections and he took whatever came his way… but it was all commercial. For the big collection farm type law firms… yeah… taking this type of thing would be impossible. But for the small ones, this is an untapped market IMO. On the other hand, I could be totally wrong, lol. I wouldn’t ever open my own firm, and maybe that’s a good thing since apparently I’d be tempted to take things like this. I’d probably be out of business in 6 months. I do title work now… so much better. It’s like family drama and real estate fraud to the nth degree.

  • Meredith Putvin

    Except, there is a possibility she is not the only victim

  • nateisfunny

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if payment was accepted and the unit is now owned by the bank, doesn’t the bank also bear a responsibility to honor the rental? You assume liabilities when you assume ownership, no?

    This is not to say the prior owner is not the “most” liable, but since it seems he can’t pay, the refund should come from the bank and they can seek repayment from the prior owner.

    I don’t think the website is liable, but I’d add it to the list of reasons you want to book with a company who can provide a layer of protection to you in these situations.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Generally no.

    The bank didn’t purchase the condo, the bank foreclosed on it. As such, it bears no responsibility for debts incurred subsequent to the inception of the mortgage. But even if it were a purchase, purchasers of real property are only responsible for those encumbrances which they have notice of.

    An analogous situation would be say I leased your office building from you for five years. In year 2 you sell it to Chris. Since my lease arose before the purchase by Chris, Chris would have to honor the lease, assuming he knew, or should have known, about the lease.

    There are some exceptions for residential leases, but unlikely for a short term vacation rental where the OP has not taken possession on the premises

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Was it the Law Offices of Mark D. Walsh? They’re out of San Diego. If so, check out his name on the State Bar Website. meh. Check it out anyway.

  • nateisfunny

    Ah, I thought it might be comparable to the lessee situation you described. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Sure. anytime

  • sunshipballoons

    Yes, if a bunch of people report the guy for the same fraud, the police or AG might be interested. One guy: they’ll tell you to sue him.

  • mythsayer

    No, it’s was CIR law offices. The owner hired me at 48k (9 years ago… Pretty low back then) and expected me to work 8 to 5 m through f and from 8 to 8 on Thursdays (collectors came in at 11 that day but legal staff still in at 8 so I had to be there whole time). Then every other friday collectors worked only to noon but I had to stay to 5 and then be back for half day on Saturday for collectors. Then the collection manager left and the owner decided to hire two more baby attorneys and also wanted me to start collecting my own portfolio and bring in 100k per month in addition to my regular attorney work. All for 48k. I quit and got unemployment bc they changed my job description so radically. The guys they hired only lasted three months also. I’ve heard of mark Walsh though…. Same stuff. They are mills. Churn, churn. I worked for a debt buyer once, too. That was a way better job. But the San Diego guys…. They’re just…. Well… Meh is a good way of putting it. It’s a small field. Collections served me well though… I was offered a job doing recoupment at fidelity national law group last year for good money bc of my collections background along with my real property experience. I couldn’t do it for personal reasons, but it was nice that it was offered. So collections wasn’t a waste by any means.

  • Name

    The agency that rents the properties should be held responsible for this kind of fraud. For these agencies to deny responsibility for problems is ludicrous. If your condo is in foreclosure, you probably really can use that $3K and fool yourself into thinking that you’ll get it all straightened out some day. What are we supposed to do as a consumer … file a lawsuit in Hawaii? Maybe what we need is some kind of a professional association for vacation rental agencies … if you’re not a member of that association, people are fore-warned that they’re on their own with vacation rentals.

  • Carl

    I had the exact same experience with PayPal. Their buyer protection is an absolute lie and is worth exactly nothing. Do not trust PayPal to cover you, they will not.

  • Karen Kinnane

    You are mistaken, a felony (fraud) has been committed. The owner at the time took her money KNOWING he could not deliver the condo as it was in foreclosure, he KNOWINGLY STOLE HER MONEY. This is fraud. While in Hawaii, bring all paperwork to the local police department and file a complaint with a detective. The detective will go to the owner and explain that he is to be arrested for felony fraud unless he returns the money immediately. Now if it had been me I’d have paid by check and had the USPS Postal authorities ALSO go after the original owner for mail fraud which is a FEDERAL crime. I’d have that crook throw a heart attack wondering which prison was going to get him first, he would return the money.

  • Karen Kinnane

    The original owner KNEW the place was in foreclosure and that he would not have it to rent. He KNOINGLY sold something which he could not deliver, that is a crime called fraud.

  • Karen Kinnane

    Where do you live that felony fraud is not a crime?

  • Karen Kinnane

    You are mistaken, detectives love a simple case like this. They make one visit to the miscreant, while wearing badge and gun, and explain about jail time for fraud and a felony record, and the money magically is returned, and they have another cleared case to report. I have done this with several big city police departments where I was given bad checks by tenants after sending a ten day demand letter by certified mail and getting no satisfaction. The state police have done the same thing for me on bad checks, for less than this sum of money.

  • Karen Kinnane

    Clever, and I didn’t think of this! You are correct, paypal invariably sides with the buyers, even when the sellers (ebay sellers for instance) are in the right. In this case she should file for a paypal refund, she has 60 days from date or purchase to do that.

  • Karen Kinnane

    Good for you for reading the fine print!

  • sunshipballoons

    I agree, a fraud *may* have been committed. Assuming it’s true that the perpetrator (1) knew he had been or would be foreclosed upon by the time this person’s stay was supposed to happen and (2) knew he wouldn’t be able to cure the foreclosure. It’s very possible the person thought that, with all the rent he would get, he’d be able to pay the mortgage. (You obviously can’t figure out the answer to that from this post.)

    The cops probably won’t be interested because this guy showing up and saying, “I was defrauded,” is insufficient probable cause to arrest the other guy. They would need more — strong evidence of (1) and (2) above. And, for a DA to win the case, he or she would have to get around a very good defense of “I thought I’d cure any foreclosure by the time the guest was supposed to arrive” — a potentially easy path to reasonable doubt. Maybe there’s a smoking gun, but I doubt it. With multiple victims the case is stronger; just this guy, the cops are gonna tell him to go sue.

  • sunshipballoons

    It’s only a crime if there was an intent to defraud. That’s at best questionable based on the information we have.

  • bringbackrocky

    The former owner committed fraud. The local authorities should be notified of that.