ED Magedson – Founder
Holiday Villas maltaInternet USA
Holiday Villas Malta (Owners Chris & Josette Cachia) Deceptive Vacation Rental Owners Ruin European Vacation Zejtun, Malta Internet
Malta Trip In early December 2013, I began looking for seaside properties on VRBO (www.vrbo.com) for a vacation I was planning for my family (wife & three children) and my parents. My wife and I were married in Mosta Dome in 1995, as were my parents, who were married there in 1962. My mother Gina Calleja was born; and raised in Malta until she was married and moved to the U.S. in 1962. This was to be the trip of a lifetime to introduce our kids to their Maltese heritage, especially through the eyes of their grandmother.
On December 18, 2013, I received a reply and offer from someone named Roderick using an email account belonging to Chris Cachia who is the owner of several properties, including Villa Blueberry Hills. Villa Blueberry was advertised and marketed as a Marsaxlokk property. We agreed to a price of €3,000 for the dates of 26-Mar thru 16- April, 2014. Rather than complete the reservation and submit the payment through VRBO as is customary and would have been preferred (VRBO protects tenants against fraud), I was instructed instead to send two payments via wire transfer to Chris Cachia’s Bank of Valletta account. [continued below]....
I now believe he chose this payment method to avoid a possible chargeback. Two transfers were made: the first on 16 Jan 2014 in the amount of €750 for the deposit; the second for the balance on 3 Feb 2014 in the amount of €2250. Incidentally, no rental agreement was ever presented or signed. On 6 Mar, I was sent an email instructing me to call a woman by the name of Josette who would meet us at the villa to check us in and give us the keys. I would need to give her an additional €300 in cash as a refundable security deposit. No receipt was given.
On 26 March, our family of 7 arrived in Malta, exhausted after a 30 hour journey from California and Arizona. I called Josette to let her know we had arrived and were on our way to the property. We rented two cars and hired a taxi to follow us with our 10 pieces of luggage. Josette was waiting for us at the villa. She gave us a quick tour of the property, collected the €300, gave us the keys and left. She informed us she lived next door at Villa Strawberry and to call her or just come over to the house with any questions or problems. Within 15 minutes of Josette leaving, we realized the villa, was in fact, not located in the seaside fishing village of Marsaxlokk, but was instead located in the relatively unknown village of Zejtun.
We immediately texted Josette, who actually happens to be Chris Cachia’s wife. I also walked over to her home next door and knocked on the door, but she would not answer despite all of us having seen her enter the house. Next, I sent an email to Roderick advising him that we were upset to realize that we were not in Marsaxloxx. Roderick responded and acknowledged that there was an error in the VRBO listing and that it was VRBO’s mistake. There was nothing he could do and was waiting to hear back from the owner. The fact is all property descriptions on VRBO are exclusively created, designed and submitted by the property owners.
After multiple texts, calls and emails over the next 1 1/2 hours and no responses, we made the decision to go find a hotel. It was only after Josette saw us getting into our cars to leave that she came out of her house, quite angry and aggressive because we were leaving. ￼We advised Josette that we would not be staying. We left our luggage at the villa in search of a hotel. At 7:30 pm local time, we found a couple of rooms at the Cavallieri Hotel in St. Julians. It has now been 7 1/2 hours since we arrived in Malta, and needless to say, everyone is beyond exhausted and stressed.
After we checked into the hotel, my two boys and I hired a van and returned to the villa to retrieve our 10 pieces of luggage and security deposit. The cost for the taxi was €31 Euros each way plus tip and more than another hour of time. The next morning was spent looking for another property to rent on short notice. We finally found a seaside apartment in St. Paul’s Bay. It would not be ready until the following day (28- March) so we incurred the additional expense of staying another night at the Cavallieri Hotel plus the cost of transporting our luggage again to the property. We were prepared to settle the issue for the immediate and full refund of €3000 by wire transfer.
However, the owners of rejected this offer and we have retained a solicitor to sue the owners not only for the prepaid rental amount, but for all additional expenses incurred as a result of this fraudulent and deceptive rental....including hotel rooms, taxi fares, meals and legal expenses. Chris & Josette Cachia intentionally and fraudulently deceived us into believing that Villa Blueberry Hills was located in the seaside village of Marsaxlokk. PS. As of 31 March, the owners have since changed the listing on VRBO to reflect the true location of the property. Fortunately, we had the foresight to take screenshots of the listing the way it was when agreed to rent the property. Despite being told that this was VRBO’s fault and they could not alter the listing, it was in fact, changed today and now reads "Zejtun Villa Description" instead of "Marsaxlokk Villa Description.” ￼ ￼
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/07/2014 09:07 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Holiday-Villas-malta/internet/Holiday-Villas-Malta-Owners-Chris-Josette-Cachia-Deceptive-Vacation-Rental-Owners-Rui-1144929. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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