CBS 2 News at 5:30 - WCBS-TV (New York)
Sean Hennessey Reporting
November 30, 2007
In the featured story on CBS(2)-New York City News at 5:30 (November 30, 2007), entitled "Vacation Scams," CBS reporter Sean Hennessey told about four "Internet scam victims," one couple from California and another couple from Minnesota, who booked and paid for their rentals over the Internet. They arrived in New York City to find that the apartment they paid for was already occupied by a family and not actually available.
In the news segment, Mr. Hennessey provided steps travelers can take to protect themselves against similar "scams." The inside of New York Habitat's Manhattan office with its staff were shown on camera to illustrate, as Mr. Hennessey stated, "Reputable companies like New York Habitat have an actual office along with a phone number." Mr. Hennessey then showed two of the documents used by New York Habitat as part of its rental procedure, and he added, "And there are Lease and Guest Agreements signed by all parties to help avoid someone getting ripped off."
During the news segment, two members of New York Habitat's staff were interviewed and they gave advice to travelers on how to avoid being victims of an Internet "scam," as had happened to the couples from California and Minnesota who rented through another international, online site:
New York Habitat's in-house Legal Counsel gave the advice to travelers, "They need to know that there is a live voice on the other end of the phone, or a live person they can speak to, in person, rather than just something going over the Internet."
New York Habitat's President added further ways for travelers to determine whether an online rental company is reputable: "Also, go through forums and find out what the reputation [is] of the company."
New York Habitat hopes that the advice given by Mr. Hennessey and its staff will be helpful to future travelers to New York and other cities, to avoid the pitfall of the "Vacation Scams" shown on CBS(2) News.