Let the Buyer (or Renter) Beware
In "Gone With the Wind," Rhett Butler suggested that Scarlett O'Hara name her store "Caveat Emptorium." The name comes from the Latin phrase "caveat emptor," meaning "let the buyer beware." Rhett was suggesting that Scarlett's merchandise would not be of the highest quality (neither was Scarlett).
The same piece of wisdom needs to apply to our online shopping experiences. Some items are far inferior to those seen in the pictures. Others come from faraway lands, where quality seems not to matter very much. And some are right here, at home, but the seller is the one of whom we need to beware.
Case in point: An absolutely lovely house was listed for rent on an online marketing site (the one that begins with the Letter C and sells everything imaginable). The rent was very affordable -- too affordable to be believable.
TIP # 1. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The prospective renter stumbled upon the same house being listed on a very highly respected real estate website, but for nearly twice the amount of rent quoted in the ad on Letter C. The poster of that listing was a reputable management company. OOPS! What's going on here?
TIP # 2. Heed the red flag of warning.
When the prospective renter contacted the Letter C poster, he was told, "I'm listing my house, myself, and through the management company. Deal with me, and you can pay the lower price."
TIP # 3. If it doesn't make sense, don't believe it.
The prospective renter then contacted the management company, told them what had happened, and asked if something wrong was going on. The management company checked into it, said something wrong was definitely going on.
TIP # 4. Play like McGarrett and investigate everything that doesn't seem quite right.
The management company requested more information from the prospective renter with which to further its investigation of the Letter C scammer and thanked the prospective renter for letting them know what was going on.
TIP #5. Help the respectable management company identify and locate the Letter C scammer, and you'll help to put a crook out of business.
Bottom line: Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer (or renter) beware. You'll be glad you did.