Zelle scammers want to steal your cash. Here are 5 ways they’re doing it

Zelle users beware: Scammers have their sights aimed straight at you. That’s right – the money transfer service has quickly become the preferred method of thieves everywhere looking for instant gratification. In fact, our team receives daily pleas for help from shell-shocked victims of new Zelle scams.

Here are five of the latest ways Zelle scammers are doing business and how you can avoid falling victim.

If a vacation rental owner lists the wrong location, shouldn’t Vrbo refund your money?

Karen Barney used Vrbo to book a vacation rental to celebrate Christmas in Puerto Vallarta with extended family. But after she pressed the confirm button, this first-time Vrbo user got a surprise from the vacation rental owner. It turns out the property wasn’t actually in Puerto Vallarta. Even more surprising? The rejection Barney received when she asked Vrbo to fix the problem by canceling and giving her a refund.

Now Barney is hoping our team can convince Vrbo to refund the money she spent on this mislabeled vacation rental.

If you’re booking a vacation rental and the exact location is critical, Barney’s case should serve as a warning. Sites like Vrbo and Airbnb provide only a general idea of the property’s location until after you’ve already committed to the reservation. So what should a Vrbo user do if the location of their booked property varies significantly from the listing?

Let’s find out.

My vacation rental has mice! Shouldn’t Airbnb refund me?

If you book a vacation rental and it has mice, are you responsible for catching and disposing of the rodents? And if so, does the Airbnb host owe you a refund or other compensation for your troubles?

That’s what Gabriella Costanza wants to know after her recent unpleasant experience. She and her significant other had planned to celebrate the holidays in a clean, cozy Airbnb property. Unfortunately, soon after the couple arrived, it became clear they weren’t alone in the vacation rental. And although Airbnb allows shared-space rentals, these additional “residents” were of the most unwelcome and unapproved kind – mice.

But maybe even worse than the reality that mice were living at this Airbnb was the host’s response. This vacation rental owner expected Costanza to put down glue traps and spend her holiday dealing with the inevitable outcome. Which the young traveler did.

Now Costanza is asking Airbnb for a refund for this vacation rental experience. But will the fact that the couple completed their entire stay make that an impossible outcome?

Maybe not.

Cruise ship news: 7 awful things that could happen to passengers now!

If you’re planning to board a cruise ship soon, the recent news reports on the industry are probably causing concern. From vessels being refused docking privileges to passengers being confined to their cabins, cruising during this pandemic is iffy.

But many die-hard cruisers are undeterred and intend to sail no matter the outcome. So if you’re one of those cruise fans, here’s what could be in your cruising future.

How to get a $400 cleaning fee on your car rental removed? Like this

Hertz gave Vincent Iannacci a most unpleasant surprise at the end of his recent car rental: a $400 cleaning fee.

Knowing that he’d returned the vehicle in pristine condition, Iannacci assumed Hertz had billed him in error. But when he tried to get the cleaning fee removed, the car rental giant told him there was no mistake. In fact, a company representative explained, employees had snapped photos of cigarette butts smashed into the vehicle’s carpet. As a result, the $400 cleaning fee would stand.

Now outraged, Iannacci, a life-long nonsmoker, intends to fully defend himself against this false accusation. He says no one smoked in his rental car, and he refuses to let the cleaning fee stand.

Iannacci is hoping the Elliott Advocacy team can help him fight this battle. But will photos of the offending cigarette make his case impossible to successfully mediate?

Why did Norwegian Cruise Line treat these two couples so differently?

Patrick Doyle and his wife recently boarded a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, vaccinated and COVID negative. They intended to celebrate Christmas with a tropical cruise sailing on NCL’s Dawn. Unfortunately, within three days of embarkation, Lee Doyle became very ill. In the medical center onboard the vessel, she received a diagnosis of influenza. Her husband, who was feeling fine, tested positive for COVID, and their holiday adventure suddenly took an awful turn.

Within hours, Norwegian crew members dressed in hazmat suits relocated the Doyles from their regular cabin to the medical floor. There, NCL personnel informed the stunned couple of how they would be spending the rest of the cruise. They would be required to quarantine not only from the rest of the passengers – but from each other, as well.

The couple says their days in quarantine were filled with boredom, loneliness, and poor communication from Norwegian Cruise Line. It was a decidedly very unmerry Christmas.

Norwegian Cruise Line made us stay inside our cabin for four days! Is this legal?

Norwegian Cruise Line just forced a triple-vaccinated husband and wife to stay inside their cabin without reprieve for four days. And when the ship finally returned to New York, two burly NCL crew members inexplicably continued to prevent the couple’s escape. How is this possible? That’s what the bewildered COVID-negative duo wants to know.

Kelly Cotto and her husband had never taken a cruise before last week’s bizarre experience. But after what they endured aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Gem, they likely never will again.

Now, finally released from their involuntary confinement, the Cottos want answers from Norwegian Cruise Line – and a refund. The couple is asking us to find out why NCL forced them inside their cabin for nearly the entire cruise.

But with the cruise line staying tight-lipped about NCL’s written COVID protocol, that might be a tall order. (Jump to: Jan 7 update)

Will Home Depot save Christmas? This pre-lit tree is a dud!

Home Depot sold Marcea Cazel a beautiful 7-foot pre-lit Christmas tree with an extended warranty in November 2019. The family loved the tree’s realistic look and soft twinkling lights and hoped to enjoy it for years to come. Unfortunately, the tree turned out to be a dud.

Last Christmas, the family spent hours placing sentimental ornaments on their tree and reminiscing about each one. After the decorating was complete, the family gathered around for the big reveal. To their great disappointment, when Cazel flipped the switch, the bottom of the pre-lit tree remained completely dark. Since that time, Cazel has repeatedly asked Home Depot to honor the warranty and replace the tree. But she still has a pre-lit tree that only lights up on top.

Now Cazel is asking for our team’s assistance. She’s hoping that we can help Home Depot see the light about this tree and save this year’s Christmas!

With just days before Santa’s scheduled arrival, can we do it?

My Carnival cruise ended at the pier! Why was I denied boarding?

Stephen Delisle is a seasoned traveler with a proven track record of successfully navigating the globe – even during the pandemic. But Carnival Cruise Line recently put an end to that success streak. His family planned to celebrate Thanksgiving aboard Carnival’s newest ship, the Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, they never made it past the pier on the day of embarkation. That’s where Delisle was summarily denied boarding the cruise by the boat’s medical personnel.

Delisle says the crew members made an awful mistake when they refused to let him board the Mardi Gras. That error caused his family to miss their much-anticipated Carnival cruise.

To add insult to injury, Carnival firmly rejected Delisle’s refund request for the missed cruise. Now he’s asking us for help. He wants the Elliott Advocacy team to properly investigate and prove this was the cruise line’s mistake, not his.

Can we do it?

What does American Airlines really owe you if it cancels your flight?

If American Airlines delays or cancels your flight home from vacation, what does it really owe you?

That’s what Mikayla Shade wants to know after finding herself in this unfortunate situation. She says an American Airlines agent told her that when the airline cancels a flight, the passenger will receive a full refund. Shade used that guidance to determine her budget for a new flight home. It wasn’t until American Airlines processed her “full refund” that she discovered she’d relied on incorrect guidance from the agent.

Now Shade wants the Elliott Advocacy team to ask American Airlines to provide what its representative promised her.

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