Paying for cottage by BACS?

I am looking at booking a holiday for the summer and have found a nice cottage. It's available through usual cottage booking websites bit is about  £300 cheaper if I book direct with the cottage owner. However she only takes cheque or BACS. How safe is it to pay by BACS? Is there any security? I want protection but don't really want to have to pay a lot more for using a 3rd party


  • It is not safe at all. There would be no way to get a refund other than owner goodwill.
  • JGB1955
    JGB1955 Posts: 3,477 Forumite
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    I wouldn't have any qualms at all about paying by BACS - as long as you have read the T&Cs carefully, and have holiday insurance, I can't see what the problem might be.
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  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,515 Forumite
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    Even if you book through a cottage website quite often the contract is still with the owner, the website merely act as an agent.

    I'd have no issue and I assume by BACS they actually mean direct transfer of funds.

  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,545 Forumite
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    It's unlikely that the owner has a credit card set up. But by directly transfering the funds, if there's a problem down the line you will have to deal with it yourself. Should the owner not communicate over a problem you are stuck.
    The risk depends on you knowing that this is a genuine holiday cottage, genuine owner and has it been advertised on the 3rd party sites for more than just this year.
    How do you know this is the owner you're in communication with?
    £300 is a big difference and I'm wondering why.
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  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    I don't like the sound of it and I'd be very wary. As twopenny says there is a risk.

    There are so many scams going on at the moment during lockdown, I'm suspicious of everything and everybody!

    Just be careful, as you could lose your money. If you need to cancel because the virus has not gone or has come back or something for example, would you be due a full refund?
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  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    It's unrealistic to expect private letters to accept credit or debit card payments., due to the high costs involved. If you want S75 or chargeback protection then you need to book through the 3rd party agents. Otherwise you just have to take the risk.

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  • heatherw_01
    heatherw_01 Posts: 6,554 Ambassador
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    I would not take the risk at all!
    Very dodgy way of booking a trip in my personal opinion
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  • macman
    macman Posts: 53,098 Forumite
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    It's not dodgy at all. But, as already pointed out, it does not give the protection offered by a debit or credit card.
    Are you suggesting that every small trader who does not offer card merchant services is somehow 'dodgy'?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • Holiday cottage owner here!
    As some have said above, most owners of a single cottage won't have the facilities to take credit card payment.  £300 does sound like a big mark-up for an agent, but you don't say what the rental rate is , so it's tricky to work out what percentage that is.

    We do also let through a booking site that accepts credit cards, so people have the option to pay commission and get a degree of protection, or book direct and make a saving.  Sounds as though you have the same choice. 
  • Kynthia
    Kynthia Posts: 5,666 Forumite
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    It's a risk as there's no protection for bank transfers. So if it turned out not to be the owner but a fraudster, or if you got into a dispute with the owner you'd have no help from the bank.

    I don't think it's suspicious that a holiday cottage owner would ask for a bank transfer, I'm just pointing out the risks.

    After having seen people lose thousands with a holiday company that requested bank transfers and faked having the required insurance, I would never pay for something expensive in advance by bank transfer. You get so much more protection with cards, although section 75 protection with credit cards isn't as clear cut as I thought as using an agent or paying through PayPal invalidates it. So booking a cottage through a booking agent means you don't get section 75 protection if then there's a dispute with the property but chargeback might be possible. 
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