January 14, 2016

Pigeon Forge Vacation Rental Scam?

The doors are locked, the website is down, and the phone lines keep ringing.

In a mysterious turn of events, popular Pigeon Forge vacation rental company, Sunset Cottage, appears to have closed its doors for good without notifying affected guests and homeowners.

The 20-year-old vacation rental company claimed to have over 300 Pigeon Forge cabins, chalets, and cottages for guests to rent through their site and popular vacation rental online travel agencies including VRBO; however, guests and owners have been unable to get in contact with the company for several days, leaving many believing that the company has closed down for good. Guests have been abandoned without accommodations, and owners are demanding their money.

Whitney Good of WATE 6, a local news channel, reported, “A family member of the owner of Sunset Cottage Rentals says she’s been in the hospital unable to run her business, but that still leaves a lot of renters and cabin owners wondering where the rest of the employees are.”

The Sunset Cottage website only says “We are closed. We are sorry for any convenience.”

Rented.com was able to get in contact with several of the owners of the homes listed online as Sunset Cottage-managed properties. Some homeowners, however, say they had no idea that their homes were available for rent through the company.

Three of the homeowners that were reportedly Sunset Cottage clients reported that they had never worked with the company, and a fourth claimed not to have worked with the company for over eight years.

Even still, while we found that Sunset Cottage claimed to manage several homes without their owner’s knowledge, online reviews of the company revealed that some owners and guests were satisfied with their experiences. Sunset Cottage guest Emily Hawkins stated, We’ve used Sunset Cottage for years and have always been very happy.”

Others, as far as 11 months ago, noted discontent with inaccurate information advertised by Sunset Cottage. Google user “LJ C” stated, “Don’t be fooled by the false advertising. ‘Bear Pause’ is no longer being managed by sunset cottage. This 2br/2ba cabin is under new ownership and new management. Contact DIAMOND MOUNTAIN RENTALS – they will take great care of you!”

Homeowners of vacation properties looking to get rental income are always advised to conduct thorough research on their property managers by working with certified professionals. Marketplaces like Rented.com provide homeowners with guaranteed rental income and match them with certified companies. Companies are legitimized and certified based on their professionalism, reputation, and financial standing (as determined by a third-party vendor application) in order to provide a better experience for all.

Affected homeowners are encouraged to contact Rented.com as the company is willing to provide their services, find certified, professional managers, and provide homeowners with free, guaranteed income for their rental weeks.

What would you do if this happened to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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