NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – You’ve seen the signs around town – “Rent your home for the Super Bowl… and make thousands!” So, what’s behind those claims? One North Texas woman wanted to find out.
Wanda McDaniel loves her quiet home in Fort Worth. It’s out in the country, with lots of space. “We have a four bedroom, three bath house. Each one of the bedrooms is special,” McDaniel said of her property.
McDaniel shows a CBS 11 News crew around her backyard and there’s plenty to see. There’s a swimming pool, a pool table, and lots of room to run. But McDaniel doesn’t have a hard time describing her favorite part. “Just being out of the city and being able to be free with the trees around you,” she said.
Since the house isn’t far from Texas Stadium either, she decided that renting her house might be a good idea. McDaniel had seen the rental signs around town and was intrigued. “They put a sign on the corner of our yard and we started to just pull it up and throw it away. Keith said why don’t you call that number and find out about it?”
The number McDaniel called went to a company called World Class Lodging. It’s located in Phoenix, Arizona. The company wanted $1500 to market her home. McDaniel said that was too much and negotiated it down to $800. “They sent a photographer out to take pictures of this house and once he left, we never heard from them again,” she said frustrated.
While there was no further action by the company, McDaniel got her credit card bill and was outraged that the company had charged her $1500 – exactly what she had told the representative on the phone she did not want to pay.
CBS 11 News tried to reach World Class Lodging, but the phone number is now disconnected. We then sent a news crew to Phoenix to find the company. We went to the office during the middle of the week and found the space empty and locked.
World Class Lodging is a new company. It was founded in May 2010, but the idea behind it is nothing new to people living in Tampa, Miami, Phoenix, and other cities which have hosted the Super Bowl in recent years.
Kevin Swain paid $1500 to another company. It was called Florida Super Bowl Rental Dot Com. “It was a deposit and if they had not rented out the home by the Super Bowl, it would be 100 percent totally refundable,” he said of the company’s claim.
CBS 11 learned that company also had offices in Phoenix…just down the street from World Class Lodging.
Swain is one of many homeowners who have filed complaints against Florida Super Bowl Rentals. They say the company did not do much more than take pictures and post them online. Customer Denny Stupenski says, “From the moment they got our money, it just seemed like a scam.” Tampa homeowner Glenn Green says he does not recommend that anyone else do business with the company.
The director of the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau, John Riggins agrees. “We’ve been able to track it from major cities like Tampa, Miami to Lexington, Kentucky to our area, along with Phoenix Arizona. So it’s a business model requiring advance fees.”
According to Riggins, the only thing that changes about the business model is the name of the companies behind it. “And once the big wave of signs comes in and the event passes, typically the company goes away and you don’t hear about it anymore,” he says.
Wanda McDaniel says if her credit card company hadn’t come through with a refund, she might have lost big money trying to cash in on the big game. “They do not have a website any longer. On the website it said ‘Oops.’ That’s how I feel. Oops! I should have been more careful,” she said.
The BBB says if you’re really interested in renting your home, you should choose a company that has a proven track record. Most companies putting up road signs are typically less than a year old.