More than 100 students who fell victim to an accommodation swindle in Plettenberg Bay have been rehoused, many at no cost to themselves.
The students had allegedly booked accommodation through one of two websites – www.ethosholidays.co.za or www.aiea.co.za – to attend the Plett Rage Student Festival, only to discover on arrival that no accommodation had been booked.
Plett Tourism spokesperson Patty Butterworth said the town had responded generously to the scam.
Plettenberg Bay residents had made rooms in private houses available at no cost, accommodation establishments had offered discounted rates (paid for by Plett Tourism or through donations from the public) and Plett Rage had added 30 additional tents at a local camp site at no cost.
Numerous charges have been laid with the SAPS.
Butterworth said Plett Tourism deeply regretted the scam, and urged holiday makers to ensure that the business through which accommodation is booked is legitimate.
When in doubt, those booking should check to see if the letting agent is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).
Butterworth also urged holiday makers due to travel to Plett over the season to double check their bookings if made through either of the two websites concerned. A number of fraudulent bookings over the season have already been reported.
Plett Tourism is coordinating a list of establishments which have accommodation available, should those affected want to book an alternative venue for their holiday.