Jillian Michaels got much less — and also much more — than she bargained for when vacationing in Italy.
According to claims she made in a lengthy and uncharacteristically serious-minded Facebook post, the fitness star chartered a what was billed as a “luxury yacht” for 12 days as part of a holiday with friends. When she arrived with her guests, however, the pricey rental was not what she expected — and the situation quickly devolved from disappointing to downright “terrifying." And, she said, it involved “threats to mine and my families well being if we didn't pay up.”
The problems started right off the bat, when the crew arrived to the rental vessel, she said. “The boat was shown in pictures as pristine… it was not only filthy, but it had no hot water, no air con when not docked, no wifi, partial electricity, it was clearly in total disrepair,” she wrote. “If that would be all it would be one thing, but this situation turned aggressive and threatening. By the third day of our charter we were being extorted for money and things became so escalated we literally feared for our safety.”
She told the Daily Mail that by the third day of the trip, the rental company began efforts to extort her, demanding 6,000 euros — and that’s after she had already paid nearly $60,000 up front for the yacht. She also told the Mail that crew refused to take the group to shore unless she paid extra cash for fuel.
In her post, Jillian described the situation as merely the worst in a string of vacation horror stories she’s encountered in the last six months: “The first was a simple scam on Air BnB. The second was a home on a luxury rental site, which upon arrival we discovered they didn't actually have running water,” she wrote.
But she said she’s learned a lot, and wants to pass on that knowledge to her followers: “Bottom line - this stuff is no joke. You could lose a lot of money and that sucks, but in some instances there is real danger. Be so so careful when dealing with rentals.”
Her four specific tips to avoid scams, in her words, are:
“1. Try to pay with your credit card - don't wire funds. If you do wire funds put the money in escrow until you arrive and see the rental property in person.
2. Check all credentials of the broker. And don't book person to person. Although we did check on the broker and it still turned out this way. so make sure to follow all the possible steps for protection.
3. If at all possible ask for a FaceTime video before you send the money so you can see what the property really looks like.
4. Ultimately, at the end of the day it's just money. Don't put yourself in harms way. If you start to sense real danger leave the situation immediately and if you are out of the country contact your embassy. They have a fraud investigator apparently and can help you. BE SAFE PLEASE AND ALWAYS TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY”
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