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Wednesday, 03 February 2016 06:31

5 Gran Canaria Scams & How To Avoid Them

Crime and scams are rare in Gran Canaria Crime and scams are rare in Gran Canaria www.photosgrancanaria.com

Crime is rare in Gran Canaria and avoiding scams and rip-offs is often a question of common sense. However, scammers do operate in Gran Canaria so here's how to stop them getting their hands on any of your money. 

Fake stuff

If it's sold on the streets in Gran Canaria, then it's fake. No exceptions. Small shops are largely honest, but do check branded items carefully. 

If you need a cheap pair of sunglasses, then by all means haggle like crazy and buy one from the street vendors, but please don't spend proper money because "the guy promised that they were Armani".

With perfume, remember that it's not the smell that you pay for, it's the expensive substances that make the smell last on your skin. Perfume in strange bottles may smell exactly right, but it won't last. 

Lex Says: If you pay by card in Gran Canaria, make sure that you get a receipt with the amount paid, and don't let the card out of our sight. 

Timeshare

Is timeshare in Gran Canaria a scam? No, most of the time it isn't, but you still have to have your wits about you if you are considering buying a week or two. Gran Canaria's timeshare companies are masters of the hard sell. 

Timeshare companies (or vacation clubs, holiday exchanges, etc) in Europe can't sell floating weeks, they have to wait before taking your money, and they have to give you a cooling off period. Companies that have flouted these rules in the past are now finding that the law is catching up with them

If you are worried about the legality of your timeshare, read our guide to Spanish timeshare law and what it means for Gran Canaria timeshare owners.

Alex says: Anyone offering free scratchcards in Gran Canaria is up to no good. 

If you already own a timeshare in Gran Canaria, here's the latest news on Anfi del Mar and the timeshare industry in Gran Canaria.

Car rental

The cheapest Gran Canaria car rental deals on the internet often come with strings attached and a couple of companies operating in Gran Canaria seem to have a knack for gouging their clients.

They demand that you sign up for extra insurance once you arrive on the island, or charge you ludicrous prices for fuel or to remove fuel when you return a car, or charge your credit card for imaginary damage long after you've gone home. 

If a car rental deal seems to good to be true, ask yourself how the company plans to make any money from it. Then go to the Tripadvisor Gran Canaria forum and read a few rental threads, then book direct with a reliable local rental company like Autoreisen, Cicar or Orlando. 

Electronics and cameras

Camera, tablet and mobile phones can be excellent value in Gran Canaria because VAT rates here are 7% instead of 20%+ in Spain and most European countries. However, there are shops in Gran Canaria's resorts that make their money by selling dodgy electronics to tourists.

The best way to guarantee that you're getting exactly what you pay for is to buy it at shops that are trustworthy and make sure that it comes with  full European warranty.

For electronics, avoid all shops in the Puerto Rico shopping centre and Playa de Mogan and head to the nearest Visanta.

Buying a property

Most Gran Canaria estate agents are honest and hardworking. But a few are dodgy.

Gran Canaria's bad-apple estate agencies get both buyers and the sellers to sign power of attorney documents giving them legal authority to sign contracts and handle money. Then they buy the property from the seller at a knockdown price and resell it to the buyer at an inflated price. Dodgy agents can make up to 40% profits by ripping off their customers in this way.

It's an easy scam to avoid: Never sign a power of attorney (known as a poder) that doesn't specify exactly what an agency can do in your name, and only use quality estate agents. We always recommend Cardenas Real Estate in south Gran Canaria and Las Palmas Property in the capital city because we know that both go out of their way to offer great service and are completely trustworthy. 

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