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Booking directly with resort

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello all,

I'm after a little bit of advice if possible. My husband and I are taking the family skiing for the first time in school holidays as they have now reached that age! Due to prices we are DIYing for the first time. I have (I think) pre-booked an apartment in Champagny en Vanoise through the La Plagne resort website central booking office. I've had an email confirmation saying a downpayment needs to be made in the next three days to confirm the booking and a form signed and returned. The payment can be by bank transfer (but no details provided) cheque or postal order.

Having not done this before these payment methods make me nervous, not to mention no one has yet got back to me with any bank details. I'm aware that we don't have the same protection as on a package deal, but the school holiday prices with TOs for February half term are just ridiculous...

Does anyone have any tips/warning signs to watch out for when booking accommodation through the resort website? We really don't want to be left high and dry or lose our booking because we weren't pro-active enough to make the downpayment in time.

Many thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Maybe post this in a different section, it isn't really a question about the operation of the website.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@MummyChristmas, can you tell us which website you used?
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Oops - thanks. New user and not yet familiar with posts.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hells Bells wrote:
@MummyChristmas, can you tell us which website you used?


It was winter.champagny.com
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Is there no attachment on the email with the bank details? They will probably not be expecting a sterling cheque either. It does appear to be the genuine TO website though. Was there no option to pay the deposit by card?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@MummyChristmas, just out of interest, give us you dates etc and let's see if the power of snowheads can find you a cheap deal Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
If not, then I would just email them again and ask them for the details. If you don't make the payment in time, I suspect they will just cancel it.

Champagny is lovely, we stayed there with our children.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I usually book through resort websites in France, most of them use the same software which seems to be the same for La Plagne.

I have paid deposits by bank transfer too, worked fine. A UK cheque would be harder for them to cash, don't know about UK postal orders. Ask the booking office if you don't get the bank details today.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
No, there was no card option. I have now been emailed the bank details. They are of the owner, so I'm guessing that's why they are not provided automatically by the central booking office. The down-payment is 25% or 145 euros, so I think I will go for it and put it down to experience if it doesn't all work out. Presumably the central booking office/resort website has an interest in preserving its reputation. They ask for a copy of the bank transfer (I'm guessing just some kind of proof of payment), so it looks like they keep an eye on it.

The form with the bank details has the owner's name and address (in Champagny) and it looks legitimate. I'm just used to websites that process the payment for you so this is new to me! The apartment is described as a ground floor apartment in the owner's chalet and there were also perfectly believable reviews on the website. In short, there doesn't seem to be much reason not to trust it. It's just not a way I've booked accommodation before so a degree of skepticism is probably no bad thing.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@MummyChristmas, if it is an independent owner, it is sometimes difficult and expensive for them to take credit card payments. If it is booked through the tourist office, it should be genuine.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@PaulC1984[/b], Thank you - it's the Feb half term we plan to go. The apartment is EUR585 for the week, which I thought was pretty good.

@rjs, Thanks. That's reassuring to know.

@Hells Bells,I hope it will be lovely for us too! We did a bit of research and it seemed good value, with nearby ski school and childcare plus access to a massive ski area. It also looked very pretty!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@MummyChristmas, Thats a really good price. Ill not find anything that cheap Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@PaulC1984, Very Happy Fingers crossed it's all legit then! I'm getting rather excited now!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
In Austria this it pretty much standard practice for small operators. If you are nervous then look at Globalwebpay, I have used them 2 or 3 times and never had an issue. You transfer the funds to them and they pay the owner directly. Yes they charge a commission fee but you can be assured if there are any problems you should be protected.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@MummyChristmas, Transferwise is another option to look at, as it will cost you less to transfer than your bank will charge you.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@MummyChristmas, The bank details should contain the RIB etc as well as the name of the account owner. Try googling them to see if anything comes up, but to me it all appears ligit.
I had a quick check on the La Plagne web site and there are a number of of sub 600 euro apartments in Champangny during the half term month (I looked at Feb 17th). So once again it all looks fine to me. The rip offs are more often reported on the independent rental web sites that do not inspect or grade the accomodation.
Use your bank or one of the independent forex companies to make the payment, but for such a small about check the commission they charge. one I use charges £10 per transaction but then offers a better exchange rate so is good for large amounts.
Incidently if I am going to a different resort then I always book an apartment using the resort's tourist office and have never been dissappointed.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
As an owner in Austria, even though HA want me to use them, Ive resisted and still give out my own bank details. In ten years of trading, Ive never had anyone ask why or had an issue with that. But before I accept a reservation, I ensure I know who I'm letting stay in my house first, so there is usually an element of trust built up from both parties before having to make the deposit payment.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Thanks to everyone for your replies/tips/help - it's been really useful and also reassuring. Dipping a toe in the water of DIY ski holidays is something I'm quite excited about because it opens up so many possibilities - if I can get it to work(!). Assuming it all comes together it will mean we'll be able to ski more regularly without having to take the kids out of school. I'm not totally opposed to taking them out, but would rather avoid if I can....
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