Police were summoned to Sagaponack after a man and his fiancée arrived at a Hedges Lane home believing they had rented it for the weekend—only to learn they would be staying in a doghouse in the backyard.
“The man believed he had arranged to rent the whole place online,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch said, describing what is becoming a regular scam on the East End and other resort areas around the country. “But he and his fiancée were taken around back and told they had the run of a small kennel for the weekend.”
Police say that they made a close examination of the online advertisement the man had responded to, and concluded that, while the ad was somewhat confusing, the fine print made it clear the doghouse was being offered, not the whole house. “The fact that the price was only $7,000 for the whole weekend should have been a giveaway,” Hirsch said, “but I guess this guy thought he was getting a great bargain.”
Hirsch said this all comes after several incidents just like it in the Hamptons in which people were duped into renting “marginal properties” through arguably deceptive online ads.
“It’s the wild west online,” Hirsch said. “We’ve had another couple call us saying someone had rented them a child’s playhouse for two grand. Another time, a group showed up for a weekend rental only to find the dwelling was little more than a treehouse, and not one of those you’d see on Treehouse Masters. They had a pretty rough night, I think,” the spokesman continued, adding, “Next thing you know, someone will sell one of these guys a sandcastle!”
Hirsch noted that the kennel in this particular case was pretty clean, all things considered, and in the end the couple seemed quite comfortable.