March 15, 2019

Consumer Catch-up: St. Patrick’s Day spending, protecting yourself from illegal AirBnBs (ABC 7) »

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to cost a whole pot o’ gold.

Restaurants – and of course, bars – are celebrating the holiday with a host of promotions for customers, including 15% off purchases made at Jack in the Box through their mobile app, Irish Mule cocktails at California Pizza Kitchen for $5, and a chance to win a dozen free Krispy Kreme doughnuts every month until St. Paddy’s next year.

According to Womply, a small business software provider, St. Patrick’s Day is the top day of the year for bars and the fourth-best day for restaurants. “People will be eating out and drinking late in droves, so if you’re planning on going out, expect long lines at your favorite pub or eatery,” says Brad Plothow, Womply vice president of brand and communications.

Even if you’re not lucky enough to score a deal at your local bar or restaurant, St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that’s more wallet-friendly than most. The average consumer spends about $40 celebrating – down from the $162 most people plan on spending on Valentine’s Day. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual holiday survey, about half of American adults will celebrate the day by wearing green, decorating with images of shamrocks and pots of gold, and going out with family and friends.

If the Bay Area’s cold and rainy March has you dreaming of booking your summer vacation, take a moment to do a little research first.

The New York Times reports that Miami Beach is cracking down on illegal AirBnBs. In some neighborhoods, rentals under six-months-plus-one-day are prohibited. Customers found to be in an illegal rental can be asked to leave by city officials, resulting in them paying for a hotel or somehow finding another place to stay.
While AirBnB will help you rebook or get a refund if your accommodations turn out to be illegal, it’s best to protect yourself with a little investigating before you book.

According to LifeHacker, AirBnB lists the regulations of many American cities on its website, so you can check your destination city to learn the restrictions on what you can rent. It’s also a good idea to see if your destination imposes taxes on short-term rentals, as those costs often get passed to customers. New Jersey recently implemented an 11.6% tax, and Massachusetts taxes short-term rentals at 5.7%.

Finally, if your AirBnB host asks you to do anything suspicious, like check in late at night to avoid detection or tell neighbors you’re a family member, it’s a clue the place you’re staying might not be on the up-and-up. Contact AirBnB immediately if you have any concerns.

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