This post by diznyfanatic says it the best
Renting DVC points can be a wonderful way to enjoy a Disney vacation. However, as with anything that requires money to be paid upfront, renting points takes some work ahead of time to protect yourself and minimize the inherent risk of these types of transactions.
If you are not willing to take the appropriate steps and do the homework necessary ahead of time, and before any money changes hands, renting in general is probably not for you.
In order to utilize this thread to it's fullest potential and not attempt to deal with several issues within one thread, perhaps it would be a good idea to limit the questions, comments and ensuing discussion to only the purchase of DVC rental points side of the transaction.
Reading and using the following guidelines is a great start to protecting yourself and your funds when considering renting DVC points.
As always, it is up to each individual to remain vigilant and proactive during the transaction so that you receive and enjoy the Magical Disney DVC Vacation you expected.
For anyone who might be too afraid to offend during a rental transaction, this thread will hopefully provide all the courage and excuse needed to do as much as possible to protect yourself beforehand.
1. Do your homework FIRST
2. Check the owner's previous posting history by clicking on their user name and then Find More Posts. Are they brand new to the DIS? Have they posted anything other than "Points For Rent" threads? Are they responding to rental inquires within their thread for everyone to see? Have they responded timely and accurately to your questions?
That is certainly not to say that anyone with a low post count is untrustworthy. That would be completely untrue and unfair. But it CAN be used as ONE tool in conjunction with the other guidelines if there are OTHER red flags or warning signs present.
3. Know who you are dealing with. Confirm ownership and check the Orange County Comptroller's website here Orange Country Comptroller if necessary. If the last name of the owner is hypenated, the search works only on the second last name
4. Require a written rental agreement
5. Require references and check them - Personally, if I am renting from someone on the DIS, I would want DIS references since they can be easily verified.
6. Enforce your rental agreement
7. Never use Western Union in a rental transaction. There are too many other options.
8. Verify all contact information prior to remitting any funds
9. Know beforehand the busy DVC seasons so that you know whether or not it is even likely a reservation would be available
10. Understand the basic dynamics of how DVC works. A DVC reservation is very different from a regular hotel reservation and limitations/restrictions on the owner may make cancellation and rescheduling difficult or impossible
11. Post or PM an established owner with your questions if unsure about something
12. Listen to your gut
13. Be prepared to pursue whatever legal avenues are available if something does go wrong.
I'm sure there is more, but ultimately, remain vigilant and take the steps necessary to protect yourself first.
I'll be happy to update the thread with other's suggestions and contributions as well. If we all work together, hopefully these guidelines will go a long way to ensuring a successful and magical vacation for everyone involved.