Avoiding Spring Break Scams
Despite some last-minute winter weather, it seems that spring has finally sprung. And if you’re a hard-working student considering a spring break respite or an average American worker considering your first vacation since the beginnings of the Great Recession, it’s important to refresh your memory on the perils of heading for paradise, including ever-present travel scams. So if you’re gearing up for that quick getaway, it’s vital to remember that these travel con artists cost unwary consumers $12 billion (with a “b”) each year.
So how do they do it?
According to the Better Business Bureau, the lure of deep discounts and disreputable booking companies are largely to blame. "It is important for travelers, especially high school and college students, to not get caught up in the allure of deep discounts for eye-catching resorts without doing their homework," Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder, said in a statement. "Take the time to ensure you're booking through a reputable company and you understand all the terms."
According to the Better Business Bureau (or BBB), paying for your ticket to paradise with plastic is one way to protect yourself if something unfortunate or unseemly happens. In addition, all travelers are encouraged to insulate themselves from the dangers of con artists or other unforeseen circumstances by purchasing travel insurance to cover these types of potential vacation problems.
So when booking these seasonal getaways, avoid what the BBB refers to as "red flags," including:
Deeply discounted offers
Yes, the travel industry was hurt by the recent economic downturn; and yes, as a result many resorts, agencies and travel companies are offering discount rates. But, if the offer is significantly lower than what is considered regular price and therefore sounds "too good to be true," it inevitably is.
Changes in Company Policy
Stay away from travel companies that want you to pay for their services in cash, check or via money transfer. As the BBB makes clear: when you do use your credit card, you retain your best bet for getting a refund if the travel company doesn’t follow through on their promises. When you don’t, well, you don’t.
The Old "One Call, One Chance" Scam
Avoid the high pressure sales tactic trying to get you to “buy-in” to discounted deals over a single phone call. In reality, companies that are on the “up and up” offer you the opportunity to take longer than one call to commit.
True travel package “bargains” include all of the costs, including transportation, lodging, meals, , taxes, peak-season price increases and gratuities; whereas “the bad guys” hide these fees for you to find out too late.
It pays to confirm all arrangements with your airline, cruise line or hotel before you hit the open road. Even if you've paid for your vacation (hopefully by credit card), there’s no guarantee that your reservation exists.
Remember: if you’re actually able to take a vacation during these tough economic times, do your research to assure you’ll be smooth sailing and avoiding smooth scams.
Despite these warnings from the BBB, we know that people in desperate situations can fall for even the most obvious scams and financial fixes. So it’s important to understand that if you’ve lost major money—whether via a con, the housing market or the stock market—a qualified bankruptcy attorney can be a safe and authentic way for financially-insecure Americans to conquer their fears (an creditors). In fact, the bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.