Travel Smarter this Summer

Travel Smarter this Summer

By / State News / الإثنين, 04 أيار 2015 04:00

RALEIGH, N.C. : May 4th, 2015 - By Attorney General Roy Cooper
Before the summer travel season begins, learn how you can avoid scams that sometimes plague vacationers. Here’s a list of five common travel scams to watch out for:
1. The (Not So) Free Vacation
Travel offers that seem too good to be true usually are. If you receive a cold call, flyer, or email offering a free vacation, there’s likely a catch. For example, we took action against East Coast Travel/A-2-Z Vacations for using the promise of a free cruise or two roundtrip airline tickets to lure North Carolina consumers to travel club presentations. Consumers who attended got a high-pressure sales pitch for a travel club and had to pay a $100 deposit just to make a reservation for their “free” trip. The trip actually wasn’t free and was practically impossible to redeem.
2.Over hyped Accommodations
Before you make travel reservations online, do your homework. Some scammers offer deals for homes, reservations, and hotel stays that don’t live up to your expectations. For example, cruise ship accommodations may be marketed as luxury when the rooms are really below average. To protect yourself, ensure that you have accurate information about the type of accommodations you’ve booked as well as contact information for the company you booked through if something doesn’t meet your expectations.
3. Extra Fees
When booking travel online, the rate you see may not be the rate you’ll actually pay. Travel sites sometimes say that “fees may apply” without saying what they are and how much they’ll cost you, and hotels may tack on resort fees or an extra fee for your reservation. Look carefully at every charge, ask questions if you don’t understand a charge, and don’t pay until you know the total price. If you booked using a credit card and realized you were charged an unexpected fee, you may be able to dispute it with your credit card company.
4. Timeshare Upgrades
Own a timeshare? When you check-in for your stay, you may get pressure to attend a 90-minute presentation. It will likely last longer than promised and end with a pitch to change or upgrade to your timeshare, such as switching to a point system. Signing up could mean giving up your title to your timeshare with no guarantees that you can continue to use it as you have in the past. It could also result in an expensive charge to your credit card and new rules on booking future vacations.
If you do sign a new contract, be sure you understand exactly how to cancel it should you decide to. Avoid these presentations and don’t get pressured into making changes to your timeshare without time to think it over.
5. Relisted Rentals
Looking to book a vacation rental at the beach or in the mountains this summer?  Beware of listings on websites such as Craigslist for rental houses that may already be booked, or may not even exist. People looking to trap vacationers will relist previously booked homes on different websites or alter the contact information for a rental property. Relisted homes are typically offered at prices that are too good to be true. To avoid this scam, stick with known rental agencies, pay deposits by credit card if possible, and never agree to pay for a rental home by wire service or reloadable debit card.
Tips and Tools for Smarter Vacations
• Shop around. Travel websites can be a great tool for comparing costs among airlines, hotels, cruise lines and rental car companies. Search more than one website to find the most competitive prices.
• Read all contracts carefully before signing. Make sure oral promises are put in writing, and keep a copy in case you have a problem later. If a sales agent made specific representations about savings, be sure they are included in your contract.
• Don’t get pressured into making a decision on the spot. Offers that you’re told are only good today often turn out to be scams.
• If any travel site or other third party offers you a coupon for discounted or free services, verify with the company (hotel, cruise ship, or airline) that it will actually honor it.
• Use a credit card to pay whenever possible. This improves your chances of getting a refund if the company goes out of business or doesn’t deliver what it promised. It will also help you keep a record of everything you’re charged.
• If you’re renting a vacation home, your landlord may offer insurance to cover mandatory evacuations (for example, due to a storm).
If you were offered rental insurance and didn’t take it, then the owner isn’t required to refund your money in the case of a mandatory evacuation. Insurance costs cannot exceed 8% of the total amount charged for the rental.
• Keep up with your itinerary. If you have a smartphone, travel apps can be a great tool for keeping track of your travel plans. Check reviews and ratings from other users before downloading any app and check costs. A number of travel apps are available for free.
Source: NC Department of Justice. http://www.ncdoj.gov

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Super User

Super User

Carolina Beach North Carolina

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