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Spring break: 8,000 BBB complaints for travel industry last year

by jmaloni


Thu, Mar 26th 2015 06:50 pm

Don't get burned this year with your vacation planning

Now is the time of year when people start to make summer travel plans. Or, they are putting the final touches on spring break trips. From hotel to rental car to tickets to events, planning a trip may require making reservations with multiple businesses online and over the phone. A travel agency can make the process of booking your vacation quick and easy, but using the wrong one could turn your vacation into a nightmare.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is advising consumers to do their research before booking their next vacation.

In 2014, BBB received nearly 8,000 complaints against the travel industry nationwide. Most complaints alleged consumers felt misled by travel offers that failed to deliver on promises. In some cases, consumers paid for travel arrangements that were never made.

People are also seeing travel offers in their mailboxes in the form of postcards and "checks" or "airfare vouchers." Always check to see if an offer is legitimate before accepting any of the terms. 

"After a long, very cold winter, many people are ready for a break," said Warren Clark, president of BBB of Upstate New York. "But we all need to be aware of the fact that scams can lurk anywhere. It may be tempting to accept a free flight, a room upgrade or too-good-to-be-true offer but before responding to a deal, do your research. Find a business you can trust first at bbb.org.

To ensure your trip will be worry-free, BBB offers the following advice:

Use a travel business you trust. Ask family and friends to recommend a business they've used and go to bbb.org to see the company's BBB business review. You can use BBB's accredited business directory to find a trustworthy business for your travel needs.

Get everything in writing. Get all the details in writing, including travel itineraries, booking confirmations and vouchers. Get a copy of the business' cancellation and refund policies.

Verify reservations. Get the contact information for the airline, rental car company and hotel. Call to confirm all arrangements beforehand. Don't only rely on the word of your travel agent.

Consider travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. Certain businesses and policies have different levels of coverage based on whether you purchase the car rental, hotel or flight. Ask a lot of questions, and always read the fine print to see what's covered.

Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card gives you additional protection if something goes wrong with the travel reservation.

Be alert for travel scams. Unsolicited mail, email and websites offering deeply discounted travel packages could leave you out of a vacation - and your money - if you're not careful. Watch out for scams saying you have "won a trip." Generally, if you've truly won something, it will be given to you as a gift. Be especially leery if the offer is unsolicited.

For scam alerts, tips and other "information you can trust," visit BBB.org.

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