Be Wary of Unsolicited Faxes “from H. R. Dept. " Offering Cheap Vacation Packages

  
     
June 27, 2016

Hamilton, NJ - Since the month of February, the BBB has received over 200 inquiries and 30 complaints regarding sketchy vacation "bargains."  Dreaming of well-deserved vacations, it's all too easy for consumers across the country to fall prey to these scams

"I have not received ANY booking or hotel info and now believe that I have been scammed for my money by a fraudulent company.” 

                      “They refuse to acknowledge any wrong doing and are now hanging up when I try to talk to customer service.” 

“This place is a total scam… They also have my picture ID, scared that they will steal my identity.” 

The latest scenario goes something like this: 

A fax arrives, allegedly from the victim’s HR Department, promising its employees corporate discounts and deals as part of an “Employee Benefit Program.”  It may look like it’s associated with a legitimate travel company through the use of a familiar logo.  Offers are for a limited time only, with bargain basement prices almost too good to be true.  The victim is lured in by the thought of 5 days at a 5 star resort in Cancun, Hawaii, Jamaica or other far away beaches for only $149 per person.  A call to a sales rep leads to payment with a credit card and promises that an email with next steps will be sent within 24 hours.

The email never arrives.  Further attempts to reach customer service for resolution are futile.  Consumers report the money paid for the trips is non-refundable and in some cases banks have informed the consumers that the transactions have occurred in other countries.

These tips will help you steer clear of scam vacation offers:

  • Be skeptical about faxes, postcards, emails or phone calls offering fabulous vacations for very low prices.
  • Search for the company at bbb.org to see if there are complaints on file.
  • Do a web search for the company’s name along with “complaints” or “reviews” to see what information you find.
  • Get complete details in writing prior to any payment.  Details should include the total price (including fees and service charges), cancellation and change policies and penalties, and specific information about all components of the package including resort names.
  • Be wary of high pressure sales presentations which don't allow you time to evaluate the offer, or which require that you disclose your income.
  • Be suspicious of companies that require you wait at least 60 days to take your trip.

Important: Be careful about calling a number presented as a way to remove yourself from the fax list; this could be a ploy to collect your fax or phone number for other fraudulent activities.

For more information:

If you think you've been scammed, find and contact your local BBB at www.bbb.org.  You can also refer to Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us to look for reports in your area and file your own.

You can also contact your local or state Consumer Affairs Office or State Attorney General’s office and the FTC.

The Association of Travel Agents website, www.travelsense.org, has more information on booking vacations as well procedures for filing a complaint against an ASTA-member company.

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