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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
28 counties covering Western Pennsylvania
Don’t Get Scammed Out of Your Vacation Getaway
January 27, 2012

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – January 27, 2012 – With grey skies and winter months seeming endless, a great travel deal promising relaxation under a tropical sun can be very tempting. While many travel deals are legitimate, your Better Business Bureau receives complaints and inquiries every winter regarding unsolicited mail, emails and faxes offering free or discounted vacations through travel clubs or travel vouchers. The BBB is advising consumers to do their research and read all of the fine-print before signing up for a travel deal.

“Many times, scammers will utilize numerous methods of correspondence to try and convince consumers to claim their “free” trip or getaway,” says Warren King, President of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA. “It is important for consumers to gather as much information as possible about the business and ask questions before signing on the dotted line and submitting payment or sensitive financial information.”

Your BBB recommends the following tips to consumers who are looking to book a relaxing getaway through a travel club or voucher:

  • Don’t feel pressured. Oftentimes, vacation scammers will use high-pressure sales tactics to make customers feel coerced into buying a “limited-time” deal on the spot. A reputable business or travel company will provide any requested information and respect a consumer’s time frame for decision-making when deciding to book a vacation.
  • Research before committing. Unfortunately, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Before signing a contract or sending payment and sensitive financial information, check out the company’s BBB Business Review. Research the company’s name, address, phone number and website. Consider it a red flag if these pieces of information are not readily available.
  • Pay with a credit card. To have the best protection against a dishonest travel company, elect to pay for your trip with a major credit card, as you may be able to dispute the charges if anything suspicious were to occur. It is important to confirm such policies with the credit card company before you charge anything though. Think twice before wiring any money, due to it being untraceable after being sent, much like cash.
  • Obtain proper confirmation for your booking. Personally follow-up with the hotel, resort, cruise line or reservation that the travel company has booked for you, along with any other travel arrangements. Insist on receiving information other than a confirmation number provided by the travel company in order to verify your reservations were actually made.
  • Ask lots of questions. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure all of the details and pricing have been clearly outlined in writing. Read the fine print and double check whether there are any hidden fees or charges that have not been covered. Ask about the company’s cancellation and refund policies.

Visit www.bbb.org for more travel-related tips and to find a BBB accredited business or report a scam at Scam Source.

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About the BBB System

BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 128 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.