LAFAYETTE, LA- Bargain-priced vacations are not always what they appear to be. Often, the price shown may look appealing, but there are often additional fees and hidden details not disclosed upfront.
Your Better Business Bureau advises consumers to take some time and investigate and compare vacation plans, cruises or resorts and ask questions about extra fees that could significantly impact your vacation budget.
Resorts may have fees that go unmentioned until check out time. These fees may be included in your bill for a variety of amenities including Internet access, gym usage and access to the safe or refrigerator. These increased costs can surprise consumers if they haven’t read the terms and conditions of a vacation package.
Cruise lines are usually upfront with their fees but if the contract goes unread, consumers could have a surprise at the end of the vacation.
Travel arrangements require a significant amount of time. It is vital for consumers to take time and read through fine print and ask questions or find a trustworthy business to make their travel arrangements. Travel agents are experts in this field.
Fees for various amenities can range from $10 to $30 per day (or more). The Federal Trade Commission describes resort fees as being a part of “drip pricing,” a business model in which firms advertise only part of a price and reveal other charges later in the billing process. Drip pricing is not exclusive to the travel industry. It is also common among financial institutions and rental car companies.
The BBB offers some advice for consumers to avoid undisclosed fees:
• Carefully read the fine print. Review the terms and conditions of a hotel for your stay and before providing a credit card number, in order to discover additional fees that may be added to your bill.
• Double check what is included. Some “all-inclusive” resorts fail to mention that some services are not included. This could be any service including transportation to and from the airport, drinks or certain activities.
• Compare prices. Before making a commitment, compare prices with other all-inclusive vacations and vacations that are not all-inclusive. You want to make sure you get the most for your money.
• Add tips into your budget. Some resorts have their staff refuse tips but most expect proper tipping etiquette which adds up quickly.
• Low prices can mean low quality. The old saying “You get what you pay for” is still true.
• Ask questions. If you are unsure of something you read in the fine print, make sure you contact the hotel, resort or cruise line with questions and concerns beforehand.
• Verify costs at the earliest opportunity. It is much easier to discuss potential charges before it goes on your credit card.
Truly great vacations take lots of time, planning and patience and the BBB wants you to have the best vacation possible by being a wise consumer.
Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.
BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.