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- Published on Tuesday, 21 March 2017 22:14
The Better Business Bureau Issues Timely Travel Tips
March 21 - Along with Spring, comes Spring fever! For teachers, students, or anyone who is craving an end-of-winter vacation, Spring Break is starting and runs into mid-April. Planning your trip may require making reservations with multiple businesses whether on-line or over the phone, which unfortunately has shown to lead consumers to scammers looking to take advantage of those looking for a relaxing getaway.
The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois is advising consumers to look out for problems when making plans for Spring Break.
According to BBB Scam Tracker, consumers nationwide reported nearly 2,300 complaints to BBB relating to online travel agencies just in 2016, which is a 28% increase over the year prior. The leading cause for complaints are issues with guarantees, followed closely by problems with refunds or exchanges and poor customer service.
Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois advises "Watch out for too-good-to-be-true deals when you begin planning your vacation, and assume any e-mail or phone sales pitches may be fraudulent. Scammers may be phishing for information or falsely claiming to represent legitimate travel firms." BBB recommends doing your research and a finding a business you can trust.
BBB offers the following tips to ensure a scam-free getaway:
Use reputable websites to avoid falling into the trap of fake travel sites. Check out travel agencies at bbb.org/Chicago
Get details about your trip in writing. Before providing any form of payment, get everything in writing. Make sure all verbal agreements are also provided in writing. Review all terms and conditions, taxes and fees, and cancellation policies. Confirm all reservations, total cost, flights, hotel reservations, cancellation policies, or any restrictions that may apply.
Use a credit card as payment. Paying by credit card offers additional protection should something go wrong or you need to dispute a charge. Never send a wire transfer or prepaid money card for an unsolicited offer as these types of payments are difficult to track and make it impossible to get your money back.
Consider purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. There are different levels of coverage based on what type of plan you purchase. Always read the fine print to see what's covered and what's not, and what type of information you will have to provide to assure your coverage.
Use caution when considering deals. If a deal or package offers a lot for a very low price, be wary. Watch out for phone calls, emails, faxes and mail claiming that you've "won a trip." Also be wary of free trip offers being shared or going viral on social media platforms like Facebook. Often these posts are tricks to capture your personal information and may lead to a very expensive STAY-cation.
Search our databases anytime and at no cost to help you find trustworthy businesses and important consumer information at http://ask.bbb.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or add us onInstagram
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Consumers and businesses can search business reviews and ratings on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.