Do NOT be fooled by any of the vacation scams that we have listed here.
Vacation related fraud is a major concern. The National Fraud Information Center has reported that there are so many consumer fraud scams out there that it is difficult to tell a legitimate deal from a fake. Many of them seem "too good to be true." Sometimes high pressure sales tactics are used. Other scams just take your money and run leaving you with nothing to show for it.
The following is a list of vacation related scams that we think you should be aware of.
1. Discount Vacation Clubs
If you paid any money to be a member of these clubs, it is probably a waste. What you get for your "membership" to these clubs is an opportunity to buy vacations at discount prices. However, there are some problems with this scam:
* Are the travel packages really discounted? How can you know?
* How do these packages measure up to other programs? You may be able to discover this on your own but the details of the travel package could make comparison shopping difficult.
* Membership fees can be outrageous. The amount you pay upfront is proportional to the degree to which you are getting scammed. You could mention that the money you spent is a waste if the vacation club packages are not even discounted.
The truth of the matter is that many of these vacation clubs earn their money both from the travel suppliers and memberships that you purchase. The ones you should go for are the vacation clubs that service your social needs and charge you only moderate prices that cover no more than the club's expenses.
2. Become a Travel Agent and Save Money
Sounds like a great way to save money on vacations! Travel agents can earn bonus points, discounts on car rentals, and get some free stuff. Here is the problem. There are tons of companies out there selling you on a vacation package if you view one of their advertisements. Once you have sent them a signup fee, you will be sent paperwork that says you are an official travel agent. Now you can travel at discount prices, right? Not quite. These vacation discounts and free stuff are a myth. Moreover, in order for you to sell a vacation package and be recognized by a travel supplier, you have to be affiliated with either a travel agency or be registered as an independent distributor of vacation packages with the Airlines Reporting Corporation or the Cruise Lines International Association.
3. Misleading Prices
Do not be fooled by the low prices. They are only priced as such to get your foot in the door. The sad truth is that there are hidden extras and conditions that jack up that vacation bill. If a flight is a one-way flight, you may need to consider paying MORE for a round trip. It is easy to miss the fine details and get stuck with a bad deal. Be sure to read the fine print and know all the costs associated with your vacation before you make a purchase.
4. Crooked Timeshare Vacation Scams
You should never have to attend a timeshare presentation. If you are interested in purchasing timeshare property, have them send you some information in the mail so that you can scrutinize their offer in your own home. Timeshare salesmen are high pressure salesmen. They do not want you to think it over and want you to make a decision to buy right away. You could be sold on a dream vacation only to discover that you owe them $40,000. Some consumers know the real price they expect to pay but are told how simple it is to sell their timeshare at a profit. Yeah, right! The salesman is lying through his teeth. What he really wants is to make the sale.
5. Out of Business
Check with the Better Business Bureau to lookup background information on the finances of a vacation package company. Some cruise lines, tour guides, airlines, or travel agencies may have had financial difficulty and had to shut down their business leaving the customers without vacations for which they have paid their hard earned money.
There are lots of consumer fraud schemes out there. It is up to you, the consumer, to educate yourself to recognize what is and is not legitimate. Hopefully our advice will help you minimize becoming a victim of the deceptive practices of many vacation package programs.
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