• Promise luxurious airfare and hotel accommodations, but deliver far less than expected.
• Advertise rock-bottom prices, but hide certain fees until the deal is sealed.
• Take your money without providing the travel or trip promised.
• Don’t reveal the deal includes an obligation to sit through a timeshare pitch at the destination.
• Guarantee a full refund if the trip is canceled, but fail to make good on the promise.
So, how can you help ensure your dream vacation doesn't turn into a nightmare? Check out companies promoting offers, as well as hotels, airlines and cruise ships advertised, with BBB. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. Here are some more tips to help:
• Beware of unbelievable deals and extremely low-priced offers.
• Get all details in writing, including total cost, date and length of stay, airline and hotel accommodations and the refund and cancellation policy.
• Consider purchasing travel insurance. It’s designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies.
• Verify your reservations directly with the airline, cruise line and hotel prior to your trip.
• Make sure you understand everything before signing anything.
• Reconsider if you’re pressured to make a commitment immediately. A good offer today usually will be a good offer tomorrow. Legitimate businesses don’t expect you to make snap decisions.
• Don’t send cash or check by courier or overnight mail.
• Pay by credit card, if possible. This will give you rights to dispute charges if promised services aren’t rendered.
• Say “no.” If you’re in doubt, it’s less risky to turn down the offer.
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Don’t get burned by a bogus vacation promotion. Make sure you’re dealing with a trustworthy company and know the facts before you commit.
John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.