Chicago, IL – July 3, 2012 - Summer vacation season is underway. While this is a busy time for travel providers to help consumers enjoy their getaways, there are other unethical businesses that use the summer to take advantage of sun-seeking vacationers. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) is advising consumers on how to spot and avoid vacation and travel-related fraud.
"This is the time of year when consumers are planning to enjoy summer vacations,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “We urge people planning travel to verify the reliability of any travel-related business offering the services or accommodations. Always obtain in writing all travel package details before you pay any fee or bill."
Bernas noted, “It benefits consumers to check out a company before doing business with it, and we are pleased that is happening with vacation travel.”
Consumers frequently contact the BBB inquiring about travel companies that promise "too-good-to-be-true" travel deals. These offers often arrive unexpectedly in consumers' mailboxes, over the telephone, office fax machine or the Internet. Types of scams include winning a "free" trip and calling a number to claim the prize, or receiving a promotion about a vacation deal that looks as if it came through inter-office channels. Others may be an offer for a travel club membership, allegedly worth thousand of dollars.
The BBB offers the following travel related tips for consumers:
- Check out the free Business Review of the company at www.bbb.org prior to making travel arrangements.
- Be wary of “great deals” and low-priced offers.
- Ask detailed questions about specific travel arrangements and lodging. Find out exactly what is included in the offer.
- Get all information in writing before you agree to buy. Be sure to read and understand all agreements, guarantees, and instructions before signing.
- Don’t send money by messenger or overnight mail.
- Don’t be pressured into agreeing to a travel related offer.
“There are many reliable travel agencies and bureaus that offer good deals on vacations,” added Bernas. “Consumers need to research all companies before doing business with them to help ensure safe transactions.”
For more information on staying safe when traveling, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.