Whether you love a sunny beach, sightseeing around a historic town, or skiing down a snowy mountain, everyone enjoys a nice vacation. Unfortunately, scammers prey on consumers’ desire to get away from it all. Click below to find information on some common travel scams.
- “Travel clubs” often contact consumers using postal flyers, text messages, or cold calls that promise to save them several thousands of dollars on future trips.
- These solicitations generally “invite” consumers to a conference where they can take advantage of an “amazing opportunity” and receive a free trip just for attending.
- When consumers attend such a conference, they often experience high pressure sales tactics.
- Often the “free trip” is a voucher that is difficult or impossible to redeem.
- To avoid travel club scams, consumers should:
- Be skeptical of offers that claim they have won a contest that they did not enter.
- Be skeptical of solicitations that fail to disclose the name of the soliciting company.
- Research their right to cancel prior to going to a sales presentation.
- Be skeptical of companies that use generic names or work out of what appears to be a short-lease office space.
- A timeshare is a resort or vacation property with a fractional ownership structure or divided use rights.
- Depending on the type of timeshare you purchase, you may own a portionof a vacation unit for the rest of your life, for a certain number of years specified in a purchase contract, or until you sell it.
- Your interest is legally considered real property.
- Do not purchase a timeshare under pressure or on impulse.
- Timeshares entail lasting financial obligations; you should carefully study purchase documents and research properties before deciding to purchase a timeshare.
- In calculating the total cost of a timeshare, include mortgage payments and expenses like travel costs, annual maintenance fees, taxes, closing costs, broker commissions, and finance charges.
- Maintenance fees can rise at rates that equal or exceed inflation.
- You must pay fees and taxes, regardless of whether you use the unit.
- Timeshares can be difficult to sell or even give away.
- Some scammers offer to help dissatisfied timeshare owners ‘get out of their timeshare contract’ for a fee.
- The only way to lose ownership of a traditional timeshare is to sell it.
- If someone offers to help you sell your timeshare, ask about fees and timing: it is better to work with a company that takes its fee after the timeshare is sold.
- If you must pay a fee in advance for help selling your timeshare, ask about refund policies and get all promises in writing.
- Travel fee scams, particularly by online operators, are rising.
- Whenever possible, book directly with the hotel instead of a third-party source.
- If you use third-party booking sites or travel agencies, do independent research to ensure that they are reputable.
- Paying with a credit card can offer you more protections than paying with debit cards, wire transfers, cash, and other payment methods.
- If you think you may have been charged unwarranted fees or otherwise been scammed, contact either your credit card company or bank right away.
- If a deal requires you to pay upfront fees, be skeptical.
- Contact the carrier or hotel directly and ask if they are aware of the offer.
- Hotels and carriers often know about scams that use their name or likeness without authorization.