Here’s how it usually starts: You get a phone call from a travel club informing you that you’ve won the top prize in their contest. You’re so excited at the news of winning that it doesn’t occur to you that you never entered the contest to begin with.
Other times, you’re shopping around for vacation ideas when those glossy brochures, low-cost travel deals and travel clubs begin to tempt you. Either way, the advice is the same: Be a careful consumer by getting it in writing and checking out the details of any travel offer before paying anything.
Many travel packages are legitimate and offer a good service and a good value. However, Floridians have found themselves targeted by an increasing number of travel clubs and vacation scams.
There are a variety of travel scams making the rounds. Many of them pressure residents into joining travel clubs with inducements such as free prizes and discounted vacation rates. The problem with many of these offers is that the memberships fees can be very expensive and not worth the cost of joining, the prizes are worthless or come with so many restrictions on when you can travel that they are virtually uncollectible.
Other problems that have been reported: The discounts aren’t what was promised, accommodations sometimes are substandard or the deals are stacked with hidden charges such as airfare, departure taxes, transfer fees, administrative costs or upgrade fees. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of a travel scam:
Remember: Other than hanging up, the best way to defend yourself against questionable calls is to ask the caller to send you information in writing. The use of high-pressure sales tactics often is the sign of a con artist at work.
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