Nationally, Better Business Bureau (BBB) received more than 7,000 complaints in 2017 concerning travel agencies and services. In most of these cases consumers were misled by travel offers that failed to deliver as promised. In other cases, consumers paid for travel arrangements that were never made.
The BBB is out with its latest warning for Spring Break travelers.
Students eager to take time off from classes and to escape winter weather look forward to spring break. Their budgets are often limited, so they seek out deals on flights and accommodations. Better Business Bureau advises students to be wary of travel deals that seem too good to be true. Many online sites offer deals on travel. Some are legitimate, while others may be scams. BBB advises students to deal with reputable sites when booking travel, checking a site's reservation policies and other fine print before booking deals. Package deals may be touted as all-inclusive, but be sure you understand exactly what is included.
Here are some BBB tips to avoid disappointment with travel deals:
• Book through a reliable travel agent or travel site. Check its BBB Business Profile at www.bbb.org. or find a BBB Accredited Business. BBB Accredited Businesses must adhere to the BBB's 8 standards of trust, requiring that they advertise honestly, be transparent, and honor promises.
• Get details about your trip in writing. Be sure to confirm the details, such as total cost, any restrictions, flights, hotel reservations and car rental.
• Pay with a credit card. Paying by credit card offers the most protection should something go wrong because you can challenge the charges.
• Consider purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance provides coverage for particular perils which are specific conditions under which it will pay claims. Be sure to shop around and read the terms and conditions before purchasing.
• Use caution when considering deals. If a deal or package offers a lot for a very low price, be wary. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
• Be wary of claims you "won" a trip. Generally if you've truly won something, it will be given to you as a gift. Be especially leery if the offer is unsolicited. Check on any offers with BBB.
BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.