You’ve heard it a million times before, but if it’s sounds too good to be true well guess what it is! Like most things when booking a trip online common sense prevails. So trust your gut and if it doesn’t seem right give it a pass and keep looking. Here are 5 tips that will stop you from being scammed when booking a vacation online and help you keep your hard earned money!
1. Make Sure the Offer is from a Legitimate Supplier! Scam artists are real good. In fact they can look more professional that the pros! If you click on a banner ad or read a review promoting a particular vacation do your homework. Read through the content as the bad guys will portray themselves as, for example, being from Hilton Hotels. So if it’s a promotion for Hilton, go to their company website or call them to make sure the offer is there. If it’s not, chances are you would have been ripped off.
2. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Not all companies are household names and yet they most likely have a legitimate offer. It sounds trite, but contact the local BBB of the city the business is located in to see if there are any reports of them. According to the BBB the travel industry is in the top 25 for complaints.
3. Beware of Delayed Reservations. This one is a classic! Make sure you put your purchase on a credit card – no cash and no checks! If you pay by credit card you have 60 days to dispute the charge. So if you are booking a vacation for 3 or 4 months down the road make sure you are sent the reservation within a few days. The scammers will wait to the 61st day or longer to send you the reservation when it’s too late to dispute with your credit card company.
4. Don’t Pay by Check! Once you have the money is gone and if you have a dispute, probably too bad as the supplier has your money!
5. Read the Fine Print. Not sexy and no doubt a bore. But make sure what the salesperson or sales page has promised is not contradicted in the fine print. If it is, get out of the deal or call your credit card company quash it.
Booking a vacation online happens a million times every day without incident. I hope these tips help you to have a great vacation!