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Over the years Rainbow Investigations has received many emails from consumers unhappy about travel clubs. In fact, one of the Canadian travel clubs have let it be known that they don’t like us, and we suppose that ruffling a few feathers is always the price of exposing what is going on!
Here is a summary of what to watch for when seeking travel arrangements:
A) Discount travel clubs
If your travel club is asking for more than a few dollars for membership, they are probably scamming you. They will offer a discounted menu of trips (of course it is discounted — they said so didn’t they?), only available to members. For this membership, you get the privilege of booking the trip, probably a substandard product and a newsletter. They get your money plus the commission paid by the travel supplier. It’s a great asset to anyone’s cash flow. Travel clubs should be geared towards social engagement and any dues or membership paid should be reasonable and cover only the true costs. There are a number of these clubs in both the U.S. and Canada
B) Deceptive pricing
Know the real price. When going to an airline website to book a flight, there are usually options there, and always be concerned about looking to see if a sale is based on a return trip. Always read the fine print.
Most timeshare offers are made while you are already on vacation and your guard is down, but many are from contest entry forms where you fill out a form, or where you will receive a gift for attending a presentation.
Very simply, if you attend a presentation you are now vulnerable. Ask that any information be sent to you. Once in a presentation, you may have put yourself in fiscal danger.
There are some timeshares, which we are familiar with, to which we don’t think are scams that also use this marketing route. We would love to see a timeshare who promotes them as having a “clean” presentation.
Another recent phenomena to which are aware of the is the unsolicited emails that come to timeshare owners asking if the owners are prepared to sell their timeshares – obviously the people here are looking for cheap assets which they can sell to make money.
Check out the company
Are they members of a professional organization such as the American Society of Travel Agents, Association of Retail Travel Agents, or the Cruise Lines International Association? Do they belong to a local Chamber of Commerce? These are all indicative of someone who is serious about doing business with you.
How long have they been around?
Question the experience and tenure of the employees. Are there any complaints with the Better Business Bureau? Don’t pay with cash or checks. Remember, just because someone says they have the best deal, does not mean it is so. Anyone can open an online store in less than ten minutes for less than $200? It will take less time than that to recoup the investment tenfold.
Do your due diligence
ASTA’s consumer site, TravelSense offers more tips for keeping your travel purchases safe from the con artists. If you suspect you have been a victim of travel fraud, notify ASTA’s consumer affairs office.
Here are some travel scams:
Rainbow Investigations Travel Stories
Alberta Travel Agents Charged With Fraud
Two Edmonton based travel agents have been charged with fraud by Alberta Government Services...
June 14, 2004
Alberta Travel Clubs Charged With Misleading Consumers
Two Alberta travel clubs are charged with misleading the public...
July 21, 2002
Canadian Travel Agents Upset Over Air Canada On-Line Sale
The Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) has fired off a strong protest letter to federal transport and competition authorities, demanding an investigation into an Air Canada seat sale that was only available to travellers from the internet (and therefore bypassing agents)…
August 23, 2001
Investigation Into Snowbird Vacations Yields No Charges
The Alberta Government Services have completed an investigation into Snowbird Vacations International, after Alberta consumers complained the company was exerting undue pressure during sales presentations...
August 23, 2001
Resorts Exchange International - Settles Lawsuit with FTC over Vacation Travel Scam
The Florida firm target marketed its travel packages primarily through unsolicited faxes…
August 23, 2001
Also we give you some tips on how to avoid being a victim of a travel scam…
February 05, 2001
The investors succeeded in a bid to push the company into bankruptcy, to protect the financial interests of the investors…
June 16, 2000
Possible Time Share Scam
Alpine management offered to give those people who re-invested the $2500 a seat on the board of directors…
May 15, 2000
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