Vacation Travel Packages
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office urges consumers to safeguard themselves from deceptive vacation packages. Although many legitimate packages exist, misleading vacation packages can coax consumers into an experience far below their expectations.
If you have purchased or plan to purchase a vacation getaway, consider the following tips before you purchase or leave:
Buy Your Vacation Travel Package From a Business You Know
If you’re not familiar with a company, check it out. Get its complete name, address and phone number. Several travel organizations belong to professional associations, including the American Society of Travel Agents, which has over 300 members in Minnesota, the National Tour Association, and the United States Tour Operators Association.
Beware of “You’ve Won a Prize” Solicitations
Businesses may call or fax you unannounced notices offering “deals” that sound too good to be true. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before you accept any prize.
Watch Out for Hidden Costs
These “deals” often contain hidden costs, or the company may not be telling you that you must attend a sales presentation to qualify for the trip or discount.
Avoid Immediate and Rushed Payments
If a company is trying to rush you, they may be trying to scam you before you have enough time to think about it.
Verify Arrangements With Your Travel Agent Before You Pay
Get everything in writing and consider whether you want cancellation insurance. Make sure to get names, addresses, and telephone numbers for accommodations, airlines, and cruise ships you will be using. The bottom line is to verify everything before you pay.
Consider Using a Credit Card to Make Your Purchase
If you don’t get what you paid for, you may be able to dispute the charges with the card issuer.
Be Aware of the Terms
Read the fine print and watch out for travel opportunities that are “subject to availability” or can’t be used during the holidays or peak seasons.
If you feel that you have been the victim of a deceptive travel package, you may contact the following agencies:
Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
TTY: (651) 297-7206 or TTY: (800) 366-4812
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
TTY: (866) 653-4261
American Society of Travel Agents
Consumer Affairs Department
675 N. Washington Street, Suite 490
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 739-2782 or (800) 275-2782
National Tour Association
101 Prosperous Place, Suite 350
Lexington, KY 40509
Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota
220 South River Ridge Circle
Burnsville, MN 55337
(651) 699-1111 or (800) 646-6222
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