Are You A Victim Of Telemarketing Travel Fraud


Are You A Victim Of Telemarketing Travel Fraud

Hello...you have been specially selected to​ receive our SPECTACULAR LUXURY DREAM VACATION offer!

Have you​ ever been tempted to​ sign up to​ win a​ "free" trip at​ a​ fair,​ trade show or​ restaurant? if​ so,​ you​ may get a​ phone call,​ letter,​ unsolicited fax,​ email or​ postcard telling you​ that you've won a​ vacation. Be careful. it​ may be a​ "trip trap." the​ vacation that you've "won" likely isn't free. And the​ "bargain-priced" travel package you're offered over the​ telephone or​ Internet may not fit your idea of​ luxury.

While some travel opportunities sold over the​ phone or​ offered through the​ mail,​ Internet or​ by fax are legitimate,​ many are scams that defraud consumers out of​ millions of​ dollars each month.

The word "offer" can be a​ clue to​ hidden charges. When you​ get the​ phone call,​ or​ place the​ call in​ response to​ a​ postcard,​ letter,​ fax or​ Internet ad,​ you​ also get a​ sales pitch for a​ supposedly luxurious trip - one that you​ could pay dearly for.

The salesperson may ask for your credit card number to​ bill your account for the​ travel package. Once you​ pay,​ you​ receive the​ details of​ the​ "package,​" which usually include instructions for making trip reservation requests. Your request often must be accompanied by yet another fee. in​ addition,​ many offers require you​ to​ pay upgrade costs to​ receive the​ actual destinations,​ accommodations,​ cruises or​ dates you​ were promised. Some offers may require you​ to​ pay more for port charges,​ hotel taxes or​ service fees.

See a​ pattern developing? New charges are being added every step of​ the​ way. you​ may never get your "bargain" trip because your reservations may not be confirmed or​ because you​ must comply with hard-to-meet hidden or​ expensive "conditions."

Telemarketing travel scams usually originate out of​ "boiler rooms." Skilled salespeople,​ often with years of​ experience selling dubious products and services over the​ phone,​ pitch travel packages that may sound legitimate,​ but often are not. These pitches usually include:

Oral Misrepresentations. Particular schemes vary,​ but all fraudulent telemarketers promise you​ a​ "deal" they can't possibly deliver. Unfortunately,​ you​ won't know it​ until your money's gone.

High Pressure/Time Pressure Tactics. Scam operators often say they need your commitment to​ buy immediately or​ that the​ offer won't be available much longer. They typically brush aside questions or​ concerns with vague answers or​ assurances.

"Affordable" Offers. Unlike fraudulent telemarketers who try to​ persuade people to​ spend thousands of​ dollars on​ an​ investment scheme,​ fraudulent travel telemarketers usually pitch club membership or​ vacation offers in​ a​ lower price range. the​ offers sound reasonable and are designed to​ appeal to​ anyone who is​ looking for a​ getaway.

Contradictory Follow-up Material. Some companies may agree to​ send you​ written confirmation of​ your deal. However,​ it​ usually bears little resemblance to​ the​ offer you​ accepted over the​ phone. the​ written materials often disclose additional terms,​ conditions and costs.

How to​ Protect Yourself

Unpleasant surprises can ruin a​ vacation,​ especially when they cost money. That's why it​ pays to​ investigate a​ travel package before you​ buy. But it​ can be difficult to​ tell a​ legitimate sales pitch from a​ fraudulent one. Consider these travelers' advisories:
Be wary of​ "great deals" and low-priced offers. Few legitimate businesses can afford to​ give away products and services of​ real value or​ substantially undercut other companies' prices.

Don't be pressured into buying. a​ good offer today usually will be a​ good offer tomorrow. Legitimate businesses don't expect you​ to​ make snap decisions.
Ask detailed questions. Find out exactly what the​ price covers and what it​ doesn't. Ask about additional charges. Get the​ names of​ the​ hotel,​ airports,​ airlines and restaurants included in​ your package. Consider contacting these businesses directly to​ verify arrangements. Ask about cancellation policies and refunds. if​ the​ salesperson can't give you​ detailed answers,​ hang up.

If you​ decide to​ buy,​ find out the​ name of​ the​ travel provider - the​ company that is​ getting your reservations and tickets. This company usually is​ not the​ telemarketer.
Get all information in​ writing before you​ agree to​ buy. Once you​ receive the​ written information,​ make sure it​ reflects what you​ were told over the​ phone and the​ terms you​ agreed to.

Don't buy part of​ the​ package - the​ air fare or​ hotel stay - separately from the​ rest. if​ the​ deal is​ not what you​ expected,​ it​ may be difficult to​ get your money back for the​ part of​ the​ package you​ purchased.

Don't give your credit card number or​ bank information over the​ phone unless you​ know the​ company. One easy way for a​ scam operator to​ close a​ deal is​ to​ get your credit card number and charge your account. Sometimes fraudulent telemarketers say they need the​ number for verification purposes only. Don't believe them.

Don't send money by messenger or​ overnight mail. Some scam artists may ask you​ to​ send them a​ check or​ money order immediately. Others may offer to​ send a​ messenger to​ pick up your payment. if​ you​ pay with cash or​ a​ check,​ rather than a​ credit card,​ you​ lose your right to​ dispute fraudulent charges under the​ Fair Credit Billing Act. if​ you​ charged your trip to​ a​ credit card,​ you​ may dispute the​ charges by writing to​ your credit card issuer at​ the​ address provided for billing disputes. if​ possible,​ do this as​ soon as​ you​ receive your statement. in​ any case,​ the​ law gives you​ up to​ 60 days after the​ bill's statement date to​ dispute the​ charge.

Check out the​ company before you​ buy. Contact the​ Attorney General in​ your state or​ where the​ company is​ located to​ see if​ any complaints have been lodged against the​ travel firm or​ the​ travel provider. Be aware that fraudulent businesses often change their names to​ avoid detection.

If in​ doubt,​ say "no." Trust your instincts. It's less risky to​ turn down the​ offer and hang up the​ phone.

Where to​ Complain

Several organizations can provide additional information and help you​ with complaints.

Your state Attorney General or​ the​ Attorney General in​ the​ state where the​ company is​ located probably has a​ division that deals with consumer protection issues.

The American Society of​ Travel Agents,​ Consumer Affairs,​ at​ 1101 King Street,​ Alexandria,​VA 22314,​ may be able to​ mediate your dispute with an​ ASTA member.

The FTC works for the​ consumer to​ prevent fraudulent,​ deceptive and unfair business practices in​ the​ marketplace and to​ provide information to​ help consumers spot,​ stop,​ and avoid them. to​ file a​ complaint or​ to​ get free information on​ consumer issues call toll-free,​ 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. the​ FTC enters Internet,​ telemarketing,​ identity theft,​ and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel,​ a​ secure online database available to​ hundreds of​ civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in​ the​ U.S. and abroad.






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