It’s travel Tuesday, where we check in with travel expert Claire Newell from Travel Best Bets for tips to make your next vacation a breeze. Your holidays are meant to be a time to sit back and relax with all your worries at bay. But, in fact, it’s a time when you actually need to be more on the ball than usual to keep yourself from falling into the traps of tricky con artists. But it’s the completely legal scams, those perpetrated by “real” businesses, that are worth paying some extra attention to.
Lets starting with those awful hard-sell timeshare scams. So many tourists still fall for this scam, and getting a refund once you’ve paid is all but impossible since the condos people are buying into are technically legal. If you’re in the market for a timeshare, do your research first, and definitely don’t buy under the influence of a high-pressure salesperson.
The same rules go for travel clubs. They often prey on older or retired people with a line similar to the timeshare pitch. They offer “free” gift certificates to a favorite restaurant and then corral you into high-pressure sales presentations where you’re convinced that a membership fee of several thousand dollars is a good idea. Their well-written contracts ensure that you don’t get to keep your money whether you find the promised bargains or not.
Don’t fall for it. The truth is, these clubs are selling nothing. Like travel clubs, “card mills” are basically useless too. These are the companies that sell you travel-agency credentials for a small fee online. They’re completely legal. But common sense tells you they’re a scam. More often, these card schemes let you get credit for helping your friends book trips through a special website. It’s little more than a pyramid scheme and the only winners are the card mills offering questionable travel products. Have you ever noticed something called “resort fee” on your hotel bill,
These are one of the most aggravating travel industry ploys. 20 “resort fee” that includes items such as the beach towel, TV, and use of the exercise equipment. When you try to wiggle out of one by claiming you won’t be using the gym or visit the pool, you’ll be told the fee applies to everyone.