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Star Plaza, Suite 302
6299 Route 309
New Tripoli, PA 18066
(610) 760-7082
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PO Box 202187
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2187
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Use Caution When Planning Vacations
7/25/2011

By Rep. Gary Day (R-Berks/Lehigh)

 

By this time in the summer, many families have already taken their vacation and are looking forward to the fall, while others prefer to wait until cooler temperatures in September for their annual getaways. Still others are busily planning next year’s trip.

 

Whatever the plans for a yearly vacation, the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General offers several warnings about scams and other frauds.

 

Most importantly, be aware of free vacation offers or those at unbelievable discounts. When approached – via mail, phone or email – about a free or a discounted offer, do not give out a credit card number for so-called “services fees” or “charges.” Only give out your credit card information if you have initiated the business contact and it’s with a company you trust. And always read the fine print. Some travel scams offer huge discounts and get your credit information, but only if you purchase additional services – mostly at higher prices.

 

In a similar scam, consumers win a “free” vacation when they pay several hundred dollars to join a travel club. The problem? When the consumer picks dates and tries to book the trip, he is told all of those dates are unavailable or already booked.

 

A similar twist played by some con artists involves selling consumers “discount travel packages.” What the consumer actually buys, however, may be a book containing coupons and discounts available for free to all vacationers from chambers of commerce and business promoters.

 

The end result in vacation scams is when you finally are ready to take the trip, the company has disconnected its phones, moved or closed without notifying you or issuing a refund.

 

The following tips are offered by the attorney general to avoid becoming the victim of a travel scam:

 

  • Don’t give your credit card number to any person or business unless you expect to be charged for a product or service.
  • Be wary of ads that have few details and promise a lot for little money.
  • Be cautious of firms that ask you to pay before confirming reservations. Most reputable travel agents will confirm before payment.
  • Deal with an established firm. If a firm is unfamiliar to you, check with relatives, friends or the Better Business Bureau.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the firm, request written information on total cost of the vacation and all items included. Any transportation, lodging, meals or other items not specifically mentioned may not be included.
  • Ask about your right to cancel. If you get ill or change plans, you could end up paying for a trip you never take. Also inquire about the availability of cancellation insurance.
  • Be wary of vacation offers that are “good today only.”
  • Remember, the better a vacation package sounds the more thoroughly you need to verify the package’s details.

If you have come into contact with one of these unscrupulous companies or offers, please notify the Office of the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555.

 

Have a happy, fun-filled and safe vacation!

 

State Representative Gary Day
187th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
717.705.2094
RepGaryDay.com
Facebook.com/RepGaryDay
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