CHICAGO, IL- January 4, 2013 – As the temperatures turn bitter,
many people start planning their relaxing beach vacations. The Better Business
Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) advises consumers to be very
careful about booking through travel agencies.
The BBB reports that complaints are up for this 12
month period. Complaints for 2012 total 157 compared to 120 from 2011, or an
increase of 30 percent.
“When planning travel it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of seeing a
new place,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau
serving Chicago and Northern
Illinois. “Be sure to compare different travel agencies and find
one that is reputable.”
The Better Business
Bureau offers these tips when booking with a travel agency:
- Compare services and do
not feel pressured:
Be very cautious about any operation that pressures you to make an
immediate decision or if there is a statement that an offer is good “only
if you act now.” Compare the
services, fees and travel costs from a number of travel agencies before
selecting the most attractive package.
- Be cautious about
telephone, letter or postcard solicitations: Be careful of travel solicitations
claiming you’ve won a “free” trip, or can get “special discounts” on
hotels and airfares.
- Pay with a credit card: You can get some protection when using a
credit card to purchase travel services.
If you don’t get what you paid for, contact the credit card company
and attempt to get the charges cancelled.
- Get it in writing: Don’t rely on oral promises from a
travel service. Request copies of
any brochures and contract before purchasing your trip package, or making
investing in travel insurance: Travel insurance can provide protection in the
event of an accident, an illness, lost luggage, or a cancelled or
interrupted trip, among other things. Read the insurance contract to
understand coverage and exclusions. Investigate trip
cancellation policies and determine what they cover to see if they would
be worthwhile to purchase the insurance.
- Always check the business first: Check out the reputation of the travel agency
before doing business with them. Check out free BBB Business Reviews for
information on consumer and travel tips, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose
of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help
resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and
arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and
charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and
nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity
before making a purchase or donation.