BEWARE – TRAVEL SCAMS

Scams are everywhere these days and unfortunately, travel scams seem to be in full swing. For every legitimate travel deal you find online there is most certainly one that is not. I’m going to take a little time today and share a few tips on how to minimize your chances of being taken for a ride.

First off-

This should be very clear to everyone. Never pay directly “any funds” to a third party representing a major company.  It you’ve taken a look around GoCheepNow.com, and want to take a closer look after reading a review or recommendations. The links provided go directly to the  company offering the special deals or discounts.

When shopping online any other option should raise a red flag! 

Deceptive Pricing


Know the real price, make sure there are no add/ons or service fees. Legitimate travel sites are required to state any extras, The legitimate organizations are proud to state that this is the final price. Look at any major airline ads and and usually the scams are too  good to be true.

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From frequent flier redemption to unavailable seats, to bogus two-for-one offers, they know all the tricks. But be careful, Be sure you read all of the fine print before you hand over the credit card or click on the “buy” button.

 

Here is Some Great Information

GoCheepNow.com and other reputable sites have built relationships with all the major carriers, hotels and rental companies. Its basically an affiliation. We are given access to all the sales and discounts often before they are available, our readers are first in line for the special offers. Once you access the link we are out of the loop and you are dealing directly with them. If you choose to follow GoCheepNow  you will get the specials and discounts when we do.  

Why we do do this – I love to travel!

In return for giving honest and reputable first hand  reviews of our experiences. The perks we receive allow us to keep exploring new and exciting places.  

 

4. Timeshares
People marketing timeshares are slick. They are not afraid to lie, cheat, or steal to make a sale. Most timeshare offers are made while you are already on vacation and your guard is down, but many are from contest entry forms where you fill out a form, in malls, in front of stores, amusement parks or fairs.  Also telemarking is a big one, your are invited to a resort for a three or four night stay complimentary. The only thing asked of you is to attend a brief presentation so they may better introduce the property you are staying at,  Expect Three Hours, if you try to leave you are informed you will be responsible for the free accommodations    If you can stand the one on one beat down that the sales team provide this may be an option for you for a free stay.  A close friend of ours just returned from Cozumel where he thought he agreed to extend his stay to try out a timeshare. When he returned, he found that his credit card had been charged $7,000 

Car Rental Scams / Don’t Get Me Started!

 Whether you’re using Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Dollar Rent a Car, Budget, Alamo, Thrifty or – especially – smaller companies, educate yourself on how to have a legitimate deal.

What’s interesting is that most of the deceptive practices  are actually listed in the fine print of your agreements,  just so the companies can avoid liability.  Mandatory Insurance Fee

Here is how the Car Rental Insurance Scam works. You are about to rent a car and the agent at the desk requires you to pay a mandatory insurance fee. You think about it and eventually are okay, “Why Not”

What you don’t know is that your credit card  – Visa, Mastercard or American Express – has auto insurance incorporated already!  Check your credit card’s benefits and see if the rental is covered indeed. Most credit card companies cover auto insurance, although this fact is not commonly known. The agent knows, but he gets a commission for selling you the extra protection.

Rental Car Upgrade Trick

 Let’s say you have a voucher from a rental car company and you’re just about to redeem it. The agent suggests, “Would you like to upgrade for only an extra seven dollars a day? You can get whatever vehicle you want, instead of limiting yourself to whatever the voucher allows you.

” Sounds good, right?

You pick the most beautiful car, sign the contract, and off you go. The surprise comes next month when you see a $500 charge on your credit card statement!When calling the company to inquire about the ridiculous charge, you are told that the amount included fees such as “Road Assurance” for about $140 (e.g. if you would have a flat tire they would come and fix it) or an “Airport Recovery Charge” for $55, both of which you knew nothing about.

Rental Car Overdue Also known as the Rental Car Late Return Scam, this rip-off is also very common these days.

You’ve been doing your job with a car that you rented for a few days. It is Sunday and you have to return the vehicle. As you give back the keys and wait for them to check the car, they present you with an invoice that has $75 more on it than you expected.

When you ask about this, they tell you that you were supposed to bring the car back by noon, not 4PM. They either invented the “late charges fee” on the spot or had it written on a tiny sign behind the desk.

car rental late return fees

Unlimited Mileage Rental Car

When we are going on a long trips and don’t want to overuse our own vehicles. We can get excited seeing ads promoting “unlimited mileage”

 How does the scam work?

Unscrupulous rental companies bury a clause in the fine print stating that the offer applies only to “in-state travel”, while the clerks avoids to mention it to the clients.

Not reading the fine print and bringing the car back 4,000 miles later could place huge charges on your bill.

 International Rental Car Insurance – Don’t You love This One

 Let’s say you are planning a great vacation in a different country. You book your hotel, rental car, auto insurance, and then take the plane. Once you arrive at destination and go to pick up your vehicle you are told that their rental company doesn’t accept insurance bought in other countries. You are forced to pay an extra few hundred dollars because they don’t recognize the insurance you have. Don’t be fooled, they are just seeing if you will pay.

The Taxi Overcharge

This is one of the most common travel scams out there. Either the driver will tell you the meter is broken and try to charge you a huge rate or you’ll see the meter go higher and faster than Superman!

To avoid this scam, first, you need to know how much a ride should cost. I always ask the hostel or hotel staff what a ride should be so I have a frame of reference.

Next, if the cabbie tries to negotiate the rate with you, Offer him or her the correct rate. If they refuse, don’t take the trip with them.  Many tourism boards  report dishonest or questionable cab drivers. The concierge or desk attendants at most hotels or hostels have these lists for the asking. Many of the law enforcement agencies recommend never getting into a cab with other riders, they could be working together with the driver.

 

Use a credit card instead of a debit card to book online. In case the website is phony, you won’t have given the cybercriminals direct access to your bank account. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection.

After you make an online reservation, always call the company afterward to confirm. If there is no record of your reservation, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. You’ll be able to alert your credit card company, report the fraud, and still have time to book reservations with the real deal.

Bait and Switch

Never go to Google maps and type in Cheap Car Rentals Near Me

You come across ads promoting super-low rates for a rental car service.The promotion reads “Cheap Car Rentals Near Me” so you automatically assume the location is close. The offer seems good, but you want to make sure it really is $30 cheaper per day for the vehicle you want. You call the number.

They confirm the price is correct, only that the location is not exactly very close. It doesn’t bother you since it’s a great deal. However, when you get there, the car you were expecting  is unavailable. Since you’ve made all the effort of going there and standing in the rental office, you choose a different vehicle. This is a classic bait and switch scheme.

This is how they can charge for unwanted upgrades,  insurance add-ons and whatever else they can come up with, making the final invoice even more expensive than it would have been at the most expensive rental companies that you originally researched.  Don’t you love it!

Discount travel clubs

Usually a bad idea. If your travel club is asking far more than a few dollars for membership, they are probably scamming you. They will offer a discounted menu of trips for members only. You then get the privilege of booking the trip, probably a substandard product and a newsletter. They get your money plus the commission paid by the travel supplier.  Travel clubs should be geared towards social engagement and any dues or membership paid should be reasonable and cover only the true costs.

Become a travel agent
This is a scam that seems to be everywhere now.

First off, the days of freebies are over, they are few and far between. Secondly, in order to sell travel and be recognized by a supplier, you need to be affiliated with either a travel agency or be registered as an independent seller of travel with either the Cruise Lines International Association or the Airlines Reporting Corporation. In our case at GoCheepNow we need to be approved by the major travel companies, register as an affiliate and submit our posts and reviews for approval before we can receive the unpublished sales and specials that we then pass on to you via our website. No fees are ever requested from our readers or general public. As we stated earlier in this post, you are dealing directly with the actual  travel companies that are running the specials, deals and discounts

Be careful out there. Scams are everywhere and they prey on you when you are least expecting.

If you know of any travel scams that we should know of, please share. We are all in this together. Together we can keep each other safe.

Thanks,

Chris

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