COLUMBUS - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned consumers to beware of travel scams during spring and summer vacation months.
2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received more than 400
travel-related complaints. Complaints ranged from billing disputes to
services never delivered.
cited problems included offers for “free” travel or vacations that were
not truly free, travel services that did not deliver promised benefits,
and timeshare “resellers” who made false promises to help consumers
sell their timeshares.
encourage consumers to check out companies before doing business with
them,” Attorney General DeWine said. “While there are many great travel
services, there are a few that don’t follow the rules.”
Ohio, if a seller advertises that a consumer has won a free vacation or
other prize, the advertisement must state important exclusions and
limitations of the offer. For example, if a consumer is required to
listen to a sales presentation about travel club memberships in order to
receive a free cruise, that requirement should be disclosed in the ad.
if a sale takes place outside a seller’s normal place of business, such
as at a hotel meeting room, the consumer likely is entitled to a
three-day right to cancel the sale under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales
Act. Under this law, sellers must notify consumers of their cancellation
To avoid problems with travel services, consumers should:
companies before doing business with them. Look for complaints filed
with the Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau. Search
online for reviews using the company’s name and words like “reviews” or
Get the details. Carefully review the terms and conditions of any agreement before signing it.
Make sure verbal promises are put in writing. Otherwise, they’re not guaranteed.
paying with a credit card. You generally have stronger protections to
dispute credit card charges if something goes wrong.
documentation. Maintain a copy of the contract or purchase agreement.
If a problem arises, document the situation. For example, track the
names of people you contact.
your reservations. If you book a trip through a third party, call the
resort or hotel where you will be staying to confirm your reservation.
Questions to ask before signing up for a travel club membership include:
Will you have to take several trips per year to get any savings?
Do trips book up quickly, limiting your ability to schedule a vacation?
Can you find similar or better deals yourself online?
What is the cancellation policy?
Are deposits refundable?
Are there any non-refundable fees?
Will you get a refund if a trip is canceled because of a natural disaster or bad weather?
Will you have to pay an extra fee if you change your reservations or reschedule a trip?
What’s the total cost of the membership?
Will additional fees kick in later, after you sign the agreement?