Investigators

Travelers must be vigilant to avoid summer scams

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Schools are about to get out, and many families are getting ready to embark on their annual summer vacations.

Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than falling victim to a travel scam.

There's more to taking a vacation than making sure suitcases are stuffed with all the essentials, but travelers first should do their research.

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Plenty of companies offer vacations at the shore, mountains, or adventurous destinations. There are also a lot of scammers out there, and the N.C. Attorney general said reputations should be carefully vetted.

“Find out if there’s been complaints filed with my office," said Josh Stein. “The other thing you can do is call the Better Business Bureau see if there a complaint with the BBB.”

A lot of vacations involve contracts. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Read any travel contracts carefully. “You have to read details. This is something you can’t wing,” Stein said. “You have to read the fine print.”
  • Rental vacation homes must include written rental agreements and offer of rental insurance. “If the landlord offered you rental insurance and you declined it, then you’re on the hook,” Stein said. If insurance is not offered, the landlord must refund missed days following a mandatory evacuation for a natural disaster.

Here are a renter's specific rights

  • Get hotel reservations, air and train travel details in writing and carefully check for associated costs or add-on fees.
  • Always pay with a credit card because that allows travelers to track and dispute charges. "If you pay cash, it’s very hard to get your money back," Stein explained.

There are also scams involving timeshares and travel clubs.

To file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, go here. To file a complaint with the Attorney General’s consumer protection division, click here.

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