Spring Break Scams

Six tips to avoid spring break scams

An OSPIRG survey found that the final price for a spring break trip could on average be as high as 62 percent higher than the advertised price. We also found that some travel companies reserve the right to change travel and accommodation plans at their discretion, and require customers to waive or limit their legal rights to file disputes with the travel company.

1) Read all of the fine print carefully. This is by far the best step you can take to protect yourself. Companies need to tell you how your trip will operate. Even if they make their policies difficult to read, smart consumers will look them over before sending any money. If you can’t get answers to your questions, avoid using that company.

2) Read your invoice. Confirm that it includes every cost, including fees. Take the time to understand the purpose and amount of each fee. Some common hidden fees to watch out for: International Departure and Arrival Taxes, Processing Fees, Peak Week Surcharges, Late Booking Fees, Departure City Surcharges, Travel Insurance, Fuel Surcharges.

3) Be aware of cancellation policies. Before sending any money, you should know how much you will lose if you need to cancel.

4) Avoid any company that mandates arbitration for disputes. Don’t give up your legal rights.

5) Research a company before sending money. Do not assume that a company is legitimate based on its flyer. Look online, and contact the Oregon Attorney General’s office to find out if any complaints have been made against them.

6) File a complaint if you have a dispute. In most states, you can do this through the Attorney General’s office (see above). This calls attention to the company so that future travelers will not repeat your experience. Also, the attorney general may mediate your dispute to help resolve it.