Consumer Tips for Booking Travel Online
All businesses providing travel services in British Columbia are required to be licensed under the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act. With the increasing trend of online travel bookings, Consumer Protection BC is advising consumers to be cautious when making their travel arrangements through the Internet.
Here are some tips for booking travel online:
• Ensure that you are dealing with a licensed travel agency. Licensed BC travel agencies are required to contribute to the Travel Assurance Fund. You may be eligible to claim from the fund if you do not receive the contracted travel services you purchased from a licensed BC travel agent.
• Confirm exactly who you are doing business with. Look for the physical location and contact information, such as the company’s phone numbers and the city in which they are located. Research the company as best you can through internet searches.
• Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. The BBB in your area and in the city where the travel agency is located may list consumer complaints that could have been made against the company. To find your local BBB, click www.bbb.org.
• Check to see if the travel agency or website is licensed by any other jurisdiction. You can also find out more about the company’s track record by contacting the local authorities in the community in which they are operating.
• Be careful about giving out your credit card number. Don’t give out your credit card number unless you are sure of who you are doing business with. Again, do your research, especially if this is the first time you have dealt with a particular online travel site. Although you may be protected from the unauthorized use of your credit card, the initial harm is done and the frustration in trying to reverse the charges and limit further problems can be daunting.
Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are individuals utilizing the anonymity of the internet to commit crimes by offering what appear to be great “vacation deals”. Ask questions and compare any bargain holidays with packages offered by other licensed travel agents.
To determine whether a company has a valid BC license or to report concerns or suspicious practices, click Consumer Protection BC Licensee Search or call Consumer Protection BC at 1 888 564-9963.