(16 Total References)
News -- Campus Briefs
College students' quests for the least expensive travel options can leave them vulnerable to fraud, said Alexis Rochefort, a public relations specialist with the Institute of Certified Travel Agents.
"[Students] are looking for the cheapest way, so they overlook things," Rochefort
said."The consciousness and consumer awareness has not been raised with students." Rochefort
said that there are two very common types of scams.The first is the misrepresentation of products and services.Often, the conditions and amenities of lodging are exaggerated.
"The hotel is sold as a beautiful piece of property, but it has cockroaches," Rochefort
said."[Or students] will purchase a suite with an ocean view and there is no suite with an ocean view."
The second most prevalent type of fraud is the overbooking of airline and lodging, Rochefort
There are numerous other tips that can help students to avoid becoming scam victims, Rochefort
said.The most important one is to find a Certified Travel Counselor or Certified Travel Associate. Rochefort
said students in particular often assume that using certified professionals will be more expensive, but often they can provide students with cheaper travel packages.Rochefort
also said that CTCs or CTAs cater to their clients' interests to create the best vacations possible.
"They provide you with personal service," she
said."They are going to ask you questions.They are going to evaluate you and what you want."
Another trap students fall into is planning their vacations on the Internet, which Rochefort
said is risky because of the lack of information available and the ease with which vendors can deceive customers.
"You have no idea what's behind an Internet site," she
said."You are not dealing with a person."
Once students have decided upon a reputable company or vendor, they should be careful when choosing which payment method to use, Rochefort
"If you pay with cash, you will never see it again," she
said."I would not use a money order [either]."
Both methods almost guarantee students will not receive refunds if they are scammed because the money cannot be traced and used as proof of purchase and payment, Rochefort
said.The best method of payment is a credit card because "it is a more trackable receipt and contract," Rochefort
The South End Online
Students intending to escape the chills of Michigan should plan ahead, ensuring that they don't end up stranded at the airport on their spring break vacations, according to Alexis Rochefort, public relations specialist for the Institute of Certified Travel Agents.
There is an overwhelming amount of spring break "deals" targeting budget conscious students.
"All inclusive spring break Cancun luxury vacation!Includes breakfast, lunch dinner and . . . . . drinks!Six days/five nights only $299 per person.Bonus for reserving today: complimentary four day/three night Orlando trip.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is," warns Rochefort
."This is why it's so important to get a contract and have it in writing.It's very important for students to do research." Rochefort
said students have four main resources for verifying trips: Better Business Bureau
, American Society of Travel Agents
, United States Tour Operators Association and the Consumer Affairs Department
said if students plan trips through a certified travel agent, they rarely run the chance of being scammed.
"Most travel agents have preferred supplier relationships," she
said."They may use the same hotel chain over and over.It is because of these preferred supplier relationships that certified travel agents aren't scammed."
Once students have made reservations, they need to become familiar with newly added security measures.All airlines have increased their security procedures since the terrorist attacks.Since this is the first time back in the skies for many students, it's important to become familiar with new requirements.
Finding a scam-free company to get you to that ‘special place' may be a little trickier than expected, said Alexis Rochefort, a certified travel agent and spokesperson for the Institute of Certified Travel Agents. "It is important to be an educated consumer," Rochefort said."There are certain steps to follow to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate travel operator and not a scam artist." When planning spring break trips, Rochefort said students should make sure that the companies are certified.It is also important for students to ask if there is a certified travel counselor on staff.Certification indicates that a travel professional has at least five years of full-time travel industry experience, and has completed a rigorous academic study program. When a reporter from the Creightonian contacted four of the companies that place advertisements in the paper, all four stated they did not have certified counselors on staff, while two even stated they had never heard of them.
also recommended to students that they do a background check on the company, get everything in writing, purchase travel insurance, pay only by credit card, know the facts about charter flights, know your own rights and consider all inclusive vacations. The Better Business Bureau
said the travel companies that advertise in the newspaper all have satisfactory records.
Spring break travel frought with scams - Wednesday Feb. 6, 2002 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat
In a press release last week, Alexis Rochefort, representative for the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, said there are several things students can do to make sure they're doing business with a legitimate travel operator and not a scam artist. She
suggested checking the credentials of the travel agent, doing a background check on the company offering their services, purchasing travel insurance and paying with a credit card. The Institute of Certified Travel Agents
also recommends that students get the details of their trip in writing, including "the name of the air carrier and hotel, amenities, restrictions and cancellation policies involving the package."
The California Aggie
Alexis Rochefort, spokesperson for the ICTA, stated in a press release that it is important to be an educated consumer."There are certain steps to follow to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate travel operator and not a scam artist," he said.The ICTA urges travelers to make sure that they are dealing with a certified agent."A Certified Travel Counselor certification indicates that a travel professional has attained a minimum of five years of full-time travel industry experience and has completed a rigorous academic study program and exam," states the release.In addition, they are required to complete continuing education classes to remain current on travelling trends.It is crucial to do a thorough background check of the company.The ICTA has a list of questions to ask: how many years has the company been in business under that same name; how many times your contact person has visited the destination and whether or not the firm has extensive experience dealing with students."Do not hesitate to call the Consumer Affairs Department or the Better Business Bureau," the press release states.