Protect Yourself: Travel Clubs
Have you ever received a sales pitch informing you of bargain vacation deals available through a travel club membership? The sales representative may claim that you and your family can take advantage of incredible trips at a fraction of the cost, including airfare, five star resorts and other amenities.
Travel clubs (also referred to as holiday clubs, vacation clubs, etc.) consist of a group of people who purchase a membership into a “club” from a company that acts on behalf of its members. The overseeing company, often a travel agency, acquires favorably priced accommodations and passes the savings along to the members. If operated correctly, there is nothing wrong with this type of business as it provides benefits to members through volume discounts. However, the business models that function within the industry can vary significantly. Some are legitimate while others are deceptive in nature.
Travel clubs have no control over discounts. Only suppliers of travel – cruise lines, hotel companies, car rental companies, or airlines – can decide to give discounts. With unlimited access to free internet resources, you’ll probably get a better deal doing online research and contacting the companies directly.
Here are a few tips to ensure your vacation is everything you expect it to be:
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer assistance center by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español or visit us online at www.800helpfla.com.