Spring Break Scams

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

February 18, 2005

It may be cold enough for scarves and hats in Charlottesville, but it's all fun in the sun in Cancun. However, officials said before you book that trip, look a little closer at the fine print.

"We rented a beach house, like a group of 10 friends and basically the house looked really nice in the pictures and we got there and the floor was slanted and there were holes in the walls and it was just really bad," said Michelle Billman.

"I think there are people out there looking for a quick buck. Often they'll say it's an all inclusive hotel but it only includes certain things and maybe they didn't tell you about departure tax that you have to pay at the airport which is a surprise," said Rochelle DeBaun, a travel agent from Peace Frog Travel.

Officials said there are several things students can do to make sure they are dealing with a legitimate business and not a scam artist.

Start by checking the credentials of the travel agent. "Whether they find it on the internet or they go to a travel agent if they're part of ASTA, which in the American Association of Travel Agents... most reputable tour vendors or tour companies are going to be part of that organization," said DeBaun.

Officials also recommend that students get the details of their trip in writing. "We don't take their money until they actually see something and acknowledge that their name is spelled right and that they're flying on the day they are supposed to be flying, that your hotels are confirmed," said DeBaun.

Some spring breakers to-be, on the other hand, say they're too excited to be worried. "I am excited, we are going to see some shows and it should be a really good trip," said Gayle Jones.

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