Legitimate Online Travel Agencies (BBB Accredited Websites)
Wish to save time and money, plan your ideal trip, compare deal prices and book your preferable airline tickets, hotel room or car rental online?
Booking from legitimate and trustworthy travel websites is the best way to avoid the risks of being exploited, overcharged, scammed or ripped off.
This list provides information about online travel agencies approved by the Better Business Bureau, after being thoroughly reviewed by the national consumer organization and successfully meeting all their strict requirements.
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Consumer tips, how-to’s and articles that you may find interesting.
The mainstream travel industry is dominated by gigantic e-commerce websites that enable users to complete all their trip or vacation arrangements in one convenient place.
Online travel agencies (OTA) are middleman-style companies that offer travelers the ability to book either each trip component (such as flights, hotel stays, cruises or car rentals) separately – or order bundled packages that include everything.
The major players on this market provide convenient research tools that help consumers compare different features, find the best travel options for their specific schedule, destination, budget or style and enable them to mix and match various aspects of their trip.
Due to their enormous size and massive market reach on a global level, OTAs have the power to offer very competitive prices, discount package deals, and even last-minute bargains.
Moreover, to encourage travelers to book with them repeatedly, some of the largest travel booking sites operate loyalty programs that provide substantial benefits.
Consumer Tips: How Book Safely and Avoid Online Travel Agency Scams
Just like any other sector that involves consumers, businesses, and money that switches hands, the online travel market also has its fair share of scammers, fraudsters and cybercriminals that operate online and look for potential victims.
Scammers use many illegal, unethical or dishonest ways to trick and take advantage of unsuspecting travelers, who want to find a good deal.
Criminals are constantly creating and promoting fake travel agencies on the internet that work for a short time, harvest as many victims as possible and then move on to the next fraudulent booking site – which carries a new name, logo, and URL.
To be effective, these bogus travel websites are often professionally designed, look like legitimate platforms and advertise phony dirt-cheap deals to lure as many consumers as possible and steal either their identity or hard-earned money.
In a different variation of this type of scam, con artists build duplicate websites of the most popular online travel services in the industry.
They use their official trademarked brand assets, like logos, pictures, and unique graphic design and advertise low prices to attract more travelers and then viciously defraud them.
Other shady companies use illegal or unethical business practices that may come in hidden charges and undisclosed fees, unjustified penalties, arbitrary flight time changes by the agency, booking ‘mistakes’ that cost much money to repair or unresponsive customer support that never provides actual help.
Taking these steps will help you find credible and reliable online travel sites and complete your purchase in a safe, secure and satisfactory way:
Always suspect too-good-to-be-true bargains and overly low rates inconsistent with average market prices.
These are often the strongest telltale signs of an upcoming scam.
Avoid Using Unfamiliar Agencies
If you use a third-party reservation provider for an upcoming trip, choose a well-known, trustworthy and reputable company.
Investigate the Online Travel Agency’s BBB Record
Check the website’s record on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
What you’ll find there, will help you evaluate whether it’s a legitimate business that deserves your money and trust or if you must look elsewhere.
Look for current BBB rating, customer reviews, complaints, warnings and alerts on their business profile.
In addition, learn how long it has been in business – a potential indicator of experience and reputation.
If the company is not even listed with the BBB, this is a bad sign.
On the other hand, if the travel booking site is certified as a BBB Accredited Business, it’s an important positive signal.
Pay Close Attention to Red Flags
Learn how to protect yourself better when ordering goods and services on the internet, to avoid scammers and keep safe in general.
Knowing how to check if a website is legitimate or not is the first line of defense.