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					Vacation offers
Vacation promotions are one       Whether you pay for your            you don’t go on the trip, and
of the hottest ideas to hit the   certificate or get it as a gift,    few people do.
market in a long time. Mail-      don’t pack your bags and buy
boxes bulge with postcards        suntan lotion. You’re probably      You may find that the “first
offering trips to tropical        not going anywhere. Once            class accommodations” you
paradises, exotic cruises or      you read the fine print, you’ll     expected are located in the
exciting gambling trips to Las    see how expensive or difficult      seedy part of town, or miles
Vegas. Telephones ring off        it is to get away on your           away from the nearest beach
the hook with offers for free     getaway.                            or the main resort attractions.
vacations with the purchase of                                        Some promoters offer “bonus
a travel club membership.         Deposits are key to                 coupons” for free meals,
                                  profits                             drinks, discount gambling, or
Unfortunately, consumers                                              show tickets, along with the
usually find out too late that    The deposit you are required        vacation certificates. Often
they are not receiving a free     to make, before you get the         you can pick these coupons
vacation, but a vacation          details, is the heart of many       up anywhere in the vacation
certificate. The problem with     vacation certificate schemes.       area free for the asking.
owning a vacation certificate     Once they have your money
is that you own just thata       you discover that space on          Ask questions
piece of paper that allows you    flights and for hotel rooms is
to request a vacation; you        limited and uncertaintrips         If you’re contacted about a
don’t own the vacation at all.    are offered on a space-             great vacation deal, get
                                  available basis. Travel is          answers to the following
There are at least two types of   prohibited on holidays,             questions:
vacation certificatesthose       weekends, and even during
sold by travel agents and         prime tourist months. If space      Exactly how much is it going
those sold to promoters to use    does become available, you          to cost?
as premiums or sales gim-         may find yourself on a southern
micks. The certificates cost      beach in July. If your deposit      •   Ask about taxes, transpor-
the promoters $30 to $60;         is refundable, it’s often applied       tation, meals, or other
they usually end up costing       toward your hotel bill. The             handling fees.
you hundreds.                     promoter keeps the money if                                   (over)
•   Look for hidden costs. Be          What are the specific          direct you to call a 900
    suspicious of offers that          arrangements?                  telephone number for more
    require you to purchase                                           information about vacation
    other products or services     •   What lodging is available?     deals. Placing a call to a 900
    in order to be eligible.           Get the exact name and         number will result in a charge
•   Any “free” vacation that           location of the hotel. Don’t   on your phone bill.
    involves additional costs is       settle for assurances that
    not much of a prize.               lodging will include “first”   Complaints on file show that
•   Is the deposit refundable          class accommodations.”         many vacation promoters
    or non-refundable?             •   Get the name of the            misrepresent the terms and
                                       airline. Ask if reservations   conditions of vacations, fail to
What special conditions or             can be made directly with      give refunds upon request, or
terms are involved?                    the airline or only through    go out of business altogether.
                                       the promoter.
•   Do two people have to          •   Ask the promoter to send       To check on complaints
    travel?                            you all information in         against a particular company
•   Are you required to                writing and carefully review   or to file a complaint, contact
    purchase one ticket at full        the material before you        the Bureau of Consumer
    price in order to receive          invest any money in the        Protection at:
    another? Usually the cost          trip.
    of the second ticket more                                                 (800) 422-7128
    than covers the cost of the    Never give your credit card
                                                                            FAX: (608) 224-4939
    “free” one.                    number unless you expect to
•   Is travel restricted to a      be charged for something. No             TTY: (608) 224-5058
    certain time period?           matter what you are told, they
                                                                                  E-MAIL:
•   Is the trip tied to a time-    do not need your number to          datcphotline@datcp.state.wi.us
    share membership sales         verify your identitythey want
                                                                                   WEBSITE:
    presentation? If so,           to make a charge to your
                                                                           http://datcp.state.wi.us/
    prepare yourself for a high    account. Some promoters
    pressure sales pitch.                                                             i:\cpcic\facts\vacof185 2/00

				
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