Vacation or travel clubs offer discounts on hotel rates, airfare, cruises and car rentals to those who join. Membership costs can range from $100 to more than $5,000. Some seek out members by telling you that you've won a free trip but must attend a sales presentation for the travel club to claim your prize.
While some travel clubs are legitimate, others are not. Use these tips to check out a travel club before you join:
- A trip is not “free” if the company or club requires you to pay or buy something to get it.
- Be skeptical of any company operating out of a temporary location like a motel room. Fly-by-night outfits may turn out to be a scam.
- Beware of offers that are good today only. Don’t let the salesperson pressure you into making a quick decision that you may regret later.
- Find out how easy the travel membership is to use. Many people complain that they can’t get reservations when and where they want to travel. Some clubs require you to book months in advance. Many clubs don’t let you request a specific location, but instead require you to give a list of places you’d be willing to visit.
- Investigate the types of places the travel club arranges for its members to stay. Otherwise you may arrive at your destination to find the accommodations so poor that you end up paying to stay somewhere else.
- Beautiful brochures and pictures of luxurious resorts can be very enticing. Before you pay a lot of money upfront for a membership, be sure that you will actually use it.
- Look at what you’ll pay carefully to see if the club will really save you money. Be sure that you’ll use the membership frequently enough to save money. Take into account all fees, dues and costs.
- If you attend a presentation in a hotel or other off-premises location, North Carolina law allows you three days to cancel the contract. If the contract does not specifically state this, you should not get involved.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint about a travel club, file a consumer complaint or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.