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Old April 19th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Default Choosing a Travel Agent

Even as a world traveler we make mistakes. But, be careful who you book through if you don't want to book directly with a cruiseline. Ask if the agent is licensed in your state, check their affiliations, confirm their licensing and certifications.

I did all the right things and yet missed the obvious or stopped checking too soon. They all talk a good story, but can you trust them.

In my case, the affiliations appeared to be there, the licensing appeared to be there and the travel agent in San Luis Obispo talked an excellent story. She took my deposit, refused to refund it, made reservations without authorization, cancelled a cruise without authorization, the affiliations were fraud, she did not have her local license in order, was not licensed in my state, and apparently was not filing taxes or paying taxes.

She also used my identity in her advertising without permission.

She is being investigated and I am still out the money. Maybe by the time the states of California and Florida and the IRS get done with her she will have enough money left over to refund me the $1,000 she still owes me.

Read more about it on my blog at Janet's Blog | My World
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Old April 19th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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thats awful, sorry to hear that one. You did all the right things, she just presented fraud. Hopefully she is the exception not the norm. I have a wonderful travel agent, have known her for years, a good, reliable, knowledegeable, travel agent is worth their weight in gold.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 11:03 AM
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It's one reason why the "Brick and Mortar" travel agent is not the best idea. If a agent is affiliated with a larger company then you have more recourse. If they are truly independent then you are taking a larger risk.

A large local agency (Hobbit Travel) that was thought to be the "Premier Agency" in travel went belly up and left a lot of people in the lurch. Their owner was often on local television stations and in the newspapers talking about travel and was the "local expert".

A friend of mine purchased a cruise from them about a year and a half ago. He said the agency charged his credit card and not the cruise line. I told him this was a big red flag and perhaps he should cancel and rebook with someone else. He did and the company shut the doors, without warning, three weeks later. Luckily he did get his deposit back.

It does show that even if you do everything right there is still some risk.

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 19th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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It seems this can happen in many industries. Sometimes a business can operate legitimately for quite a while. Then the owner or some key employee gets in some personal trouble and begins to 'rob Peter to pay Paul' and then things start to spiral out of control.

Sorry you got burned.
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